4 Ways to Create a Powerful Morning Routine

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One of the most important things that you can do to ensure that you have a positive and successful day is to become obsessed with how you spend your pre-work morning hours.

Unfortunately, many people never take the time to analyze their morning routine. A typical morning for most consists of picking up the phone right after they wake up to check email and social media, hitting the snooze button multiple times and never being intentional about positively fueling their mind and body before the workday.

The problem is, it’s challenging to perform at a high level and make an extraordinary contribution in the world if the above describes how you start your days. Instead, being intentional about how I start each and every day myself, and creating a powerful morning routine to do that, have been two of the most beneficial things I’ve done toward achieving my goals, increasing my energy throughout the workday and becoming a more positive person.

Here are four things you can do each day to create a powerful morning routine.

1. Wake up two hours before you have to be anywhere.

I’m not going to be one of those people who tell you that in order to achieve those audacious goals of yours, you need to wake up ridiculously early, but I am suggesting that you start waking up at least two hours before you have to be anywhere.

This early start gives you enough time to work on yourself and feed your mind, body and spirit before your hectic workday is off to the races. The reason why I assign this “number one” on my list is because it’s nearly impossible to create a powerful morning routine if you’re rushed and in a hurry.

2. Read something uplifting and inspiring. 

One of the best habits I have incorporated into my own orning routine has been to make sure I read something uplifting and inspiring for a half hour every single morning.

If 30 minutes seems too long, then start with just 10 or 15 minutes. It doesn’t matter if you are reading an actual book or a blog that you find inspiring, or listening to an audiobook. Just make sure you find the time in the morning to read something uplifting and inspiring instead of perusing negative news or checking your email right away. Fueling your mind with positive messages first thing in the morning helps you to build the self-confidence and motivational boost to go out in the world and make that specific day a masterpiece.

3. Practice daily gratitude.

There is so much written about gratitude and its importance, but a huge percentage of people still don’t practice it. Knowing that something is important and great for you and actually practicing it in your own life are two different things. Scientific research from multiple leading psychologists shows us that those who practice daily gratitude are more likely to be happy and successful.

I have found that the best time of the day to practice gratitude is first thing in the morning. I have used a gratitude journal for years, and it has been a complete game-changer for me. I currently use The Five-Minute Journal, which helps guide the process for you. Practicing daily gratitude will always be part of the discussion about a powerful morning routine and the best way to start the day.

4. Get moving.

I learned the power of doing some type of physical exercise first thing in the morning when I was an athlete. In college, as well as in the NFL, my friends and fellow teammates and I always had morning workouts; and I started to notice a pattern after a while.

When I worked out early in the morning, as opposed to the days that I didn’t, I noticed that my day was markedly better. I was not only more productive but more positive, and happier, as well. Even if your workout is just 20 minutes, you should get some sort of physical exercise in the morning.

Exercise increases endorphins and helps start your day in a positive way. A New York Times article I read described how exercise not only helps to build a better brain, but also increases brainpower. So, no matter where I am in the world or how crazy my travel schedule is, I make sure to do some sort of physical exercise — a staple for creating for myself a powerful morning routine.

The key to creating a powerful morning routine, then, is to find out what works best for you and then execute that plan each and every morning. These four practices are simple and practical, but have impacted my life in a profound way. Whether you use one of them or all four, they’re sure to help you in your own pursuit of a powerful morning routine.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Ways to Defeat Resistance and Get Your Most Important Work Done

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Have you ever been in the situation where you really wanted to get something important done but all of a sudden your internal dialogue took over and you ended up talking yourself out of actually doing it? If I had to guess, chances are you have. It’s more than likely that all of us at some point have been in a similar situation.

I come across people on a daily basis who go on and on explaining how badly they want to write a book, start a business or pursue a passion. And, as the conversation continues, the next thing that comes out is a list of reasons why that hasn’t happened yet.

Unfortunately, most will continue their lives without realizing their goal. It’s not that they lack talent or that something is wrong with us. What has happened is that like millions of other people, we’ve let one of the biggest dream killers, resistance, completely take over our lives and decision-making ability.
We all have big hopes and aspirations, but as time goes on and we grow older, we let that resistance creep in and prevent us from tapping into our full potential. And the thing is that the more important and special something is to us, the stronger and more powerful our resistance will be. One of the best books I have come across that details this process is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I highly recommend it because it explains that it’s not just creatives who deal with resistance; it’s anyone who desires to live a bold and highly successful life.
I have had my own battle with resistance over the years and have learned how to minimize its effectiveness each time I feel it gaining an edge on me. Here are three ways I’ve defeated resistance and gotten my most important work done.

