Do you have a Morning Routine?
Coffee usually starts the day for most of us. Me. I’m not a fan of coffee. It’s usually water, juice or tea. Anyway after that, what comes next? Depending on your career, or lifestyle. It could be a hop in the shower, then a commute to work, or some early morning emails, and online browsing. Maybe dropping off your kids to school. Oh and don’t forget breakfast.
This is your morning routine. Weather it was purposeful or not. It’s sets the tone for your day, and gets you going. What happens though, if you slow down and start recognizing patterns in your morning routine. Perhaps your being clumsy with your time, by spending so much of it surfing the web, and fiddling your emails.
Your routine may be comfortable for you now, but I’d like to know how much time are you spending working on your creative work? Do you wish you had more time for it? Are you waiting until you retire, because then you’ll have lots of time?
Well I know a shortcut. It starts with your morning routine, and until you realize how it impacts your creativity.You’re never going to have enough time for your creative work.
So let’s start by realizing the purpose for a morning routine.
The main goal of a morning routine, is to tap into your brain fuel first thing in the morning. After all, science says that this is the time when your brain is most alert, and it’s willpower it’s highest. So why not use this brain fuel to power your day. That’s why it’s a good idea to add exercise to your day, first thing in the morning. Your willpower is at it’s highest. After that it starts to fade.
The best way to start by asking yourself a few questions every day, and jotting down your answers. I jot my down on notepaper that has a line down the middle. On one side I write today's priorities, and goals, and then below that I’ll write down what I wish I could also do today. On the other side I write people I’m waiting for, and people I need to contact. I also write appointments and meeting below that.
Here’s how it works.
1. What do I want to accomplish today? Another way of phrasing this is What do I want to succeed at today. Steve Jobs went about it like this.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. -S.J.
2. Do I have to contact anyone today?
This starts by listing who you need to contact today, but also who you need to contact to move your goals forwards. Here’s an example.
You’ve made the time to create a new body of artwork, and you’re super thrilled about it. 20 new pieces! These deserve to be seen in a gallery. Where do I start?
Start is by listing the steps that you need to take that'll get your work in a gallery. Weather by researching galleries that mingle with your style of art, and then jotting down who (contact) you need to send samples to.
3. Who I am waiting for. ie. Who am I waiting to hear back from.
So you’ve reached out to your contacts, and now you’re waiting to hear back from this. Artist often misunderstand this step. They contact someone, and then just wait. Here you wait for a while, then if no one replies after a few weeks or months, “Not Days” deepening on what it's for. You go back to your list, and you reach out again. Not in an aggressive way, but by way of a reminder, like how have you been doing if it’s a friend. Or by sending in a sample of your lastest work.
4. What are my Top 5 have-tos, also know as Priorities?
This is the time to really plan your day, by figuring out what you need to get done, and what you have to get done. . Then after you figure this out. It’s where the magic happens. Below this is where I usually write down what I wish I could do today. If this means being creative for you, or making some Art. Put it here, and be specific about. Like 10 minutes of drawing. Then if you’ve finished all your priorities, do it!
If you find that time still isn’t being nice to you. Then it’s time to add Art and Creativity as one of your top 5 priorities. Minus the excuses. It's not a maybe at this point. It's a have to.
5. What am I grateful for?
You can start with Three good things that went well for you recently, and how they made you feel. This allows you to become more positive, sleep better and Yes, even improve your immune system. So express your gratitude daily, and then watch your outlook on life change.
P.S. As fabulous as I like to think I am. Questions 2 and 3 were recently added to my morning routine. I discovered that the Author and Business Coach Brendon Burchard and I shared a similar mindset when it came to jotting down my goals to plan the day. I however was missing numbers 2, and 3. It was significent because it was the final piece in making my day as an Artist more productive.
Here's the link to his productivity worksheet he talks about in the video. I also still like jotting things down my own way on my pad of paper, so just take what you want from it, and incorporate into what works for you. P.S. I am in no way an affiliate of Brendons products or business. I just love his thoughts here, wanted to share them with you.
So what does driving recklessly have to do with making art?
Well being in the drivers seat puts in control of what direction you'd like your creative life to take. You can drive reckless, and never have enough time to spend working on your passion. Don't be reckless with your passion. Start steering it in the right direction.
I saw a qoute by an unknown author that said. Routine doesn't allow us to progress.
I believed this a long long time ago. I know better now. Morning routines allow you to be spontaneous, by realizing your goals first thing in the morning to break in your day!
Here's a peak at my morning routine and the routines of some other famous creatives.
6:30 a.m: Wake Up! Tall glass of water, sometimes tea.
It used to be 4:00 a.m., but I discovered that I like to paint at night.
6:45 a.m: Exercise....Oh yes. I try!
I choose either a cardio, or a strength, if I can’t decide I’ll flip a coin. I also think about benefits of health do I want to work on.
7:00ish: My list.
I jot down my goals, and priorities for the day, along with everything we talked about in this post.
7:30 a.m: I open my laptop.
I head to my email to reach out to my contacts, and then see if I received any messages back from the people I jotted down on my list.
8:00-9:00 am: I let my rebellous side free!
I’ll have some me time, and do whatever the heck I want to. It’s how I get procrastination out of my system. I’ll watch a show on netflix or comcast online.. “One” or I’ll go look through my instagram, facebook, or twitter, and maybe post some things. I’ll also eat breakfast. It’s usually a tofu scramble, with broccoli, potatoes, and a vegan or vegetarian sausage. Sometimes even a bagel and tofutti cream cheese. Or a waffle, or vegan french toast. This largely depends if I went grocery shopping. When I haven’t that’s when I grab the flour for waffles or vegan french toast.
9:00 am: I'll start working on my projects and goals for the day!
Discover how some of the world's greatest minds organized their days.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).
Check out past posts from this series!