The Secret to Success is a Morning Routine
THE VALUE OF MORNING ROUTINES
I believe it is extremely important to have an organized way to start your day, if you want to be successful in both your practice and your life. I’ve done a Morning Routine since I started my first practice - before it was popular or at least before it was talked about.
I call my Morning Routines “Gather Rounds.” That’s because my dogs join me. They particularly like to meditate, since dogs are inherently good at napping! I say “Gather Round” to them and they curl up and cuddle.
I think we all need to know where we are going with our day and what we want to accomplish.
MY MORNING ROUTINE
I’ve added some things to my Gather Round and subtracted things as the years have gone by. I’m going to go over what I do currently - so hopefully it helps you come up with what you think would work for you.
I start with meditation. I only do 10 minutes, but that’s what I can do and stay consistent. I know supposedly 20 minutes is better, but when I try to do 20, I quit. So, 10 it is for me. I use Kevin Rose’s app “Oak” frequently and I also love Deepak Chopra with Oprah, but that’s sort of a girl thing. Of course, there are also a lot of other good meditation apps, like Headspace and Calm. I also only meditate once a day – and again I know twice is supposed to be better – but I do what I can do.
Then, I do what I call a Brain Dump. What’s in my brain that I want out – like any negative thoughts or unproductive focus – and then what needs to be inserted in my brain. Just a quick check. Sometimes I write lists, sometimes I draw a picture of my head with arrows coming in or out – whatever I feel like. I just do it so I can be clear that I’m focusing on what I want to focus on. Like Dan Sullivan says – I think about my thinking.
Next, I write my Gratitidues. I think Gratitudes are really, really important to get my thinking off to the right start for the day.
I write them in my journal. I don’t have any rules about my gratitudes, like it has to be a “new” gratitude every day. In fact, my dogs make the list pretty much every week. It can be a small thing – like how delicious my coffee is and that I’m grateful to have a coffee maker and my favorite coffee – or something huge like my parents, my education and the opportunities I’ve had in life. I just think it helps focus me for the day.
Then, I do “Ta Da Ya– which I adapted from Gretchen Rubin who wrote the Happiness Project. I think briefly back to yesterday and consider what made the day worthwhile – with hopes of repeating worthwhile parts on other future days.
For me, and I think for many of you, it is so easy to just plow ahead and not think of yesterday. It isn’t always an “accomplishment” I did – because I am very goal oriented and don’t usually have problems in that regard– but I try to really think what I was proud of or what made the day worthwhile.
Lately, I’ve added a “Happiness Check” since I want to be sure I am happy every day and doing what I want to do. If I don’t think about it, sometimes I plow ahead with whatever without really thinking about if I want to do something or not.
So, in the morning, I rank my happiness between 1 and 10. I try not to use a 7 since it is kind of a cop out number. I’m usually at an 8 or 8+, and like to stay at least there pretty much every day.
And, I added a new happiness check after listening to Jim Collins on a podcast. So, what I do is rank myself at night – I’m using the scale Jim uses right now, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, although I sort of want to change it to 1 – 10. But the additional thing he does is to enter the number into an excel spread sheet, and then list out in columns 3 or 4 things he did that day that made the number whatever it is. That way, he can go back and sort for +2 days and see what they consisted of. I’m usually at a +1, and have only had a couple +2 days since I’ve been recording myself, and they were both when I had long, fabulous conversations with good friends over dinner. I obviously need to do more of that. But, whatever it is for you – I think it is really important to be happy in life and figure out what makes you happy.
Lastly, I pick about 3 major things I am going to accomplish in the day and I call them my “wins.” I try pick things that will take my business forward and have the most impact, and not just a list of to-dos’.
For example, if I have a listing appointment for a practice that seems to be really great – I pre-think the appointment and set an intention to focus and to get the listing signed.
For me, writing things on a daily list almost mandates to my brain that I accomplish those items. I don’t know why, but it just does – but you have to do what works for you.
Here are some ideas that might work for you for your wins:
I will totally engage with my new patient who is coming in today. I will be totally present with him or her - and then help them understand the treatment they need and schedule that treatment.
I will stay off my phone and stay in the operatory with patients all day, so I can really listen to them, get to know them, and then I can truly understand and address their dental issues.
I will appropriately engage with my staff and demonstrate professionalism to them.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas you might be able to implement, to get to wherever it is you want to do. Please share your Morning Routines with me by commenting below!
Check out this Morning Routines Podcast too! It goes along with this blog post! Don't forget to subscribe to my iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify to hear the newest guests and Straight Talks!