Before I had an established morning routine practice, I used to fly out of bed in the morning, grab my tea or coffee and get to work! But… then I realized that I needed to be deliberate and intentional when I started my day in order to set myself up for success. Taking specific actions in the morning has helped me so much personally and professionally, so I wanted to share more about my morning routine with you today.
(You can also read more in-depth about my morning routine and now to create one for yourself in Chapter 11 of my newest book: 30 Days to Start and Grow Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business, as well as my book for dog trainers, pet groomers and dog daycare owners called Six-Figure Pet Business.
Three Basics to Know Before Deciding What Your Morning Routine Will Be:
1) Start the Night Before. Set aside a few minutes at the end of each workday to look at the following day: what you most want and need to get done. This will help you hit the ground running in your business after your morning routine.
2) Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day. I realize this may not always be feasible for everyone, especially if you have kids or pets who may not adhere to a time schedule! But, if you can do your best to to create a schedule for yourself as consistency in both what you do for your morning routine, and when you do it, will set you up for success.
3) Get Moving. Putting regular exercise in your schedule can both help you sleep better and be more focused when you’re working. Both of these benefits can really pave the way to help you establish a good morning routine!
It’s important that your morning routine is able to shift and change as you and your pet business shift, change and grow.
My husband doesn’t like this picture because he’s squinting from the bright sun. But I love this pic and him, squinting and all. 😉
When I was single and living alone my morning routine was very different than it is now! I’m married now, and though I still have an established morning routine to set up myself and my business for success, part of my morning routine also includes spending some quality time with my husband.
My Morning Routine
Besides spending a few minutes of quality time with my husband in the morning, here is my morning routine on most mornings:
-Wake up and make tea
-Go to a quiet part of the house and write my Morning Pages which also becomes my To-Do list (more on this in a bit)
-Write my To-Do list (usually no more than 5 “must do” items)
-Look at my To-Do list and text that day’s action steps to my “action buddy” (more on this in a bit too)
-Meditate with my husband for 5 or more minutes
-Eat a healthy breakfast
-Check email and phone messages and respond to those most urgent
-Work out at the gym for one hour (3-4 times a week, yoga 1-2x a week on the days I’m not working out)
From the time I wake up until the time I check email and phone messages, my morning routine takes about 60-75 minutes. I wouldn’t give that up for the world and when you establish a regular morning routine, after awhile you won’t want to give it up either!
Now, here’s the thing: each person’s morning routine can and should be a little different. What works great for me may not work great for you. You will have to find your ‘sweet spot’ morning routine and that includes how long and what’s involved.
Morning Pages are one part of the morning routine that I would really encourage you to try for at least three weeks, even if it’s not something you really want to do. They’ve had a profound impact with many of my coaching clients (including those who were resistant to doing them) and definitely have had a big positive effect in my own life.
Ever since I first read about Morning Pages in the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I have been writing them and it’s now been over twenty years. I feel that some of my business success is in part due to the fact that I do this ‘brain dump’ every morning and come away with clear actionable steps that set me on the path for success each and every day.
What are Morning Pages?
The instructions for Morning Pages are simple: write three pages in your journal; preferably by hand on paper. Don’t edit, spell-check or critique yourself while writing. Simply write! If you can’t think of anything to write, then write: I can’t think of anything to write. Keep writing until you’ve reached three pages. You may get flashes of insight, clarity about a problem you’ve been struggling with or clear To-Do list items for that day. You may simply feel lighter and freer as you start your day because you’ve released gunk that’s been in your brain for awhile. Regardless of what you walk away with, it will most likely be GOOD. But it sometimes takes a few days or weeks to really see the profound results from Morning Pages so that’s why I always recommend that it’s done every day for at least three weeks, including weekends.
Why and How to Get an “Action Buddy”
An Action Buddy is someone with whom you connect with on a daily or weekly basis and share your action steps with or your To-Do list, or anything else that you need support and accountability assistance.
Connecting with my Action Buddy Sharon is a big part of my Morning Routine and I always text with her immediately after I’ve written my daily To-Do list with that list (and again, that list of actionable steps usually comes from the clarity I’ve received from my Morning Page writing). She texts me her To-Do list and sometimes we both “bookend” (check in) at the end of the day to say what we’ve accomplished and what we haven’t. Even if we don’t check in at that day’s end, there’s something incredibly powerful for both of us in having sent our To-Do lists to each other in the morning. I am more likely to get all of my items done because someone else knows what I have on my plate that day and I feel accountable to that person (and she to me).
If you want to get an action buddy, there are a number of ways to find that person. Ideally, it’s a good idea to get a fellow pet professional as your action buddy, someone who really ‘gets it’. Part of the Catapult Pet Business Program that I offer involves the action step of getting an action buddy and when you sign up for the program, you’ll have that opportunity too. There’s a supportive and private Catapult Facebook group that you’ll receive access to when you sign up for the Catapult Program, where you can request an action buddy.
If you can’t find a pet professional to action buddy with, I recommend reaching out to local business owners you may know, especially service-based business owners. Running a business can be isolating and having a supportive business buddy can make all the difference in the world!
Regardless of what your Morning Routine might look like, I encourage you to start one tomorrow – or even today if you are reading this in the morning. It’s never too late to set yourself up for success!