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Having Heart
by On March 8, 2011

We all feel stress, pressure and at times lack motivation to do our very best.  In this 6:00 minute video you will see that we are much stonger then we give ourselves credit for. 

  How much weight do you carry each day?  Do you stop at the 50 and say that is good enough, or do you put the blinders on, push through and give it your all?  We all have the ability to achieve excellence in everything we do….you just need to have heart!

 

Be Free!

Top 10 Questions to Ask when Networking
by On September 21, 2010

The power of networking is common knowledge nowadays. What’s not so common is knowing how to consistently and effectively do it. Networking is simple, but far from easy.

Whenever I’m speaking to a group about networking at least one person asks, “But what do you say (or talk about) when you first meet someone?” And someone else will inevitably ask, “What do you say (or do) when there’s a lull in the conversation?”

My response to both questions is the same. First decide if the person is really in the mood to talk to you. If you feel like someone doesn’t really want to talk to you, it’s no big deal. Move on to someone else.

If the person seems willing to engage in conversation then remember this. It’s one of the supreme laws of networking.

Make fewer statements; ask more questions.

The timeless advice offered by Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends & Influence People is that you “allow the other person to do a great deal of the talking.”

The easiest way to keep the other person talking and loving you the entire time is to ask the right kind of open-ended questions.

Why?

Because open-ended questions require more than a yes or no response and show that you are interested in the other person. These types of questions help to build and maintain rapport.

Here are 10 powerful networking questions – listed in no particular order – to keep awkward silence and fruitless small talk at bay. The insightful answers to these questions keep conversations moving once you get past “Where are you from?” and “So, what brings you here today?”

1. How did you get involved in…?

People like to tell their story. Give them an opportunity to do so while you listen attentively and they’ll love you.

VARIATIONS:
– What made you decide to major in…?
– What made you decide to attend (name of school)?
– What made you decide to go into the ___business?
– How did you get your start in the ___ business?

2. What advice would you give me if I wanted to be successful in your line of work (or major)?

This is a great follow up question to #1. It shows your humility and allows for mentoring.

VARIATION:
– What advice would you give someone just starting in this business/profession/major?

3. What do you love/enjoy most about what you do?

This question keeps happy feelings in the air.

And just in case you’re wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to ask what a person likes the least about what he or she does, the answer is no, unless you’re in the same line of work or major.

In which case, the answer will help you to find a common enemy IF you dislike the same things. If not, then disagreement ensues. My advice is to keep it positive whenever possible.

VARITATAION:
– What do you love/enjoy most about your business/profession/major?

4. What separates you from the competition?

This question gives a person permission to tout his unique abilities. Be sure to ask this question in a polite and inquisitive tone of voice so that it doesn’t sound like you’re challenging the person.

VARIATIONS:
– What separates your business/company/organization from the competition?
– What separates your school from other schools like it?

5. What one thing would you do if you knew that you could not fail?

A truly thought provoking and inspiring question to ask. (You should ask yourself this question.) It helps and encourages a person to dream and when she revisits the dream there’s a chance that you’ll come to mind often. That’s powerful.

VARIARTIONS:
– What one thing would you do with your business if you knew that you could not fail?
– What one thing would you do if you knew you were guaranteed to succeed?

6. What was the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your business?

People love to share war stories, but seldom get a chance to finish them because others interrupt with their own stories.

When you ask this question resist the temptation to interject your own horror tale. Remember – “let the other person do a great deal of the talking.”

VARIATIONS:
– What was the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced at your school?
– What was the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your organization? (e.g. Sorority or fraternity)

7. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession/area of expertise through the years?

Great question for cross-generational networking because it allows a person to reminisce about the good old days. The following variations are good for upper classmen and graduate students.

VARIATIONS:
– What significant changes have you seen take place at your school since you’ve been here?
– What significant changes have you seen take place in your major since you chose it?

8. What do you see as the coming trends in your profession/area of expertise?

This is a great follow up question to #7. This shows a person that his opinions matter to you.

