Most online business owners work really hard. They spend hours answering emails, networking on social media, putting out all sorts of technical fires in their business, and jumping from task to incoming task.
This running around is understandable, especially early on in your business. If you’re bootstrapping, then your online business is literally being built on the sweat you put into it. But, as a solopreneur, your time and energy are your greatest commodity and you should be using them to your advantage.
You need to get control over your schedule. By organizing, prioritizing, and planning your daily schedule you can get your routine tasks done, while setting aside time for the most important work you need to be doing.
Mornings are an opportunity to do your planning, creating, and making progress on your biggest business goals. If you’re waking and jumping straight into your business routine, then you’re missing this golden hour of creative opportunity.
Let’s look at how to take your mornings back.
A Refreshed, Morning Mind
Sleep resets our brains. During the night our mind’s are flushed of information that isn’t needed.
With proper sleep, our brains reboot much like a computer cleanup getting rid of unnecessary bits of memory, allowing programs to run more smoothly. Every day, we wake with new energy, clear minds, and a refreshing beginning.
By nighttime our brains are saturated with information—much of it junk—whereas in the morning we’re free of this load and can think with clarity.
How to Avoid Wasted Mornings
If your first task when waking up is checking email, then you’re adding in unnecessary information and junking-up your thinking. It’s tempting to start early with loading up your mind, trying to hammer out routine tasks from the get-go. It may even make you feel productive.
To an extent, you are being productive. You are getting things done. But, what you’re not doing is using that morning mind to it’s fullest, if you’re just checking off easy items on your to do list. You’re cheating yourself of the long term benefits of using your mornings more productively to tackle your most important, most challenging daily tasks.
Every morning, take care NOT to:
- Jump into email right away early in the morning—cluttering up your brain, instead of putting clear thinking to good use.
- Launch into completing routine tasks, instead of tackling important, complicated tasks that require more thought.
- Attend meetings and fill your morning with chit-chat, instead of scheduling these for later in the day.
- Spend your mornings on research or pulling in information, instead of outputting your own thoughts.
- Get sidetracked with gadgetry, instead of using your morning to create something important.
Mornings are a time when you think your best—at least after that first cup of coffee. It’s important to take advantage of this state of mind.
Creativity, Clarity, and Bravery Early in the Day
Mornings are quiet and calm.
They are a great time for doing creative work. You can jump into challenging, creative work early in the day, such as writing an article. Struggle with it for a bit, hack away at it, then relax and get into the flow of the work. Your mind has no other concerns at this early hour. If they arise, you can put the world of worries at bay. Grab hold of this moment of calm and do your most productive, creative work.
Mornings are also a time to plan. Not the endless listing of low-end tasks, but the big planning. What are the most important items you’ll complete today and this week? Use your mornings to map out your big picture business plans. Use your clear thinking morning mind to plan your business strategies.
Early in the morning we’re also a whole lot more brave, than at other times of the day. After I wake up, something that felt challenging yesterday, now seems doable. It’s something I can place top of my important task list and work to complete.
Everyday stress is cumulative. By the end of a workday we’re spent. If a task requires us to be bold and take unusual initiative, it can feel overwhelming. It works well to put that task early in your day. After your brain is reset from sleep, your stress level is at it’s lowest it will be at for the day, so you have the mental energy to tackle this difficult item, or to map out a strategy of how and when you’ll complete it.
For me, I feel like I wasted a morning if I didn’t us it to create. I treat any planning, creating, or thinking task as good use of my morning work time. Here are some examples:
- Planning the chapters and overall direction for an ebook.
- Mapping out a career plan and next promotion steps.
- Writing a blog post, article, tutorial or coming up with content ideas.
- Designing a website and putting together a branding guide.
- Outlining a strategy of how I’ll solve a difficult problem.
These are the types of tasks that require clear, creative thinking to accomplish. Use your mornings to your best long term advantage. Structure your day so that you can do your best work early on. Make it a routine that you can count on.
What does your morning routine look like? If you want to take advantage of your morning mental energy, then layout your strategy:
- Plan the night before. Write down what you plan to tackle first thing during your early morning work session. Outline the creative or important task you’ll tackle. If it’s an article, then have your research done, your outline mapped out, which means you can hit the session ready to lay some words on the screen.
- Set a start time and align it with a trigger. For me this is arriving at work at around 8:30 AM everyday. I sit down, turn on my computer, and work on my most complex item for the day. For you it might be 5:30 AM, after you’ve showered and are well-caffeinated. Don’t let any distractions or excuses stop you from sticking to this plan. But if you miss a day, just try again.
- Focus on the task. If your plan is to write first thing, then don’t open your email, or turn on Twitter. Instead, focus on your creative task. Work in intervals as needed and notice when you enter flow—when your work hums and connections fire.
- Practice until it’s a routine. Any habit doesn’t happen on it’s own. It takes time to shift from doing lots of simple tasks early in the day to tackling your most important items first. It will take determination and focus to do this, but after time it will get smoother. Stick with it until it become the norm.
Carve out your mornings. Block them in your schedule as your creative and productive personal work time. Make a commitment that you’ll put your mornings to work. Given time, you’ll develop a routine, and see the benefits of putting your morning mind to best use.
What does your morning routine look like? Share it with us in the comments.