Your "most limiting resource" is the one thing you need more of to accomplish the things you want to get done. For many business owners, their most limiting resource is time.
You can't add more hours to your day, but you can make the most out of those hours by being more productive. Here are five things you can make part of your early morning routine that will help add focus, energy and speed to the rest of your workday:
Wake Up Early
Giving yourself an extra hour in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. You can accomplish your morning goals, stay relaxed and leave for work in the right state of mind. This may be the hardest goal to turn into a habit, but remember, it's self-reinforcing. Do this for a week, and you'll find that you've increased your productivity enough that you'll have time to go to bed at a reasonable hour to make waking up early less painful.
We've already written about how 30 minutes of moderate exercise equates to about two hours' worth of extra productivity over an eight-hour work day. Get this done in the morning, and the boosted productivity you'll gain will affect every hour you spend at the office. As an added bonus, your exercise time never gets overrun by emergencies and extra-long meetings.
Review Your Goals
Take 10 minutes first thing in the morning to review your most important goals for the day. That simple check-in with yourself will keep those goals in the front of your mind as the day tries to distract you from getting them done. Make a list of the two or three things that, if that's all you accomplished, would let you go to bed at night feeling as if you'd made real progress.
Make A To-Don't List
Everybody has a short list of habits they want to quit. For some, it's something major like smoking. For others, it's something as small, but significant, as not apologizing for vetoing that project at work. Whatever your to-don'ts are, write them down and then review them along with your other goals every morning to help you keep your eyes on that particular prize.
You don't have to sit with your legs crossed and chant "Om" to meditate. Simply take five or 10 minutes to breathe, relax and focus on the things you find most important. Depending on your goals and your to-don'ts, this can be a formal relaxation practice, positive visualization exercises, prayer or just thinking intently about what doing your best that day will mean to your life, career, business and family.
Once you've accomplished all five of these tasks, eat breakfast before heading out for your day. Although "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is a myth—your body doesn't treat those calories any differently from the other calories you take in—if you eat a nutritious breakfast at home, you'll ease your hunger with a meal you can control. If you wait until your stomach growls at the office ... well, you're at the mercy of the grease-and-salt vendors downtown.
What items not on this list do you find critical for starting your best mornings? What part of the list is the hardest for you to do even though you know it's important? Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments below.
Jason Brick has contributed more than 2,000 blog and magazine articles to local, regional and national publications and speaks regularly at writing and business conferences. You can find out more about Jason at www.brickcommajason.com.
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