This is a Guest Post from my Friend Timo Kiander. Today November 19, 2013 his book: “Online Business Productivity – How to Start a Productive Online Business and Get Sh*t Done – Even When You Are Working from 9-5!” is launched into the Market. Congrats Timo!
Please note: This post was written two weeks before I was let go from my job (at the end of June 2013). However, the advice is still valid for anyone building their online businesses part-time.
As an online business builder with a family, morning time is a luxury for me: I get to work without distractions and I can move ahead with projects that I’m passionate about.
However, working during the mornings doesn’t automatically make me a productive person. To achieve this, I need to have the right type of structure in place and this very structure helps me to maximize my time.
With this particular structure, I’m able to do many of the most important tasks of the day before going to work. This achievement makes me feel good about myself: I know that I have made progress on things that really matter.
The elements of a good morning ritual
When someone mentioned to me about the rituals, I was a bit scared.
In my mind, a ritual meant something related to a religious cult, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with that kind of thing. However, as soon as I really understood what rituals were about, I became their biggest supporter.
When the mornings are concerned, a ritual is nothing but pre-defined steps that you take when you wake up. And as soon as you repeat this particular ritual enough, you form new good habits out of it.
With a morning ritual, you can have several benefits:
- You can have time for yourself
- You can make progress towards your goals
- It’s an easy way to start your day
- It’s fulfilling on many levels (for instance by doing some physical exercise or by meditating)
When you consider creating a morning ritual for yourself, you should also remember these important points:
* It starts in the evening. To be honest, talking about a morning ritual is a bit misleading, since its successful execution depends on what you do the night before.
In my case, I make sure that I go to bed early enough (so I don’t feel tired when I wake up).
I also make sure that certain things (like my computer or my sports gear) are already in place, so it’s easier for me to start my day when I wake up.
* You can do it without rushing. Whatever is in your morning ritual, you want to make your schedule flexible enough. Also, you should make sure you don’t have too many steps in it.
* It prioritizes your actions. When you build your ritual, you want to prioritize your steps in a way that the most important parts are executed first.
For instance, right after doing a short meditation exercise (5 minutes) and drinking some water, I start working on my projects, for instance writing my book.
I also make sure that I dedicate as much time as possible to the most important step (or steps) in my routine.
* Continuous improvement. When you have created your ritual, you have to keep on optimizing it.
Sometimes you’ll realize that it makes sense to switch certain steps, so that the ritual becomes even more effortless. The only way you find out the right way of doing things is to keep testing and experimenting with it.
For instance, I used to exercise right after waking up. Now that I’m also building my online business on the side, I decided to focus on the online business building first, and after that spend time on exercising.
When your priorities change, your ritual should change accordingly.
In addition there are other components that can make your mornings even more effective than before:
* Becoming an early riser. One obvious change that made my morning ritual possible in the first place was to become an early riser. Clearly, this has been one of the best decisions in my life and I highly recommend that you become one if you aren’t already.
You can decide your target time when you are going to wake up and then make the change from your current situation – either gradually (waking up earlier week after week, until you have reached the target time) or all at once like I did.
* Getting to bed earlier. Becoming an early riser is one thing but getting to bed earlier makes your early rising experience much nicer.
In fact, when you start waking up early, your body starts sending you signals in the evening when you should go to bed. Just listen to those signals; that way you can avoid fatigue from sleeping too little.
Nothing is more ineffective than waking up early and not being able to keep your eyes open because you didn’t sleep enough.
* Having a task list. What really helps in my situation is that I have a task list in place which I can then follow when I wake up. This makes sure that I can focus on the correct tasks right from the get-go.
I have planned my list the night before and I try to describe individual tasks on a very concrete level. The description contains a goal, which I then try to accomplish. For instance, I could write: “Write one guest post (title).”
This way I know exactly what to do and what mini-goal I have reached after finishing a task.
An example of my morning ritual
We have now covered various characteristics of a morning ritual which makes it a balanced and enjoyable experience. Next, I’m going to share with you my morning ritual and how I start my day.
The night before:
- I make sure that everything is ready for the next morning (my sports gear, my laptop), so that I can start working or exercising as easily as possible
- I go to bed around 10.00 pm – 11.00 pm
- I make sure that I have already done some preparation related to my work. For instance, if I’m writing a blog post, I have created an outline for the post in advance
- I know what clothes to put on, so that it’s very easy to get dressed
The actual morning ritual:
- Wakingup: 05:15
- Glass of water: 05:20
- Small meditation: 05:20 – 05:25
- Working on my projects: 05:25 – 06:45
- Morning exercise: 06:50 – 08:00 (riding a bike, running or going to the gym)
- Taking a shower: 08:10
- Eating breakfast: 08:20 – 08.40
- Going to work: 08:45 – 08:50 (I have only a 5 minute bike ride to the office)
Yours free: Online Business Productivity
Rituals play a very important part in our lives, especially if you are building your online business part-time. Rituals are a great way to maximize the available time you have for your business.
But what if I told you that you can download a free book about online business productivity and it’s being co-authored by big names in online business – people like Pat Flynn, Corbett Barr and David Risley?
All you have to do is to go to the book’s web site, enter your name and e-mail address, and I’ll give you instant access to my book (197 pages): “Online Business Productivity: How to Start a Productive Online Business and Get Sh*t Done – Even When You Are Working from 9-5!”
And of course, you can always buy the print or Amazon Kindle version too. It makes the reading much more convenient, rather than reading it from your computer screen.
Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, helps entrepreneurs improve their online business productivity. With 18 co-authors (like Pat Flynn and Corbett Barr), he wrote a book about how to build an online business and get stuff done – even when working from 9-5 (available as a free download or through Amazon).