The morning rituals that help me be happier and get more accomplished throughout the day

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The alarm rings and rings. With a groggy sigh I reach over and pick up my phone.

I’m still squinting, and I can’t even make out the room yet, but the first thing I tap is the mail icon.

My heart’s racing.

It’s only been a few hours since I last checked my email, but already there are so many in there. I can see from the little email previews that everything is urgent.

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I sigh again.

Next I open Facebook and Twitter.

Notifications galore from all the mastermind groups I’m a part of.

Article after article I haven’t yet read. My thoughts start racing. More anxiety creeps in.

Finally comes Teamwork, our project management platform. Things aren’t looking up there either. So many tasks and they’re all for me.

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What a terrible way to wake up.

Is this how you wake up?

For a long time this is how I’d wake up every single morning. It sucked.

Waking up with a bright screen shining in your face, immediately barraging yourself with all your tasks and stresses of the day isn’t very nice, but for some reason, we still do it.

For me, it had to do with letting go of control.

I’d feel like if I turned everything OFF for even a few hours my business would spin out, so I had to always be there to watch and monitor every little blip. I’d check my email right before bed, and then the moment I woke up, and it would give me the illusion that I could always avert any crisis.

But…I wasn’t happy.

I was really stressed out. All the time.

It was like living on pins and needles where at any moment, no matter what I was doing, or how many hours I’d worked, something could come up and pull me right back into it. And I dreaded the mornings, I hated that terrible alarm because I knew it symbolized the stress cycle beginning all over again.

One day, after yet another lovely morning with my phone, I decided enough was enough.

This was no way to wake up, and I decided to create a ritual that would give me a peaceful and happy start to the day, and would help me get more accomplished once I started working.

Ditch the Phone

You guessed it. The first thing I did was ditch my phone. I made a commitment to myself not to check any emails or messages until I was ready to start working for the day. Those emails can wait another hour or two!

Now I keep my phone on “Do Not Disturb” until I’m ready to go (this alone can change your life).

Journaling

I now start every morning by journaling. This is something I can’t recommend enough, and the longer you do it, the more benefit you’ll reap from it.

Getting all the worries and anxieties, as well as the good things, out on paper, helps me clear my slate before I start the day. It helps me become aware of all the different things I may be feeling, and refocus that energy in a positive and productive direction.

Reading

After journaling, I’ll spend some time reading with a cup of coffee. It’s important to note that what I read in the mornings has nothing to do with work, or business, in any way, shape or form.

I only read literature I want to read that I find interesting and fulfilling. Books like “Sanshiro” by Sosuke, “1984” by Orwell, or “Grapes of Wrath” by Steinbeck.

Reading is not only something that makes me happy, but it also develops the mind, and allows me to be more creative and imaginative throughout the day.

Setting an Intention for the Day

After journaling and reading, I’ll usually spend a few minutes reviewing my to-do list for the day, and setting a focus by asking myself:

“What is the main thing I want to accomplish today?”

Even if in the back of your head you know all the things that you have to do, the power of having a main goal / focus and setting it as an intention is incredible. By doing this, you’ll subconsciously refocus your efforts towards that goal throughout the day.

Why it Matters

Taking some time each morning to do these rituals can create some really incredible changes in your life.

You don’t have to follow my exact rituals, but rather, choose the activities that are most fulfilling and meaningful to you. Maybe it’s drawing, or gardening, or going for a walk.

Only you know what makes you feel peaceful, calm, content, and most at ease.

By taking this time for yourself, you’ll feel so much more grounded and centered, and you’ll be able to carry that energy into your work. I know for me, by the time I start working, I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much by reading and writing, and I feel happy and fulfilled, and that feeling seeps into everything that I do.

Client interactions become easier, creativity flows, that to-do list gets checked off quicker, and any challenges that come up get solved so much more easily.

Plus: Now I love waking up every day. 

I can’t wait to write down my thoughts, dive into my novel, enjoy my coffee, and just think, be myself, and relax.

The cool thing is, once I’ve really spent that quality time with myself… I’m excited to dive into work.

It’s re-ignited my passion for it.

Do you have any morning rituals?

I’d love to hear how you start your day in a way that makes you feel happy and productive! Leave a comment below and let me know :-). I’m always looking for more ideas.

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About Lou Levit

Lou (Louisa) Levit is the co-founder of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: a web development partner for freelancers, agencies, and companies in HTML and Wordpress coding. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her lovely husband and biz partner, David Tendrich.

More about Lou’s business: Reliable PSD is what happened when a group of designers got fed up with the available web development and design to code solutions out there…and created their own. Check them out, and see why Hundreds of agencies & freelancers love having Reliable as their partner for HTML & Wordpress coding.

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  1. Hi Lou,
    it’s really great and smart to start our day in a nice way!
    It’s actually very important for a happy and creative day at work.

    I was never one of those people who would rush out of bed and go straight to work stressed, unfed and in bad mood, only because they prefer to sleep a few minutes more.
    The good thing is, I don’t have to wake up early, I rarely start working before 10 am.

    I also have some morning rituals, that help me start my day fresh and in a good mood, full of inspiration.

    I try to go to bed and wake up with nice thoughts, about all the things that make happy.
    There are times that I write a whole article in my mind or invent a new idea from scratch during these first minutes after waking up – this is why I keep a notebook by my bed.

    I then do some yoga stretching and 100 abs. Everyday!
    This is a great habit, that brings results!

    After I wash and get dressed, I feed the cats that live in the garden and spend some time with them.

    I always have a good breakfast before take my coffee with me at the office.
    It’s only then I switch on my PC to check my emails and calendar, while listening to an audio with positive subliminal messages.

    After that I’m ready for work!

  2. This is great advice that I need to implement myself thanks for the share