There’s no hack for success.
There’s no magic button, pill, or pen that will make you great. Rather, building the business and life of your dreams takes a massive amount of sweat, blood, and tears.
Ask anyone who’s “made it” and they’ll tell you that they didn’t arrive by sitting on their couch, eating potato chips, but by working hard one day after another.
But how do you work hard every day?
We all have good days and bad days. And working hard on the days we don’t feel up to it can be a real challenge.
There’s no magical answer, but there are some effective tricks that seem magical. And they all revolve around starting your morning with a routine that prepares your body and mind for action.
Here are the six tactics the pros use.
1. Don’t Hit Snooze.
The annoying sound dings.
You pull off the covers and think to yourself, “Oh, I can wait a few more minutes.” You grab your phone, hit the snooze button, and pull the covers back over yourself.
No harm, right?
In fact, that snooze button is doing a whole lot of harm to the rest of your day.
For instance, an entire sleep cycle is about one hour and a half.
In contrast, how much sleep does your snooze button allow for? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 15 minutes?
And when you wake up mid-rem cycle, you have a case of sleep inertia — which takes several hours to recover from, at least.
You’ve felt this before, right?
The alarm goes off and you snooze it. But then when you wake up five or 10 minutes later, you feel worse than you did before?
Welcome to sleep inertia.
And when you do that, it kills your productivity the rest of the day.
To battle that tendency, put your phone in another room where the alarm will bother you but you must get out of bed to turn it off, then carry that discipline into the remainder of your day.
“The time is now. Stop hitting the snooze button on your life.” — Mel Robbins
2. Take a Cold Shower.
Let’s be honest.
Most of you aren’t even going to try this tip.
There’s nothing worse than crawling out of your bed into a freezing cold shower. I’m not talking about lukewarm, I’m talking about turning the dial all the way toward blue.
So why am I suggesting that you take a cold shower when it’s sure to ruin your morning?
Because it will make the rest of your day amazing.
It wakes you up (obviously), increases your metabolism, reduces aches and pains, and even strengthens your immune system.
I know. It sounds totally miserable.
And, when the water first hits, it is. But once you get used to the water, it’s not so bad. Then when you step out of the shower, you just feel better.
Trust me. Try it once and you’ll see. Worst case scenario, you ruin one morning.
Here’s some tactics that I use when I’m not feeling up to a full-on ice blast.
- Take a hot shower and, at the end, turn the water cold. Dip one shoulder and arm into the freezing water before getting out.
- Take a hot shower and, at the end, turn the water cold. Do three spins in the cold water and then turn it off.
Even if you can’t handle the water for the entirety of your shower, a quick dip in water as cold as hades is hot will jolt you to a start and benefit the remainder of your day.
“Standing under freezing cold showers every morning — I did that. I got up to seven minutes most mornings and it really works; it immunizes your body and your body starts getting used to the cold. It really works.” — Liam Neeson
3. Journal For Five Minutes.
Can five minutes change your life?
One things for sure. Gratitude and goal setting can change your life.
And if you use five minutes to create a mindset of gratitude and set micro-goals, then, well… five minutes might be able to change you life.
Enter the 5-Minute Journal.
This journal has three prompts for morning journaling and two for night.
In the morning you’ll answer…
- I am grateful for…
- What would make today great?
- Daily affirmations. I am…
And at night…
- 3 amazing things that happened today…
- How could I have made today even better?
There’s even an inspiring quote at the top every day.
Even Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn, and Mimi Ikonn use the journal to shape their morning.
This journal has made a big difference in how I perceive life and how I accomplish my goals. As it turns out, when you start your day thinking about what you’re grateful for, how you could make the day awesome, and affirming yourself, you get more done.
But you also feel better, work harder, and smile more.
So yes. Five minutes can change your life.
So long as you spend it being grateful and setting micro-goals.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey
4. Meditate for 10 Minutes.
When I talk about meditation, you might think of some buddhist religion or leg-crossing yogi.
But I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about sitting quietly every morning, learning to be content with who you are, and taking some time to calm your thoughts.
If you’re like me, you go through most of your day at a pace that’s at least mildly unhealthy and when there’s nothing to do, you feel lost, worthless, and like you should be doing something of value.
But sometimes, the best thing you can do is just learn to exist.
Life isn’t permanent and so it’s healthy to spend a little time coming to terms with the reality of life and how, in the big picture, your concerns are really quite small.
I recommend using HeadSpace.
This app had guided meditations for everything from pregnancy to stress and anxiety.
And you can use their free trial to see if you like it.
If you’re still not convinced that you should meditate every day, consider these benefits.
After all, it won’t hurt to give it a shot, right?
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill
5. Listen To An Audio Book On The Way To Work.
Several people have asked me if I actually read the books I write about.
I sure as hell do. As long as you count listening to books as “reading.”
I figure that I’d be doing all of you a disservice otherwise. There are plenty of websites with cliff notes and shoddy story telling. I want to provide rundowns that are actually meaningful to your everyday lives.
I don’t want to shortcut it and I don’t want to half-ass it.
But how the hell do I read one book every week?
Well, it’s actually really simple. I listen to audio books whenever I’m at two locations. The gym or in my car alone.
That’s about five to eight hours every single week. Which allows me to finish most audio books within five to seven days. I then jot down notes after listening to each session and voilá! Booktrep.
You can do the same thing.
You’re usually not doing anything super important during those hours of the week anyways, so why not spend them learning?
“Read an hour every day in your chosen field. This works out to be about one book per week, fifty books per year, and will guarantee success” — Brian Tracy
6. Tackle Top Priorities First.
When you first arrive to work, I’ll be you’re tempted to do unimportant stuff first.
Since starting with non-committal tasks is easy, many of us start our day with them.
But here’s the bad news.
That means that you’re wasting your beginning-of-the-day energy on trivial tasks. Which will kill your willpower on the more important tasks that come later.
Willpower is finite. This means that you have a limited amount each day. And the best way to make sure you have the willpower for the important things in your life is by doing those things first.
Try it a few times and notice how different you feel. I’ll bet you’ll have far more discipline to see those important things out until the end if you start with them.
Here’s a list of things that are trivial and many of us start our day with.
- Social media
Or anything else that doesn’t directly contribute to your success. Here’s a list of things that you should be focussing on first.
- Preparing a presentation
- Pursuing clients
Or anything else that is critical to your business.
Here’s the point. You want to start with things that require a high attention to detail, because that’s when you have the most willpower. Which means you’re more likely to deliver something that’s actually worth while.
Email, social media, meetings, and slack, on the other hand, can wait until later in the day. Start with what’s most important and work on it until you’re completely finished. Then move to more trivial tasks.
Not the other way around.
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb
Every day is an adventure. Some days you feel discouraged and others you feel encouraged.
But here’s the thing. The way you feel doesn’t need to be a game of chance. Despite what everyone says, you decide how you feel. No one else. Not even external situations can truly dictate your feelings.
Instead of allowing fate to choose what your day is going to look like, you can use these 6 tricks to choose for yourself.
And when you do, your days, weeks, months, and even years will look a whole lot more productive than they did before.