1. Just get started!

Resistance is at its strongest when you’re getting ready to start something. When I first sat down to write my book, I stared a few minutes at the blank screen, knowing exactly how much I had to write, and immediately came face to face with resistance.

Multiple excuses began to pop up, and the last thing I wanted to actually do was to start writing. But the turning point came when I stopped thinking about the thousands of words I had to write that day and just made getting started my main focus.

Once I was able to just get started, everything was downhill from there. When you direct all of your focus to  taking the first step, you destroy resistance little by little. The last thing resistance wants you to do is to start on an important project or work that truly matters. Whether that project is writing a book, starting a business or pursuing a passion, just focus on taking that first step.

2. Compete with yourself.

One of the major benefits of being a former athlete is that I am always trying to compete with myself and have fun with everything that I do. Instead of looking at resistance as some dreadful and awful experience, I try to have some fun with it and make it a game. At the end of each work day, especially when I am in the process of working on a major project like writing a book, I will keep score of how many times I have beat resistance. Nothing feels better than to get to the end of the day and look at how many times I have successfully defeated resistance.

This ends up increasing my fulfillment, happiness, and overall satisfaction for that particular day. This simple and fun practice has drastically transformed the way that I work. I encourage you to find your own practice and what works best for you. What works best for me may not be the best solution for you, but that’s not the main point. The most important thing is that you give yourself permission to have fun with resistance instead of let it cripple you from performing your best on a daily basis.

3. Get extremely clear.

When you get extremely clear about what you’re  trying to achieve, who you are as a person and the overall mission and purpose for your life, the resistance you’re up against loses a great deal of its power.

Returning to my efforts to write a book: Once I got extremely clear about why I wanted to write in the first place and the type of impact that I wanted it to have on people, I got motivated to take action. A lot of times, resistance gets the best of us because we forget the importance of gaining clarity before we start something.

The next time you feel resistance overpowering you, then, stop what you are doing and spend some time getting connected with your major life purpose, your biggest goals and dreams for the year and anything else that motivates and excites you. A simple mindset shift like this can make a profound difference in not only your ability to beat resistance, but in the way you feel about life.

I strongly believe that every one of us has a unique talent and ability that can be used to make a tremendous difference in the world. Don’t let resistance get in the way of preventing you from leaving your mark on the world.

Just as author Steven Pressfield said, “Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.”

Don’t let resistance interfere with your becoming the best version of yourself.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Simple But Proven Ways to Become More Productive

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There is absolutely no shortage of time-management practices and experts out there promising to increase your productivity levels. And, certainly, we all aspire to be more productive, feel more accomplished and ultimately achieve greater success than ever before.

Unfortunately, though, simply wanting these things or reading a time-management book by a favorite author is a small part of the equation and will get you only so far.

In order to truly become a more productive individual and accomplish more of what matters most, you must minimize distractions, instill new habits and have a great deal of self-discipline.

I believe that many of the problems we run into when it comes to maximizing our productivity stem from overcomplicating things — and those complications usually end up decreasing our productivity. I want to share with you three things that have worked exceptionally well for me when it comes to minimizing distractions and drastically elevating my productivity levels.

These three things are simple and straightforward but pack an incredible punch. As Stephen Covey once said, “What is common sense isn’t common practice.”

1. Cut out phone and email first thing in the morning.

At first, this daily practice, which has since blessed my life with an enormous amount of peace, happiness and focus, was hard for me to implement into my life. For the longest time, my morning ritual had consisted merely of turning over and grabbing my phone in order to open my email and check social media.

When you pick up your phone first thing in the morning, however, and dive deep into your inbox and check social media, you end up neglecting the most important thing: yourself. For the first two hours of each day, I make it a priority to leave my phone in a separate room. I go to work on myself first and foremost by getting in a great workout, reading for 20 minutes, meditating and then beginning to tackle my biggest task for the day. Only after all of those things are complete do I allow myself to check my phone.

