Not long ago I realized just how off-track my mornings had become.
Under the guise of “keeping up with business” I was cramming my mornings with “busyness.” (I was checking my email upon waking and sampling blog stats before breakfast.) No surprise that my days lacked energy and inspiration!
Use these three simple suggestions to fine-tune your own morning routine.
#1. Get up a half-hour earlier, and use the time intentionally.
In many spiritual traditions, the early morning hours are revered as a time of spiritual insight and renewal. You don’t have to become a monk to leverage this principle, though. You don’t have to get up at 5am!
If you can manage to get to bed a few minutes earlier and start your day with an extra half-hour, I can almost guarantee that in three weeks’ time you’ll be feeling happier and more energized in your life.
The world offers us many opportunities to react in a day: news reports, phone calls, real-time internet apps. Without intentionality, we allow the subtle signal of our inner compasses to get diluted or drowned out by the input coming our way.
Try waking up by intentionally using a small portion of your morning time just for yourself. Doing so will revitalize your inner compass and boost your energy.
#2. Connect to Your Body (Not the Internet).
Practitioners of NIA (non-impact aerobics) make an interesting distinction between “mechanical” time and “natural” time.
In mechanical time, we react to external timetables (like clocks and calendars). We gain satisfaction through “matching” our environment. We show up on time. We meet our deadlines.
In contrast, in natural time we synchronize our efforts with an organic rhythm we perceive from within. If you’ve ever enjoyed a day listening to the waves at the beach, then you understand the meditative calm that arises from reconnecting to natural rhythms.
Here are two easy ways to connect to natural time.
- Stay offline.
When you “log on and check in” online, you allow yourself to be nudged into reacting to the world’s demands. For your morning routine, prioritize “natural time before mechanical time.”
Try creating a boundary around your online work. “No internet until after breakfast.” Clear boundaries help you focus…and relax.
- Move your body.
A great way to get connected to natural time is through feeling the rhythm and sensation of our breath.
One of my favorite ways to access natural time is to do a simple 20-minute yoga routine when I wake up. Moving my body overcomes my writerly tendencies to “live in my head.”
Try moving your body when you first wake up. Remember that your goal to wake yourself slowly. Mindfully. Abandon any ambitions or goals. Simply notice how your body responds to gentle movement. Notice your breath.
#3. Tune Up Your Attitude.
Athletes use pep rallies and huddles to motivate themselves before big games. You can energize yourself on your own by using 10 minutes of your morning time to build a foundation for an empowered, positive attitude.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Read inspirational literature
- Add to your gratitude list
- Write down three specific intentions for your day
- Repeat affirmations
- Watch your breath as you breathe in and breathe out
- Set a timer and free write
- “Pre-rehearse” the day by visualizing your meetings and other activities
It seems paradoxical, but to set yourself up for a productive, focused day, it’s important to give yourself some time to do what Brenda Ueland calls “moodling.” Let your body saunter. Let your focus meander.
Trust me: putting natural time before “getting busy” time will get easier with practice. Approach your mornings with intention and watch your energy level soar.
Marla Beck, a Productivity and Life Balance Coach for Writers, offers “The Relaxed Writer,” ezine, a monthly newsletter with inspiration, tips and strategies to help you create a more focused, relaxed and rewarding writing life. Start receiving your free tips today: http://www.CoachMarla.com. Also visit “The Relaxed Writer,” Marla’s blog, at http://www.TheRelaxedWriter.com.