It’s my morning, dammit.
I sat staring at myself on my computer screen as the slow ticking of a clock filled the room. These days we’re all familiar with the awkward feeling of waiting for someone else to show up for a virtual meeting. My client was 10 minutes late for our virtual coaching session. Finally, my reflection onscreen flickered, and she appeared.
Apologizing, she said, “Beau, I’m so sorry I’m late, this morning got totally sideways from me.”
I replied, “No worries, it happens to all of us.”
After that, I asked her a few questions about her routine. As she spoke, I saw a pattern that I was all too familiar with. It was an issue that I had struggled with, and that had taken a lot of trial and error to figure out. The topic for that session became all about her morning ritual.
As I’ve gotten older, and hopefully smarter, I have realized the power of habit (both good and bad). What I have learned is that for most of us, the way we start our day influences how the rest of the day will go. So, if we start the day out well, we’re setting ourselves up for success. If we start out stressed, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
So far, I’ve gone through 3 different phases of morning routines.
When I was younger, I would jump out of bed, get showered and dressed, and be out of the door in what could only be described as a 20-minute sprint. While the efficiency factor was pretty-high, the quality of my mornings was pretty-low. Looking back, I’m not sure if I was even awake yet as I backed out of the driveway most days.
Next, I went through a phase where I wanted to be super-plugged into work, so the first thing I would do after getting out of bed was to read email and review my calendar before even getting out of bed. While this did allow me to be very connected, all it took was a dreaded meeting, a customer issue, or a snarky email to get me off on the wrong foot for the day.
Now, I protect my morning with a strong focus on the quality of the morning. It doesn’t take a lot of time to start my morning off in a great way, and I am happy to report that the quality of my day is up considerably.
When I wake up, I don’t pick up or look at my phone other than turning off the alarm. I then spend about 10 minutes stretching on the floor while breathing deep. Next, I drink 2 large glasses of water, shower, and get dressed (still haven’t looked at my phone). I then make it to my desk to read for 15-minutes, journal for 15-minutes, and then review my daily plan. Then, and only then, do I pick up my phone and “plug-in” to the electronic world.
This is usually about an hour from the time I open my eyes, and I will testify that I am much more in charge of my day, my mood, and my focus when I follow this routine. It helps me choose what kind of day I am having. I’m not letting a frustrating email or a meeting I’m dreading on my calendar start me off on the wrong foot.
If you don’t have a morning routine, I encourage you to adopt one. It might just help you enjoy your days more than you are currently. If you do have a morning routine, I’d love to hear how you approach your morning!