VARIATIONS:
– How do think your school will be different in the future?
– What do you see as the coming trends in your major?
– What do you think will change about your major in the future?

9. If someone were to describe you in one sentence what would they say?

Another very thought provoking question. Normally it is best used later in the conversation. You’re not interviewing someone; you’re networking.

VARIATIONS:
– If some were to describe your business/company/school in one sentence what would he say?
– What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business/organization/product?

10. It’s the end of a great week and you have some free time on your hands – what would you do?

This question will take someone to a happy place and help you to know her outside of professional or academic life.

VARIATION:
– What do you like to do in your spare time?

There is no need to memorize all 10 of these questions. Just start off with the 3 or 4 you like the most. Master them and then give the others a test run.

Keep in mind that no question in the world will help you be a better networker if you are not truly interested in the other person.

So, be interested, ask questions, and let the other person do the talking.

Source: http://www.alduncan.net/networking-questions.html

About the Author:
Al Duncan: The Millennial Mentor™, is a World-Class Motivational Speaker, an author, and a renowned Youth Speaker. Visit him online at www.alduncan.net

Top 10 Tips for a Productivity Boost
by On September 7, 2010

Today’s Top 10 Tips Tuesday is a guest post from Leo Babauta, the author of Zen Habits.  Leo has a popular blog on living your best life – you should check it out!  Read this post for a sample of his work and learn how to get a boost on getting things done.

Be Free!

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We all need a productivity boost now and then — sometimes throughout the day. We each want to be productive for very personal reasons — to accomplish more, to make more money, to get done earlier to make more time for our personal lives, to accomplish our goals. But whatever the reason, these Productivity Tips will do the trick.

Here they are, in reverse order (click on links for more on each):

#10: Take care of your Most Important Things first. Your Most Important Things for the day — the things you most need to accomplish that day — should take priority over everything else. However, we all know that fires come up throughout the day, interruptions through phone calls and email and people dropping by, new demands that will push the best-laid plans aside. If you put off your MITs until later in the day, you will end up not doing them much of the time.

Try to get all three of your MITs done before moving on to anything else. If you can do that, the rest of the day is gravy!

# 9: Wake up early. Decide what you’d like to accomplish each morning, and build your morning routine around that. Like to exercise? Put that in there. Healthy breakfast? Go for it. Check email? Fine. The mornings are a fresh start, peaceful and free of ringing phones and constant email notifications. If you get your Most Important Things done in the morning, the rest of the day is just gravy. (see How I Became an Early Riser.)

# 8: Simplify information streams, crank through blogs & email. Think about all the information you receive (email, blogs, newsletters, mailing lists, magazines, newspapers and more) and edit brutally. You will drastically reduce the time you spend reading. For everything else that begins to come in after your editing process, ask yourself if you really need to be getting that information regularly. Most of the time the answer is no. Now, after this process, you should be left with less to read. Here’s the next step: crank through it all, really only reading the really interesting ones.

Editing and cranking through the information you receive can free up a lot of time for more important things — like achieving your goals.

# 7: Declutter your workspace; work on one thing at a time. The decluttering your work space part of it is simply to remove all extra distractions, on your desk and on your computer. If you’ve got a clean, simplified workspace, you can better focus on the task at hand. (See more on how to do this.)

Now, with distractions minimized, focus on the task at hand. Don’t check email, don’t work on five projects at once, don’t check the stats on your blog, don’t go to your feed reader. Work on that one task, and work on it with concentrated focus until you are done. (See How NOT to Multi-task.) Then celebrate your achievement!

# 6: Get to work early; work fewer hours. My best days come when I get into work early, and begin my work day in the quiet morning hours, before the phones start ringing and the din of the office begins it crescendo to chaos. It is so peaceful, and I can work without interruption or losing focus. I often find that I get my MITs done before anyone comes in, and then the rest of the day is dealing with whatever comes up (or even better: getting ahead for the next day).