2. Work in time blocks. 

This one may seem extraordinarily simple, but the profound difference it has made in my life is incredible. We live in a world that is full of constant distraction. Each and every one of us is getting pulled in a million different directions, all vying for our energy and attention. When you work in time blocks, though, you are forcing yourself for the next 20, 30, or 50 minutes to work on whatever project or task that is in front of you and not doing anything else.

No phone, no Facebook-checking: just you and your highly valuable project or task that must get finished. I personally work in 50-minute time blocks throughout the day, but you should feel free to implement whatever works best for you and your schedule. I personally haven’t found a more efficient way to eliminate distractions and get big things done than working in time blocks.

3. Utilize the power of breaks throughout your day.

The way I used to conduct myself was to work hard for long hours while never stopping to take a break. By the time I got home and went to bed, however, I would wake up the next morning not even knowing what had happened the previous day. As an entrepreneur and business owner, you’ll find that working hard and putting in long hours is mandatory at some point in your career, to get to where you want to go.

But this shouldn’t come at the expense of completely burning yourself out. When my 50-minute timer goes off, and I am working on an important project or task, I stand up and do one of three things.

I either take a walk outside for 10 minutes, practice deep breathing for 10 minutes or perform some type of stretching routine before I return back to work. Just a 10- or 15-minute break doing one of these three things helps me to release whatever tension has been built up and develop a new focus for when it’s time to work again.

Whether you take a walk, practice deep breathing or perform stretches is entirely up to you. The most important thing is that multiple times throughout the day, you should take a break from your work and find different ways to recharge and come back even stronger.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

7 Secrets to a Killer Morning Routine

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Time is a precious commodity, particularly in those pre-work morning hours. How you spend those moments can either make or break the rest of your day.

Unfortunately, an average morning for many people involves hitting snooze until the very last minute, skipping breakfast, throwing on clothes, sitting in traffic and sidling into the office a few minutes late.What we don’t often realize is that rushed, uninspired behavior can contribute to a negative, unproductive attitude for the rest of the day.

It’s challenging to perform at a high level and make a significant contribution in the marketplace if the above perfectly describes how you generally start your day. Creating a powerful morning routine can very well be one of the most important things that you do to ensure success, happiness, and high energy throughout the workday.

Here are seven things that you must do in order to create a killer morning routine.

1. Stop telling yourself you aren’t a morning person.

Just because you’re not a morning person now doesn’t mean you can’t become one. You can change your mindset and make your killer morning routine a daily habit. Instead of telling yourself you aren’t a morning person, try saying this instead, “With proper lifestyle changes and some persistence, I can absolutely become a morning person and become more productive throughout the day.” Changing your mindset is the first step to creating a killer morning routine. Believe it and you can achieve it.

2. Wake up two hours early.

I’m not going to tell you that you need to wake up at 4 a.m. everyday, but I am going to propose that you get up at least two hours before you have to be anywhere. If you need to be at work at 8 a.m., get up at 6 a.m. This gives you enough time to feed your mind, body, and spirit before you head out the door. You have daily obligations and adequately preparing for them first thing will help set the tone and mood of the day. It’s nearly impossible to have a great killer morning routine and productive day if you are rushed and in a hurry.

3. Drink water as soon as you get up.

Drinking water first thing needs to be a staple when designing your own morning routine. We tend to be dehydrated when we wake up, so it’s critical that we reach for water before we reach for coffee. I start every morning with a glass of warm lemon water to jumpstart the detoxification process. Heat some water in your teapot, and then squeeze the juice of one lemon into the water. This helps me to feel more alert right away. After that, I drink four glasses of water. It’s a win-win because it rehydrates your body and kick-starts your metabolism.

4. Read something inspiring.

I make sure to read something positive and uplifting for a half hour every morning. If that seems like too much time, start with just 10 minutes. You can read from a book or a blog that you find inspiring, or listen to an audiobook or podcast while you’re commuting. While it’s important to read the news and know what’s going on in the world, it’s equally important to feed your mind with positive messages that fuel your thoughts and mindset for the day ahead.

5. Feed your soul with solitude.

Once your day is underway, you’ll be moving in a million different directions with a million different distractions. Finding time in the morning for solitude to meditate or journal, even if it is for just five minutes, has been a complete game-changer for me. You can start by simply taking five minutes each morning to say thank you for your life. Tuning in to this solitude will calm your mind and help focus your energies for the rest of the day.

6. Do some type of physical activity.

When you get up, get moving! If you aren’t a gym goer, walk around the block. Do a workout in front of your TV. Exercise increases endorphins and helps start your day in a positive way.

