A Microsoft survey in 2005 showed that most people actually use “60% or less of available work time“. This was the result of querying more than 38,000 people in 200 countries about their individual productivity. The survey showed although they were at work five days a week, they actually only worked three of them.
Do you realise what this actually means?!
You’re effectively wasting 2 of your days every week.
That’s 14 weeks a year.
More than eleven years of your life (If you’re working 40 years).
It’s just like sitting around and doing nothing.
Furthermore if you are working from home, 43% of the people in the Regus Survey 2012 said that they had “difficulty concentrating on work issues“.
This was something I also experienced after finishing school and starting to work at home. (Why I’m working from home? Read more about my story here) I was struggling to get any work done, almost achieving nothing because I always got distracted and could not keep myself concentrated.
I thought about what I could do against this productivity problems. The solution? Using a Morning Routine.
In this post you will learn how to free up a big part of your time to use however you want. Boost your productivity and your focus by using a simple morning routine.
Why should you be using a morning routine?
It’s pretty simple. Morning routines boost your productivity. Higher levels of productivity either mean getting a lot more done or simple using all the time you wasted before as free time now. That’s freedom isn’t it?
In a nutshell, morning routines help you getting the right start in your day and the most of you probably know that how you start your day determines how good/productive/happy it’s going to be. They help you achieving focus and building momentum to work on the big things that matter. You need to start your day proactive and intentionally do the things you need to do. Most importantly ignore all this unimportant but urgent tasks you encounter. Never be reactive after getting up, don’t look at emails when they arrive (turn off the notifications). This would ruin your productivity for the whole day.
Also, you build a habit you’re following every single day. This is so important for achieving success and boosting productivity.
In a nutshell, success is only about habits. Good habits is the one thing that differentiates the really successful people from the average worker. It’s the habit of jumping out of the bed at 5am, full with power to work. It’s the habit of meditation before checking social media in the morning. Or even if it’s only the habit of having a healthy breakfast.
So let’s start talking about my morning routine to eliminate all this noise from your daily tasks.
What does my morning routine consist of?
Every morning I follow the exact same 5 steps because consistency is very important when using a morning routine. Try to find a routine that fits you, your work and your lifestyle and stick to it.
Mine consists of:
- Waking up – Harder than it sounds
- Breakfast & Coffee – Ordering my thoughts, really waking up mentally.
- Meditation – Eliminating all this noise to stay focused throughout the day
- Reading some Self-Development Books – It’s all about investing in yourself.
- Start working – Do the most important/difficult task of the day first
Let’s now dive a little deeper into the steps, why I do what I do and what it does for me.
1. Waking up – Harder than it sounds
If you’re not some kind of a super-human you probably also have problems waking up in the morning. Well, it’s just the same with me. Everybody hates getting up early and I just don’t get why it’s still hard to get up in the morning even if you have gotten a reasonable amount of sleep. I’m also not good at getting up in the morning, nevertheless I force myself to do it.
I get up between 7AM and 8AM depending on which time I went to bed the day before (usually around 11PM). I can tell you one thing that helps me getting up early when I don’t necessarily need to: Force yourself to get up early even if you did not have a lot of sleep. After some time you will automatically be tired earlier in the evening so that it’s easier to get up at your desired time. Using a morning routine also helped me to regularly wake up early. I use the snooze button a couple of times, but I do not get out of bed after 8AM, no matter what happens.
You can read this post if you want to learn how to get up earlier.
2. Breakfast & Coffee
I take it slowly after just getting out of bed. Making myself a little breakfast after I got up, drinking a coffee and a lot of water. You often hear that it’s great for your productivity to eat a protein rich breakfast in the 20 minutes after getting up. I tried it and I could not find a positive effect on my productivity, thus I did not continue doing it.
This is very important: Find and start using a morning routine that fits you. Just you and nobody else. Every person is different and so is every person’s reaction to certain things you do in your routine. I personally do not like big breakfasts, I’m just not hungry in the morning. On the other hand I realised that drinking a lot of water in the morning and throughout the day makes me more focused and productive. Also the coffee I drink helps me personally although many successful people advise you to keep caffeine out of your life. It’s pretty much up to you.
In this time I really start waking up mentally. I’m starting to order my thoughts and getting clear about all the things I need to do today.
This is probably the most important part of my morning routine. The one thing that extremely boosts my productivity. If you’ve never meditated you’re missing out on a huge piece of the productivity cake. Even 15 to 30 minutes of meditation every morning (depending on how long it took me to wake up) are helping me to eliminate all this noise going on in my head. It helps me staying focused on the things that I really need to work on. One thing I often noticed when not meditating is that I get too distracted while working because there are like 298147 thoughts going on in my head. After meditation my mind feels empty, and that’s exactly what it is: All these unnecessary thoughts are gone and you have space for the big tasks.
In addition to the positive effects on your productivity meditating actually really improves your health. See the following infographic from http://liveanddare.com/ for all the benefits of meditation:
For meditation I use an app called “Calm” in the free version. It provides you with great guided meditation that allows everybody meditate, even if you’ve never done it before.
Meditation also helps me developing more gratitude towards all the things I experience. This certainly also helps me to live a happy life.
4. Self Development
After meditating, your mind is free and open to really digest new learnings. This is why afterwards I use roughly 30 minutes to read some kind of self development book. Remember, being an (aspiring) entrepreneur is all about investing in yourself. If you learn some important things every day, you will some day reach your goal. (For me it is ultimate freedom, what is your’s? Let me know in the comments!)
By “self development books” I don’t really mean books by some guru’s helping you to become a better person. No, I mean books that help me develop personal skills I need towards reaching my goals. So I read all the books that are not too specific about certain technical skills like SEO, Marketing of stuff like this. My literature is rather about wealth building and developing the personal characteristics needed to achieve freedom or to lead businesses. If you need a little more motivation, have a quick look at my 101 short inspirational quotes every morning.
The last great books I read were:
- The Cashflow Quadrant by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- The 4-Hour-Workweek by Tim Ferris
- How to get rich by Felix Dennis
I highly recommend all of them. Try reading half an hour a day from one of them and this will really help you towards achieving your goal of financial freedom, the freedom to travel or the freedom of time. I promise.
You can read more about the books and other book recommendations on this page.
5. Do the most important/difficult task of the day
After finishing this whole morning routine you can now get started on your biggest chunk of work for this day. At this time you will be the most productive and you will be getting the most done in the shortest time.
These are the results of using a morning routine, that you can take into your workday:
- Caffeine will boost your brain to really get into the flow.
- Meditation will ban all the noise from your head to not get distracted
- You developed yourself personally and made a big step towards your goals
What do you think of my morning routine? Are you using a morning routine, and how does it differ from mine. What else could you recommend? Leave a comment and tell me about it!