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How do you show up for your own life when you get out of bed?

One of the most critical aspects of a life fully lived, highly productive, and highly enjoyable is getting each day out of the starting blocks in a way that sets us up for success.

I’ve heard a wide range of suggestions and while some of them were great, most people I’ve interviewed didn’t really have much of a morning strategy.  I’ve also heard some quirky if not silly ideas, like wearing the exact same thing every day as do some billionaires.  This theory explains they are saving their decisions for more important decisions.  Personally, I don’t find choosing clothes to be that much of a tax on my key decision-making function.  And, if you feel it will help you, perhaps picking out your clothes the night before like many do for their children might be helpful.

Here’s an interesting take:  The wealthiest individual on the planet, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is said to have this basic daily routine.  Interestingly enough, he has time and brainpower to wear different styles of clothes each day and doesn’t only have black t-shirts in his closet (not that I’ve seen it.)

  1. Go to bed early, get up early.
  2. Putter around in the morning with no meetings before 10 am.
  3. Most critical meetings held before lunch.
  4. Done by 5 pm with no meetings until 10 am the next day.

As a salesperson and entrepreneur, I’ve personally struggled with putting time containers around my day!  Argh!  However, I’ve also had the amazement of how much I can get done in a very little amount of time under a deadline.  So, what if you just said to heck with it and structured your workday from 10 am to 5 pm like Jeff or set similar time containers?

And, if you added structured start and stop times (10 am to 5 pm for example) to the Focus Sprints and Micro-Bites from our other training topic, imagine what could be possible and what impacts you might enjoy on your joy, stress hormones, time for self-care, and relationships amongst a million other things that lend themselves to a longer, healthier, more joyful life!

So, what happens if you don’t put a time container on your day?  Well, let me share what happened in my own world:  I let projects carry over into the evening; I spent far too little time with others: I rushed through dinner or grabbed drive through garbage to eat; I ended up staying up way later and interrupted my normal sleep if even got; I woke up late or still tired; I relied on stimulates like coffee and energy drinks to get through the day; I was so exhausted that I didn’t really do as good as I know I can (even though I lied to myself about quality); I pushed through another exhausting day; Frustrated and exhausted I struggled to sleep partly due to the caffeine I was using to push through; And…washed, rinsed and repeated!  Until, I was obese, out of shape, stressed out, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and just lucky that the people I care about still wanted me around!

So, this is where I was June 1st, 2020:

  • I was 70lbs overweight (35% Body Fat and 229lbs)
  • Blood Pressure:  145/95
  • Total Cholesterol: 314 mg/dl
  • My sleep score was in the toilet in the mid-60s
  • My doctor wanted to put me on both blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering meds unless something changed dramatically
  • And, I have constantly sacrificed time with those I love because of “Work” that I’ve carelessly allowed to bleed over into my personal life.

Hopefully, you’re getting the idea, and I hope this isn’t where you are.  If it is, I hope this is another in the mounting number of inspirations you need to make some critical adjustments.  When I turned fifty on May 29th, that was the last inspiration I needed!

So, here’s my morning routine without checking email or texts until after I’ve blocked my Focus Sprints on my calendar and journaled:

  1. Go to bed early, get up early. (Which required me to cut off work and follow the other training topic Sleeping and High Performance). 
  2. I get roughly 7 1/2 hours of sleep a night, up from 5-6 hours, and waking 1 1/2 hours before my first meeting without losing to the snooze button very often.  I still have yet to push all of my meetings back until 10 am, but I am moving in that direction.
  3. I drink a large glass of water to rehydrate.
  4. Then it’s straight to stretching with a bit of quality breathing and meditation mixed in.
  5. 100-125 Kettlebell swings are next (The first day I only managed to swing about 45 times…this morning was 125 with a large kettlebell.)  In between sets, I brew a large cup of coffee and have it unsweetened with a little bit of Almond milk, though I’m considering switching to matcha.
  6. Enjoy my coffee with 30-minutes to journal, reflect on the day before, and refine my design the day ahead.  Towards the end of this time, I finally fire up my computer and open my calendar to schedule my Focus Sprints and set MY priorities before I open emails or text messages to learn of OTHER’S priorities.

Now, I’ve only been doing this for three weeks, so the juries out for the long term effects.  I will come back to this topic to update and share my journey back to health, joy, and productivity.  As of today,

  • Down 16lbs
  • Blood Pressure:  120/87
  • Total Cholesterol: not sure yet…testing soon.
  • My sleep score isn’t great but improving…now in the 80s and I’m feeling rested and energized in the morning.  It’s getting easier and easier to pop out of bed and get to stretching.
  • My doctor is going to be stunned and can keep the fist full of pills for someone else who hasn’t had enough inspiration yet.
  • And, I have gotten much better about preserving my time for loved ones including regular walks, bike rides, and fun time with friends (even though there’s still a mountain of work that needs to be done.)

Certainly, I don’t have all the answers and this is my personal journey.  My hope is that it inspires you to become more intentional about how you sleep, how you show up when you get out of bed, and how you focus throughout the day.

As a friendly word of caution, if you’re reading this right now thinking that could never work for me, I’ll just push through, or I could never make time for that, then I know that I wrote this specifically for you!  With all the love in the world from me to you, please consider that Self-Care is Self-Respect.  Another of my favorite quotes, “A drowning person can save no one!”

On the business side of things, now imagine you’ve had plenty of sleep, you’ve popped out of bed with energy, hydrate, stretch, and exercise.  You reflect and set your intentions around your own priorities.  You schedule your day with incredible focus, take breaks throughout the day to recharge, and end your day after around 7 hours of high productivity, and then enjoy those you love, take a walk, or enjoy a few hours of relaxation.  Later you drift quickly off to sleep for another restorative night of slumber.  Do you think you’d get more done?  Do you think your work might be of higher quality?  Might your results be magnified?  How might your health improve?

So, here’s my ask, whether you agree with my routine or Jeff Bezos or not, I hope you’ll be intentional with how you show up.  Please consider crafting your own plan and try it out without fail for the next couple of weeks or so.  Then decide if it’s helping or not or needs a couple of tweaks.  My guess is that it won’t be easy at first because it wasn’t for me; however, it is getting easier and more empowering each and every day!

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