It only takes seven minutes to change how you approach your day. Using the routine described below when you get to work will make a world of difference in yourproductivity, your attitude, your success, and your health. It’s like the approach you make to the tee on a golf course. You plan out how you will hit the shot, which is more important than the actual swing. Before you start your day, this routine will provide the right mindset. Will you follow it?
(I’ve applied the seven-minute rule to business presentations.) Feel free to borrow that term or send me ideas on a better name.
1. Before you start: Prepare
First, you need to find a quiet place. Hint for those who work in a cubicle farm: This is not at your desk. And it’s not in the car, because there are too many distractions. At a busy startup, it might be a foyer or a balcony. You might have to arrive earlier in the morning to make this work.
2. Minute one: Clear your head
I won’t get into any religious issues or get preachy here, and I’m not even encouraging meditation, but every person on the planet who has to work for a living needs to follow this basic routine.
3. Minute two: Breathe a little
Again, you may have a different way of dealing with the stress you feel in life. However, breathing deeply creates a calming effect in your brain and helps you focus.
4. Minutes three through six: Write notes and draw
You’ve heard all about journaling, but the process I use is not just journaling. I write in a journal all day, right after I get up in the morning and have coffee, at night before bed, and during meetings and at conferences. I’m not just talking about journaling. I’m talking about writing down the first few thoughts you have after you’ve arrived at work but before you’ve started on the day’s tasks. Draw a picture or doodle an idea. It’s a way to figure out what is important, and what is stressing you out. It is a record of your preparation and a way to help you look back and see, for these seven minutes, what was really important. Make sure you don’t get too focused on the writing and not enough on the thinking.
5. Minute seven: Debrief
After you write a few notes, keep track of the time and make sure you allow about one minute at the end to debrief. What does that mean? Just look over your notes a second time.
That’s it. Seven minutes. I’m really interested to find out if you use this routine in the morning before you start working.