The Life-Changing Habit of Starting Your Day With Clarity And Purpose
A purposeful day is critical in achieving better results.
Prioritizing is not overrated. Distracted by the dozens of unexpected emails, phone calls, meetings and never finding enough time to work on most important tasks for the day, many people end their day feeling unproductive and unsure of what was accomplished.
Starting your day with a clear idea of what you want to do changes everything. Starting and ending your day right has a lot to do with your success.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “The early morning has gold in its mouth.” The quote emphasis the importance of starting your day the right way.
He also said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Franklin deliberately designed his day with a daily schedule.
“Morning and evening routines prime you for success. They help you achieve more, think clearly, and do work that actually matters. They keep you from thoughtlessly stumbling through your day and make sure you get the most important things done,” says Stephen Altrogge of Zapier.
Many people forget that morning hours leading up to mid-day are enormously important — that these hours form the foundation of the entire day. Jim Rohn said “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”
Studies have shown a connection between waking up early and achieving perk performance. A Harvard Business Review article found that “people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening.”
Begin with the end in mind
Cut your addiction to busy work and start focusing on getting real work done. Starting your day with the end in mind provides an uninterrupted stretch for strategizing and concentrating on your day’s work — you’re in the zone from the get-go.
Build a work system for yourself. A system makes it easy to start your day without wasting time on distractions. It’s concrete. It gets you moving. It helps you focus on long-terms gains, instead of short-term wins.
Cal Newport recommends building a habit of ‘deep work’ — the ability to focus without distraction. Newport also recommends ‘deep scheduling’ to combat constant interruptions and get more done in less time.
Starting today, reclaim your ability to plan ahead. When all you do is execute and you never step back from your work to plan, it’s difficult to work smarter. George Harrison once sang, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Dan Ariely, behavioral economist at Duke University, says, “It turns out that most people are productive in the first two hours of the morning. Not immediately after waking, but if you get up at 7 you’ll be most productive from around from 8–10:30.”
Follow your biological clock
The human body operates on cycles called “ultradian rhythms.” According to research, during each of these cycles, there is a peak when we are most energized and a period when we are exhausted. You are most active in the morning. Your energy reservoir diminishes as the day wears on, which is why it’s so difficult to get to the hardest work late in the day.
Your brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes at a time. Afterwards, a 20–30 minute break is required for you to get the renewal to achieve high performance for your next task again, according to research.
Recognize your strengths and how your energy shifts throughout the day and plan your schedule accordingly. Purposeful plan will guide you tomorrow and jump start your day.
Madeleine Dore of BBC explains, “The key to being productive might be found in using that time effectively through embracing the slumps in our day — those moments when your productivity begins to ebb away, usually in the midmorning, directly after lunch or midafternoon.”
Plan tomorrow today
Investing less than 1% of your time today will make you 10 times more efficient tomorrow. Jack Canfield, says if you’d rather spend your day acting than reacting, you should plan it the night before.
If you have planned your week, or months ahead of time, you know what you will work on tomorrow. Remind yourself.
Spend time planning your next day’s tasks the night before. For every minute you plan, you save minutes in execution. Spend your last 20 minutes every day to reflect, process, and prioritize for the next day. End your day on purpose.
Figuring out the most imperative tasks for tomorrow and scheduling them into a “model day” is one of the best ways to organize your day for maximum results.
Your plan will guide you when distracted and, in the late hours of the day when your willpower is low and it’s difficult to think, the same plan will help you focus on your most important tasks for the day.
Taking 10 minutes or less today to create a plan for tomorrow will give you a head start, keep you on task, boost your productivity and help you accomplish more. Make an appointment with yourself every day to plan tomorrow today.
Before you go…
If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly (my free digest of the best productivity and self-improvement posts). Subscribe and get a free copy of my new eBook, “The Power of One Percent Better: Small Gains, Maximum Results”. Join over 27,000 people who are on a mission to build a better life.