This is my day!

How to start a day like a boss.
It was late in November when I realised that I needed to start my days differently.
I awoke to the sound of crying from the cot. Ava was awake and needed me. I hopped out of bed and checked the time. 7:45. I had slept in again!! My alarm had not woken me up and I did not feel ready for the day. No time to worry about that, it was my wife’s turn for the car and they wouldn’t be ready to leave till 8:30 for nursery. I messaged my mother in law, they were heading my way in their car. She replied saying I could get a lift but they wouldn’t be leaving till 8:10. This meant I would get to work twenty five minutes before the children.
As I sat in the car, I made a vow to myself that this would never happen to me again. I was completely relying on others to get to work and felt powerless. It doesn’t seem like a good idea to start the day with feelings of powerlessness.
Two weeks later, I found a solution.
I was listening to a podcast by Pat Flynn. Here’s a link to his work: http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/category/podcast/
He recently did an interview with a man named Hal Elrod. I had not heard of him before, but after listening to the challenges he had experienced in his life, I decided to pay attention. He has a fantastic mentality to life and it has helped him to overcome major challenges. He was talking about a morning routine that he created for himself that gave him great results. I wanted to find something to help me with this because I have been fighting a losing battle with the alarm clock.
Don’t get me wrong. I am always up for work and ready to go in good time, but this leads to me starting my day with a million things to do for my family before I am out of the door. I love doing things for my family, but filling every second with it means there is no time for those things that Steven Covey describes as important but not urgent. It also means that I don’t have time to mentally prepare for the challenges of the day ahead. I needed to create time for me to focus on early morning exercise, visualisation, reading and journaling and I wasn’t finding that time. It also speaks powerfully to my subconscious that I am in charge of my day and I have set my own agenda.
Hal describes a process that follows an acronym: S.A.V.E.R.S. These stand for Silence, affirmations, visualisation, exercise, reading and striving. I haven’t read the book and all the insight I have is from the podcast, but I have been incorporating it since January and have had amazing results.
*I have woken up at five A.M every working day in January with ease.
*I start the day feeling in control of my agenda and state of mind.
*I have been able to exercise first thing in the morning consistently.
*Instead of feeling tired, I have been feeling more energised and full of purpose.
*I own my day because I have time to write actions for the day in alignment with my goals.
I would not do justice to Hal by trying to explain how it works, but if you are interested in starting your days in complete charge of how you feel, this is something you have to look at. I wake up at 5 A.M so that if my children wake up around 6, (which they sometimes do) I can still fit the routine in. When the children get older, it will be even more time in the morning for me to pursue my goals and start the day right. You might not need to get up as early as me, but carving out this time is vital. All the successful people whose ideas I follow have a morning routine. I am really enjoying creating my own.
I wish you the best
Shaun.
P.S I also discovered that my phone’s alarm was not working when it was plugged into the mains. This has helped massively as well.

