The Most Important Hour of the Day

There are two things that my brain and body have always resisted: Mornings and routines.


I was a snooze-button addict for ages; as a bona-fide night owl, the idea of getting up a moment earlier than necessary simply did not compute.


And with few exceptions, any sort of routine has typically inspired feelings of obligation and constraint instead of control or comfort.


So it’s not without irony that I recognize how much I now rely on my morning routine – at least Monday through Friday. All three steps.


Step 1 is physical: Move! Since children don't come pre-programed with a snooze button, and once mine is up, everyone is up, I discovered that the best way for me to make the most of the early hours of the day was to get SOME form of exercise to get the body and brain in gear.


Step 2 is easy: COFFEE. ‘Nuff said.


Step 3 is about focus and intention. Before I have my first meeting of the day, I take 10-15 minutes, with music, to do the following for two or three minutes apiece:


  • Write down what I’m grateful for
  • Write three key outcomes of the day: what MUST get done
  • Close my eyes and visualize how it will look/sound/feel to achieve two or three big-picture results or goals in the short or long term
  • Put on a fun, high-energy, empowering song, and get up to jump around, dance, or otherwise move to the music to get myself primed and ready to go.


Then it’s time to dive into the first meeting or task of the day.


Now let’s get one thing straight: More often than not, I don’t FEEL like doing any of it. But I do it because


  • I always like the way I feel, physically and mentally, after it’s done, and
  • I’m abundantly clear on the fact that I always regret it when I miss some or all of it, whether or not it’s by choice.


That’s why I was so grateful to talk to Kari Schneider, Founder of The Empowered, on this week’s Speaking to Influence podcast episode.


Kari is a high performance coach for the best of the best, taking what she learned from coaching olympic and other world-class athletes, and applying it to coaching to business executives in order to help them and their teams achieve optimal performance.



In this episode, Kari shares how important it is to create and keep your morning routine. But not just any routine (many of us are probably on routine “auto-pilot” in the morning.)


The key is learning to be intentional about your vision for your life, career, family or company.


Not sure what a helpful morning routine or ritual would look like for you? Kari offers a simple but powerful guiding question to ask yourself:


“What will serve my body and mind best to kick off my day/performance?”


Kari also pointed out the importance of allowing “contrast in intensity and focus.” You can’t perform optimally working in a high-pressure, high-production mode all day. Similarly, there are only so many back-to-back meetings we can have and still have time to THINK, much less get our own work done or remember WHY we are meeting with all those people. (Sound familiar?)


Something as simple as a 15-20 minute break to do some routine correspondence, data entry, and even physical tasks like folding laundry, washing dishes, chopping vegetables, or taking the dog for a quick walk can be a great mental reset to help the next work sprint be much more productive.


Listen to the full conversation here or watch the video in YouTube here .


Oh – and of course, any morning routine will be even better if it follows a good night’s sleep. As a bonus, Kari has a powerful mini-course on how to do THAT better too. Use promo Code: Sleep15 for 15% off just for us!


Now here’s my challenge to you: Take the next two minutes to write down your answer to Kari’s question, and follow your own advice tomorrow morning.

“What will serve my body and mind best to kick off my day/performance?”