2. Be proactive: Don't check your email first!
When you wake up in the morning, do you immediately check your email or social-media accounts? If so, you're starting your day off in a reactive instead of a proactive mode.
As Jocelyn K. Glei writes in Manage Your Day-to-Day, "The trouble with this approach is it means spending the best part of the day on other people's priorities."
For instance, if you receive an email asking for work-related documents, you might be compelled to provide them immediately, even though you may have had plans to work on marketing your own business. Or if you open up Facebook and see one of your friends in a crisis, that becomes your focus and potentially keeps you from concentrating on your own issues or concerns.
Start your days focused on you and you will be in a much better state of mind to help others and get more accomplished all day.
3. Mentally prepare: Visualize your success.
Some of the world's greatest athletes use visualization to help prepare themselves mentally to excel in their sport. Aaron Rodgers, considered by many to be the best quarterback in the NFL, talked about the power of visualization in an interview with USA Today:
"In the sixth grade, a coach taught us about the importance of visualization. When I'm in a meeting, watching a film, or laying in bed before I go to sleep, I always visualize making those plays. A lot of those plays I had made in the game, I had thought about them. As I had laid on the couch, I had visualized them."
Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, suggests that you practice visualization 10 minutes a day to "harness the power of your subconscious mind."
Simply close your eyes and imagine yourself excelling and being the best you. Put yourself in situations where you shine, visualizing the best possible outcome. Include as much detail in your visualizations as possible, using all of your senses and making your "training" even more powerful.
For people who have trouble closing their eyes and "seeing anything," use a pen and paper and write out how you want your day to unfold. Be as specific as possible, and be sure to keep it positive.
The purpose of all of this is to pass command from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind wants to believe what you tell it (good or bad), and it will do whatever it takes to turn those commands into reality.
4. Read a book, even if just one page at a time.
Reading books offers many science-based benefits. Reading can boost your intelligence, increase your brainpower (for up to five days, according to research conducted by Emory University), and even strengthen your ability to empathize with other people. Reading has also been found to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's by more than double -- all this while helping you feel more relaxed at the same time!
Joshua Becker, bestselling author of Simplify, has made it a goal to read a book a week, because reading makes him a better leader, increases his worldview and knowledge base, and reinforces his self-discipline.
I don't know about you, but I find it hard to find the time to read an entire book. I mean, who has hours and hours a day or week to just sit and read?
That's why I commit to reading just one chapter each day of a book of my choice. I'm in the process of reading a couple different books right now, so I just pick up the one that speaks to me the most that day and I sit and read a chapter of it. If I want to read more, I do.
By breaking the big process (reading a whole book!) into something manageable (one chapter) I am able to read about 50 books each year.
Thing 5 to Thing 8 - tomorrow