There's nothing I love more than my routine. Not only is it a source of discipline, but it's comforting—it grounds me from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed at night. It is truly what supports me as I move through this busy, crazy world.
Your routine starts as soon as you open your eyes in the morning and ends the moment you close them at night. So take a moment to think about it: What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Do you start thinking about your day? Look at your phone? Get coffee and open your computer to check emails or the news? Sounds like a normal beginning to a morning, right?
I encourage you to take an hour to create a more mindful routine for yourself, because it makes a world of difference. The first thing I do is mentally go over what I dreamed about to help myself understand what's going on in my mind. Then I step out of bed and onto the foot that corresponds to the nostril that is more open and flowing. I do this because the very first waking moments set the tone for the rest of the day. There is a universal energy flowing through our bodies that is very supportive and energizing at this moment, and you can learn to tap into it through this practice.
By stepping out of bed and standing on that leg for a few breaths, I allow that energy to flow through the most open side of the body and mind and align myself with this energy. If you want to open up to your highest and best potential in this moment, you'll need to follow a simple routine that optimizes your energy and directs it toward the things best-suited to you. A lot of energy is lost on a routine that steals energy from us, because the routine is either disorganized or it filled with too many things to do.
Here are the essentials of maintaining a highly effective and productive routine.
1. Observe your routine right now, and decide what is taking up the most time and energy.
What can be eliminated or adjusted to free you up a little? Everyone is doing more than they need to be, and there are at least one or two things you can do right now to create more space. Maybe you spend extra time browsing online and spend a few too many minutes on social media during those last few hours at work? Sit and trim. Trim the excess a little.
Just beware of filling the the newly available time with other things you don’t need in your life. Making your routine more expansive and less cluttered brings more peace to the mind. This benefits everyone around you, too.
2. Carve out a morning routine that will support you for the rest of the day.
What you give your attention to in the first hour of the morning will either provide you with energy or take it away from you. I not only step out of bed on the correct foot, but for the first hour I scrape my tongue, shower, oil my body according to Ayurvedic principles, and do my daily spiritual practice.
You can create a similar and shorter routine, but it does need to be healthy and energizing.
3. Ask yourself if your routine is in line with your personal goals.
For example, if you want to be a successful businessperson, are you getting up early or sleeping in? If you want to be a successful chef, are you practicing enough or waiting for the ideal time to present itself? We waste a lot of time waiting for the right moment to happen to us, and we end up living with too many unsupportive habits.
4. Make time before bed to prepare for the best rest possible.
The energy your body and mind needs to fuel you during your day depends on the quality of your sleep. Sleeping for eight hours is important, but the quality of your rest is key. I spend the last hour of my day showering, reading, doing light yoga, meditating, and contemplating my day. This way, when I go to sleep, my mind is ready for the next day, having already worked through some of my preoccupations.
With these four simple steps to guide you, you can create the best possible routine and habits to achieve your goals. I’m right there with you each day doing the same thing along with so many others in our community who are ready to support each other during this ever-changing journey.