If you are one of the 45% who don’t consider themselves a “morning” person, don’t bounce from this post just yet. While we all have our normal biological cycles (or circadian rhythms) and different workflows, it is still important for you to capture value from the morning. Yes, the morning ritual is important for night-owls too; it’s a seed of discipline that when grown into a habit can fuel you for maximum Lift. It is also the last of the 5 steps for getting more Lift in your life.
Are you are interested becoming a morning person or more “morning-like” in your approach to seizing the day? Then good news: it can be done and has been by many, including myself. If anyone could be a poster-child for night-owl-gone-morning-bird it would be me. My dad was a night-owl (still is) and my natural tendency is to get a 2nd wind about 10pm that can drive me on until about 1:30 or 2:00am; in fact, when on vacation and being responsibly irresponsible I drift back in this direction pretty quickly. I continued as a night-owl even through physical therapy school, until I joined the Air Force. The military emphasizes and revolves around a morning culture and I realized pretty quickly that I was going to have to change my approach to the workday if I was going to “get stuff done” and achieve what I wanted to professionally and personally.
If you are a night owl or later day “person” and still reading, you need to know that becoming a “morning person” has real value. Although there are exceptions, most exceptionally productive and successful people rise early in the morning (and make more money and lead happier/more satisfied lives). In the poll linked to above, successful people listed the following hours as the most productive of their day: 10 a.m., 9 a.m., and 8 a.m.
Regardless of whether you want to be more morning-like in your approach to the day or already an early-riser, there are resources that can help everyone get more fuel for their Lift and improve their productivity. Night-owls should check out The Early To Rise Experience: Learn To Rise in 30 Days by Andy Traub. For those morning-birds or morning-birds in progress, checkout the excellent resources by Michael Hyatt on the importance and benefits of the morning ritual.
The morning morning ritual has been foundational for empowering me to get things done. I first started taking an intentional approach to my morning over 30yrs ago and it began simple. I simply added 5 minutes of prayer, bible reading and reflection to my grooming basics and out-the-door routine. Just 5 minutes. Simple is good, and simple can quickly lead to habit. Over the years I have continued to build on the morning ritual practices that bring me maximum Lift. Listed below is my current morning ritual, which combined with the other necessities of morning preparation takes exactly 60 minutes:
1. Meditate- 5 min
(I added this practice about a month ago after reading about the practice of Stillness. It really has been a helpful component that seems to prepare me to be more effective with the activities that follow.)
2. Scripture reading- 15 min
3. Prayer- 10 – 15 min
4. Lumosity training– 5 min
(also recently added)
5. Quote and Scripture review- 5 min
Since I typically rise at 5 a.m., I am fully into my workflow by 6 a.m.. However, the hour spent prior is critical to my productivity and well-being and I don’t do nearly as well when it gets short-circuited. Maximizing Lift in life requires fuel and the beginning of the day is a critically important part. Are you getting what you need to get you where you want to go? If not, what do you need to do differently and where do you need to start?