“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
Steve Jobs asked himself this question every morning, while looking in the mirror. If he said no on too many consecutive days then he made some changes.
This was one of his morning rituals that helped set his mindset for the day ahead.
One of the questions Annette and I ask all our guests on The Activity Pod is “do you have a morning ritual or routine that sets you up for the day?”. So far I think everyone has said yes.
Well, unless grabbing my phone and checking my email, checking my twitter, checking my Facebook, then staggering into the kitchen to make a cup of tea before collapsing on the couch to properly wake up counts.
That definitely counts.
I’m not sure if I should confess that I reach for my phone before I kiss The Accountant good morning. Although quite often he is already up. Which makes me feel better.
So you can imagine my gratitude when many of our super-high-achieving guests also admit to grabbing their phone to check email, twitter and Facebook immediately upon waking.
In fact, there have been many before-my-cup-of-tea emails that have just served to completely piss me off. And anger is not a good first emotion-of-the-day to have. Trust me.
So what morning rituals are good I hear you ask.
The two most mentioned are:
- writing morning pages
Morning pages, often also called journalling, is where you write – with a pen on paper – three A4 pages of writing your stream of consciousness – or whatever thoughts pop into your mind. The idea is that you do them first thing in the morning before you start your work day.
I am far from the morning pages poster girl, but I take to heart the write-your-thoughts part. However often I write:
“I need to write more, more, more, more. What am I going to write. ARGH how can I only have written half a page? How can I have nothing to write when my brain often won’t turn off. These three pages are E.X.C.R.U.C.I.A.T.I.N.G!!!!!!!”.
Get the picture?
Valerie Khoo, CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre gives us an excellent overview of writing morning pages in our interview with her. She talks at length about how writing them can help unlock your creativity, give you masses of ideas and really set you up for the day. I find it helpful to write down all those things that are bugging me, as writing down all the annoying thoughts really does help get rid of them from your mind!
Valerie also says she has a second notepad to write down all the ideas she has, or to jot down all the things she remembers she needs to do that day. What a great idea! (And one that works well for me).
The second morning ritual many of our guests have is to meditate. Again, I need to confess, meditation is not something I have done. See above re my struggle to turn off my brain. However I. AM. DETERMINED. So I have set myself a challenge to start meditating. Even if it’s just for five minutes a day.
I set this challenge last week. So far I haven’t meditated once. Mainly because I keep forgetting that I was going to. I wonder what that says…
Maybe I need to set an alarm. Or schedule it in my diary. Two other tips that many of our super productive guests have shared to help them get stuff done. But more on those in a future post.
Do you have any morning rituals? Do you reach for your phone first thing?