What did I write today? The first 5 pages of revised Chapter 2 of my novel.
This entry is brought to you by the following realization.
It's easier to start the day on the right foot than it is trying to fix a day gone wrong.
This weekend was long and relaxing. Due to a storm warning, I didn't have class since Thursday. That gave me Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday AND Monday to be productive and write like mad. However, despite all my free time...
I only wrote a pitiful five pages.
(Though if you go by word count, it was a whopping 1,548 words).
I can blame the fact that my younger brother called me and we haven't hung out in so long that I drove the two hours to go see him, saw a movie with him and his friends and then had him sleep over my place. Needless to say, I was distracted. But most of those things took place around or after noon.
So what about the hours before?
I'm most productive in the insane hours of the morning. In fact, my alarm always goes off at 4am in the morning with the intention of writing at around 5am. Unfortunately, my body sometimes doesn't like being dragged out of bed while it's still dark out because I went to bed too late, or I just had a great dream and wanted to finish it. And that's when it all goes wrong.
The minute my morning routine doesn't start the way I like, all productivity goes down the drain for the rest of the day.
I cannot concentrate. Everything distracts me. I spend my hours procrastinating and surfing mindlessly on the Internet, reading blogs and re-reading my e-mail. Even when I realize my behavior is totally unacceptable, I can't seem to snap out of it. I have already convinced my mind that it's another day off and it's having nothing to do with writing or work or anything hard.
If I do salvage the day, it's usually late at night when I force myself to write something before going to bed...thus going to bed late...then waking up late and repeating the cycle.
But this doesn't always happen. I often have great productive days! And today is turning out to be one of them. It's because I started it right.
Step One. Start the night before.
Sick of my lack of productivity, before going to bed last night, I mentally pumped myself up for the day before. I reaffirmed all my goals, visualized them complete and remembered why they were so important to me.
This makes you eager to wake up on time the next day and be productive.
I must have done something right cause that night I even dreamed I was writing.
Step Two. Have a Morning Routine.
Before getting to work, I have a ritual. I write my Morning Pages (Invented by the great and wonderful Julia Cameron in her work"The Artist's Way"), write down all that I'm grateful for, read my goals, write affirmations, visualize my goals completed and read or listen to a chapter of a spiritual book (I just finished listening to the audio book of "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" by Deepra Chopra).
This sort of routine is also referred to as a daily appointment with yourself by Scott "the nametag guy" Ginsberg.
It can be anything you want to do that gets you motivated and focused.
After that, I'm pumped up and ready to work! Sometimes I get weak and check my email quick before getting started, but I refuse to let myself do anything more than that until I've written for at least an hour.
But I realized that after this great pick me up in the morning, my day sort of fizzles out by the afternoon. So I discovered a new habit!
Step Three. Mid-Day Pick Me Up.
I'm a spiritual person, so I practice meditation. Since I sometimes fall asleep if I meditate right after I wake up, I started doing it during the afternoon. This is a great opportunity to remind myself of my goals and commitments! I can take an hour, thirty or fifteen minutes to simply repeat what I did in the morning.
Again, this can be whatever you'd like, as long as it pumps you up and keeps you positive and focused on being productive. It doesn't even have to take long.
We all need a reminder now and again about why we do the crazy things we do.
So basically, it's a new cycle. This time a positive cyle that creates productivity. You pretty much repeat the same thing once at night, then in the morning and again in the afternoon. I think it's a great way to start the day right and keep it that way.
Do you have a morning routine?
Please let me know in your comments. I'm always curious to see how others start their day on the right foot.
-Till next time.