Every workday morning here’s what happens for me:
90 minutes before I need to leave, I get up
I go downstairs for that most important first cup of coffee (warning: this step is critical!)
I make my smoothie and toss it in the fridge
I head upstairs to my office, close the door and sit in my “reading” chair
I grab my book or books and begin reading – usually about 30-40 minutes
I turn off the lights, check email – primarily for any schedule changes
I then shut down for about 10 minutes’ meditation – relax, be silent, and be still
Shower, grab my smoothie and out the door
In the car, first thing – prayer
Second thing, I start my Bible app/sermon
From this point on, everything begins to vary depending on the day’s schedule
That’s it! Exciting!
I share this not to impress; it’s likely not overly impressive anyway. I share it to demonstrate why and how this is important and helpful to me.
First, it’s a victory in two key ways. One – in completing it. And, two – in what I’ve completed.
Second, I’ve honored two “big rocks” (top life priorities – see Covey’s 7 Habits book) before I’ve technically started my workday. Which ones?
Personal/professional development (reading)
Faith (prayer and Bible app)
This might all come across as a bit “legalistic,” especially the faith part. But to me, it’s not. It might have started that way, to a degree, but it’s evolved in a remarkable way. While there are many other ways throughout the day and week I might honor these areas of priority, this routine guarantees my daily attention and focus. Everything else is additional. I might read another hour later on, or go to church that evening and prayer can be anytime, but if not…
This routine also helps me to honor the other “big rocks” in my life. By being sure I’ve done the above so early, it makes my evening much more free to be fully present and engaged with my wife and kids. No work, no reading unless it’s with Amy, and church includes all of us.
Where’s the exercise you might ask? That’s a bit of an anomaly for me – I just really like it, kind of can’t go without it, so it’s pretty easy to execute. So long as I’ve scheduled it into my day in advance. And I do.