Can a Morning Ritual Help You Get More Done?
This is Week 22 of a Year of Living Productively
This week I tested whether a morning ritual could help me get more done using Curt Mercadante‘s article as inspiration. I already have a morning ritual in place of exercising first thing in the morning followed by a devotional time. What was new was not checking email in the morning.
How a Morning Ritual Saved My Sanity This Week
- I finished everything faster. From getting out the door to my workout, everything I did prior to checking email went smoothly, allowing me to get more done.
- I had less stress. Part of my morning ritual is to review my day. Without including incoming emails in that review, I found that the day seemed more manageable. By the time I checked email at lunch time, I had already accomplished a lot and was ready to add new tasks to my list (typically to be addressed the next day).
How a Morning Ritual Made Me Crazy This Week
- Habit withdrawal. Breaking a habit requires quite a bit of mental focus. I realized how often I was relying on my email for downtime in the mornings and had to pay attention to not “lighting up.”
- Feeling disconnected. I have a few people in my life I’m close to who communicate with me primarily via email. Waiting to check my email until later in the day made me feel distanced from them and even rude. Even though this is how I felt, I don’t think it was valid. I seriously doubt anyone was thinking, “WHY hasn’t she responded yet?”
Did a Morning Ritual Help Me Get Things Done?
It really did. I didn’t realize that in trying to wake up by reading email and checking it during down times, that I was actually wasting time. I don’t feel I was any less social this week and I was much more efficient at processing email when I did get to it. I already know how critical all the other aspects of my morning ritual are to having productive days. Now I know that I should break the email-in-the-morning habit for good.
The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 23
This week I’ll be testing what I call Beat the Week. The idea is to work from a weekly to-do list. When you finish the list, you’re done for the week. 99u calls this “rewarding efficiency.”
The concept. If the reward for working harder is more work, the motivation is lacking. Having the opportunity for free time by getting your work done faster should foster efficiency.
There are a couple of considerations for those who work at home and those who have traditional jobs. First, the weekly list has to be manageable. It should be a true week’s work, so you can finish early and feel justified in being rewarded for doing so. Second, the reward may not be time off if you have a traditional job, but it could be more enjoyable work or tasks. Finally, not all work will be completed. As a homeschooling mother, I can’t tell my kids I can’t help them because I’ve finished working for the week. Neither can a small business owner do that. But the big weekly tasks can be finished early, leaving us with a lot more margin for dealing with urgent tasks and even fun.
If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read the “Rewarding Efficiency” section of 99u’s article on productivity. Create a manageable list of to-do’s for the week. Get them done as early in the week is possible, so you can enjoy flexible time. I’m aiming for Thursday!
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Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far: