How to have an Inspired, Intentional, and Motivated Day!
In my last post, I provided an overview of what an uninspired, unintentional and unmotivated day looks like. You can read this post, here. Have you ever wondered what it would take to feel more accomplished and satisfied with life at the end of each day? Have you ever wondered if there were simple habits that you could implement now, to start feeing that way more often? Yeah, me too. The feeling of dissatisfaction was enough to propel me into a search for the habits that create the sense of purpose, passion, productivity and peace of mind. As promised, I want to outline the exact opposite of the unintentional day.
These days, I strive to format and intentionally create my best of days, every day. Do I get it right every day? Absolutely not! But, I have the tools, techniques, and Titan examples that I can refer to as soon as I feel things slipping out of synch. While I am no longer in the corporate arena, below I have inserted my personal habits into a typical corporate day so you can get a feel for what I strive for -- at home, in my relationships, and in my occupation. Enjoy!
Let me take you on a journey. Imagine with me, if you will, that the inspiration for your day begins the day before. During your lunch hour, an alert goes off on your phone, reminding you to schedule your next day. Because you have already scheduled your week "to-do's" and the tasks needed to accomplish your personal goals, this is process is quite easy. You simply open your google calendar and verify that you have scheduled time in the morning to do your morning routine, exercise, work on a passion project (that moves you closer to your personal goals) and leave plenty of time to get ready, straighten up the house and make a power breakfast. Yep. It's scheduled. You've got it covered. In addition, the schedule for the next day looks good. You review your meetings and block out any time you anticipate that will be required for preparation. You even block out 30 minutes to think. This 30-minute thinking window is a magic time that you let your mind dream up new work-related projects, innovative solutions, strategic questions, inspiring goals, etc.
In addition to your lunch hour scheduling routine, you have in place an evening routine that prepares you for the next day. About an hour before you head to bed (you have made this time 8:30 pm), you set out everything you will need for the following day. You throw a few healthy foods in the crockpot for lunch tomorrow and then begin your nightly stretches. After stretching you do a quick 10 minute meditation (envisioning your next day: you accomplishing your tasks, enthusiastically engaging your colleagues at a meeting, crushing your project proposal, greeting your spouse with a fabulous and meaningful kiss after work, happily discussing your day over a fantastic glass of wine and relaxing with a great book before you start your evening wind-down). After your 10 minute meditation, you pick up your journal and write down three things that made you smile or that sparked gratitude, today. If you have anything pressing on your mind, you write a question down in your journal and trust that your brain will solve the issue while you sleep. Then, you let it go. You tell yourself you will sleep soundly, wake refreshed and have an inspiring day...
At 4:57 am you wake up three minutes before your alarm is set to go off. Interestingly enough, you habitually awaken at this time every morning; but, it makes you feel at peace to know you have a backup alarm, should your body forget its mission to start moving by 5 am. This is the time you choose to wake up and you have trained your body, over a few months time, to joyfully bounce out of bed in anticipation of your new day. You love the morning hours as this time paints newness on every part of your life. Today, you have the opportunity to move your body, worship and pray, to eat tasty food, create something for the world to appreciate and love, become better at a new skill, participate in engaging conversation, lift someone's spirits, demonstrate love to an unsuspecting subject, to dream and to live out the beginning of your fabulous future as you serve others in the process.
You have established a one hour morning routine that touches on some important areas of your life: your health; your happiness and your connection to humanity. To address each of these areas, you choose to jump on your mini trampoline for 5 minutes, drink a quart of water, have a cup of hot tea or coffee while you read an inspiring spiritual text. You take some time to meditate or pray, journal what you have learned and accomplished in the last 24 hours, then you exercise for 20-30 minutes.
After your morning routine, you begin reviewing your passion project you are working on. You have already created a task list that comprises the intricate elements of a completed personal goal. You have already determined what you need to work on each day of this week. From your task list for the week, you select the one MUST that you will get done today. You decide that today you will write two paragraphs for your blog. When you are working on your personal tasks or a big project, you use the Pomodoro method for focused work sprints and set your timer. After your 25 minutes, you take a 5-minute break and run through some yoga stretches. Today you only have time for one Pomodoro round; but, this is enough to create momentum and help you feel accomplished and creative.
