A Case for Getting Control of Your Mornings – Mindfulness: Part 2

mindful mornings

I’ve had multiple phases of my life and they all went better when I had a routine for good mornings; I think I learned this from my mom’s example. In fact, I was with her last weekend and asked her about her mornings, and she (who spends a good deal of time with my dad who is mostly bed-ridden) significantly said, “Well, I have a morning routine. I just have to do that.”

She’s 83, so I pay attention.

Whether you’re getting kids up and ready, responsible for meal prep, focused on exercise, or caring for pets, all of it can be disruptive, chaotic, and utterly challenging; and then by the time you start your workday, you’re just glad to be sitting down.  Productivity may be mid-morning or worse.

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A Case for Getting Control of Your Mornings: Part 1

productive mornings

When you’re growing up, a school morning goes something like this:

  • Mom (or alarm) wakes you up at a reasonable time to get ready without rushing
  • You roll back over, complain about how early it is and bargain for more time
  • Repeat
  • At the last possible minute, you crawl out of bed
  • Find something to wear, often it’s in the dirty laundry, so you settle for what is on the floor
  • Can’t find socks; lose 7 minutes looking; ultimately you wear different shoes to compensate
  • Eat half a bowl of cereal, rushing with mom’s warnings of the impending bus arrival
  • Brush teeth (on a good day) for about 10 seconds; hear bus at neighbors
  • Look for homework; realize it’s down in the basement; you start yelling at your mom to get it for you or you’ll miss the bus
  • Fly out the door as the bus is honking, realizing you never combed your hair; thank god for a hair tie in your backpack.

I’m amazed to find out how many working adults mornings have not changed much from the above. Add in their own kids, finding the car keys, feeding the dog, and the scene is still rushed chaos, though the teeth get brushed for a little longer.

A rushed, disorganized morning robs you and your company of at least an hour of productivity when arriving and perhaps even much of your day. Why? It’s pretty simple: mind frame.

Let’s take a look at two people – one who has the morning above and one who gets up a little earlier (often meaning to bed a little earlier), or – for those who aren’t early risers, does some simple things to prep for their day the night before.

By start-time, the morning rusher needs to do the following things to get to productivity:

  • Grab coffee
  • Eat something, often at their desk
  • Do something to clear their head: read some news, talk to coworkers, put on some music
  • Think about what they are doing about dinner that night; this may involve texting the spouse or roommate to plan
  • Realize they don’t have a lunch and stress about eating out again
  • And so on

All of that can take up to an hour of mental time, leaving the morning rusher behind, unfocused, and unprepared for the day. All it takes to put this person on the skids for a bad day is something unexpected that hits them sometime in that first hour; a client call, an employee or coworker needing input now, an issue that must be addressed right away, or a forgotten early morning meeting.

Leaders know this doesn’t work. And what’s more, they’ve learned that no matter if they are night owls or naturally early risers (we have one of each at my house), there is nothing more important to the success of their day than how it begins.

It’s obvious to most around you how you start your day. And those who will lead will stand out just by having a few things in order by the time they hit the door. Fed, rested, and mentally prepared.

Mind frame.

There are many blogs and articles written about fist-pumping mornings; Elon Musk gets up at 4am. And the morning rushers read these, realize they are never going to invent people moving tunnels or build rockets and roll back over.

I’m glad for inventors like Elon who get up at 4am because they are genetically wired to do so. But for the rest of us, I’m offering up a pretty simple idea for greater success at work, which we all need.

Get control of the morning.

If you are even remotely still getting up at the last moment like a school kid, rushing through the morning, and sliding in the door hungry and frustrated, consider a better way. Wondering why you aren’t being tapped for the projects you want? Asked for help from those you work with? Treated like one of the adults in the room? Or just feeling like you’re in a rut at work?

Get control of the morning.

So for all of us not sending rockets to the moon, stay tuned for part 2 of “A Case for Getting Control of Your Mornings” as I’ll be sharing my favorite morning tips to lead you into each new day with zest.

 

Seek a Balanced Life, Not A Perfect One

balanced life

The day started like many others; awoke with my disciplined husband, pulling on sweats and promptly out the door for the 4-mile fast walk. Today, out of cold brew at home meant a stop at the coffee shop where we sat for a little longer than usual sipping iced lattes.

