Get More Out Of Mornings: Think Outside the Inbox


By Dixie Laite, // There is a simple formula for getting more out of your morning routine. If you want to be more productive, effective, focused – and peaceful – then read on.

See, most people – 68% of people – wake up and check their email first thing. That may feel like the most taking care business-y thing you can do, but it’s NOT. An inbox is a very organized way to react to other people’s agenda. The best way to start your day is to focus on what you want to get done – your priorities, your own agenda. Now, part of your aim may be to serve your boss or clients, but trust me, they can wait an hour. Especially if that hour will get you to a more focused, sharper, serene starting point.

“But Dixie!” you whine, “I’m really busy and have a lot of important things to get done.” I believe you. (Sorta.) But there are successful millionaires and well-known billionaires (like Warren Buffet) who are even more important than you. (Probably.) And they report never checking their email first thing in their morning routine. They get that it is a time suck of reactivity. They – and you – want to be proactive, not reactive. You want to set your own intentions for the day, choose what works best for your pre-set priorities and schedule.

So, what should you do? There are a variety of options, but I recommend you try these:

Focus. Think about the day ahead. You can even do this in bed. Think about what you need to do, what you intend to do. A good idea is to write down, the night before, things you want to attend to or accomplish the next day. Re-visit this list in the morning. Get fired-up up your day!

Move! For about 20 years I ran most mornings – at least 6 miles, usually 12. Well, now my knees and back are shot; turns out running 40+ miles a week on concrete is really hard on the body, who knew? There’s no need for you to be so hard on your body – the important thing is to get it moving. Whatever it is, just move. Stretch, go for a nice walk, go to the gym and work out with weights. Practice Tai Chi or yoga. Just move.

Thank. Spend at least a few minutes thinking about all you have to be grateful for. You can think about it, list 3 new things a day, pray, meditate, whatever.

Hydrate. Sounds dumb, but have a big glass of water by the bed. For too long I only drank coffee (LOTS) as an integral part of my morning routine. But I’m working on adding more water (LOTS) to my day.

Connect. If you live with people and/or animals, don’t let media and the Internet distract you from what’s important. Spend quality time with those you love. Listen, communicate, hug.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (a great classic, by the way), Stephen Covey wrote, “Put first things first.” You and your priorities are absolutely “first things” worth putting first over your inbox, but so are your loved ones. Every morning, put you and them first. Your inbox can wait an hour. And then when you do attend to that inbox, you’ll be much more likely to feel better, make better decisions, get things done – and especially, get better things done.