Added bonus: you skip rush-hour traffic.

But just as productive is the second part of the tip: leave early and work fewer hours. It’s paradoxical, but if you work fewer hours, and know that your time is limited, you will be more focused. Then you have more hours to yourself! Everyone wins.

# 5: Avoid meetings; when you must meet, make it effective. I find it best to say no to meetings up front. I just say, “Sorry, I can’t make it. I’m tied up with a project right now.” And that’s always true. I’ve always got projects I’m working on that are more important than a meeting.

Now, you probably won’t be able to get out of most meetings, so here are some tips for making meetings more effective.

# 4: Avoid unnecessary work. If we just do any work that comes our way, we can be cranking out the tasks, but not be productive at all. You’re only productive if you are doing work that moves you towards a goal. Eliminate non-essential tasks from your to-do lists, and start to say no to new requests that are non-essential.

If you do not take these steps and speak up, and say no, then you will be overloaded with work that you simply do not need to do. Cut out the non-essential tasks, and focus on those that really matter.

# 3: Do the tough tasks first. You know what those tasks are. What have you been putting off that you know you need to do? Sometimes when you put things off, they end up being things you don’t really need to do. But sometimes they are things you just gotta do. Those are your tough tasks.

Do them first thing in the day.

# 2: Work off-line as much as possible. To increase your productivity, disconnect your Internet connection. Have scheduled times when you’re going to check your email, and only let yourself check your blogs or surf the web when you’ve gotten a certain amount done. When you do go online, do it on a timer. When the timer goes off, unplug again until the next scheduled time.

You’ll be amazed at how much work you’ll get done.

# 1: Do something you’re passionate about. This might not seem like the normal productivity tip, but give it a thought: if you really want to do something, you’ll work like hell to get it done. You’ll work extra hard, you’ll put in even more hours, and you’re less likely to procrastinate. It’s for work that you don’t really care about that you procrastinate. Read the full post for tips on how to find your dream job and do work you truly care about.

Source: Zen Habits
Author: Leo Babauta

Top 10 Public Speaking Mistakes
by On August 31, 2010

Today’s Top 10 Tips Tuesday comes from the world’s leader in the public speaking arena – Toastmaster International.  Here are 10 common mistakes business people make when giving a presentation.  Scan this list and make sure you are not guilty of these blunders.

Be Free!
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How come intelligent, business-savvy people end up boring their audiences? They fail to recognize that public speaking is an acquired skill that improves with practice and honest feedback. Speaking for 20 minutes before the right group of people can do more for your career than spending a year behind a desk!

Rob Sherman, an attorney and public speaker in Columbus, Ohio, says in an article in the Toastmaster magazine to avoid these mistakes:

  1. Starting with a whimper. Don’t start with “Thank you for that kind introduction.” Start with a bang! Give the audience a startling statistic, an interesting quote, a news headline – something powerful that will get their attention immediately.
  2. Attempting to imitate other speakers. Authenticity is lost when you aren’t yourself.
  3. Failing to “work” the room. Your audience wants to meet you. If you don’t take time to mingle before the presentation, you lose an opportunity to enhance your credibility with your listeners.
  4. Failing to use relaxation techniques. Do whatever it takes – listening to music, breathing deeply, shrugging your shoulders – to relieve nervous tension.
  5. Reading a speech word for word. This will put the audience to sleep. Instead use a “keyword” outline: Look at the keyword to prompt your thoughts. Look into the eyes of the audience, then speak.
  6. Using someone else’s stories. It’s okay to use brief quotes from other sources, but to connect with the audience, you must illustrate your most profound thoughts from your own life experiences. If you think you don’t have any interesting stories to tell, you are not looking hard enough.
  7. Speaking without passion. The more passionate you are about your topic, the more likely your audience will act on your suggestions.
  8. Ending a speech with questions and answers. Instead, tell the audience that you will take questions and then say, “We will move to our closing point.” After the Q and A, tell a story that ties in with your main theme, or summarize your key points. Conclude with a quote or call to action.
  9. Failing to prepare. Your reputation is at stake every time you face an audience – so rehearse well enough to ensure you’ll leave a good impression!
  10. Failing to recognize that speaking is an acquired skill. Effective executives learn how to present in the same way they learn to use other tools to operate their businesses.

