6:00AM. You wake up, turn off the alarm, maybe go to the bathroom and then quickly get to your phone to check your email. You consider yourself responsive, efficient and productive, taking care of your business. (Maybe you checked your email while in the bathroom, because you’re a wicked multi-tasker!)
 
WhackIf this sounds like your morning, I have some bad news: You aren’t being responsive, efficient and productive and you aren’t a wicked multi-tasker. You might, however, be a world champion Whack-A-Mole player.
 
This is great if you’re looking to win a giant teddy bear. But when you’re building and maintaining a business, this behavior is actually hurting you. Statistics show that people who check their email within one hour of waking up are 30% LESS PRODUCTIVE at the end of the week!

 
When you begin your day by checking email, you are putting your brain into a reactive mind set. And that is where your brain stays. (Whack that mole!) By training your brain to get into “react mode,” you lose productivity for your morning and you stay in react mode for the day. And the justification you are likely using, “I have to check my email because/or else…,” puts you into a victim mind set.
 
Reality check: Does “reactive” and “victim” sound like mental constructs that are aligned with professional success? Of course not.
 
Take Back Your Day
 
Change your mind, change your world. By setting clear, positive intentions and being disciplined in holding your boundaries, you can take back your morning and increase your overall productivity. Below are four easy things you can do to set your mind in a mode of intention instead of reaction, and move from victim to empowerment. (Some of them might seem silly, but ask yourself if they’re any sillier than checking your email when you’re in the bathroom.)
 
Remove unnecessary morning decisions
Make a list of your morning routine and follow it religiously. Wake up, go to bathroom, shower, shave, brush teeth, get dressed – in the clothes you laid out the night before so you don’t have to think about that, etc. (Einstein bought seven of the same outfits for that reason.) This frees your mind from being distracted by engaging in the minutia of your day and starts you out in a mode of intention and decisive direction – a great foundation for the day!
 
Meditate for 4 minutes
I use four because I suspect if I just said “meditate” your brain would come up with a hundred reasons why you can’t/don’t/won’t – most, if not all, of which will be “excuses,” not “reasons.” Make no mistake, meditation is a performance enhancement tool! Focus on breathing, Om, or a mantra like “I own the day” or another that works for you. If you say you “don’t have time,” you are again in the victim mind set. Your time is yours. You own it and you can choose what to do with it.
 
Block your time
Set specific time windows for the things that would typically distract you like checking email, making calls, etc. Turn off the notification sounds on your phone for email. Don’t let your phone tell you when you are going to address it. Choose when you will address it. You aren’t Pavlov’s dog. By blocking your time, you can fully engage with what you’re doing without distraction. Distraction = Distruction!
 
Establish a fitness regimen
People who workout in the morning are 22% more productive. You don’t need me to tell you the other benefits.
 
When you set your brain in a mode of intention instead of reaction, you take back your morning and empower yourself. When you own your morning, you own your day and your life. And if you need support in making changes, you know who to call. Now go get ’em (with intention)!
 
It’s your kingdom. Make it REIGN.
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About the Author -

Executive coach and motivational speaker Chris M. King facilitates the mind shift necessary for professionals and organizations to achieve authentic success and empowerment. Clients experience productivity increases of up to 40%, freedom from burnout and overwhelm, clarity in times of transition, dramatically improved work/life balance, answers to "what's next," creative solutions for innovation, and an overall increase in satisfaction in career and in life. And he does all of this without ever giving advice! Chris doesn't show them THE way. He guides them in finding THEIR way. An emerging thought leader in the men's movement, Chris also works with professional men and women on accountability, vulnerability, and empowerment. He specifically addresses the issues associated with mid-life crises and Peter Pan Syndrome. He is a volunteer for ManKind Project International, a contributing author to The Good Men Project and Elephant Journal, and is honored to be working with Sam Morris as a contributor to Zen Warrior Training®, helping people achieve self-mastery. Chris is also a coach at Project Bully Buster, coaching teens as they navigate the challenges of adolescence. He is honored to work with and support organizations dedicated to the men’s movement, to women's issues, and, as brother to a special needs sister, the US Special Olympics. Chris is currently working on his first book.

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