We all want to be successful at work. Though we try our best each day, we know that some days are more fruitful than others. Sometimes it’s a matter of unexpected tasks appearing on our to-do lists. Other times, personal demands may pull us away from the professional tasks at hand. As both business professionals and human beings, this is to be expected. Even when outside factors are not infringing upon our productivity, there is another element to be considered—us. Many times, we are the ones who are stimulating our own success or lack thereof, simply due to our amount of preparation for the day ahead.
While many know the importance that a smooth and purposeful morning plays in a day’s success, preparation completed the evening prior is equally as important. The key is to take meaningful steps during both times, which will set you on the path to a focused and successful work day.
The most successful people will tell you that the central element of a successful day is waking up early. By doing so, you are setting the pace and tone for the day. You will not feel rushed or overwhelmed. You will have allowed yourself an adequate amount of time to accomplish all that you need before heading out the door.
Next, you will need to establish your own set of morning rituals. These rituals are a routine of sorts that you will follow each morning that will predict your success for the day. Your morning rituals should be specific to you. For example, if you would not do well with exercising in the morning, do not force yourself to do so. Make time for exercise in the evening instead. You do not have to follow anyone else’s pattern. What works for them may not work for you.
In addition to exercise, some other great ideas for morning rituals include sharing time and conversation with your partner, journaling, and meditation. Of course, a truly effective morning would not be complete without eating a healthy breakfast. As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it jumpstarts your metabolism and gives you a great boost of energy.
Taking certain steps the evening before to prepare for the next day can eliminate delays and decision-making during a busy morning. Consider selecting what you will wear. Gather all of your personal and work materials so that you do not have to spend valuable time searching for items. If you have children, you can do the same for all of their necessary belongings as well. If you pack a lunch, doing so the evening before can be a big time-saver and will also help you avoid the inclination to purchase your lunch when you are running late.
Of course, we all know that getting enough sleep is a core component of feeling refreshed and energized the next day. Not only does this mean going to bed at a decent time, but also avoiding electronic devices such as cell phones or laptop computers that can distract you from sleeping. Many people prefer to sleep with a television on, but this can also be distracting and may pull your focus away from sleep. Consider replacing the television with another source of white noise, such as a box fan.
However, it is not enough to jump from one activity to the next all evening, and then rush straight into bed when the time comes. It is so important to allow yourself some “down time” before actually going to bed. This could include reading a book, meditation, listening to music, or any other quiet activity that allows your body and mind to reset.
At night, I capture everything that happened that day—what I’m grateful for and what I did that was amazing. It helps me to remember that I’m competent, great, and successful. This sets an empowered tone for the next day. I also write down all of my yearly goals each day, as it helps to remind me of my focus.
The secret to having a focused and successful work day begins with preparation, both in the morning and during the evening prior. Be sure to give yourself enough time and opportunity to prioritize these activities, as they can make the difference in the outcome of the work day ahead.
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