54: 10 Ways to Supercharge Your Morning to Experience a Joyful, Productive & High Performing Day


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Note: You can click here to download the PDF on 'Energising Exercises' I talk about in the podcast.

Morning times can pretty much make or break my day.

Some days I’ll feel energised, ready to go and get plenty of stuff done.

And then there are other days where I’ll pretty much feel like a sloth on sleeping tablets and have to force myself to complete even the smallest amount of work.

I think this happens to everyone, regardless of how enlightened and healthy they are.

But something that certainly helps me control this and gives me the best chance of a high performing, joyful and productive day is to invest in doing some things to take care of me in the mornings.

A Warning About Routines

Many people will have morning routines they go through.

But I’m not going to share a specific routine in a ‘you must follow this’ kind of fashion.

Because I believe we all need to put together a few things that work for us as individuals, as opposed to following somebody else’s blueprint.

I can tell you from my own personal experience that when we get ourselves to do someone else’s routine “because I should do”, it can sometimes be counter-productive.

We can start feeling like everything is ‘forced’. And then if that expectant result of super positivity and productivity doesn’t come, we start to resent the routine itself.

And then our whole morning can be filled with resentment and frustration, not joy.

So here are a few things I wanted to share that could be included in a morning routine or as just one off things that will help you experience more joyful, productive and high performing days.

#1 You First

To start with, I want to share more of a concept that’s pretty useful to fully understand and accept.

And that is to start all this off with a sheer, guilt-free desire to begin the day by doing something for you first.

I know a lot of people find this hard to do, especially if they have children.

But starting each day by focusing first on showing some love to ourselves enables us to then go and give so much more to others, whether they be children, partners, clients, co-workers or just complete strangers.

If we focus on filling ourselves up first then we can show up for everyone else as the very best version of us and give so much more.

It’s far from selfish to want to show up for your kids and others at your 100% best, as opposed to a tired, grumpy and possibly even depressed version of you.

In fact, I would go as far as saying it could be seen as pretty selfish to hold back the best version of you from them.

So I would invite you to explore the idea that putting yourself first is actually a pretty selfless act, and one that can see you experience greater health, performance, joy and relationships as a result.

#2 Be Clear On Your Intention

Now this is something that was huge for me.

I used to get up, do a morning routine and then just try and blog or podcast or post on Facebook or just get general stuff done.

I wasn’t 100% sure what my intention was around it all.

I just knew I wanted an online business and to get some coaching clients or start a membership site or something along those lines.

And I also knew the first step to all this was to start producing regular content, such as blogs and podcasts.

So that’s what I started doing.

The trouble with this is that it gets very demoralising after a while and almost starts to feel pointless. A lot of what we do doesn’t see an immediate reward in terms of payment, recognition, pounds lost or health conditions reversed.

But when you know exactly what your intention is around what you do on a daily basis, it becomes a lot less likely to find yourself wondering ‘why am I doing this again?’.

For example, you could be thinking that you’re doing what you’re doing because you just want some more clients or customers. Or that you want to maybe start a membership site one day. Or maybe that you might get some kind of promotion at work one day. Or that you just ‘get a bit fitter and healthier’.

This kind of thinking is pretty vague and unclear.

But if we know our exact intention around what we do every day, it gives us greater drive.

If you know exactly the number of clients or customers you want and exactly what process you will take them through then this brings excitement.

If you have a membership site all planned out and every detail ready to go then you are more driven.

If you know you have a shot at getting promoted up three levels by March 2017 then it lights more of a fire within you.

If you can visualise how you look and feel as a result of implementing healthier habits then it gives you greater focus.

In other words, get super clear on what exactly you intend to happen as a result of what you do on a daily basis.

How do you intend your life to look? What will your energy levels be like? What will you look like? How will your business have grown?

Because being unclear on why we’re doing something and what exactly we intend to happen is a great way to put the brain into a mode of ‘I can’t be bothered anymore’.

#3 Hydrate Yo’Self

I know I’ve banged on about this before.

But it’s so important to start the day by getting yourself off to a good start in the hydration department.

You possibly haven’t had any water for 7, 8, 9+ hours when you awaken from your dreary slumber in the morning.

