Be More Productive By Sid Savara You have a limited number of hours every day to do it all: complete your professional tasks, work on personal projects, spend time with those that matter to you. A quote that I remind myself of daily is: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard We talk about doing things next year or someday: but the truth is, this moment, today, right now is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday. It is the next year that you talked about last year. And when you were younger, you thought that “someday” was far away in the distant future, but I’ve got news for you: Today is that Someday Someday is here. To make the most of your life, you’ve got to make the most of your day, today. And to make the most of your day, I believe you’ve got to make the most out of every morning and the way you start your day. Why? Well, imagine the alternative. Imagine waking up in the morning, and browsing around aimlessly online. Imagine going to your inbox, opening an email and then deciding I’ll reply to that email later, and going back to browsing. Before you know it, a few hours has passed, and what do you have to show for it? Does the web browsing make you happier? Does it help you connect with people who matter most in your life? Is it helping you achieve your goals? Most of the time, I bet the answer is a resounding no. “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” – Richard Whately But there is a better way, and it’s this: Start Your Day By Controlling The First Hour Today I want to give you actionable advice you can use right away. Let’s get real specific talk about your first hour of your day: what can you do in your first hour, to make the rest of your day as productive and successful as possible? I’ve seen these habit referenced everywhere from Brian Tracy to Tony Robbins in his “Hour of Power” to a variety of entrepreneurs who have written extensively about their morning habits. Though they all vary in specifics, they hit on these three key areas. So you can mix the strategies you see fit below, for what you think is best for you. For each area, let me explain the why first, and then the how. Habit Number 1: Physically Prepare Yourself The purpose: By taking care of yourself physically first thing in the morning, you make sure you’re caring for your body. You help your blood circulate throughout your body effectively, which gets oxygen flowing everywhere – especially your brain, which uses 20-25% of your oxygen! Your brain is a high-powered organ, and this first step is aimed at helping out your entire body, but especially getting you mentally prepared for the day How to do it: Drink a glass of water. After sleeping for 8 hours, your body may be slightly dehydrated, so the first thing I do is drink 16 oz of water in the morning. I’ve seen recommendations of anywhere from 8 oz to a quart. Engage in 5-30 minutes of physical activity. If you want you can run, you can go for a swim – or you can start with walking and light stretching. The purpose isn’t to get in a total workout – remember, it’s aimed at getting your blood circulating so you start to wake up and can ensure you’re getting oxygen to your brain. Habit Number 2: Mentally Prepare Yourself The purpose: Now that your body and brain are prepared, we want to activate your brain. You’ve got a clean slate (or are about to) – and what you focus on now is going to help set the tone for the rest of the day. Do not skip this step: the results can be astounding. How many times have you gone half a day before you suddenly remembered something very important to you that you needed to get done? By focusing your mind in the morning, you’re much likely to remember it sooner. How to do it: Here you can pick and choose from multiple options. If you’re doing light stretching, yoga or various martial arts movements in the morning such as tai chi, you may choose to combine this with number 1. Meditate: You can build a meditation habit, starting with as little as one minute Visualizations: Close your eyes and visualize. Tony Robbins suggests starting with what you are grateful for such as friends, family and special moments in your life. He then suggests visualizing an idealized version of what your life could be. Daily Planning: You can picture your day, what you need to do, the important tasks for your day and spend a few minutes visualizing it: visualize getting ready, your career, your workout, your projects. Habit Number 3: Spiritually and Emotionally Prepare Yourself The purpose: Now that you’re physically and mentally prepared, it’s time to spiritually and emotionally prepare yourself. This may be something you touched on already in meditating, but I like to break it out separately. So often, this is one of the crucial areas of our lives we neglect, but it’s just as important: spiritual and emotional energy is what will sustain you when you are physically and mentally exhausted. It is just as important to renew this as mental and physical energies How to do it: Express Gratitude: You can do this as part of visualizations as I discussed above, or you can do it separately. For example, if you have a gratitude journal you can write in it in the morning with a few things you are grateful for. Affirmations: Some people like them, some people don’t. I leave it to you to decide. Personally, I like to pick one as a focus for a week or month, such as “value your time” or “treat everyone with love and respect.” I find doing this as a 30-day challenge helps make it part of my life. Even More Lessons from Successful People I recently released this free 3-day email course productivity secrets of highly successful people – featuring lessons Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs and more. If you liked this article, I think you will enjoy the course as well.