“The greatest gift you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
One of the secrets of productivity is how you start your day. I think it’s important to have some kind of morning ritual to generate energy for yourself to start the day with. Without this boost it’s much harder to get things done or to come up with new ideas. The body needs to activate and the mind needs to be clear and fresh. In that kind of state we get naturally inspired and this creates a mindstate that will continue to generate more energy throughout the day.
- Morning practice
A good morning lasts throughout the day. Especially for people with an active mind it’s important to have some kind of structure in order to focus their energies better. Having a morning practice really contributes to creating a proper structure and at the same time it allows you to generate a lot of energy. This practice can come in many forms and it differs per person; some like to work out during the morning, others prefer stretching, yoga, or meditation. But also things like what you have for breakfast or taking a morning walk.
I think it’s good to take some time for yourself in the morning. There’s nothing more annoying than having to rush the moment you get out of bed. You can create this time for yourself by getting up early. This also means going to bed earlier, but exchanging late hours for early hours is a very good trade. In fact, the amount of sleep you need depends a lot on your sleeping pattern. Going to bed late will naturally make you more lazy and less energized for the next day. You get the most out of your resting time between 10 pm and 6 am.
I myself have experienced many different rhythms, but without the doubt the most performance-enhancing rhythm is the one where I get up early. After that I have my morning ritual, which changes from time to time, but it always includes a fruit and superfood smoothie. Working out, stretching, meditating and cold showers also generate much energy. According to many yogis it’s important to drink a lot of water in the morning before your practice, so that the body can flush itself and get rid of toxins.
- Personal growth
Giving yourself some profound attention each day is important for personal growth. When we neglect ourselves we start looking for fulfilment outward, even though the source of this fulfilment is inside. Attention is nourishment, so by cultivating a personal practice or ritual we start expanding the spirit and increasing inner wealth. People are spiritual beings; our true sources of food are love and attention. Everything else is secondary.
A few years back when I was working for Art of Living we used to tell a story about Gandhi during the self-empowerment workshops that we organised. This story was about the importance of meditation, because Gandhi – a busy man as he was – took some time every day to meditate. Then one day his schedule was so packed that his assistent said there was no time for meditation that day. Gandhi replied that he would meditate a little bit longer then, in order to be better prepared for the challenges lying ahead.
The point of the story is that time for yourself is a priority, even though we tend to neglect ourselves in modern society because of hectic working schedules. It’s a priority because it’s an investment of which you’ll reap the fruits over the short and long term. A clear and focused mind works much faster than a preoccupied one. The time we spend meditating is time that we’ll get back through efficiency, and more. However, most important is the cultivation of the connection with your own mind and spirit. That’s what creates a kind of fulfilment that will start pouring out of you into the world, blessing those around you.
- In conclusion
Productivity increases when the mind gains a greater capacity to deal with challenges and generate ideas. A healthy mind and body are absolutely essential to perform well and to feel good. The best way to cultivate this is through a consistent practice of the kind that suits you. Other than that it will help establish a healthy relationship with the self, which will undoubtedly attract many good things into your life. The more we neglect ourselves, the less we can share with others and the more we’ll become dependent on outward things over which we have no control.