Parenting is the most rewarding experience you can have. Yesterday evening, my son asked me, “Dad, please wake me up early tomorrow.”
“What for?” I asked.
“So I can do my duties earlier in the day and then I will be allowed to play outside with my friends,” he replied.
Oh, boy! What responsibility! What an adult attitude! I was so proud of him.
Actually, he woke up on his own this morning. I swelled with pride.
The best part of it?
I didn’t nag him into waking up early; he figured it out on his own. I’m just enforcing on him – all my kids really – the rule of “duties first, pleasures second.” Each time any of them asks me if he/she can go outside, play on the computer, and so on, my first reaction is, “Did you do your duties? Is your room clean? Did you do your homework?”
Well, I do one more thing.
I set an example.
I have never preached to him about the advantages of waking up early and doing the tough stuff first. But each morning he wakes up and sees me sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by my notepads and tools of the trade—a laptop, a smartphone and an eReader device.
That is, if he sees me. When I work the morning shift I’m already away at the office when he wakes up.
My son observed what I do and he came up with his own conclusions. He reads, he does his homework and he studies English vocabulary early in the morning. Then all he has to do are some household chores and he is free to use his time as he likes.
Early to rise
The concept of waking up early wasn’t very appealing to me when I first heard of it. I live over 30 miles from my office so to get to work at 7 a.m. I need to wake up at 4:25 a.m. Well, I could go to sleep earlier and wake up even earlier, right? No, I have a wife and kids and am dedicated to spending quality time with them. It’s impossible for me to go to sleep before 9 p.m. In fact, I struggle to be in bed by half past 10 each evening.
OK, so I was excused and I could forget about the morning routine, right? Yes, I could, but what good would that bring me? “Not much,” the late Jim Rohn would say.
So I adopted the habit of waking up earlier.
My morning routine
I don’t wake up early to work on my projects; I have the whole day to do that. Every morning I use my first 30 minutes to fire up.
I post on my internet journal and check my sales on Amazon. I do this in the morning so as not to upset my wife; she is constantly complaining that I spend too much time on the computer instead of spending it with the family. Out of sight, out of mind.
Then I look at my vision board.
I read the philosophy manifesto I wrote for myself.
I read some passages from two books which have helped me shape that philosophy: The Science of Getting Rich and Manuscript on Purgatory. Despite the titles, I consider both of them as focused primarily on personal growth.
I exercise for about 15 minutes, listening to something educational and/or motivational, usually a podcast.
On days that I go to the office I then prepare for work, pack my food, my laptop, phone and so on.
While I do this and any other purely manual activities (like drinking a glass of water or brushing my teeth), I repeat my personal mission statement in my mind or I pray. I pray also on my way to the train station.
I spend about 10 minutes writing in my journal about my goals, plans, desires, motivations, obstacles, dreams, doubts and beliefs. When I’m on the morning shift I usually do this at the office, before starting work.
On weekends I do as many of my daily habits as I can after my routine. I write for 30 minutes, I study the Bible, I practice speed reading, I read 10 pages of a book written by a saint. On Saturdays I also study 10 minutes for a professional exam.
Those are not tangible habits; they don’t seem to give me any measurable advantage. They are not as impressive as writing a book early in the morning for one or two hours every day.
Nonetheless, I’m convinced that, because of my morning ritual, I didn’t give up, I persevered. And I intend to never quit.
The importance of a morning routine
Use the first minutes of your day not only productively but also wisely. My days are always hectic. My mornings, the time before dawn, hold the only ironclad minutes of focus, peace and quiet in my day. And I use them to immerse my soul and mind in focus, peace and quiet. It gives me the strength to go through the daily hustle and bustle.
Develop your own routine
Your needs and lifestyle may be different.
Maybe you meditate every day for 30 to 60 minutes and gain balance in your life that way, or all you need is one hour in the morning to write your book, when nothing and nobody needs your attention.
Maybe you really need to focus on your health and you should start your day with a long workout.
Maybe you neglected gaining knowledge in the last few years and you should study 45 minutes a day, in the morning when no distractions cross your mind.
I don’t know, but you know. Seek your best solution.
What are your thoughts about the morning routine? Are you going to develop one? Have you got one? What does it give you? Please share in the comment section.
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