Now that you have accomplished the task that will get you one step closer to achieving your goals for the year, it is time to prepare for your up and coming day. You take 15 minutes to strategically skim through your e-mails. This is not a time for lengthy responses. You simply put any e-mails that require action, on your "to-do" list for the day, week or month. The rest are quickly responded to (if they take less than one minute), archived or deleted. Now, you are back to inbox zero! No outstanding digital clutter to distract you. From your e-mails and your work schedule for the day, you know exactly what you should focus on: you have chosen three priorities and one MUST task. You have scheduled time for these tasks in your workday. Now that your day is scheduled, you have left plenty of time to get ready and even have 15 minutes to straighten up your house, make your bed, wipe down countertops, and review your notes for this morning's meeting, before heading out the door.
In the car, you listen to 3 minutes or prerecorded affirmations that you have created that include each of your 10 goals for the year. You visualize each one completed an in the present tense. These are your "wouldn't it be incredible if this were to happen this year" goals. Thinking about your dreams energizes you. Once you complete your affirmations, you put a new audiobook on that is teaching you a fascinating skill that will help you perform better in your position at work. Today's audiobook is walking you thought the skills needed to create an inspiring speech. While traffic is painfully slower today, it doesn't' matter because you have allowed plenty of time to cushion the commute and you are happily enjoying the information being fed to you through your speakers.
You arrive to work 15 minutes prior to your first meeting, giving you plenty of time to fill your water bottle and gather your items required for your 9 am meeting. Before stepping into the room, you take 60 seconds to think about the qualities you want to exude during your presentation and imagine your colleagues feeling inspired, joyful and engaged. You nail your presentation. It goes exactly as you envisioned the night before. Your boss seems impressed with your perspective and unique approach to delivering the information.
Later that morning, when a colleague knocks on your door and demands some of your time, you let her know that you definitely want to help her. She has a choice, she can choose 5 minutes of your time now or she can schedule time with you tomorrow at 10 am after your morning meeting. You know that you will need the rest of the day to prepare for a conference call and want plenty of time to allow for copying issues, getting your lunch break in and checking in with your boss to make sure that you are both on the same page before you head into the conference call at 4 pm.
She says 5 minutes now is fine. When she starts to bring up concerns that you know will take much longer than 5 minutes, you kindly remind her that while your five minutes is now up, you would be more than happy to assist her first thing tomorrow after your meeting. You will schedule it now so that it is a priority. She is understanding and thankful that you make the time.
IN an effort to remain focused, you have two set times each day that you check your e-mails. You have already created a "to-do" list from your 15-minute e-mail scan this morning. Your second time is at 2:00 pm. You have created an automatic responder that notifies each sender of these times. If it is an "emergency" they are to call you (or text you if they have your number). All other times during the day your notifications are off. No pings. No pop-ups. No bells. No distractions. You don't allow other people's agenda to distract you from your mission and your priorities for the day.
Before you settle into your preparations for your conference call and creating the necessary reports, you decide to walk over to your boss's office and check in. Before you make the treck you take 1 minute to ask yourself what outcome you want from your meeting with her; what feeling you want to generate in her office. Again, you determine that you want to leave the room feeling inspired, joyful and engaged. These are your favorite qualities you are cultivating in your life. You visualize a productive, short meeting with these feelings being sprinkled throughout the conversation. After 60 seconds, you are ready to go meet with her.
After a brief banter that makes her smile, you let her know that you wanted to check in. You tell her that you are working on the marketing campaign and that you saw her e-mail this morning about needing the projections for the year. You make an effort to keep your phone in your pocket, maintain eye contact, mimic her body language and keep your countenance peaceful and joyful. You ask her if there are any additional items that she will need you to make a priority prior for the meeting. She asks that you create a chart for the projections that can be shared with the attendees and then e-mailed afterward, for reference. You let her know that you have some created that you can easily provide the group. You notice that she is smiling and she seems less tense having had this brief discussion with you. You purposefully make the meeting brief as you know her times is precious and you excuse yourself to grab some lunch.
While most folks work through their lunch, you know that your body needs nutrition and a healthy break from a busy and semi-fast-paced morning. During this time, you do not check e-mails or work on any project. Instead, you eat at a picnic table outside and enjoy the sun and fresh air. This is your time to clear your mind and think about how you want the rest of your day to go and remind yourself to look out for those that need encouragement, a smile, and your best effort, today. You pull out your phone and review your schedule for the next day, making sure that your morning routine includes tackling at least one task from your personal goal list. You know that achieving at least one task every morning, gives you a sense of pride, purpose, and joy as you get closer to achieving your goals. You head back to your desk feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and focused.
