My dream morning routine:

I wake up at 5:30am. I cuddle my baby and think about how great she is. I do a 30 minute work out, then brew a large tea while looking out the window and practicing gratitude. I drink my tea and skim emails to prioritize the top actions. I eat a high protein breakfast. I look at my calendar and how I organized my time the night before. I use the pomodoro technique to hit the ground running and get more done before 9am then I used to in an entire work day.

My actual morning routine:

I wake up. I drink tea and watch my baby with bleary eyes while thinking this is what being a zombie must feel like, minus the need to eat brains. I go on my phone. I check my laptop. Hug the baby. Drink more tea. Check my phone. Get to work 3 hours later for about 15 minutes and then the baby needs me again.

Sigh.

It's a work in progress. But luckily the other parts of my day are not quite as much of a complete mess because I've curated great HABITS to make my day easier and free up my brain to do the work that is useful for my biz rather than loving on Oprah's instagram account... again.

Habits… ah habits, the good, the bad and the ugly.  They have an impact on everything from your productivity and output at work to your relationship health to your pant size.  It’s even been argued that our day to day life is actually a collection of our habits.

And yet we rarely consciously create our habits, do we?  We let whatever well worn groove we’ve built over time continue to be our default - checking social media for hours in the morning, eating those cookies everyday around 3pm, having that cigarette after a stressful meeting.  

Here’s the deal: Habits are the best way to up level your boss impact without having to expend a huge amount of extra effort or brain energy.  

To make it easier on you, I’ve listed the highest impact habits bosses can start doing every morning to make a big impact on their team’s motivation and productivity levels.  And why morning habits? Simple, your day hasn’t been taken over yet by the crisis du jour so you’re simply more likely to actually build these in as sustainable actions.

1. Say Good Morning… and mean it

In an ideal world this is face to face, in person or over video conference, but even a quick slack chat or email works

2. Connect with one team member

And mean it - follow up on their kid’s flu, find out how their mom is doing since her surgery, ask about their weekend holiday at the cottage.  Genuinely connect human to human without the to-do list clogging up the interaction

3. Remove a roadblock (hint, you are the roadblock)

Sign the PO. Approve the travel funds.  Sign the recruitment request. Whatever that small menial thing is to you is likely holding up someone else’s work.  Get something out of the way for your team member even if it’s not on YOUR priority list.

4. Praise or appreciate someone

Someone did something good yesterday, I guarantee it.  Start looking for it, start noticing it and start commenting on it.  And be genuine, fake praise is the most cringe boss behaviour, even just a simple 'thanks for getting that to me' works.

5. Schedule interruptions… and then leave your team alone!

Face it, you are the biggest distraction your team members have.  Not Facebook or youtube or Game of Thrones discussions… but you. Stop interrupting them everytime you have a question or need something, pick a time, preferably around natural breaks in work like lunch or afternoon coffee, to ask them all the questions or get updates, and keep a running list as questions pop into your head rather than interrupting them each time.  Working virtually is hard enough without the added need to constantly be breaking concentration to check emails, chat or text for your latest question!


And here's the deal Boss, the common concern I always hear is ‘I have so much to do already, I don’t have time for 6 new things’.  And I get it… but still have to (lovingly) call bullshit on you for the following reasons.

First, each of these 6 things take 1-2 minutes tops, so we’re talking about a maximum of 12 minutes added to your day to supercharge your boss impact, very small investment.  

Second, this is an investment in time to get your team off to the right start and enable them to do awesome work - meaning less work for you, talk about a win-win.  

And lastly, the point of creating habits are so that you have regular actions that happen without having to think about them, freeing up that valuable brain space for the stuff you really need to focus on to move the business forward.

Start these today.  Just give it a try for a week to see what happens, or even try them only on Tuesdays for a month and see if you notice a difference.  Don’t take my word for it - give it a try and see what you get out of it… I’d be willing to bet you’ll like your return on investment


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