7. Eat a healthy breakfast.

Your mom was right: breakfast is important. I generally drink a green smoothie, but if I’m still hungry after that, I’ll have a few almonds or an omega-3 rich omelet.

After this killer morning routine, you’re ready to tackle just about anything.

Originally Posted on Fortune.com

5 Ways to Drastically Increase Your Productivity

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Regardless of how successful they already are, most entrepreneurs and business leaders would like to become more productive and efficient. Of course, the busy-ness of running a company and managing others can create a great amount of stress, which leads to exactly what we don’t want: decreasing productivity levels.

Here are 5 proven ideas and strategies for increasing your productivity that have tremendously benefited my life as well as the hundreds of thousands of people that I speak to each and every year.

1. Use your calendar to your advantage.

Most people use their calendar as a tool to simply remember birthdays and special events, but this is greatly undermining the true power that your calendar can serve to increase your productivity. A simple strategy that can work absolute wonders is to schedule your major tasks for the day. That’s right, don’t just create a to-do list of all the things you have to do the next day, but time block all of your most important tasks and projects that need to get done. The saying, “What gets scheduled gets done” holds an incredible amount of truth to it. Give it a try.

2. Plan your day in advance.

Sounds like such a simple thing to do and a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of people who wake up in the morning without a plan of action for the day ahead. Planning your day in advance helps you to get a good nights rest as you no longer have to stay up all night trying to remember all of the things that you have to get done the next day. It also helps you to wake up passionate and excited to attack your day as you already know exactly what you have to do instead of pondering and wasting precious time trying to make a plan.

3. Perfect your morning routine.

Perfecting your morning routine is crucial for you to take your productivity to the next level and set yourself up for a massively successful day. How we start our day is a great indicator on how the rest of our day is going to go. Most of the successful people I’ve met have, at some point, brought up their morning routine and how much it meant to them. Find something that works for you and start scheduling it in your calendar. An example of what mine looks like is getting a great workout in first thing in the morning, then reading an inspirational/uplifting book for 15-20 minutes, meditating, taking a look at my daily and yearly goals, and then writing in my gratitude journal. Get serious about your morning routine!

4. Develop a sense of urgency.

A lack of urgency hinders so many people from not only increasing their productivity levels, but also from reaching their full potential and achieving their biggest goals and dreams. I have written down on a notecard, “DO IT NOW!” that I take with me everywhere I go and I look at this notecard anytime I notice that I’m second guessing myself or procrastinating on a certain task or project. When I glance down at this notecard, it instantly reminds me the power of taking action and moving forward with a sense of urgency. Create a trigger for yourself that works for you. Whether it’s writing a reminder on a notecard or in your notes section on your smartphone, try to constantly remind yourself to get moving.

5. Become obsessed about limiting distractions.

We live in such a noisy and distracting world that if you don’t make an intentional effort to limit the amount of distractions when it’s time to work, it’s a guarantee that your productivity will take a hit. A typical day for a huge majority of the population consists of logging onto their computer first thing in the morning, checking their Facebook, sending out a few emails, taking a coffee break, chatting with coworkers, and then getting some tedious work done for the rest of the day. Keep breaks to a minimum, limit the chatter with co-workers, and stop searching the internet when it’s actually time to get some meaningful work done.

Originally Posted on Fortune.com

Finish Delayed Projects, Get Out of Your Comfort Zone — and Drastically Shift the Momentum in Your Life

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One of the more popular questions that I get asked on a daily basis is how to create change and shift the momentum in your life. Whether you feel stuck at your current position at work, not seeing the results that you had originally hoped for or simply just not satisfied with how your life is taking shape, it doesn’t have to stay that way like how a lot of people think it does.

All of us from time to time will more than likely feel stuck at some point. The sad reality is that when most people feel stuck, they aren’t intentional about creating change and shifting the momentum in their life and unfortunately continue on to live in quiet desperation as Henry David Thoreau once said how most people live.

We as human beings have the incredible opportunity to change if we don’t like how something is turning out in our lives. We can change our careers, characteristics about ourselves, learn new skills, get out of toxic relationships and embark on a new journey if the one that we are currently on isn’t deeply fulfilling to us.

