In the last lesson, we talked about daily rituals. In this lesson, we will talk about morning rituals that help daily rituals function more smoothly. I will provide a model of uber-focus that will help you supercharge your day.
What I’m about to describe comes from Darren Hardy’s excellent book, the Compound Effect. I read voraciously and I do not read many books twice, but I would urge you to get this book. Hardy is the editor of Success Magazine. He also has a distinguished first name.
This is Hardy’s self-described morning ritual. He wakes up at 5 a.m. and he hits the snooze alarm. The snooze button gives him a solid eight minutes. He uses those eight minutes to think about that which he is grateful for, people that he loves, and his number one goal for the day. I just use a snooze alarm to sleep, but I guess that’s why he’s the editor of Success Magazine and I’m not.
At this point, I cannot improve on his text in my summary. Here is what happens in his own words:
I take my most important project and work on it for an hour of completely focused and undistracted effort (notice I haven’t opened e-mail yet). Then, every morning at 7 a.m., I have what I call my calibration appointment, a recurring appointment set in my calendar, where I take fifteen minutes to calibrate my day. This is where I brush over my top three one-year and five-year goals, my key quarterly objectives, and my top goal for the week and month. Then for the most important part of the calibration appointment, I review (or set) my top three MVPs (Most Valuable Priorities) for that day, asking myself, “if I only did three things today, what are the actions that will produce the greatest results in moving me closer to my big goals?” Then, and only then, do I open email and sent out a flurry of tasks and delegations to get the rest of my team started on their day. I then quickly close down my email and go to work on my MVPs.
The rest of the day can take a million different shapes, but as long as I go through my morning routine, a majority of the key disciplines I need to be practicing are taking care of, and I’m properly grounded and prepared to perform at a much higher level than if I started each day erratically–or worse, with a set of bad habits.
I don’t know about you, but I have gotten to the end of many days wondering what I had accomplished that day. Hardy’s method is an inoculation against that kind of day.
What About You?
How can you apply Hardy’s method in your life? What would it do for you if you were this focused?