Learning how to be more productive is one of the most important skills for an entrepreneur. After all, time is the one resource that is absolutely finite for all of us.
Have you ever looked back at the end of a busy day only to realize you can’t put your finger on what you actually accomplished? Of course, you have! It happens to the best of us.
There are countless distractions that slowly but surely steal your productivity every day. These occur whether you work in an office environment or not.
For example, technology is pivotal to completing work. But it’s also a huge distraction at times. Between your cell phone, social media, and email notifications, it’s a wonder we accomplish anything at all.
The internet, as a whole, has a massive impact on productivity. Research shows that the internet overwhelms our brains by engaging all of our senses.
Our hands are moving over the keyboard. Our eyes are taking in the images on the screen. And our ears are hearing the hum of the computer and tapping of the keys.
When we’re connected to the internet we actually waste more time, are more easily distracted and are less capable of focusing on the task at hand.
In fact, Tim Pychyl at Carleton University in Ottawa discovered that the that the average student spends 47% of their time online procrastinating.
Of course I realize you aren’t a student who is procrastinating to avoid homework. However, you are human and the internet still pulls us away from important tasks and interrupts our focus.
I remember like it was yesterday when my business coach Jaime Tardy of the Eventual Millionaire Podcast told me about another client, John Lee Dumas, a productivity master.
Our friend Sheena White recently had the chance to connect with John who is currently launching his new book, The Mastery Journal: A step-by-step guide to mastering productivity, discipline & focus in 100 days.
It’s amazing how impactful his morning routine is for the rest of his day.
Could you describe your normal morning routine?
My morning routine starts with getting out of bed at 5:30am, which is made possible by my 9:15pm bedtime (at least that’s when I’m getting into bed for some nice Kindle Paperwhite reading).
I use several things to help me get a great night’s sleep, including the ChiliPAD, blackout curtains, and Magnesium oil.
Once I’m out of bed, I’m doing my regular hygiene (like brushing my teeth, showering, and using a skin brush).
Then I’m immediately on to hydration. I drink two eight-ounce glasses of water before I do anything else, one of which has a whole food supplement in it.
Then I do my 15 minutes of meditation followed by turning on my computer along with one of my favorite apps, Focus At Will, to help me stay focused throughout the day.
Have you changed your routine at any point? If so, how?
I’m constantly changing and shifting my morning routine based on new knowledge I have, listening to my body, and striving to improve my health, wellness and how I’m setting up my day for success.
The most important thing you can do to succeed with your morning routine is write it out the night before. But don’t stop there. Also hold yourself accountable to do what you said you would in the time you gave yourself.
A few months ago, I wasn’t meditating, for example. Recently, I’ve read a lot more about the benefits and so I’m giving it a try with the help of MUSE.
Another example is my workout. I have a virtual trainer who I get online with for a workout 3 nights a week, so those days I’m not working out in the morning. On other days I might go on a run first thing before I do my shower and everything else.
I don’t believe that just because your morning routine starts out one way that it has to look the exact same way every single day. We’re constantly learning and growing, and our morning routine is going to inevitably reflect that.
How does your morning routine affect your overall productivity?
Always trying new things and making small changes has drastically improved my productivity, discipline and my ability to focus throughout the day. I love trying new things because I know how integral getting your morning routine right is when it comes to the type of momentum and energy that will last throughout the day.
I know that feeding my mind and body the right things is critical to helping me perform at my highest level, so I like to focus on how I can always be improving that.
What are your top tips for entrepreneurs to create a morning routine that will set them up for a productive day?
I have three tips that really jump out to make your morning more productive and set you up for the rest of the day.
1. Make sure you have a plan in place the night before.
In The Mastery Journal, we call this section “Win Tomorrow Today.” Each night before you shut down, fill in your morning routine and then you give yourself a “desired start” and a “desired end” time.
When we have an actual plan and can visually see what it is we want to accomplish, then we have no excuse not to. Setting a “desired start” and “desired end” time also helps us hold ourselves accountable.
Lastly, having a plan already in place prevents us from waking up and haphazardly or randomly choosing what we do with the most precious hours of our day.
2. Reflect on your routine daily.
Don’t just create a morning routine and then robotically perform the same steps every single day because that’s what you think you have to do.
Take a step back and recognize which of the things you’re doing help you feel more energized and motivated after you’ve done them. Similarly, recognize which things aren’t serving you and find ways to replace them.
3. Align your morning routine with your goals.
If you take a look at the goals you’ve set for yourself – whether they are personal or professional goals – are the activities you’re doing as a part of your morning routine helping you get closer to those goals?
If your morning routine isn’t aligned (directly or indirectly) with your goals, there are probably other things you should be doing. Things that will not only help you feel great, but will also help you towards accomplishing your goals.
Putting It All Together
John’s suggestion to reflect on your routine daily is an important step, but also one that is too often overlooked. Does what you’re doing make you more energized and motivated? If not, then it’s time to make a change.
The main thing to keep in mind as you’re creating your morning routine is that it has to work for you. If not, the routine isn’t going to stick, no matter how much you may want it to. If that means getting out of bed later and working late at night because that’s when you’re most energized and productive, that’s okay.
Everyone has their own routine for what sets them up for success and you may need to do some experimenting to figure out what works for you. If you try something and it doesn’t feel like it’s working, don’t be afraid to change it.
What matters the most is creating a routine that will set you up for success and allow you to lead a happier, more fulfilling life.
What routine do you follow in the morning? Will you be making any changes to become more productive after reading John’s routine? Please feel free to share in the comments below!
For more from John Lee Dumas about how to be more productive, check out this episode of The Side Hustle Show!