It’s Monday morning. What’s on your to-do list? What lies ahead for this week? And if you’re so busy, why did you stop to read what I had to say? We are all hungry to get more done, and you can’t resist looking to see if I have advice or hacks you might implement to improve your own world.
Books like Getting Things Done (amazon affiliate link) are tireless bestsellers because we are buckling under the strain of our lives and our work load. We feel that we have more to deal with than ever before. But while that’s true, it’s also true that we act as our own worst enemy in this particular regards.
You Don’t Realize How You’re Thwarting Your Own Best Chances
Let’s look at what it takes to have optimum brain functionality:
- Adequate rest. (How many hours did you sleep last night?)
- A clear head. (How fast did you reach for your phone to check email, texts, social networks?)
- A decent breakfast. (The number of people who don’t eat within the first hour of waking up is staggering.)
- A clear set of operating instructions. (Do you have any kind of template for how you’ll arrange your months, weeks, days?)
Shortly after you wake up from a few hours’ sleep (because you were catching up on blog reading and social networks and didn’t realize the time), you grab your phone and read an email from an angry boss/customer/loved one. You have to rush to get dressed and out the door (we’ll presume you showered), so you grab coffee and a croissant at the drive-thru (if you work from home, who knows what you get). When you finally get to that “go” position at work, you flip open email and start there.
Does that describe you more often than not? Somewhat? Can you squint and see you?
You deserve so much better. And you can give it to yourself. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of hard work. It does, however, take discipline and the willingness to set yourself up to succeed, to give yourself permission to fly.
How to Get More Done: A Recipe
For the next 7 days (Tuesday through Monday next), I want you to try this ritual as close to the details below as you can. Shoot for all seven days consistently, as it doesn’t help if you start-and-stop. Ready?
- No screens or radio after 9pm.
- No phone first thing in the AM.
- No news or radio first thing, either.
- Right before bed, a notepad to jot nagging thoughts.
- The willingness to try this for 7 days in a row.
- At 9pm, have a glass of milk or almond milk or water, and a very small snack (preferably a small handful of nuts)
- Go to bed no later than 10pm
- Set your alarm for 6am (no snooze)
- DO NOT TOUCH YOUR PHONE OR LAPTOP OR TABLET OR TV OR RADIO
- Upon waking, take the first 5 to 10 minutes and just breathe deeply (it’s totally reasonable to do just five minutes – it took me weeks to get up to 10 minutes). If your family makes this hard, hide in the bathroom or a closet (not really joking).
- Get a light breakfast within the first 30 minutes of waking.
- If you have the time, get in a 15-20 minute brisk walk or work out. Whatever your morning will allow. If you’ve got to get kids ready for school, that’s practically a workout.
- Write down (or note in whatever way you want) the most important 3 tasks you want to accomplish today, or at least the name of the projects you need to tackle. Not every task. Not your huge to-do list. Just 3 that you need to deal with in some way.
- You have 3 minutes (total!) to look for “fires” in your inbox. That’s all.
- Commute or get to work, whatever. The rest of the day is yours to execute on.
You’re telling your mind and spirit a handful of instructions in this challenge:
- Rest will give me competitive power and extra willpower.
- Giving myself time for my own clarity will improve my processing power.
- Shutting out the craziness of other people’s lives for a while will empower my own choices.
- Knowing what matters to me and my day and also to those who I serve is a great first set of instructions to consider.
- Breathing (maybe meditating) and moving my body are necessary (vital!) to juicing my systems.
And then, with all that on board, you can tackle your day in a FAR more powerful way. Will you get more done? Follow this recipe and I have zero doubt. You only think those extra hours are more productive. You only think you are the master multitasker. Give this method your undivided attention and I promise magic will ensue.