Article Source

Top 10 Tips to Solve Problems
by On August 24, 2010

This is a guest by Michael Angier from MarketingForSuccuss.com 

Being alive means we have and will have problems.

And if we’re going to be confronted with problems the rest of our lives, then becoming good at facing and solving problems seems to me to be a worthy endeavor.

Before I jump into my list, allow me to share a few of my thoughts ABOUT problems.

I believe there is almost always more than one solution to any problem. And if you think there’s only one, you will be significantly limiting yourself.

I also think that in business, you don’t really have problems, you have expenses. This assumes that every problem in business can be solved. It’s just going to cost time, energy and/or money to solve it. Not so with all personal problems. Many of them cannot be solved with money alone.

Our attitude toward problems and problem-solving is probably as important, if not more important, than our skills or knowledge in solving them. How we approach our problems is critical.

If we’re angry about having the problem, it’s going to be a lot harder to solve. Complaining about why we have the problem takes time and energy away from SOLVING the problem. What we resist tends to persist.

And remember that problems can be, and often are, good things. We learn from them. We create or discover opportunities that wouldn’t be realized without working through them. If there were no problems to solve, we would not be necessary.

That said, here are my Top Ten Ways to Solve Problems:

1. Define or re-define the problem.
Charles Kettering said, “A problem clearly stated is a problem half-solved.” The way we define the problem has a lot to do with how we approach the solution. Many times a re-definition will work wonders on opening the possibilities.

2. Focus on the SOLUTION, not the problem.
Otherwise, we may just be worrying and making the problem bigger than it really is. Believe that it can be solved and stay centered upon the way to solve it.

3. Detach from the problem.
Many times we are too close and too emotionally involved to a problem to have a good perspective. Try looking at it like it was someone else’s problem. Take a larger view and you will likely find more possibilities.

4. Ask an expert or someone with experience.
Very few problems we face are brand new. Usually they have been solved by someone else, so don’t underestimate the value of someone with the right expertise and knowledge.

5. Access the knowledge and the skills necessary.
Determine what you need to know and the skills that need to be harnessed to get the job done. And if you don’t know what they are, find out.

6. Brainstorm.
Practice green light thinking with your mastermind team. Generate as many ideas as you can.

7. Use IWWCW.
That stands for “In What Ways Can We”. And it implies there is more than one tactic, strategy or action you can take. It will expand your thinking and that of others involved.

8. Don’t try to solve the problem without the knowledge, skills and information you need.
If you can delay decisions and actions until these things are determined and acquired, that’s usually the best thing to do. It also helps to sleep on it. Our subconscious mind often solves problems in our sleep. Just be sure you are tactically delaying things and not procrastinating or avoiding.

9. Look for ways to simplify the challenge and the potential solutions.
Often we complicate things more than we need. And many times the simplest solution is the best.

10. When possible, solve problems before they happen.
It’s much easier than dealing with it in crisis. Have contingency plans. Think about things that could happen and what action you will take if it does. This is not negative thinking. If you live in an earthquake zone or tornado area, what precautions can you take to be well prepared?

The more we accept our problems and the better we get at solving them, the more confidence we develop. In doing so, we increase our value in the marketplace because we are known for having a cool, thoughtful and logical approach to understanding and solving problems.

Source:  http://www.marketingforsuccess.com/blog/success-tips/solve-problems/ 

About the Author Michael Angier
Related Resources
More Posts by Michael Angier

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Top 10 Tips for Being a Better Listener
by On July 20, 2010

Being a good listener is one of the most important communication skills you can develop. Here are 10 easy tips, which if practiced regularly, will make you a better communicator.