On the way back to your desk, you walk around and briefly say "hi" to some folks that are in your department. You use this time to move your body due to the fact that you are sitting the greater portion of the day. You have read the research that supports regular movement and improved productivity in the workplace, so you have an alert set on your phone that reminds you to get up and walk around every 50 minutes. You make sure to keep your conversations short, though. The goal is to connect; but, to stay focused on your tasks at hand.
About an hour before your conference call you take time to call your boss and make sure that you both are on the same page with your projections and ask for her approval to send them out after today's meeting. You then head over to the copier and see that the copy machine is in use and your colleague is making 150 copies of the newsletter. You take this time to ask her how her day is going and notice that she is wearing your favorite color. She seems flattered and appreciative. She offers to let you cut in and make your copies; but, given that you have plenty of time, you let her know that you will return in 10 minutes.
After getting your copies completed you gather your items needed for the meeting. The meeting isn't for another 15 minutes; however, you like to be a minimum of 5 minutes early. You take one minute to text your spouse. You let him know that you will be leaving promptly at 6 pm. You ask him to open the bottle of chateauneuf-du-pape and tell him you are excited to see him, you love him, and that you are looking forward to spending time with him.
You take an additional minute and visualize your presentation. You see yourself bringing joy into the room, engaging with each colleague and creating inspiration from what is typically a boring topic. You determine the outcome you want and visualize it coming to fruition. You see your boss smiling and congratulating you on a great presentation and thanks you for your contributions. You took the time to visualize this last night as well, so this is simply icing on the cake.
As visualized your meeting goes well. It is exactly 6 pm. Your colleagues pull you aside and have some questions regarding your statistics that you shared a few minutes ago. You kindly let them know that you are happy to explain; however, you will be able to provide a full explanation in the morning. Right now, you have a spouse who you need to get home to. You kindly wish them all a great evening and let them know when you are free the following day. You have noticed that creating such boundaries has fostered trust and respect between you and those you work with. They know that your time is valuable, that you will be honest with them - and more importantly, that you will, in turn, respect their time. This understanding took a couple of weeks for people to acclimate to; but, no one bats an eye, now because you are a high performer and produce great work.
On your drive home, you use this time to check in with a family member. You quickly determine the outcome you want from the conversation, the feeling you want to generate and remind yourself to look for opportunities to serve them. The conversation goes exactly as planned and your heart feels full. As you pull up into the driveway, you think about how you could surprise your spouse with a thought, idea, gift, etc. You provide him with a warm, intentional kiss and remind him of the qualities you respect and admire. You ask him about his day and spend the evening sharing stories. You excitedly brainstorm things you want to do on the upcoming vacation you have planned. You take a vacation together every 90 days, even if it is a short staycation over an extended weekend. This gives you both something to look forward to and a way to reboot your relationship.
At 8:30 pm you start your preparation for the next day. All devices are turned off or in airplane mode. You don't want any emissions from a television or cellphone to affect your sleeping habits. You throw a few healthy foods in the crockpot for lunch tomorrow and then begin your nightly stretches. After stretching you do a quick 10 mediation. After your meditation, you pick up your journal and write down three things that made you smile, today. If you have anything pressing on your mind, you write a question down in your journal and trust that your brain will solve the issue while you sleep. You let it go. You tell yourself you will sleep soundly and have an amazing day the following day. And you do...
You awaken at 4:57 on the dot, like clockwork with a feeling of anticipation and joy. It is going to be a great day...
No you may be thinking, "Linné, that's great. You attempt to do all of these things every day. This is too much for me to start with!" That's o.k. There is a reason this website is called JOURNEY Toward Joy and not "I HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT, TODAY!" Everything worth achieving in life is an on-going process and requires constant attention and upkeep.
So, ask yourself what is ONE habit that you could start, today, to move you in a more intentional direction with your life? Do you want to get up 15 minutes earlier? do you want to smile when you get out of bed? Do you want to create a 15 minute morning routine? Do you want to eat a healthy breakfast? Do you want to schedule your day? Maybe you want to journal before you go to bed? How about being 2 minutes early to every meeting? Perhaps, you can start eating lunch? Is it possible for you to check your e-mail only twice per day? Maybe you want to visualize your interaction with people you work with before you go into a meeting? Maybe you want to start leaving work on time to spend quality time with your spouse? Or, perhaps, you will call your mother once per week...there are SO many simple ways that you can enhance your days and live a more inspiring, intentional and motivating life!
Let me know what habit you are going to start, today, and leave your comment below. I can't wait to hear from you! If you found this post useful and you know someone who can benefit from it, please share it!
Thank you for taking the time to read! As always, remember to supercharge your health, satisfy your soul and simplify your lifestyle!.