1.Mentally prepare: Visualize your success
Simply close your eyes and imagine yourself excelling and being the best you. Put yourself in situations where you shine, visualizing the best possible outcome. Include as much detail in your visualizations as possible, using all of your senses and making your “training” even more powerful. Simply close your eyes and imagine yourself excelling and being the best you. Put yourself in situations where you shine, visualizing the best possible outcome. Include as much detail in your visualizations as possible, using all of your senses and making your “training” even more powerful.
I recommend using a pen and paper and writing out how you want your day to unfold.
2.Read a book (Even if it’s just a page)
Even strengthen your ability to empathize with other people. Reading has also been found to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by more than double…all this while helping you feel more relaxed at the same time!
Reading makes him a better leader, increases his worldview and knowledge base, and reinforces his self-discipline. By breaking the big process (reading a whole book!) into something manageable (one chapter) I am able to read about 50 books each year.
3.Make yourself accountable: Enlist a partner or mentor
I have a mentor and I call him every day. Even if all I do is leave him a message, this one simple task holds me accountable. It also forces me to keep myself (and my mind) moving in a positive direction.
4.Write: Prime yourself for creativity
One of the biggest shifts for me came with how I approached time. I no longer viewed it as just quantity and looked at it from a quality viewpoint. Each one of the things that I do helps me in some way to better use my time. They make my mind clearer, sharper and more ‘quiet’. This allows me to focus better and ultimately be more productive.
Morning Pages are a great example of this. Yes, they take time to do (about 30-40
minutes), but they actually make more time than they take because we move more efficiently through our day.
So the tradeoff of an extra 30 minutes of sleep for a clearer, more alert mind become an easy one for me.
Here’s an easy way to approach this practice and help to develop this habit:
1) Focus on doing the morning pages tomorrow. Just focus on one day.
2) Get a pen and a notebook ready and laid out the night before.
3) Wake up 30 minutes earlier than you normally would. Be okay with that. Tell yourself the night before that you are doing this and that you will feel well-rested in the morning (that simple statement will really help).
4) Wake up, say “This is going to be the best day ever!” (you can skip this part if you want) and write three pages. Be proud of yourself for this.
5) Try to do it again the next day. Use Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret here and don’t break the chain.
5.Take regular breaks throughout the day
I’ve found the Pomodoro Technique to be invaluable at helping me to keep my energy levels high and “forcing” me to take regular breaks.
- No two days are ever really the same
- Spend as much time possible doing what you want by maximizing output in minimal time…this is the goal each day.
- How you use time and trade it for experience…is what really matters.
6.Get quiet: Try meditation
Okay, this is technically called meditation, but if the idea of “meditating” is a turn-off, then just think about it as spending some daily quiet time alone. I was one of those people who didn’t think I could ever meditate (boy, was I wrong!)
Engaging in this daily practice has a lot of positive benefits. Giovanni with the Live and Dare blog points out 76 of them, such as greater focus, better decision making and problem solving skills, improved memory, and an easier time managing hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder. It does this by altering your brain’s structure. (It actually grows!)
Meditation also reduces stress, anxiety, and depression according to Harvard University studies, which are even more reasons to give it a try if you haven’t before.
There are so many awesome guided meditations available for free online and for many people this is a great way to get started (or to enhance your practice).
- UCLA Mindfulness Research Center
These 8 audio tracks are a great introduction to mindfulness meditation that you can practice on your own.
- The Chopra Center for Wellbeing Podcast
Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D. run The Chopra Center for Wellbeing and put out excellent guided meditations on their podcast. The sessions focus on specific themes ranging from gratitude to taking the plunge.
- 20+ Hour Playlist on Spotify
This is a wonderfully curated playlist of guided meditations for Spotify users.
- YouTube is FULL of guided meditations
YouTube is a goldmine of guided meditations. You can choose to watch & listen or just listen. The link above will bring you to a list of the most popular ones.
This site offers a wealth of guided meditations from different teachers and on many different themes. Download them all for free or stream them directly
More than anything else, creating better habits will help you accomplish your goals and cultivate your ideal day. In Charles Duhigg’s insightful book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, he talks about using the cue-routine-reward approach to developing better habits. Here’s how to do it:
- Take your written version of your ideal day you created and identify the specific behaviors needed for each part of your day (i.e. doing yoga). Start with one behavior at a time.
- Identify your cue for the behavior you want to form into a habit. For example, if your ideal day includes doing yoga, your cue might be “waking up” or “getting home from work.”
- Start working on this habit every day (for just five minutes to start).
- Take one minute every day to recognize the reward you’re getting from this new habit. For example, if you do yoga you’ll probably experience increased flexibility and an increased sense of self. Allow yourself to anticipate these rewards every day.
- Once this habit has become ingrained, move on to the next behavior.
8.Make a memo
- 5am – wake up (no snoozing!) and get right out of bed. Say “This will be the best day ever” and then I hit my knees and say a quick prayer. I read a few inspirational messages on apps while I drink a big glass of water.
- 5:15am – read a chapter of a book (I’m currently reading ‘Shift Your Mind, Shift the World’ by Steve Chandler & re-reading ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday)
- 5:45am – Write my Morning Pages (while drinking a cup of coffee)
- 6:15am – Meditate for 20 minutes (here are my 9 “hacks” for meditating)
- 6:35am – Say positive affirmations out loud while listening to audio like this (~6 minutes), do some visualizations (~3-5 minutes), write a gratitude list (~3 minutes)
- 7am – make breakfast for me, my daughter and puppy (we recently rescued this little cutie)
- 7:30am – walk to Central Park with my dog and daughter and let both of them run around
- 8:15am – finalize my daily action plan and to-do’s and check in with my mentor
- 8:30am – start working focused on my MIT (Most Important Task) of the day (which is usually writing)
- 9am – check & return email, review website sales, stats, etc
- 9:30am to 4pm – work (utilizing my Dream. Dump. Map. Chunk. Productivity system)
- 4pm – workout (either at my club or going for a run in Central Park)
- 5:30pm – meet up with someone for coffee or networking
- 7pm: spend time with my family, come up with 10 ideas and learn something new.
- 9:30pm – floss (this was actually my first real habit), review my day, say nighttime affirmations, give thanks again
- 10pm – lights out…sleep.