Couple this with the fact that your body has been hard at work repairing, regenerating, detoxifying and doing all sorts of other jobs while you sleep and it’s pretty much a guarantee to say that you are dehydrated to some level in the mornings.

So getting into the habit of getting a big old glass of water down you is a perfect way to start the day.

Personally, I begin with a 500ml glass of water.

I make sure it’s filtered for chlorine and other chemical nasties, rather than straight out of the tap, as I don’t want that shit in my body.

And I sometimes even add a pinch of Himalayan or good quality, unprocessed sea salt to increase the mineral and electrolyte content.

All in all, I’m getting re-hydrated after a pretty long time without water and setting my standard for how I want the day to go on when it comes to staying optimally hydrated.

#4 Silent Time

It’s so easy to get pulled into hitting the snooze button and getting up last minute before rushing around to get dressed, breakfasted and out the door each morning.

Everything gets done at hyper speed and is almost a blur.

But starting your day as you would like to continue it is essential.

So if you start with stress, overwhelm and everything happening at a frantic pace, then there’s a good chance your whole day will continue like that.

You can end up just feeling unfocused, scatter brained, anxious and out of control for large parts of the day.

Having a period of purposeful silent time just enables you to start the day by signalling that you are in control.

You’re beginning by creating a feeling of calm, clarity and peace of mind and putting yourself in a position for continuing like this.

It doesn’t matter if you want to call it silence, meditation, prayer or ‘crazy weird hippy quiet time’. The important thing is that you understand how beneficial this can be for us.

I would suggest starting with 10 minutes, but if you’re really struggling then try even just five minutes of sitting and focusing on your breath.

A great app to try is Headspace, which I’m sure many will have heard of. But there’s also Brain.fm, which is a great tool that I personally use for a whole host of things.

Or you can just play some peaceful music, such as Chinese flute music. Just make sure it doesn’t have a beat, otherwise it can actually start to make you go into the opposite of a meditative state and want to start tapping your foot and dancing!

But, all in all, just having 5-10 minutes of silent time away from other people and before having to think about all the worries and stresses can be so powerful in helping you feel calmer, take control and prevent the day running away from you.

#5 Breathing Techniques

There are plenty of variants on breathing techniques and ways we can play with the breath.

A particular breathing technique I’m loving at the moment is known as the ‘breath of fire’.

It’s a technique that I believe is developed from a kundalini yoga practice (although yogis please feel free to expose my lack of yoga knowledge there) and really gets you feeling alert and into the present moment.

Essentially, it’s fast nasal breathing in and out while still maintaining correct in and out movement of the belly. Just doing 30 seconds or so of this can be really powerful.

There’s also a simple breathing squat, which I also like.

This is a slow, relaxed bodyweight squat with the breathing reversed from how we would normally perform a squat.

So breathing out as you lower down and in as you come up.

This is really good for ‘moving meditation’ and bringing about some relaxation and focus, while also being really useful if you happen to be suffering with any constipation.

You can check out my PDF on breathing exercises here.

#6 Get Moving

Again, another typical pattern of the ‘busy person’ is to just try and get into work as soon as possible.

It’s easy to develop a habit of getting to the desk or computer as soon as possible so we can get more done.

Then, if there’s time, we will do some exercise or workout later in the day.

But that feeling of getting out and exercising and charging the body up in the morning is such a powerful way of getting ourselves ready for performing at our best during the day.

It doesn’t necessarily need to be a full on workout. Something as simple as a few minutes of raising the heart rate and getting ‘worked up’ can help increase energy, focus, emotional wellbeing and our ability to think and concentrate longer.

Go for a walk, go for a run, do some yoga, do some energising breathing exercises or anything just to ‘get the blood flowing’ and the body pumping in the morning.

I can also tell you that back when I was a personal trainer I had way more cancellations from clients in the evening than in the morning.

So if you’re trying to stick to an exercise ritual, starting the day by focusing on giving yourself some love and getting it done in the morning means you are much less likely to let a ‘hectic day’ stop you from working out.

Also, morning exercise is much more in line with our circadian rhythms, as opposed to evening bouts of exercise.

