Set yourself up for a day of genius
Do you crawl out of bed every day and reach for your BlackBerry before even your toothbrush? Are you one of those that dives right into a black hole of email before allowing your mind and body to warm up to the day? If this sounds like you, we have a crisis on our hands, as you are allowing life to “de-genius” you. Over the past eight months while working on my book, I radically changed how I managed my day by feeding myself with healthy, meditative activities first, followed by the “smart work” I needed to get done. The difference in the quality and productivity of my day was extraordinary.
Here’s the issue: the way you start your day is the way the rest of it will be played out. So if you start out in a haste, immediately diving into tasks and to-do minutiae instead of first taking the time to prepare yourself in a healthy way for the day ahead, you are basically setting yourself up for a day of struggle and even failure. Instead, set yourself for a day of practical genius by making the conscious decision to feed your greatest natural resources (heart, body and mind) before feeding anything else (family, work, etc.).
Consider this as an alternative to hopping out of bed and jumping right on the to-do treadmill: Try meditating for 10 minutes in the morning. Sit up in bed, stretch a bit, and sit in silence taking deep breaths. After this settling of the mind, awaken the body with a few gentle yoga stretches by your bedside. All animals stretch when they wake up and we should never forget that we are primates, too. After your stretching session, be sure to make time for a genius fuel-rich breakfast and if you need a boost of energy, matcha green tea is a terrific alternative to coffee.
Taking this input first/output second approach a step further, instead of starting your work day answering emails or diving into your endless to-do lists, consider prioritizing the smart work of your day for the morning. I write best in the mornings and did a bit of research to find out why my flow state is always in the morning and I learned that our minds work best early in the day after a long period of rest. That’s why it makes sense to get your smart work done first. For example, if you have a report to write, carve out the time first thing in the morning to tackle the writing instead of waiting until late in the day when “the office is quiet.” If you have a grant proposal to complete, start your work day with that. Smart work can be defined as anything requiring you to focus, synthesize or create. And by create, I mean creating something substantive and meaningful, not creating a email. Email should come last in your work day. Yes, I said it, last. Believe me, if someone really needs a response from you ASAP, they will call you.
Bottom line: feed your genius first and your day will be filled with greater flow and synergy and higher quality output. Remember genius is a choice.