I know, I know, every business book tells you that in order to be a success you need to be in the 5 am club and hustle hustle hustle.
While we believe that life and business don’t need to be a constant force of hustle and grind, we do swear by a solid morning routine to start our day right. We thought we’d share ours with you.
Life is a little exciting at Insight Finance HQ because my husband Tom is heading back to work next week after a period of shared parental leave following the birth of our second child. That means, post-pandemic, we’ll start to get a little normality back as Tom heads back to work and the boys start nursery again. We’ve made lockdown work pretty well as a family with two small boys but I do think a lot of that has been down to our mindset and that’s been helped by a solid morning routine.
Being committed to the things that don’t always feel easy
Last Thursday night, my youngest son, Sam was awake from 1 am to 5 am. I had been really looking forward to my outdoor training session with Fitism first thing on Friday morning. It was going to be a sunny day and there’s no better feeling than a sweaty workout now that the gyms are back open and our amazing trainers are able to take classes again.
On this particular day, I’d planned my day out with precision. I was getting up to go to my class at 6:30 am, coming home for a shower and then I had blocked my day off for some pretty taxing, data-heavy analytical work that required my full brainpower. Now, this might sound horrendous, but this is exactly the type of work that I adore. I was actually excited about it going to bed on Thursday evening.
Then disaster struck in the form of teething and Sam decided it was a party for two happening in his room, and I was the lucky esteemed guest he needed!
I knew I needed to be on my A-game, so at 5 am I had a slight (under exaggeration) meltdown on my husband as I wailed “But I really wanted to go to my training session and I’ve had about three hours sleep!”. He calmed me down and said, “You’re going. Sleep now, get up for your session and go!” So that was decided. Despite little sleep and the taxing work I had planned, I was back asleep for 90 minutes before the alarm woke me and I was heading to my session.
It would’ve been easy to go back to bed and write the day off. Tom convinced me that it would do the world of good and he was absolutely right. “Win the morning, win the day!” were his words to me as he convinced me that the training session would help me out of a certain funk.
The training session was amazing. Afterwards, I felt like I was in the right mindset and ready to tackle the day. I knew if I hadn’t gone I would’ve moped around the house and been angry at the world which would’ve affected my mood and my productivity when trying to work. I treated myself to a Fitism smoothie after the workout and did indeed feel ‘hench’ in body and mind for the rest of the day.
It would’ve been too easy to fall back asleep but I am proud I pulled on my big girl pants and committed to the session, even when that wasn’t the easiest option.
That’s what morning routines are all about. The easy option is always lying in bed until the last possible second but when you can establish and stick to a morning routine, you always feel more positive and productive. Here are some more ideas for your morning routine:
I am a big fan of journaling. I love the practice of writing down my thoughts and feelings and it’s often when my best ideas come out. Some people use journal prompts but I’m more of a free flow writer. There’s a brilliant concept called Morning Pages which was developed by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. You don’t have to identify as a creative or be an artist to do morning pages. The concept is simple; write three pages every morning. The art of writing a stream of conscious thoughts in longhand for three pages is meant for your eyes only. You write down any thoughts and feelings that come up and do it at speed. Don’t stop to read what you have written as you go along, only read it back afterwards. Many people around the world practise their morning pages writing practice and cite it as one of the most effective tools for cultivating creativity, personal growth and change.
Another form of journaling is gratitude journaling. Write down 10 things you’re grateful for each morning and watch your mindset shift to be more loving, thankful, blessed and happy.
There is nothing more calming than sitting and meditating. If you prefer to try this with a soothing voice to guide you, you might prefer to use an app like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer. There are also many guided meditations on YouTube that are free to listen to. You can find meditations for many different things in your life to help stress, anxiety, aid sleep, improve your mindset, let go of anger or feel grateful.
Cultivating a reading practice whether in the form of a paper book in your hands, a digital ebook on your device or an audiobook, reading enhances your knowledge and helps stimulate your brain waves. If you struggle to commit to reading, why not set yourself a challenge of reading 10 pages of a book every day? Reading 10 pages a day will mean you can realistically read a book a month. I enjoy personal development books that enhance my learning. Think how much you could learn over the course of a year if you were to commit to reading a book each month. Equally, If your brain is full and learning is not what you’re after, curling up with a fiction novel is a great way to relax!
Getting out in nature
Whether it’s one of my outdoor classes with Fitism or just a walk to take the children to nursery, there’s no better feeling than getting out in nature. I like to get outdoors as early as possible but I also use nature and walking as a way to create space to think and make important decisions.
Setting intentions for the day
Every morning I set three personal intentions and three work intentions for the day. My personal ones can be small and sometimes look a little silly like “Read the meter” or “Call the nursery” but having them on my intentions list means I will get them done. Getting even the smallest and menial intentions off the list helps me free up my brain space and reduces overwhelm. I encourage you to write your own intentions list each morning as you’ll be amazed how much progress you can make in a short space of time when you commit to six daily actions.
What about you? How do you use your mornings to win your day? I’d love to know.
Helen Crapper is the founder of Insight Finance Solutions. Helen and the team specialise in accountancy advice at every stage of business and help make finances stress free for clients. Helen is also a coach and uses money mindset coaching to help business people remove their personal blocks and limiting beliefs to grow as people while growing their businesses.
To have a chat about your business finances and how Insight Finance Solutions can help you, get in touch.