How I Start My Day (Or My Daily Rituals Revisited)

Around 18 months ago I wrote an article about my daily rituals. These are the things I always try to do without fail every workday. I've found that being consistent with all these things has massively improved both my efficiency and (most importantly) my effectiveness.

I thought it was worth revisiting these to see how and if these have changed much in that time. You can read my previous article by clicking here for the details but in summary here were the 10 things I did every day at that time:

  1. Mindful meditation
  2. Watch or listen to something inspiring
  3. Do some creating writing
  4. Social media catchup
  5. Email catchup
  6. Review today's action list
  7. A walk with educational podcast
  8. Afternoon email and social media check
  9. Plan for tomorrow
  10. Gratitude journal

I still have a daily checklist of daily rituals and 18 months on, quite a lot are actually the same. I have tweaked the way I do some things and are using some great new tools to manage some of these things too.

Firstly, to actually manage this list (and easily reset it every day) I use a tool called Workflowy. I've found this to be fantastic for not just running this daily ritual list but for managing my overall workload too. I'll write another article soon about the system I use myself for using Workflowy as my only day to day task manager.

So here's my current checklist of daily rituals:

  1. Mindful meditation
  2. Watch or listen to something inspiring
  3. Daily Journal
  4. Banking and cashflow check
  5. What #1Day1Task do I HAVE to do today?
  6. Write #10IdeasADay
  7. Social media catchup
  8. Check Slack and email catchup.

As you can see, a lot of them are the same (or very similar) but done in a different way. I've also added a couple of things. More details of them all are detailed below:

Mindful Meditation
As my original article said, I'm definitely not in the fluffy woo woo camp and had always been skeptical of meditation. However, taking some time out of my day to slow or stop my mind racing has seen massive benefits. I'm more relaxed, focused, and productive than I was. I still use my original mindful meditation practice which you can download from here.

Watch or listen to something inspiring
I used to do this at my desk and still do so occasionally. I'll watch something like Gary Vaynerchuck or a TED Talk. For the past couple of months though, I've got into the habit of getting up and out for a walk around 6am for an hour. As well as the health benefits of the hours walking, I listen to podcasts such as Tim Ferriss or Smart People Podcast.

Daily Journal
Previously I was writing a daily journal in Evernote and would always make sure that the previous days was complete. More recently I've started using an App called "5 Minute Journal". This is much quicker and easier to use and it prompts you to complete a handful of small things at both the start and end of the day. I find that bookmarking your day like this with both an expectation, and review makes you appreciate your life more.

Banking and cashflow check
This is one the biggest and best changes I've made in the last year. I'd previously not always had a great handle on cashflow, both in the business and personally. After a serious business cashflow issue in 2015 I knew this had to change. I now know pretty much to the penny where we are with cashflow for the next 30 days. This is done by a combination of a daily bank reconciliation, adding any known upcoming income or expenses, and replanning this (if for example we know an invoice will be 10 days later than expected) on a daily basis. This has allowed us to plan so much better, and address any issues and find solutions well in advance.

What #1Day1Task do I HAVE to do today?
Each month I'm part of a Mastermind group where I meet with a group of other business owners. We discuss any project, plans, and issues we're having and because of the collective experience in the room, can come up with solutions. Another part of this is setting a couple of goals for the month. These goals are then split into much smaller daily tasks to help me achieve those goals. We call this #1Day1Task and no matter what, I should always complete this small task each day. As this is so important I do this as part of my morning ritual ahead of any other things I need to work on that day. By doing so, I then manage to achieve the much larger monthly goals I have set :)

Write #10IdeasADay
To get my creative mind going I've found this to be a great method. Basically each day I think of a single topic or theme. This is usually related to something that's on my mind. For example, I may be thinking I need to start writing more blogs, so that day I'll come up with 10 different ideas for blog titles. This process really does kick start my brain, and of course when I do come to write a blog in this example, I already have a whole set of predetermined topics to tackle.

Social media catchup
This one is pretty self explanatory. I'll check all the usual social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) and respond or make posts as appropriate. As I don't have any of the notifications switched on for any social media (the reasons been another blog in itself!), this is important so I don't miss anything.

Check Slack and email catchup
As a company we don't use email for any internal communication. Our entire team uses a fantastic tool called Slack for all our comms and projects we're working on. Each morning I have a quick review of where we are with everything across the whole company. This gives me a really good indication of how things are going and where we are with things. I'll also review and deal with any emails I've previously marked to be dealt with at this time. As I usually only check emails twice a day (midday and 4pm), it's important that I deal with these as timely as possible.

So that's how I start my workday. I find that by being consistent and making all these things rituals (I much prefer this word to "habits" that has negative connotations), that I'm much more effective in what I do. Even for someone creative this works well. By setting up an organised system for these kind of things, it actually frees up your time and headspace to be more creative!

I'd love to know your thoughts on the above, and of course what your own daily rituals are? Do let me know :)