Once you know that you don’t have to continue down a path that you don’t want to, it all comes down taking action and creating the change yourself. A major pitfall where most fall victim to is that, deep down inside, they want to change, but they end up waiting for someone else to come along or for a specific circumstance to make the change for them. Waiting for change to come along and happen is a surefire way to continue to get the same results that you have been getting.

Here are two ways to help you create radical change and shift the momentum in your life.

1. Pick three things daily that you have been procrastinating on, and make it a priority to finish them.

In order to create change in our lives, we not only need to see why things have been stagnant and what the root of the problem is, but we need to start taking massive action and get moving. When I feel stuck and sense that I am not moving forward in the direction of achieving my biggest goal at the moment, I take out a sheet of paper and make a master list of all the things that I have been putting off.

Some of the things on my master list can be important work projects, household chores, daily tasks, phone calls and emails. Some are small and some are big tasks. Some hold more weight than others, but I focus on just writing everything down. Whether you end up having five or 20 things on your list, the most important thing to do during this exercise is to then pick three things daily — and complete them.

When I first tried this exercise, I was blown away at how quickly I was able to not only change my state of mind and happiness because I was finally finishing things that I have been putting off for so long, but how the momentum in my life all of a sudden shifted. Every day for one week straight, I picked three things that I have been procrastinating on made sure I carried through on finishing them by the end of each day. Give this exercise a try if you are looking to spark change in your life and get the momentum back in your favor.

2. Pick one thing that scares you and forces you to get out of your comfort zone — and then do it.

I don’t know a lot of things that help create a radical change and shift the momentum in your life more than forcing yourself to get out of your comfort zone each and every day. Part of the problem as to why we feel stuck and not fulfilled is because most of the time, we have become complacent and stopped searching for ways to get out of our comfort zone. When we force ourselves to leave our comfort zone, we not only grow and become a little bit stronger throughout the process, but we begin to plant the seeds of change day by day.

Major changes for the better don’t happen overnight. Just like anything worthwhile in life, nothing ever comes easy. The same goes for drastically changing your life, circumstances and overall success. Picking one thing that scares you and then following through on doing that one thing every day builds small victories which over time will bring the change and momentum that you are looking for.

I can tell you right now that nothing has benefited my life more than making it a daily habit for the past seven years to do one thing on a daily basis that at first scares me. It has helped me to grow into become a better version of myself, develop an inner strength that is required to achieve massive goals and increased my self-confidence levels through the roof. If you want to change and get the momentum back on your side, step out of comfort daily.

There are a lot of ways to create change and shift the momentum in our lives, but the above two exercises have worked wonders for me whenever I felt stuck or lost momentum. I hope they help you to do the same.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Stop Paying Attention to the Non-Urgent in Your Life. Learn How to Single-Task.

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People are always talking about multitasking, and they think it’s a talent — but I think it’s counterproductive to success. It means you’re dividing your attention into a million parts. If you’re talking on the phone to a client but doing some kind of household chore or even reading a magazine while talking, you are not fully engaging your client. You’re not in the flow of the conversation.

Your client deserves better, don’t you think? In the same way, your life deserves better. The ability to single-task — to give one thing your undivided attention — is one of the keys to true productivity. Not the kind of productivity where you knock off 20 items from your to-do list while still managing to run 15 miles and respond to 20 emails. Sure, that kind of productivity feels good.

But I’m talking about the kind of productivity where you actually achieve your goals, where you accomplish important and long-lasting things. It means finishing major projects rather than doing a million little things that don’t add up to anything lasting. It means quality productivity instead of quantity productivity.

Once you’ve learned to give your undivided attention to that one thing —  to laser-focus on the important projects —  you will automatically shift into the flow. That’s because flow is how you get them done. You block out all extraneous noise, all phone calls, all menial tasks, all interruptions, and you just focus. You are able to sit and focus on that one task long enough to complete it. When you can work in the flow, you can accomplish anything.

Getting consumed by tedious tasks and busy work is a major battle many of us face each day. Every morning when we get up, the first thing on our minds should be the projects and tasks that will ultimately give us the biggest return on energy (ROE). The reason why this is extremely difficult for most people to do is because often what gives us the biggest ROE and reward is also usually the hardest and most time-consuming of everything that we have to do.

Sending emails, talking on the phone, cleaning up your desk and moving from place to place might seem like you are getting a lot done, but as I stated above, there is a major difference between quality productivity and quantity productivity. If we all took the time to assess our current habits and schedules and pinpoint what is consuming most of our time and energy, we may be surprised at how much time and effort we give to the non-urgent things in our lives.

