Why the First 10 Minutes of Your Day are the Most Important
What you do in the first 10 minutes sets the tone for your entire day. Don’t believe me? Let’s discuss two common scenarios.
Last night you were binge watching that new show, so you went to bed a little too late. So, this morning when your alarm clock went off, you opted to snooze once (okay let’s be honest, you snoozed it like three times). So finally, on the fourth time it went off, you had to spring out of bed, rush to get ready, rush to pack your lunch and rush to leave the house. Rush, rush, rush. Feeling stressed already? Yeah, me too.
Last night you went to bed at your usual time (past midnight) and woke up on the first ring of the alarm clock on your phone at 6:30 AM. While holding your phone you begin to check all the notifications you missed while you were sleeping and immediately respond to an email from your boss. What kind of day does it sound like you’re going to have?
Proactive vs Reactive Mindset
In both scenarios, you are reacting to things in your life – pushing off the alarm, responding to an email, rushing to get out the door – and letting them set the agenda. When you wake up and immediately jump into this mindset, you set yourself up for a long day of reacting.
Being proactive, on the other hand, puts you in the driver seat of your day, where you call the shots. So how can you become more proactive in the first 10 minutes of your day? It’s all about perspective. A proactive mindset doesn’t mean there won’t be nights when you get a little too invested in a show or snooze your alarm one too many times. What a proactive mindset will give you is the ability to anticipate the outcome and plan accordingly.
Let’s talk about Auto Pilot
You know those days when you get to the office and you don’t even really remember how you got there? That is a classic example of operating on auto pilot. Michael McQueen, author of Momentum: How to build it,keep it or get it back talks about the benefits of auto pilot when he said “get moving – regardless of how hard it can be at first. Gain traction and get the tailwind of momentum working for you early on, then all you need to do is set your sails and go with the flow.” McQueen is spot on about the power of momentum. However, it can be powerful in both a positive and negative way.
So, what’s the danger? If you’re acting on autopilot and have developed an array of bad habits, as Newton’s First Law of Motion states, objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Meaning, if you have a routine full of bad habits, it will take much more energy to break that momentum you have built for yourself. This also makes it even harder to build the momentum for new positive ones (which is why people tend to give up when they start something new).
But as I mentioned, auto-pilot isn’t all bad. Once you have adopted more positive morning habits and have built them into your routine, autopilot can be beneficial for helping you ride the wave of your momentum you have built. The key is understanding that change is hard and that you must keep pushing through until the new habits you want become the norm.
So how should you spend the first 10 minutes of your day?
Don’t snooze your alarm
Be in control of your schedule. You set your alarm before you went to bed which means you anticipated the time you would need to get going. Don’t sabotage your plan! And while we’re on the topic of alarms, opt for having a real alarm clock. Why? This will enable you to keep your phone away from your bed – so you’re less likely to check it first thing in the morning. It will also force you to get out of bed (depending on where you put it). It will also put you in the right frame of mind to begin your day.
Make your bed (or kiss a loved one who is still snoozing)
There is so much to be said about completing simple tasks in the morning that leave you feeling accomplished. And, if you’re like me and normally have a sleeping partner, kissing them before you leave the room will help you practice gratitude, making you focus on the positive things in your life, putting you in a higher frequency for the day.
Drink water and eat breakfast
They don’t call it “the most important meal of the day” for nothing. Eating breakfast is so important because you are literally fueling your body to take on the day. Being hangry is a real thing, guys. Don’t skip it!
Set daily intentions and goals
Setting your game plan for the day puts you into a proactive mindset and gives you the authority over your own time. This can be as simple as keeping a sticky note with a positive quote or a daily affirmation you are trying to manifest in your life. If you say it enough times, it will happen for you – I promise! In addition to planning your day, it also helps you to start each day anew and not to dwell on what goals you didn’t achieve yesterday. Every new day is a gift. Forgive yourself and try again.
Focus on one task at a time
Multitasking, while you could argue “saves time”, means that you are not being present in one (or both tasks) you are trying to do at the same time. This means that you are not only completing one task poorly but possibly two. Take the time to do one thing and then move onto the next.