How to Be More Effective – Without a Morning Routine

Morning Routine Alarm Clock

Photo by Phalinn Ooi - flickr

How to be effective anyway - with minimal effort


I've read a lot about the benefits of having a mourning routine. They are popular reading currently.

My frustration (at no fault of the authors), is that I'm a parent of a four-year-old who often rises before I do.

There will be no meditation. There will be no exercise. There will be no drinking coffee while reading inspiring articles!

Yes, I've gone through periods of getting up at 5 or before, but that's just not sustainable in my current situation.

My morning is more about drinking coffee in the shower and corralling a little one into his clothes.

I'm not defeatist, because there are things that can be done to be productive, focused and calm.

Start in the Evening

At the end of the day, before going to bed, set yourself up for success for the next day.

What are the priorities you will have? Are their deadlines you need to meet? What tasks are most important to get done first? Are there tasks you have been putting off that now weigh heavily on you?

Just a few moments to begin to mentally organize what you will face will help keep you on track. This will also help you rest more peacefully because you have already identified what needs to be done, and you don't have to dwell on it.

Visualize your day

Do this before reaching for the smartphone on the nightstand. When you first wake up, just run through in your mind the sequence of your morning, then the rest of the day. It helps to have a reminder of what the next step is, to avoid chaos.

Also think through what you identified as priorities the night before. Anticipating what needs to be done prevents us from being caught off guard and having to react. Think proactively.

morning routine monkey on your back

Get those monkeys off your back!

Shrug off the Monkey

We all have had monkeys on our back. This is the stress of a burden we carry for an unresolved issue.

These will vary for each of us and usually are easy to resolve, but have grown out of proportion due to procrastination.

Do you have a resume that needs updated? An oil change that is just too far overdue that you just don't seem to get around to? Is it a phone call you need to make that may be uncomfortable?

Take note of what monkeys you may be carrying and commit to taking action as early as possible to put it behind you. This will release stress and allow you to focus on more important things.

The 80/20 List

This is a dated concept (so call it what you want), but it is familiar to most people.

It is not a to-do list!

This is a set of priorities that will leverage the most impact in your life.

I connect this to my Purpose, making sure that I have an idea of what I need to pursue at any given time that will result in the biggest reward personally.

Perhaps it's a side project at work that will further your career. Maybe it's working on a book you've been putting off. Maybe it's a side-gig. Whatever you have identified as the most important to you.

We can't always set aside time every day to work on this list, but it is still important to have one.

Allow yourself permission not to have these become monkeys! These should not be burdensome, but a gentle reminder so that you are cognizant to plan time to work on them.

The above concepts are not so much routines as they are habits and a way to approach life. They will help you stay focused and on track and help reduce the anxiety of a chaotic schedule.

They don't take much time, and you didn’t even need to create morning routine!

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