Establishing Habits for a Productive Life

Design your morning routine to inspire creativity

I had coffee with a friend of mine a couple days ago, and he said something that really resonated with me.  He told me that when he first wakes up, he tries to immediately engage in something creative before doing anything else.  He hypothesized that doing so would launch your mind into a creative mode.

Those first moments upon waking seem to be crucial for setting the tone of your day. Unfortunately, many people wake up and as we sip those first sips of coffee, we mindlessly scroll through our Facebook newsfeed, turn on the news, or scan the flood of emails that came in during the night. These kind of activities, though at times necessary, can have a dulling effect on the mind.

Try refraining from these activities for at least 15 minutes upon waking. Use those quiet moments of alone time in a mindful, constructive way. It may be as simple as writing 10 words concerning your intention for the day.  I once read a book called The Artist’s Way where the author, an artist, advocated writing three full pages of stream-of-consciousness blabber in your journal before doing anything else.  She said you should routinely empty your mind of all its residual junk in order to make room for new information and fresh ideas. My friend said he usually sketches or writes something. I have experienced the same therapeutic , mind-cleansing effect when I run or do yoga first thing in the morning.

Before you go to bed tonight, think about how you would like to begin your day when you wake up tomorrow.  Then, lay out physical reminders that you’ll won’t be able to see past. Turn your laptop face down. Set your journal or sketch pad out on the kitchen table.  Place your running shoes in front of your bedroom door.   Roll our your yoga mat at the foot of your bed.

Don’t let yourself begin your daily routine until you have engaged in your creative activity. Or more specifically, identify one aspect of your routine that you enjoy doing.  Personally, I hate the feeling of having not showered yet.  Because working out is a priority for me, I don’t allow myself to shower until I have done some kind of physical activity (running, yoga, etc.).  For you, if you derive satisfaction from checking your email, don’t allow yourself to do so until you have completed your “creative” action for the morning.

I challenge you to try this for several days in a row, and see if it alters your mindset upon waking up. In my experience, doing so allows me to approach my day with a clear, focused mind.

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