We all aim to be successful and productive. Daily rituals can help a lot in attaining this goal. These rituals the tiny, invisible routines and collections of habits that these people do every single day to make sure that they get things done, that they don’t get interrupted, and that they can sustainably move towards their goals one day at a time. Listen to this episode and learn five hacks to have a productive day.
All successful and productive people use rituals. They are the tiny, invisible routines and collections of habits that these people do every single day to make sure that they get things done, that they don’t get interrupted, and that they can sustainably move towards their goals, one day at a time.
In the previous podcast I spoke about the core habits required to start the day well. In this podcast I will focus on the habits required to have a productive day.
One of the rituals of highly successful people is Meditation, or Mindfulness.
Now before you dismiss it as mystic woo-woo, meditation is actually a very powerful and practical routine that helps you create time, attention, space and focus for yourself – away from all the chaos of the world around you.
It can take many forms, from straightforward meditation, to breathing exercises, to priming, to walking, to giving yourself some much-needed solitude during the day.
The key to making meditation work is to:
1. Find a time that works for you.
2. Find a place that works for you.
3. Just start doing it.
The benefits of meditation are many – a calmer mind, the ability to collect your thoughts at will, the ability to focus at will. And let’s not mention happiness, productivity, and a superpowered psychological processing engine that helps you regulate emotions, mood and the ability to manage the increasingly complex world around us.
If you know someone who’s always agitated, or angry at the world, or unable to control their emotions – they probably don’t meditate. In fact, a lot of “hyperactive” individuals who we label as “ADD” have probably just never learned to focus – and meditation can help a lot with that.
With a very wide range of methodologies, apps and information on meditation available today, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t reap the benefits of 1-2 daily meditation sessions.
2. Regular Exercise
When asked what the secret of his success was, Richard Branson famously replied: “exercise”.
And he’s absolutely right – regular exercise is one of the rituals that all highly successful people have.
Just so there’s no misunderstanding – we are talking about physical activity that keeps our bodies fit and strong.
The great thing about exercise, is that there’s no one “right” exercise, and that there are literally hundreds of exercises you can choose from, from weight lifting, to crossfit, to cycling, to team sports, to simply going for a brisk walk.
The key thing with this ritual is to work out what it is you want to do, and then to find a timeslot for it in your schedule… and then do whatever it takes to make sure that you show up.
The benefits are more than can be described in words, from a sense of health and youthfulness, to increased physical and mental energy, to wellbeing, to productivity… to success.
There is an endless snowball of benefits that come from a properly implemented exercise ritual – it makes all your other rituals and habits stronger and it helps you build ongoing self-discipline. It also releases a spectrum of natural hormones and feel-good chemistry into your system, which makes in self-reinforcing over time. This means you’ll live longer, be able to do more and be more awesome – what’s not to love?
It isn’t a difficult choice – you can be lethargic, overweight, worried about the spare tire forming around your mid-section and feel unfit, unhealthy and generally terrible… or you can be fit, healthy, in-control and feeling like you can take on anything the world throws at you!
3. Structured Productivity
The next ritual of highly successful people we call Structural Productivity, and it is also known as “planning your day”.
The reason we call it “structural” productivity, is because the ritual involves setting up a time-based structure and schedule for your days… and by simply doing this (and following the schedule), you automatically become productive.
So here’s how it works. First, you find your core activities (like work and exercise) and you solidify them – you put them into your schedule. You then locate the times around these core activities, and fill them with other activities.
What this does is it highlights the things that you MUST do every single day and flags them as “non-negotiable”. It also contrasts them against the things that ARE flexible every day, and lets you know that if an emergency comes up, there are things that you can push back against.
After you implement this ritual, you’ll be able to go into every day knowing that you got most you could get done in that day. This is an extremely liberating feeling – we’re all confined by 24 hours each day, and most of us feel that we could or should be doing more. By having structural productivity in place, we know that our days are optimized and that we did the best we could… and we can be proud of that.
Structural productivity provides a real progress tracking system for our time that other people just don’t have – they’re always getting swept up in the day’s emergencies and ebbs and flows. If you’re feeling constantly overwhelmed and snowed-in by things just happening around you – you NEED structural productivity. It will restore the sense of control and order that you’re looking for.
4. Taking Breaks
This particular ritual is a bit of an odd one – it’s a ritual about NOT doing anything.
“Taking Breaks” is all about disconnecting from work, letting your mind/body rest, and then being able to come back from that and continue being productive.
You see, most people feel like that they want to “power through” the work day and get all their stuff done. But what they don’t realize is that they’re really just tired all day, trying not to fall asleep, and end up using stimulants like caffeine as a substitute for taking breaks. And that cycle of tiredness and trying to power through – that really just makes someone bitter towards their situation in life.
When you implement a proper “taking breaks” or downtime ritual, you’ll be able take breaks, know that you’ve worked enough in a given day, and (this is important), you’ll be able to pause from your work, go away, enjoy your break, and then come back and pick up exactly where you left off.
This gives you a great sense of control over your energy throughout the day, and can really prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, tired, or constantly sleepy through a tough day.
5. Evening Ritual
The final ritual of highly successful people that I want to cover here is the Evening Ritual. It is the opposite end of the Morning Ritual. Whereas a morning ritual starts your day – an evening ritual ends it. It describes the wind-down process that you go through at the end of the day to get a fantastic night of sleep.
This means no insomnia, an ability to forget about worries and stresses at the end of the day… and a great night of rest.
If you’ve ever had a long night of sleep but still wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all – it’s probably because you were lacking an evening ritual.
And all it consists of is a few key moves – from writing down any stray thoughts and open loops, to turning off your electronics after a certain time of day.
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On this podcast I’m going to help you design a life that works. So you are able to say yes to the things that matter and eliminate everything else that slows you down. The more clear you can be about how to organize your daily life to support your bigger vision, the more you’ll step into your true potential, stay on track and accomplish all that you want and deserve. Are you ready to make that happen?
Feel free to reach out to me to ask your questions at AskDrSun.com. Your life is a gift. Design it. Do what matters and join me each week as we get closer to designing the life of your dreams. I am Dr Sun. Join me next week on Your Life by Design.