Today’s post is an excerpt from a training I did on a “Recipe for an Epic Day”. Basically some principles and ideas on how to have a highly productive, satisfying day.
That training is part of the Pastor’s Productivity Pack which includes How to Plan Your Year, How to Plan Your Week, and Efficient Sermon Prep. And of course the Pastor’s Productivity Pack can also be found inside the Priority Pastor training system.
So here’re some ideas on how to start a great day. It starts with the day before and it starts with what you do before you ever go to work. Enjoy…
A very important principle about having this epic day is that if you’re going to have an epic day, it has to start yesterday. It has to start the day before. A good day today really depends on what happened yesterday.
And some things that needed to happen yesterday for me to have a good day today: I need to have gotten up at a decent time yesterday; Gotten outside early in the day for what my wife and I call a “cortisol stroll” catching some natural light early in the morning- getting your cortisol boosting so it begins to drop off by the end of the day.
There needs to be limited caffeine in the day. You know caffeine has a half-life of what is it four or five hours, so half the caffeine is still active several hours after you’ve had some. So you’ve gotta limit your caffeine through the day particularly as you move into the afternoon. After lunch I’m increasingly reluctant and about four o’clock I definitely won’t touch anymore. I only have typically one or two cups a day of coffee anyway.
It requires having a light dinner. One of the things that interferes with a good sleep is going to bed full, or going to bed with weird digestive things happening based on what you had for dinner.
It also helps if yesterday, I took a moment and just gave some thought to the day ahead. If I gave some thought to what were the main tasks and blocks, the Dream Week helps with this a lot, but every day has its own uniquenesses and having a sense of what that needs to be and planning that the day in advance (helps a lot).
Getting to bed a decent time means that you strive to be in bed and sleeping before 11 o’clock. My understanding is that the hours between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. or even some would say between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. really are the prime time for sleeping. And if we say 11:00 to 1:00 is important to be sleeping through that, you want to be asleep before 11:00 and so that structures your evening and begins to dictate how you’re going to live out the day before this planned epic day.
Let’s say you’ve done that; you’ve planned a day and you’ve lived a day that sets you up for this outstanding, satisfying, productive day. How do you start it? How do you get going in such a way that the possibility of having that great day is increased?
Well here’s a few things. You want to be up early enough to be unrushed. That is you want to be rested. You want to get up so early that you’re gonna be tired all day, but you want to have some margin between the time you get up and the time of your first appointment.
I find for myself, personally, before any work related stuff, I find it’s important to get up two hours before I have any kind of appointment. In other words I need to be in the office by 9:00. I need to be up by 7:00. If I’ve got a breakfast meeting at 8:00, I need to be up by 6:00, ideally. And that takes the rush out of the start of the day I’m not starting my day in a panic. I’m not starting my day rushed.
It’s helpful to do something light physical. Some people like to work out right away. Any of my more intense workouts are usually later in the day, but a little bit of stretching- again that walk in the morning, that cortisol stroll. I’m in a situation now where I walk to work. It’s just over 600 paces, which isn’t too far, but it’s enough to, you know, warm up and get some exercise, catch some fresh air.
The right kind of breakfast is really important and this will vary person to person. I’m an increasing believer in not skipping breakfast. And currently I found two breakfasts that work really well for me personally. One is a smoothie that my wife puts together that has all kinds of stuff in it. I can’t even list it all, but includes of course, you know, fruit and those kinds of things and some fiber and some protein. She makes it for me the night before; it’s there in the fridge when I get up in the morning. I find this smoothie satisfies my hunger in the morning and carries me through usually till noon, even if I have that smoothie about 6:00 in the morning; it carries me through right till noon.
Another breakfast we found that works is this cereal mix that contains, interestingly, a lot of the same things as the smoothie including some protein powder. Or I have the cereal mixed with an egg, a little bit of protein, with it all and that also carries me them through till the end of the morning, though from time to time I might have a bit of a snack mid-morning as well.
It’s important, I believe, as followers of Jesus to spend some time in worship and the word and prayer. You may have your own your own routine for that, but the point here is to connect with God in some way, and then connect with people.
If you’re married, if you have children, to connect with those people before you blast into your day and that’s the other reason have some margin where you can actually have some unrushed time with your family in the morning.
I like to pray in one way or the other at different times in my day, “Lord may this day be a success in your sight.” That’s a good way to land that time with the Lord. And really what you’re doing here is you’re opening yourself up to his direction or redirection in your life in that day. This is of course related to Romans Chapter 12 where we’re called in view of God’s mercies to offer our bodies to him as a living sacrifice. That’s really where our time with Lord needs to end with this ultimate act of worship, offering ourselves completely to him.
And often when I’m praying for people, specifically I’m praying for people for physical healing, I’ll raise this passage and say okay here’s this passage. It calls us to offer ourselves to God completely as a living sacrifice. What would that look like for you to do that? And I just encourage you to get to this place at the start of your day, because it’s going to be very difficult to have a highly satisfying day. You may be able to have a productive day, but probably not a highly satisfying day apart from this, because this is where our true satisfaction comes from.
Thanks for listening. Hope you found some nuggets in there.
If you want to know more you can look for the Pastors Productivity Pack, or better yet check out Priority Pastor. Go to 8020pastors.com and you will learn more.
Have an outstanding day. Press on.
2 thoughts on “How to Start Your Day”
Some great ideas here. To me there are many variations of this, but the most important is that morning quiet time. Interesting that these same thought were on my mind when I wrote my last blog at http://www.edwindrewlo.com.
Hard to argue against morning quiet time! But I think it is essential that we also address the physical aspects if we are going to be at our best. Most spiritual giants of yesteryear did a lot of walking in the course of a day or week, and really didn’t have to think about exercise. We need to be intentional about it. And of course, this too is a spiritual issue!