We know it is hard enough running your own business, especially a ground transportation company. Often you’re up late and start again after just a few hours of sleep – this can go on for days at a time, and is not something easily controlled. So, the thought of adding anything – other than grabbing a cup of coffee- to the start of your day seems to be almost counter-intuitive.
However, the experts tell us that we can be a more successful person in our relationships – business and personal – if we develop ten everyday habits that start each and every day.
Now, to be honest: although I consider myself to be quite successful – in both my work and personal life – there are more than a couple of these “must do’s” that certainly don’t get done anytime during my day, much less before I get to my desk in the morning.
With that in mind, I offer you the following “expert” advice:
- Early Bird
Yes, the early bird does catch the worm, and he didn’t push the snooze button 4 or 5 times either. He just got up and went out to find that damn worm.
The trick to getting our ten habits done before the start of your workday is going to require that you get up early enough to get them done. Another helpful ally to this is to get a good nights rest, and that means getting to sleep no later than 11pm each night. Why 11? Because the experts tell us that you should be waking up by 5am each day. While we should be trying for 8 hours of sleep, most just don’t manage that, or can’t stay asleep that long.
Ideal sleeping time is, in fact, between 10pm and 4am. But, if you feel that you must spend more time with your family and don’t want to feel like you are the only one awake in the world when the alarm goes off, 11 to 5 is just as good.
Change does not, of course, happen overnight. So, work into your new schedule by setting your alarm with a few times to go off, such as 5:00 am, 5:30 am, 6:00 am – all the way up to 6:30 am. This way, it’s not a snooze but an actual alarm reminder.
It would do best to not only use your mobile phone’s alarm, but something, which forces you to get up, and go switch it off.
Once you have done this a few times, you will find yourself waking before, or as the alarm goes off.
- Tea, Toast and Trends
Once you’re up and have opened your eyes to the world, make yourself some coffee (or, as in my case tea) as well as something light to eat, like a slice of whole-wheat or rye toast.
No one says you need to jump into the day feet first. Easing yourself into the morning is a good idea. Take 20 minutes to give your brain and other vital organs time to start functioning properly.
Once you’re settled with your mug and toast, check your newsfeeds (I actually still have a newspaper delivered) where you can catch up on what’s going on in the world.
Warning though! If you are on the web, stick to the relevant sites and blogs. Don’t get caught up following a link which leads to another link, and by the time you’re done you still have no idea what is going on.
Allocate a timeframe to this activity.
- Get Moving
Exercise doesn’t need to take too long. If time isn’t your friend, then work out a plan where you can include at least 20 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength or weight training on a daily basis.
Exercise gets the blood pumping to all the muscles, as well as feeding the brain. A body that has regular daily exercise will produce a productive and focused brain.
Yes, the first few days will leave you feeling very tired and lethargic, especially by late afternoon, but eventually your body will get used to it. And, once that kicks in, you will find you will feel rejuvenated and have a fresher mind (or so I am told.)
Barack Obama is one such successful man that apparently still works out 45 minutes a day, six days a week, and up very early.
While Oprah Winfrey’s weight seems to have gone up and down over the years, she always finds time to fit in her cardio and mediation. She believes that a healthy body helps gives her the energy she needs to get through each day.
Nick Woodman, who you may not know too well, but is the CEO of the successful company GoPro, makes time to surf some waves each day. Of course, his GoPro camera goes along for the ride.
- Freshen Up
It seems like an obvious one, but a good shower is a great part of an early morning ritual, especially after an exercise session. Make sure you exfoliate, to get rid of all the old skin cells. And, end off your hot shower with a cold burst. This “blast” refreshes the skin like no other method, getting you all charged up and raring to go.
- Chow down
Coffee and toast do not a breakfast make. A proper, balanced breakfast is also key to starting your day off right.
An ideal starter is a mix of high protein foods, such as eggs and bacon, as well as fruit and yogurt. Add in some high healthy fats, such as avocado and cooking with olive or coconut oil.
Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast. It may be cliché, but it is the most important meal of your day. And going slightly larger in this meal is much better than overindulging on any other meal in the day.
Food is essential to brain growth and focus. But be sure not to eat too many heavy foods or simple carbohydrates. These will weigh you down and make you feel tired.
An easy morning meal is a Protein Shake, which could be an easy mix of whey protein powder, egg whites, yogurt, fruit, peanut butter, and ice, blended.
Whatever you do, keep it light.
- Take Time
The one consistent reason that comes up with very successful people, is that they take a little time for themselves during their day. This could be seen as a little reboot of the brain.
Many meditate for 20 minutes a day, or even just sit quietly in silence, reflecting inwardly. Others may go for a quick and brisk walk, or a run around the block.
As part of your morning ritual, the making up of your bed can help your brain realize that the night is now over and you need to get going.
Sometimes your little habit could just take 1 minute. It could be as simple as sitting and just breathing in and out deeply. You could even chat with a friend, or watch a quick video, anything that takes you away from reality for a minute.
As a morning habit, take the time to be still for at least a minute even before you start with all the other habits.
- Strategy Time
Planning out your day is vital. If you don’t have an idea of how your day is going to run, then more than likely it won’t run very well.
Check out your day’s diary schedule and make sure you can make all the meetings and commitments.
Scheduling in exercise and showering, as well as eating, can be a helpful thing to do. If it’s in your diary or on your calendar, it will be seen as a commitment you cannot break.
Making a list of what needs to be done in the time, you have in the day will help you prioritize. There are some good mobile apps that can help you do just this. Some even remind you to set times and alarms.
My new toy is Amazon’s, Alexa. As I am having my first cup of tea, I simply ask Alexa “what’s on my calendar today” and voila! I have an outline of my day with no effort.
- Social Media Prisons
Try and avoid getting locked into social media too much, especially first thing in the morning. Unless you are on your business page, then you don’t want to get lost in there.
It can be a terrible time drain, and there will be time later in the day to catch up with all of the alternative facts and fake news.
Some suggest that going through Facebook, Instagram, and all the other platforms while having a toilet break in the morning is a good use of time.
- Email Effectiveness
Emails can be a sure fire way of getting drawn away from important tasks. But, the truth is that email is a necessary evil. You need to address them, reply to them, and reply to them some more.
So, set aside thirty minutes to tackle all important and urgent emails first thing, then come back to them midday and again before ending work. This way, you set your day up nicely but addressing what needs to be addressed, without sporadically looking at emails that will never stop coming.
- Family Time
If you have a family, make sure to touch base with them before you head out. It gets those feel-good endorphins going, and you will make their day start out better too.
If your family consists of “fur babies”, then take some time out to pet, walk or just be with them. It is a long day without you, and besides, engaging with animals is a great way to relax, which in turn will prepare you for a relaxed day.
Having a plan is essential to a successful day. All of these tips are great, and they come as no surprise to you. But, the most important thing to understand is that you need to turn these tips into habits. They tell me it takes about three weeks for something to become ingrained as a “habit.”
Good habits will outlast any negative thoughts, and as a busy ground transportation company owner, managing demanding clients and needy employees, you want to always keep those good vibes going.