Even though multitasking may make you feel accomplished temporarily, it’s not a way to go about business or achieving your main goal. It’s nearly impossible to be a master at your craft and become the absolute best if you’re always focusing your efforts in 10 different ways. By shifting our priorities to the big tasks and projects that add extreme value to our goals, we begin to feel accomplished and deeply fulfilled — not just a person accomplishing a lot of busy work.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Distractions Are the Enemy of Good: 3 Ways to Minimize Them

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One of the biggest obstacles standing in your way from achieving greatness and becoming all that you can be in life and in business is the never-ending flood of noise and distractions in the world. We live in a world where these things are constant. Everything from television, phones, text messages and the Internet, to work obligations and family duties, demands our attention almost every minute of every day.

Yet, you need not fall into the high percentage of men and women who sabotage their own success by never recognizing that they are the ones in charge of where and what they direct their time and focus to.

I’m always amazed when I hear someone proclaim unhappiness with where he or she is at in life. Then I pay closer attention to the complainer’s everyday movements and energy focus. I typically witness activities like surfing the Internet instead of finishing a proposal to send to a prospect — or texting friends instead of making sales calls — or filling down time with reality television instead of investing in personal and professional development.

These are just a few examples of the small distractions throughout the day that can tremendously hurt people’s chances of achieving greatness and moving closer to where they aspire to be.

Distractions aren’t just the enemy for individuals, but for teams and organizations. Every single day, we are faced with a countless number of distractions with the potential to negatively affect performance and success levels.

Here are three ways to minimize those distractions and make sure you, your team or organization thrives.

1. Stay mission focused.

As human beings, we yearn for meaning and fulfillment, and one of the quickest ways to achieve that and simultaneously minimize distractions is to stay mission focused in all we do. It’s easy to wake up each morning and go through the motions and coast along, but when you stay mission focused, distractions never stand a chance. To help yourself in this regard, post your mission statement in a place where you will see it all throughout the day.

I have my own statement on my desktop and laptop, in my phone, and on a notecard I carry around with me everywhere I go. This forces me to constantly stay mission focused and ignore the “noise” that comes up throughout the day. When we don’t stay mission focused, distractions intrude more often. People forget why they’re here or where they’re going because they’ve become sidetracked.

2. Understand and analyze your weak points.

A beneficial exercise for me was the time I devoted a whole weekend to analyzing the biggest distractions getting in the way of my achieving some of my biggest goals and dreams. I was feeling frustrated and unproductive so I spent time going through my daily routine and schedule, and tracking exactly how my time was being spent.

I finally was able to be honest with myself and see three key distractions that had been preventing me from getting my most important tasks and projects done. I wasn’t aware of them before I made some changes.

You don’t have to spend an entire weekend to analyze your biggest distractions, but spend at least 20 minutes and see what you can do less of throughout the day that will free you up for more quality work time and time to spend on things that matter most.

Most people don’t do this. But if you do, you’ll realize what your obstacles have been.

3. Get serious about scheduling everything and time blocking your days.

The easiest way to fight distractions is to schedule the most important projects, work and priorities that you absolutely need to do each day. Something that has worked well for me is time-blocking, which entails going back to my roots as an athlete, when I had a ridiculously disciplined schedule and the whole day blocked out. When you set aside a specific time in which you devote undivided attention solely to that urgent project or task, distractions and “noise” are greatly minimized.

So, preferably the night before, schedule your next day, blocking out your most important tasks and priorities. This will prompt you to wake up in the morning knowing that you not only have a game plan, but know exactly when something has to get done.

Every single day, millions of people are victimized by the noise and distraction in their lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Intead, be intentional. Get rid of the distractions that don’t serve a greater purpose, to get you to where you want to go in life and in business.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Winning the Day Starts With Winning the Morning

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I used to absolutely hate mornings, probably as a result from all the times I had to be awake at 5 a.m. just to run myself to complete exhaustion during my football career.

However, after I was finished with team-organized activities and had some time to catch my breath, I realized how amazing I felt. Not only that, I was amazed by how much I was able to get done before 9 a.m. while the rest of the world was still trying to get their day underway.

