Tag Archives: morning

Steps To Take Every Friday

Follow This 4-Step Routine Every Friday

By Andrew Merle

Don’t make the mistake of treating Friday like any other workday.

Having a specific and intentional routine on Friday will set you up for a relaxing weekend and a successful following week.

Follow this 4-step process every Friday to maximize your productivity and peace of mind:

1. Block off your calendar for all of Friday afternoon

This means not scheduling any meetings or calls after 12 noon on Friday (trust me, your co-workers will thank you for this), and declining all invites unless they are absolutely critical (e.g. mandated by your boss).

With some open space on your calendar, now you will be able to close out the week on your own terms.

2. Spend 2+ hours working on unfinished top-priority tasks

If there are still any major outstanding items on your weekly to-do list — specifically ones that will cause anxiety and stress over the weekend — now is the time to tackle them.

Find a quiet place to work where you won’t be interrupted, and spend a couple of focused hours on these top-priority tasks, completing them or getting them into a good place before the weekend.

Once progress has been made against these big items, you can turn your attention to the little ones.

3. Spend 1 hour cleaning out your inbox

Scroll through your entire inbox for emails or calls that slipped through the cracks during the week.

If sending a response or giving a quick call back will only take a few minutes, do it right away.

Consider whether some of these items really need to be done at all. If they aren’t that important — and you will never actually get around to doing them anyway — just delete now and save yourself the stress of seeing them again.

Do make a note of any items that are important and require more time to complete, and will need to wait until the following week. It can alleviate pressure (and is a nice courtesy) to take a moment to quickly respond, saying you’ll get back to them with a more in-depth answer next week. This leads right into the next step.

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4. Write out your to-do list for the following week

With a clear understanding of where things are being left off with all big and little items, you can now prioritize what you will do the following week (and equally as important, what you will not do).

It is critical to take time on Friday to write out your to-do list for the next week. Your top priorities will be much fresher than trying to do this on Sunday night or Monday morning.

This will also give you the peace of mind to know that your top priorities have been captured on paper, and will enable you to hit the ground running the next week.

Limit your weekly to-do list to no more than 3–5 essential items.
And that completes the fourth step of the routine.

* I know I said this was a 4-step process, but there is a bonus step that might be most important of all.

5. Leave the office early

At this point in the day, you have made progress against your major projects, cleared out as many minor-but-necessary items as possible, and set yourself up for a successful week ahead.

With a highly-productive Friday afternoon in the books, it’s time to get out of the office early.

Even leaving at 4 or 4:30 p.m. will make your weekend feel significantly longer.

You deserve it!

About the Author: Andrew Merle writes about living well, including good habits for happiness, health, productivity, and success. Subscribe to his e-mail list at andrewmerle.com and follow him on Twitter.

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How to Build the Perfect Morning Routine

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” — Marcus Aurelius

How to Build the Perfect Morning Routine

By Craig Ballantyne

Imagine Joe, an average guy with a regular office job. His day starts with waking up to an alarm. He hits the snooze button two, sometimes three or four times, leaving him late for work. He doesn’t have time for breakfast at home so he grabs a large coffee — with plenty of sugar — and a donut on the way to the office. He barely makes it in to work on time — if he’s lucky.

He starts his day without a plan and wastes an hour just getting organized, reading email, and checking Facebook. He’s hungry because he skipped a good breakfast. Lunch ends up being a trip to a fast food restaurant. At 2 p.m. he’s nodding off in his chair.

The next thing Joe knows, it’s almost 4 p.m. and he still has three hours of work to finish. There’s no way that he’ll be able to leave on time. It’s only in this last mad dash under a deadline that he’s finally able to get a few priorities completed, but he is never able to complete his to-do list because of the chaos of his day.

