How to Optimize Your Morning Routine, Part 3
Daily Planning and Solitude.
But that’s just the physiological half of my process. I do these things so that my body can function at the highest level every day. The second part of my routine has to do with the tactics of living my life with intention.
I call this time Daily Planning and Solitude.
We’re all eager to get the ball rolling each day, and many of us find it hard to sit still long enough to devote time to planning.
I’ve developed a way to organize and prioritize what I need to do each morning so that I can be as effective as possible during the day. And I’ve refined my process to the point where it only takes me about 20 minutes.
This has become one of the most important and useful parts of my life. When I teach this process at my live training events, many attendees tell me that it’s their most transformational takeaway.
My process is relatively simple, and I’ve outlined it below.
Beginning on Sunday, I fill out a “Weekly Commitments” sheet. This sheet has two columns. One titled, “What could I do to move toward my goals?” and another called, “What will I do to move toward my goals?” The difference in these two columns is subtle but important.
What Could I Do To Move Toward My Goals?
In this first column, I write down every possible activity I could do that week that would move me toward my vision. These activities can be as big as you want them to be, but they should all be items that could be completed in a seven-day time period. And the scope of these activities can include anything from personal development and health, to work-related items and relationships. It’s ok to be a little unrealistic here, because at the end of each week you’ll review this list and all the items you decided not to go after. This helps inform what you decide to tackle in subsequent weeks.
What Will I Do To Move Toward My Goals?
In this column, I consolidate. I write down the things I actually plan to get done this week. This is where I think about what is possible with the time I have, and given what I’ve already committed to doing (meetings, speaking engagements, travel, calls, etc.), and I prioritize what’s most important. Once I have my Weekly Commitments sheet filled out, I have a reference point to look at and execute on every day.
Daily Planning and Solitude
Once I get into the week, my Daily Planning and Solitude process is the same every day. Each morning I fill out a blank sheet of paper with the following three sections:
What is my intention for today?
In this space, I draw from the items I entered on my Weekly Commitments sheet and write down the areas that I want to improve or build upon for that day.
I then select the top 3 intentions that I want to make sure I address that day. Maybe I want to have an important conversation with someone, read a book or do some research. It’s important to prioritize here, because we often have a desire to accomplish more that we can handle in one day.
Where was I uncomfortable yesterday?
For this section, I ask myself: Where did I feel discomfort yesterday? How could yesterday have been better? Was there a situation that went poorly that shouldn’t have? This section allows me to voice any frustrations I had with the previous day so that I can reflect upon how to improve them today. This helps me make sure these issues don’t continue to hold me back or affect my ability to move forward.
This is a short list of tasks that have to be accomplished in the day (write a report, take the dog for a walk, handle payroll, do the bills, etc.). This section differs from the others because it is more tangible. These are the responsibilities that must be taken care of on a daily basis.
Though it may sound a little complex at first, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can get through this process once your brain gets used to it. I’ve been doing this for so long that it has become automatic.
At first, it’s natural to be skeptical of Daily Planning and Solitude. For entrepreneurs always on the go, trying to squeeze every last minute of daily productivity, it can seem like a waste of time. But every time someone adopts it, they start to feel the exact opposite. They stop feeling like days are wasted. They start accomplishing far more than they had before, and they can feel momentum as they make daily progress toward their goals.
I’ve watched this process allow people to grow businesses, buy houses and even get married. If you think these are bold claims, I challenge you to try it for one week. Then let me know in the comments about your results.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on September 28, 2016.