When my playing days came to an end, I realized even more so how important it is to choose how we spend our mornings. If you don’t start your morning off well, it’s almost a guarantee you will have a below average day. On the flip side, if you develop a morning routine that empowers you, uplifts your spirit and leaves you feeling like there is nothing that you cannot do, chances are you will achieve high productivity, maximum performance and massive amounts of success.

My morning routine is the main reason I have been able to get so much done thus far in my life.

A very common question I get asked is, “How do you manage to get so much done?” My answer never changes, “Strategically planning my mornings, and being very selective of the people and things that receive my attention.”

It’s almost like people are waiting for some big secret to be revealed. There is no secret. Indulge in some research and read about some of the people you look up to who have done extraordinary things with their lives. I’m almost 100 percent certain that you will come across their willingness to start their day early and win first thing in the morning.

Here are three things you can do to help make sure your mornings are extremely beneficial.

1. Be an early riser.

There is something magical about waking up before the rest of the world. History has shown us that the most decorated men and women who operate at a world-class level in their line of work all cherished the early morning hours. This is a time where you can sit in complete solitude to think about your goals, ambitions and life in general. Minimize distractions and completely focus on what matters most — yourself.

2. Have a plan for your day.

A huge mistake that can almost guarantee mediocrity is going about your day without a plan. I plan my days the night before. Not only does this help me fall asleep at night because I have removed all the clutter from my head, but I know exactly what has to get done the following day.

3. Develop a morning routine that works for you.

I take an hour in the morning to go through what I call my “Hour to Greatness.” This is where I rewrite my goals, read an uplifting book for 15 minutes, spend time in solitude, and get my mind, body and spirit ready for the day ahead.

The most important thing is that you find a routine that works for you. What works for someone else may not be the most efficient routine for your lifestyle. Winning the day starts with winning the morning.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Time Management Is Really Life Management

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Time is one of life’s most valuable possessions, as it is something you can never get back. Subsequently, one of the most essential life skills to master is time management. After all, time management is really life management. Learning how to make every day count for something is the objective. But it takes ridding your life of procrastination and a great deal of self-discipline.

Mastering time management does more than just increase productivity. It can yield important health benefits as well. When time is managed wisely, it minimizes stress and improves the overall quality of your life.

If you often find yourself run down by your daily workload or overwhelmed by the complexity of projects and tasks in your life, it is likely because you have not fully mastered effective time management. As the day flies by, you realize you’re behind, or you are on schedule only because you haven’t put forth your best effort in hopes of completion.

Nothing great ever transcends from haste. Cutting corners will eventually catch up to you, and as with anything, quality always beats quantity.

Lay the foundation for effectively managing your time.

Delegating the appropriate amount of time to get adequate sleep, maintain a healthy diet and exercising regularly are all essential elements to improve both focus and concentration. Making the time to create a healthy lifestyle will help improve your efficiency throughout the day, allowing for more time to complete other tasks.

Identify and evaluate how you are currently spending your time.

If you drive to work, how do you pass the time during your commute? If you take a bus or train, how do you spend all those hours a week? How many audiobooks or language tapes could you have completed while in traffic last month? How many books could you read on the train while getting to and from work the next few weeks?

These are the best times throughout your day to incorporate all those little things that you “wished” you had time for. Over time, these habits become a lifestyle, and you will find yourself well ahead of the pack.

Say no to nonessential tasks and prioritize the ones of extreme value.

Consider your goals and look at your schedule before agreeing to take on more work. If a task is time consuming but not necessarily important to the main goal, pass it off or add it to the bottom of the list.

Dedicate time blocks and limit distractions.

Everyone has a place where they work the most effectively. Some people love to have music in their earbuds, while others need complete silence. Some people can work just as efficiently from their dining table as they can in a library cubicle. Wherever that place is, utilize it. Turn the television off, silence the cell phone, put away the tablet and dedicate complete focus to the task at hand. No responding to texts, no browsing the web.

When you operate your life in a healthy, organized fashion, and are able to execute daily tasks efficiently, stress is reduced, productivity increases and overall satisfaction manifests.

Never hesitate to take a break if needed.

Everyone gets worn out from time to time and piling on more and more tasks leads to stress that will simply derail you from the mission at hand. Take a walk, go to the gym, get some fresh air or take that sick day you’ve been holding out on. Sometimes all we need is a moment of clarity and solitude to clear our overworked minds and recharge our bodies to give us that next big push.

After all, time management is really life management.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

 

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