Looks like another late night is in his future. He phones home to let his family know the bad news. He won’t be able to attend little Joe’s ballgame, and he’ll be late for daughter Katie’s dance recital…but he’ll try to make it for the end. Rushing out of the office at 7:30 p.m. he arrives just as the crowd launches into applause. Joe threw away his chance at freedom because his day lacked structure. Another day wasted because it started with chaos, not with control.

Now compare Joe’s life to John, the CEO who knows how to have the Perfect Day.

John spent last night getting to bed on time, thanks to his rules. He sleeps well and wakes up five minutes before his alarm clock goes off. His number one priority at work is managing his team, so he uses the first 15 minutes of his day preparing to run effective meetings.

John exercises and eats a healthy breakfast before heading into the office well prepared for his first appointment. He is on time and energized, not stressed. His day is scripted. Meetings are focused. Projects are finished before their deadlines.

He wraps up on time and makes it home for his kids’ activities, time with his spouse, and he even has 15 minutes for himself that he can spend in prayer, meditation, or gratitude.

John is free. Joe is not. Why? John is structured. Joe is not. John has rules. Joe has none. John is successful. Joe is lost.

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If you’ve had the privilege to experience both sets of days, surely you’d pick John’s results. This is the epic battle for your life. This is what The Perfect Day Formula is all about. It all starts with building the Perfect Morning Routine. Here’s how…

Step #1 – Get Off to a Great Start

The wonderful thing about mornings is you know they are coming. It’s a not surprise, like when your in-laws suddenly knock on the door on an otherwise peaceful Sunday afternoon.

You know your alarm is going to go off. You know you have things to do, places to be, people to see, and teeth to brush.

By age 40, you’ve gone through your weekday morning routine over 6,000 times as an adult. There’s no reason not to do it right.

All it takes to get off to a great start each morning is a little planning and preparation the night before. Get to bed on time. Know what you need to do first thing upon waking, and make it easy to get started.

Step #2 – Make Your Morning Activities Automatic

Imagine you’re a writer, like the prolific horror master, Stephen King, and each morning your goal is to sit down and write 2,000 words. If you spend five minutes the night before preparing a quick outline for your morning writing, it will go much easier than if you begin without any preparation at all.

You’ll also get results faster if you arrange your writing space so that you can sit down and get to work immediately, without fussing over yesterday’s edits or the mail that you tossed on your desk.

Know what you need to avoid, such as the icon that opens your Internet browser on your computer. Eliminate your temptations so you get up, go to it, and hit your word count.

If you want to make morning exercise a habit, lay out your workout gear beside your bed. You can even sleep in it (clean clothes only, of course!). That way, you get up and are 50% of the way to getting started.

No matter what you want to accomplish first thing in the morning, be prepared to get off to a great start — automatically.

Step #3 – Get Up 15 Minutes Earlier

If, like Joe, you wake up chasing the tail of the world each morning, the answer to improving your morning routine is obvious. You need to get up earlier. That starts with getting to bed on time. Follow Mark Ford’s 12-step program here. [http://www.earlytorise.com/how-to-become-an-early-riser-2/] or use my secrets for better sleep [http://www.earlytorise.com/secrets-to-better-sleep/].

Getting up 15 minutes before anyone else in your house gives you a significant amount of time to spend in solitude working on the most important task if your life. If your number one priority is to get out of debt, you can spend this time pouring over your finances, identifying ways to cut expenses, and brainstorming new ideas for increasing your income.

These extra 15 minutes are golden no matter what your goal in life, just as these three steps are perfect for getting off to a great start each morning.

You don’t need to make huge changes in your life. You just need to start with these magic minutes and a few automatic actions so that you can end every day with a sense of accomplishment, being ahead of the curve at all times, and never falling behind like poor ol’ Joe.

Control your mornings, own your days, and you’ll take a big step forward towards living your Perfect Life.

About the Author: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and author of The Perfect Day Formula. His straightforward, sometimes “politically-incorrect” advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. Craig’s secret weapons for success include his personal commandments, his 5 pillars, and his Perfect Life vision.