Speed up

I have always turned planning my next week at school into an all weekend affair. A little bit on the Saturday afternoon, and then loads of work on the Sunday. Not the ideal way to end a relaxing weekend. This week I set myself a challenge. I gave myself two hours at work and challenged myself to get my planning done for the following week. Not only did I manage to do all my planning for every subject, but I also managed to get other things done as well in the time and had time to do extra paperwork. I couldn’t believe it. I had managed to sit down and dominate my workload in a very short period of time. The question is how did I manage it?
I realised I was a ditherer quite late in life. A job that could have taken 20 minutes would take me 40. I would blame this on being a perfectionist and to an extent that was true. I would allow my desire for a perfect outcome to delay me from taking action. Sometimes this delay would be permanent. When I realised that aiming for perfection was utterly ridiculous, I let it go and things started to speed up big time. This has value because we then create time in other areas and can enjoy more activities because we are taking care of business quicker.
I now make a conscious effort to get jobs done as quickly as I can! Think about how much time you can save if you get your jobs and tasks done as quickly as possible. It is the main reason I can now post blogs so often. I know I can create posts quickly and I am getting quicker with more practice. Also, working on the same thing often creates more ideas and insights that lead to even more things to work on. I have got more blog ideas than I have ever had before and want to get them all down on paper.
Now this all sounds so simple and it is. But it isn’t easy. There are some things that have to be in place so that the process can happen. Here are some of the things that have helped me speed up. All of the tips work on a basic but powerful principle: You need to be completely focused in order for this to work.
1. Make sure the job you are doing has big value: Nothing is a bigger waste of time than working on jobs of low value. It means we have been very busy and worked hard but have got no closer to our goals. The fab five method helps with this because the night before you reflect on the jobs that will provide the biggest return on your time.
2. Set your own personal noise level. People always say to work in silence, but I disagree with that. I believe you need to find your own personal noise level. When I work best is when I have headphones in that block out the environment I am in. This allows me to home in on what I am working on very quickly. However, I need to choose what I a listening to very carefully. I listen to either, motivational audios that I have already heard or music with no singing or lyrics in. These two styles work best for me, but you must find what works for you.
3. Get off the internet unless it is needed. The internet is a little like T.V in that it can fill your time if you let it and you won’t have achieved anything. When I used to have Sky T.V, I would browse through all the channels looking for something to watch. If I didn’t find anything, I would browse through again, or browse through the recorded programmes I had on my hunt. So before watching anything, I had already wasted loads of time. I see people doing this on the internet all the time and I am guilty of it as well. You don’t have to log in every time you get an email or someone posts a picture on Facebook. Stay away from it, as you cannot focus on two things at once.
4. Find your time limit for concentration and take a break when it is near its end. Rinse and repeat if the job isn’t done. I’ve found that about 45 minutes is my sweet spot for staying focussed on one task. This has built up over time and I see focus like a muscle that need to be conditioned. After this amount of time I need a small break and I schedule little treats to keep me motivated. I could browse the web for five minutes, or have a snack or whatever it is that you would look forward to after your period of time is over.
5. Make sure you have a clear workspace before starting. Having a clear workspace means that you are able to focus full yon the task at hand and stick to it. Make sure you also have all the things that you need to complete the task before you start so you are not constantly looking for things to complete your work.

There are other things that can be done that may also help to increase productivity. I have listed some of my favourites here. What ideas have I not mentioned that you think are powerful tools to help you speed up when doing work?

Remember that your time is your life. So finding any way to save time is an awesome thing to do because you can then spend the time you saved on other things that will make your life even better than it already is.

Let’s pick up the pace!!
I wish you the best
Shaun

I come first!

This will be a short post that addresses one of the main challenges that I have been working with since the birth of my second child.
When Ava was born, I naively thought that I could keep all my routines the same and still have the same amount of free time. I have learned that we can all have our own time if we want it, but you will have to make adjustments down to your unique life situation.
I remember reading an interview with actor Mark Wahlberg years ago when he talked about how he would hit the gym at four A.M before the rest of his family was awake. When I read that it seemed a little bit over the top. Now that I have children, my paradigm has changed and it makes perfect sense.
When I start my day by looking after myself, I feel better equipped to take care of all the other responsibilities I have in my life.
I like to have between 30 minutes and an hour in the morning before anyone is awake to do the following things.
Exercise
Read
Visualisation exercises
Meditation
I start my day in a much better state when I manage to do some or all of these things. Now sometimes, this time does get interrupted. Usually by my younger daughter who is only ten months old. Because I accept this and am prepared for it, it doesn’t upset me. Life cannot be so predictable and rigid and so neither can I. Trying to not see things in absolutes is one of the mental challenges I am working on in order to control my state of mind and level of happiness.
This sense of control then stays with me throughout the day, making me a more effective employee, family man and husband. I am also kinder to myself and catch myself when I fall into the trap of negative self- talk. I don’t let the misery man of the mind get his own way. I challenge him and tell him to shut up when I can feel him taking over and starting to make me worry and stress about the unimportant.
There is real value in looking treating yourself well and taking care of the things that will enhance you.
What habits do you find are your most valuable and cherished?
Are there any habits you would like to develop so that your life is better?
I wish you the best
Shaun