For the past five years, I’ve turned my back on routines. Spontaneity has been my routine of choice. Suddenly, though, I find myself bumping into bloggers and speakers who are underscoring the importance of having a morning routine. Hmmm…maybe it’s time for me to listen.
Playwright, filmmaker, and bestselling author Julia Cameron suggests writing what she calls Morning Pages: putting your first thoughts of the day down on paper before any activity has the opportunity to interrupt whatever might be on your mind as your day begins. These thoughts need not be connected – no pressure to write a novel or the first chapter of your memoir. A collection of thoughts, worries, possibilities will lead you to a good idea every now and then. But most of all, these brief writings (3 pages a day) are not for sharing with anyone. No editing here, just free-flowing, uncensored writing. Cameron believes this will enhance your creativity, bringing life to those ideas that have been in the back of your mind and allowing you to find and achieve your life purpose.
Similar to Cameron, John Gannon starts his day off with writing. His writing regimen includes three elements:
- Give Thanks. Acknowledge and document those things you’re thankful for
- Write Freely. Similar to Cameron, Gannon writes unedited thoughts to get his day off to a good start
- Rev Up Your Idea Machine.
Following the advice of James and Claudia Altucher. Gannon began a practice of writing 10 ideas each morning. After just 30 days, he calls this a life-changing practice. And, perhaps the most appealing aspect of this approach for those of us who are loathe to add a routine to our lives: Gannon completes this three-part regimen in under 15 minutes each morning.
Today I found a link to yet another post about morning routines in my inbox. Justin Nault’s routine is a bit more involved than those of Cameron and Gannon. Nault takes a 10-step approach: not 10 difficult steps, 10 do-able steps including getting at least six hours of sleep, making your bed, journaling, and adopting a mindfulness practice. This approach lets you feel like you’ve accomplished quite a bit before you know it, encouraging you to push through ten elements of this routine.
And then, of course, there’s Steve Jobs and his uniform. This genius branding move kept him from wasting time and brain space figuring out what to wear in the morning. While this worked well for Jobs, I’ll take a pass on this timesaver.
Why am I so focused on routine and time-saving activities? I’ve found since entering a nutrition health coach program a couple of months ago that schedules and routines are making my life easier. In addition to implementing a morning routine, I’ve also started meeting weekly with a group of women to hold ourselves accountable for moving our businesses forward. So far, so good on this front!
How about you? I’d love to hear what you do to keep yourself productive and stay on track to achieve your goals.