#7 Fuel Yourself Optimally

As I’ve said in previous episodes, I’m not a huge stickler for needing to have breakfast within a certain amount of time of waking up.

Personally, I don’t tend to have my first meal until around 2-3 hours after waking.

But whenever you do have that first meal, I would say just make sure it’s a balanced meal and right for you.

For me, that means a good deal of protein, healthy fats and low sugar carbs.

Generally, I’ll have some kind of egg with veggies (e.g. cucumber, tomato, peppers, onion, broccoli, spinach) and avocado or nuts then drizzled with a little olive oil.

The key here, though, is to find what works for you.

So I would invite you to, rather than finding some ‘cookie cutter’ meal plan, to actually start listening what your body is saying to you after eating certain foods.

Ask yourself in the 1-2 hours after eating a meal questions like:

  • How am I feeling?
  • Do I feel energised?
  • Do I feel a high, followed by a crash?
  • Do I feel sluggish?
  • Do I feel bloated?
  • Do I feel good?

It can take practice and a bit of trial and error. If you’re not sure, try a few different kinds of meals and ask yourself how you feel afterwards and you will soon get more in tune with whether different foods are helping or hindering you.

#8 Hot/Cold Showers

Something I’m beginning to use every day is a hot/cold shower.

What this means is simply ending a shower by switching from hot to cold and back again several times.

Usually, I’ll do cold for 10 seconds on my back, followed by cold for 10 seconds on my front and then onto hot (but not too hot) again for 10 seconds. I’ll then repeat this 4-5 times before ending on 30 seconds of cold.

And when I say cold, I mean the coldest that damn shower will go.

Of course, it takes a bit of guts to start with, but once you just ‘rip off that plaster’ it gets easier.

What this hot/cold action does is create a pumping action on the body and can really stimulate the nervous, circulatory, lymphatic and immune systems.

But the main reason I do this practice is due to the feeling afterwards.

It’s tough at first, and I’ve been known to have my hand hovering over the cold tap for a while before turning it on full, but it really does feel amazing.

You leap out of that shower feeling energised, fresh, alert and ready to go.

#9 Go Somewhere Happy

Changing your environment can genuinely change your thinking, state, mood and, therefore, productivity and performance.

It’s so easy to just go through the same routine over and over (even if it’s a productive morning routine) and look at the same four walls or same scenery every single time.

It gets stale and it can get boring.

So something I always try and do is to go seek out an environment I know I will garner some joy from.

Maybe it’s going for a stroll along the beach, getting into nature somewhere or just heading out into the garden.

But there is always a place you can go to that has a good chance of making you happy, which can result in higher performance when ‘back at work’ or getting back to other areas in your life.

I should also mention here the power of neuro-associations when it comes to our environment.

I did a podcast on this subject, which you can listen to here. But this is essentially making sure that we ‘set up’ our environments (work, sleep, cooking, eating, relaxing, exercising, creating, etc.) in order to get the most out of each.

For example, if the environment where you work has constant reminders (whether conscious or subconscious) of something negative form your past, then this can diminish your performance.

If you try working in the place where you are supposed to sleep, then this can mess up your work performance, your sleep or both!

So set up your environments to be positive and in line with what you want to get done in there.

#10 Laugh

I cannot stress this one enough!

There is not a shred of evidence anywhere to prove that life is supposed to be taken seriously.

And I think we take all of this ‘business’ and ‘career’ stuff way too seriously sometimes.

I highly encourage you to just do something that makes you laugh at some point in your morning – as in proper belly laugh.

Whether it be 10 mins of your favourite comedian, playing with the kids or just being a complete mentalist and belly laughing for no apparent reason, it’s all infectious and will obviously put you in a much better mood.

And if you’re feeling more positive then you’re going to perform better and experience more joy in your life.

So the next time a morning appears to be overtaking your emotions… just laugh. Laugh hard. And laugh regularly.

Take a listen to the podcast episode for this blog post via the player at the top.

Or head over to iTunes and subscribe there for Apple lovers, and over on Stitcher for non-Apple peeps.

Love, Laughter & Light, Mike

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