Do you catch yourself spending weeks counting down to Friday? Months counting down to payday? Then you are in need of a little jolt. Something to kick you out of the mid-year dip. You need to reinvent your morning routine.
The best way to start is to reorganize how you start each day. The internet is full of advice on this, so why listen to us? Because the advice is overwhelming. What can you do with 10 ways to improve this or that? You need one way that works. We will cut to the chase.
Here are three things you must incorporate in your morning routine to make sure you can jump-start each day with a refreshing ritual that will give you mental clarity throughout the day.
Journaling for mental clarity
Putting pen to paper each morning helps you externalize the repetitive chatter happening inside your head. The thought loops that go by unnoticed but deplete your energy levels throughout the day.
Spend 10 minutes every day writing about your worries, hopes, or plans and wishes. You will step away from your desk with a clearer head each time. But the best part happens later.
As you keep up with the habit you’ll find yourself having better associations and getting more ideas throughout the entire day. It has something to do with giving more significance to your thoughts. The lamp just starts shining brighter.
Self-study projects — learning just in time
One of the worst feelings you can experience is the perception that you are standing still. We fight the feeling by filling our schedules with projects and deadlines. But many of those bring short-term satisfaction only.
To get a sense of purpose, you have to invest into your own development long-term. Figure out a weakness in your skill set. Devise a project to improve. Then dedicate half an hour practicing or studying each morning — no excuses.
The thing is, mornings are the part of the day when you don’t have many requirements on your time. As hours go by what’s urgent (or seems so) displaces what’s important.
Putting away some time each day is like putting away from your salary for a savings account. No immediate gratification, but the positive effects slowly compound.
Consider freelancing to get the most out of your free time, while enjoying the comfort of your own home. A study published by Zeqr (an online knowledge sharing platform) shows that the number of freelancers in the United States has grown significantly – from 500,000 to more than 2 million – within no more than two years. Freelancing is more often considered a free choice than a necessity, which is what it used to be three years ago.
Reading widely — learning just in case
One in four Americans didn’t read a book last year. Hopefully, you are among the other three. But are you proud of how much you read?
Everybody wants to have read more but fewer do the actual reading. It’s difficult to fit in with so many other things competing for our attention.
Yet it’s more important than most of those other things. Being widely read beyond your immediate field of expertise will allow you to be more creative. A trait you can apply anywhere. Legendary advertising executive James Young, in his book “A Technique for Producing Ideas” summarized it best:
“An idea results from a new combination of specific knowledge about products and people with general knowledge about life and events. The habit of mind which leads to a search for relationships between facts becomes of the highest importance in the production of ideas. Now, this habit of mind can undoubtedly be cultivated. ”
Reading widely can be described as “Learning just in case” as opposed to “Learning just in time”. It’s essential but hard to justify when higher priority tasks creep in. Do it in the morning.
Fresh perspective each morning
Constrain yourself to these three activities. It’s tempting to experiment with more. But that will only make your mornings overbooked and hectic, defeating the purpose.
Journaling, studying and reading widely each morning is guaranteed to keep your perspective fresh. It’s like getting a mental reboot daily — instead of annually around the time of New Years.
Week 26 of 2017 is coming up. Half of the year is gone. Make the most out of the rest of it.