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How to get your day off to the perfect start, every day

Finding work-life balance is not something that only entrepreneurs and small business owners face – it seems to be the most elusive element in this generation of working people’s lives. The beginning of a New Year brings with it resolutions to give up old habits and to create new healthy ones. Our suggestion of something to ponder over the festive season is how mastering the morning routine can help you to achieve your goals and experience success. Creating a morning schedule that works for you and your family, sets you off on the right path every day and yes, it sounds like a simple solution, but try it and you are sure to experience personal and business growth as a result. The key to this is consistency – the journey of growing a thriving family and business at the same time is no easy feat, but here are six morning routines that will set you firmly on this path:

  1. 7 minutes of exercise. Sounds ridiculous – why 7 minutes? Because it’s short enough that it won’t impact the rest of your morning routine and long enough to shake off any residual sluggishness from the night before – including that extra glass of wine.

There are endless fitness routines to turn to, but there really are apps called the 7 Minute Workout, where in just seven minutes, it works all major muscle groups with 12 total exercises. A great way to kick off a productive day.

  1. Start your day with a good, healthy breakfast. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure that you and your family get off to the best start possible with a healthy and nutritious breakfast that will ensure that you are productive and focused all morning long.
  1. Prioritise your family. Wake up a little earlier than usual and after completing your exercise routine, wake up your kids and start your day with your family as a priority. Make sure that you are in the moment and focused on your kids and partner before they head off for school or work. While the family are having that good, nutritious breakfast, interact with them, showing interest in what their day holds ahead. The morning routine is normally a rushed one, but a little bit of focused attention will go a long way to ensuring that both their and your day gets off to a good start.
  1. Prioritise your work day. Once you have enjoyed a good family start to the day and you are finally in the office, the temptation for all of us is to check emails and social media updates right away. In our minds, starting the day putting out fires, capturing opportunities and making sure team members have what they need and more is productive. Let’s be honest, it is also a great way to procrastinate while feeling as though you’re doing something important.

Remember that the work morning is most certainly the most productive time of the day and that you should prioritise your most important business driver for that time of the day. Is it prospecting?  Is it team meetings? Whatever your key activity is that drives your business, make that the first thing that you tackle every day and do it with energy and focus. The mail and other things on your to-do-list will just need to wait.

  1. Block time in your calendar to achieve goals. One of the most common mistakes people make at the office is not turning to-do lists into time-bound, effective project lists. People who have mastered this are far more likely to deliver tasks on time.

It’s simple: For each of the big things on your list, block off the amount of time on your calendar that you estimate the task might take – and then add 33% more time just to be sure. If a project is multi-day or has dependencies, break it up into digestible chunks. Use one block to plan and a second or third block to accomplish.

This simple method will help hold you accountable and immediately help you refocus on the tasks you’ve prioritised when you do get distracted. Too often, we let one distraction steamroll an entire morning – now you don’t have to let that client email derail you from your winning plan for the day.

  1. Power up after lunch. The morning is over and you have been hugely productive. Take the 15 minutes right after lunch to refocus on the day – a kind of professional meditation. Get away from your computer, turn it off, go sit in a conference room and determine what you have on tap for the rest of the day.

Think about how the list you set in the morning is shaping up. Are you ahead of schedule? Behind schedule? You’ll find that these 15 minutes help you identify how you got derailed, what’s causing you distractions and help you to rediscover a rhythm to be productive all day long.

Develop a consistent morning routine for your family and working day and you’re sure to reap the rewards in the near future. Here’s to a more productive and more balanced 2015!