I shoot up out of bed in a panic and hastily reach for my phone. I’ve hit snooze for the 3rd time this morning and now have 10 minutes to make it out of the door to get to work. I stayed up late last night prepping for a big presentation for our CEO. In order to save time I skip the bathroom (shower and brushing my teeth) to save time. I grab an uncooked bagel on the way out the door and hop into my car. I race to work as I check my emails and texts and swerve lane to lane in a panic - heart racing. I can’t be late, again.
How many of us can relate to this scenario? If you can’t I would stop ready now because you’ve already mastered your night and morning rituals. For the rest of us keep reading to learn some practical steps to avoid this terrible reality.
Here at Movement by Matt I specialize in optimizing your whole being. From time management, mobility, mental and physical well-being and efficiency. Today we are diving into the morning and nightly rituals as well as ‘The Daily Roadmap' which falls into all of those categories. In this article I will show you how to optimize your day and reduce stress.
Optimizing your day actually starts with the night before. The nightly ritual is where we will begin. This time is designed to unwind, find stillness, clarity, and create a clear direction for the upcoming day. Everyone needs a plan. Below are the key elements to designing just that. Feel free to add anything that fits in these guidelines that would benefit you.
How to Create a Nightly Ritual:
1. All electronics off: 1-2 hours before bed. Electronics give off blue light which suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep and influences the circadian rhythm. Notifications, texts and emails also stimulate the brain to produce cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) that make it much more difficult to get to sleep.
2. Foam roll: Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMFR) technique that helps relieve muscle tightness and gradually restores proper muscle function while releasing built-up pain and helps reduce inflammation.
3. Stretch: stretching helps dissolve the stressors of the day and brings your focus inward. This increases awareness of the breath and body. This awareness helps develop mindfulness, which has been shown to help promote better sleep. Stretching also offers physical benefits, helping to relieve muscle tension and prevent sleep-disrupting cramps.
4. Mediate: There are thousands of studies showing that mindfulness meditation can positively impact mental and physical health. Whether it’s by reducing stress, improving sleep, increasing focus, or improving relationships, research shows mindfulness works.
If you’re overwhelmed with the thought of meditation check out Headspace to build a solid foundation. This is where I started.
5. Write Tomorrow’s Roadmap: This clarifies macro and micro goals to establish what needs to be accomplished to reach those big picture goals. The roadmap provides you with a clear view of your day. If you’re consistently not completing your daily tasks this will be obvious. Are the most important things at the top of the list? They should be. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable and increase efficiency.
6. Read a book: Reading increases mental stimulation, speech, enjoyment, stress reduction, stronger analytical thinking skills. It’s also a great de-stressor.
Now that our nightly ritual is in place and on paper we are set up to optimize the day ahead it is time to create our morning ritual… This will generate momentum to power through the day! I like to keep my morning ritual short and to the point.
Once our nightly ritual is created and executed it's time to transition to the first hour of our big day.
Morning Ritual Creation:
1. Gratitude: Write down just one thing you are truly grateful for and explain why you have chose this. Starting your day off with appreciation leads to increased happiness and productivity each day.
2. Pink Himalayan Salt + Lemon: (The lemon juice delivers vitamin C, helps reduce inflammation, improves immune function and the salt provides electrolytes and minerals that help aid in muscle contraction. Salt also helps manage your adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands mange the release of aldosterone, cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline along with other important hormones.)
3. Cold Shower: (Cold showers lower the damaged tissue's temperature and constricts the blood vessels. This helps reduce any swelling and inflammation. It also speeds up the metabolism. When practiced on a regular basis and turned into a habit, cold water immersion can even provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that enhance the overall quality of your life.)
4. Movement/Mobility: (Increased muscle and joint range of motion, increased alertness, improved mood and it feels good)
Now that we have our nightly and morning rituals dialed it’s time to create out roadmap. This will be different everyday, but the mission statement could be the same for a short period of time.
How to Create a Road Map
Mission Statement: This can be approached philosophically Ex: “Own the day” is one of my favorites. Or “Close $100,000 in accounts today” Neither is wrong.
Then we move into Objective 1, 2 and 3: Ideally these objectives align with your mission statement. Ex: Mission statement: “Close $100,000 in accounts today”
Objective 1: “Workout before work” this fits under your mission statement because it’s proven that exercising improves cognitive function, increases productivity and improves mood. These benefits will all help propel you toward your mission statement.
Objective 2: “Close over 60% of sales calls today” this provides a tangible goal that aligns with your MS and also helps paint a picture of how much you need on each sale to hit your goal closing at 60%.
Objective 3: “Leave work by 4pm to take my partner to dinner” This also aligns with your goal and helps create a vision of your day… Allowing yourself to map out the meetings and hold you accountable for finishing on time.
Wake Up Ritual Time: This will help you create the TIME needed to complete your morning rituals. When you write this down the night before the expectation will be set. All you have left to do is WIN the morning.
To Do List: This should consist of all those micro goals that will ensure you hit your Mission statement and three main objectives.
Bedtime Ritual Start Time: Notice how is doesn’t say bedtime… this is the time you’re committed to turning of your phone, computer AND tv… this is when your YOU time starts, this time is all about filling your own cup back up and preparing the body for sleep… for recovery and repair.
Click the PDF file linked here to download my personal daily roadmap to assist you in optimizing your day. Use trial and error as you dial in exactly what makes you most efficient. Please comment below anything else you like to add to your morning or nightly rituals for others to use as well. Until next time,