On the walk we talked about the future, balance in our lives and what we think we want our lives to look like.

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Looking for a Change? It’s All About Taking Action

take action toward dreams

It’s easy to talk about what we think and feel and how we believe we should do something differently.

We have all said things like, “I want to be a writer,” or “I want to learn a new language” or even, “Our country is headed in a direction that I don’t like, why don’t they do something?” but it all means little until there is action.

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Tired Much? Stop and Listen to Your Body

tried entrepreneur

Ever notice how we don’t see articles about entrepreneurs and professionals being tired?

Instead, we hear about the geniuses like Elon Musk who do two things at a time (like juggle a child on his knee while answering email), or existing on four or five hours sleep.

But fatigue? We just don’t talk about it. We’re all about psyching up, charging to full capacity, caffeine buzzed, and onward and upward. But here’s the thing: we all get tired. And yet somehow, rest or naps are translated to laziness. We’re presented with stories of leaders who we’re supposed to believe have super powers and never wear out.

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Christmas in San Miguel De Allende

IMG_0145.JPG (3)For a number of years, I’ve been waning on the Christmas spirit and even deemed by some to be a Scrooge. But truthfully – I love the spiritual aspect of Advent and Christmas.  I love being with family. I love the good food, the hot spicy punches, and candlelight. What I don’t like? I guess growing up in the Charlie Brown Christmas era, it’s the tinsel town and frenzy that has wildly escalated since then that I choose to pass on whenever I can.

This year – I finally got to truly experience something I’ve dreamed about – Christmas in Mexico. Or any other country for that matter, to see what other cultures have done with much the same story.  (And for those who think I’m a Scrooge – I’ve got Christmas music playing on Pandora and it will continue through Three King’s day on the 6th of January.)  Continue reading

On life and work and restlessness

IMG_0125.JPG (3)I’m on a 28-day exploration of a different way to work. My husband and I have dreamt about this since reading the daily schedule of theologian, writer, and professor, CS Lewis. Running the daily operations of a growing technology company, along with heavy travel demands makes it seem impossible for much of the year. But for #28daysinMexico we are giving it a shot.

Here’s the skinny. It works.

We’re working less hours per day. Relaxing more. Sleeping a full 8 hours. And finding clear minds, higher productivity, and creativity are the result.

Something unexpected that is unique to me in our little group of three (our oldest daughter is along) is a feeling of restlessness I’ve had on a least a couple of days. As best as I can figure – it’s a lack of a certain kind of stimulation that may be addictive for my brain, but not good for my soul. What’s missing here? We have the dogs. Internet. Music. Restaurants. There’s plenty of people around – we’re not sitting in isolation. Continue reading

Just show up.

2009_03_27-DinnerPartyThe other night we had our what has become customary ‘community dinner’ – a group of couples from the neighborhood making room in our lives for friends – and in the middle of the always noisy crowd, I glanced down at the five men on the other end of the table, and time stopped for just a moment.

I felt a fondness for them I hadn’t felt before. Separately, they are quite different from one another, varying interests and lifestyles. But together, some sort of magic was happening  that I’m accustomed to when my 3 adult girls are all together or when I’m with my friends- but not so much with the guys.

Perhaps it was that there is an absence of a game to watch or something to be done to focus their energy on. For two years, these guys have come together with their wives to just do nothing but eat a meal and digest life.  Continue reading

Indulging in Rest(oration)

rest-areax-largeI am the first to admit I live a pretty dreamy life. I’ve been married to my best friend and soul mate for over 30 years. I have 3 amazing daughters who love me, allow me to be part of their lives, and continually amaze me with their strength and beauty. I love my work, travel frequently, have a lovely home, garden, a strong family, and incredible friendships.

That’s the pretty part.  Continue reading

December the Twenty-Fifth

december25December the twenty-fifth.

It’s the big day. We push to get so many things done, complain a bit about how busy we are, neglect the business of life, forget exercise, all for the big day. It comes. We indulge in gifts and food. And then comes December the twenty-sixth. It’s over. And some years it seems almost icky the day after. All that clutter and coziness. (((shudder))))

Feeling a bulgy waistline, the leftovers that should have brought more happiness were often left. The tree’s needles seemed less green. The clutter of celebration became annoying.  Continue reading