The Importance of a Start Up Sequence
Ever leap out of bed, dashed to the shower, jumped into the clothes and ran out the door?
I think we have all done this... :/
But what if this was closer to the norm? What if the amount of activities before sleep and action were minimal to zero. What sort of start to the day is that?
Imagine an elite athlete running a race without the right nutrition, warm-up or clothing?
What about a race car exploding out of the blocks without the proper fuel, oils and start up regime?
How about taking an exam without any preparation?
I think you get the point - its pretty much the worst way to tackle something.
Sadly I spent a lot of my life (like a lot) jumping out of bed, hitting the shower and rushing out the door. Unsurprisingly the days didn't exactly go so well. Head aches. Lethargy. Lack of Patience. Lack of Calmness. Agitation. Depression. Anxiety. And the list goes on.
And it doesn't matter how many beroccas or coffees you slam down (and in my bad old days; cigarettes) you still just cant perform or get the efficiency expected. Not to mention the feeling when finally landing at home. Annoyed. Frustrated and in general irritated about lack of progress or another day not at your best. (Yep Guilty as charged)
The funny thing is after a lot of soul searching I have found my Start Up Sequence to each day absolutely critical in being the best and following a meaningful and purposeful life. I have been doing this for the last 6 weeks with GREAT results. I haven't missed a day and quite frankly do not think I will miss another one for the rest of my life. I mean if you can be at your best ALL DAY for the rest of your life then what's there not to like. :) :) :)
And in reflection it makes sense to me. A computer has a Start-up Sequence. A car has a Start Up Sequence. Just about every machine has one. Animals have a start up sequence as well. I mean have you ever seen a cat wake up. The amount of stretching they do is incredible. :)
So here is my start up sequence.
* Set Smart Alarm - I always set a smart alarm to ensure i wake up at an optimal time with in the range of getting up. I use my pebble watch to wake me up in an hour range which is any time from 5.30 to 6.30. (PS if you don't like getting up early here is a Great Little Inspirational piece from Forbes )
* Prayer and Meditation - Ok so you might not be religious or believe in higher powers. I'm certainly not religious but have become very comfortable with a higher power or a God. In any case meditation is amazing! Especially if you are like me and suffer from a flurry of thoughts mostly about the future. I do a lot of gratitude thinking before 5 minutes of meditation split into two sections. 2-3 minutes counting to 1-10 front and backwards in 3 languages. (English, French and Korean - helps me practice and takes my mind away from thoughts). Then 2-3 minutes of body scanning. This is a fun one. Just sit with feet on ground, upright and hands on lap. Start feeling your toes, sole, feet, heel, ankle and all the way up to the top of your head spending time on each part. Amazing how good you feel after doing this - the mind is a LOT clearer. (Here is WebMD on Meditation)
* Exercise and Stretching - Its amazing how important movement is in getting out of sleep and the feeling of fatigue. I use my Han Mudo warm up routine which takes about 10 minutes to do. It is effectively warming up every part of the body before 5 minutes of quick cardio. This gets the body moving and fired up for an epic day. (Lifehacker on Stretching)
* Diary - After hitting the shower and getting into clothes I sit down and hit the diary. This is a critical part of the start up sequence for me. Sitting down and mentally preparing for the day, acknowledging successes and getting a list going is awesome. (I confess I often do this with a coffee sitting next to me - cant beat that aroma in the morning :) I cover off the date, my personal values, my successes, my list of actions for the day, the things I am grateful for, my long term goals and a motivational quote that I write down. By the time this is done I am FIRED UP! (Huffington Post on Gratitude Diary)
All in all from start to finish this is generally 45 minutes to an Hour depending on other activities. (I cheat a little most days by having an UP and GO rather than a fancy omelette or the good old wheatbix)
Oh and if you didn't notice. The acronym for my sequence is S.P.E.D or as I like to remember it SPED UP!
What do you think? Worth giving a try? Worth designing your own Start Up Sequence? What if an extra 30 minutes a day in the morning gave you 2 or 4 hours extra output in productivity? Or simply left you feeling great, charged up and ready to go.
Life is too short to waste! I strongly suggest you watch Tim Urban on Procrastination. Absolutely brilliant in focusing our lives on procrastination and purpose. Wow!
Thanks for Reading and Wishing You the Best Each and Every Day!