Be Free!
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Listening seems like a simple process and yet so many of us are more eager to talk than to listen. Someone once said we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. What better gift could you give to your family, friends, peers and bosses than to listen to them so that they feel really heard? Here are some tips:

1. Stay present – Don’t let your mind wander. Many are composing a response before the speaker has a chance to completely finish his/her thought.

2. Make eye contact – Let the speaker see your interest by regularly making eye contact.

3. Ask questions for clarification – This is not your time to respond.  Get really clear about what is being said. If you don’t understand, ask questions in an open non-charged manner.

4. Acknowledge feelings – If the speaker is telling you something about his/her feelings, acknowledge them. You don’t have to agree to show that you see the speaker is upset or happy about something.

5. Restate or paraphrase – Make sure you are getting the information the speaker is presenting by periodically repeating what you hear in different words the speakers. “Let me see if I’ve got it so far?”

6. Seek first to understand and then to be understood – Before you state your thoughts and ideas make sure you totally understand and acknowledge the speakers thoughts.

7. Give nonverbal feedback – While the speaker is speaking, be sure to smile, nod, frown, shrug your shoulders, or raise your eyebrows – whatever is appropriate.

8. Be silent – Don’t be afraid of this. Periods of total quiet will allow you and the speaker to think about what was said. When you are sure the speaker has completed his/her thoughts on the subject it will be time for you to comment.

9. Take in all the information both verbal and nonverbal – Focus on the meaning of what is being said and also what is not being said.

10. Get permission – Sometimes people just want to be heard. At other times they are seeking advice. Give advice only when requested and only after the person has had a chance to give you the whole story. If you are not sure, ask if the person is looking for your input.

Author: Alvah Parker
Source

Top 10 Tips for Budgeting and Reaching Financial Freedom
by On July 13, 2010

Today’s top 10 list doesn’t reveal earth shatter tips, BUT it does pose an important questions  – How many of these action items are you ACTUALLY doing?  

Be (financially) Free! 
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If you look at your bank account and wonder where all the money went, or swore you paid a bill and now you are told you are past due, you may have a budget problem or no budget at all.

This is not something that is taught in our traditional public education system. Young people are not usually armed with the knowledge of how to budget effectively unless their parents taught them.

There are numerous books, videos, and software out there for your reference on budgeting but it can be quite simple actually. Unless you are a chronic, habitual spender, then you might need to think about Spender’s Anonymous.

1. Write down all your incoming cash flow and all your bills.

2. Keep a check register. Today we all swipe our debit cards and think nothing of it. It isn’t as easy to have your register handy when you use plastic instead of a checkbook.

But if you keep track of your purchases from home once a day or a couple times a week, you will then know what you are spending your money on and you can make some changes if you need to.

3. Categorize. Have a category for food, fuel, bills, entertainment, etc. This will help you realize how much of each check is going towards what you need. If you have some leftover you can move it to another category that needs some more or you can save the extra cash.

4. Think twice when making purchases. When you think you just have to have something, take a deep breath and really ask yourself if you need this, want to spend money on it, or if there is something more important you can put your money towards.

Once you have effectively thought and answered these questions, you will be able to make a better purchase decision.

5. Don’t borrow money. Don’t apply for credit cards because of the rewards or you want to blow money you don’t have. Spend cash for everything and you’ll not end up in so much debt that you can’t see over it!

Perhaps having one credit card with a small balance would be smart for emergencies, but then don’t carry it in your wallet. Keep it at home.

6. Start saving something now. Anything will do and when you have a chunk, you can then put it into something that will earn a better return. Most people think they have to have thousands of dollars to invest or to save but that is simply not the case. 

Quick tip – round all of your purchases up to the next dollar and save the change – talk about starting small!  You will be amazed at how fast you can build your savings with this small step.

7. Find ways to cut back. If you only use half your cell phone minutes most months, reduce your plan. If you don’t watch TV, get rid of your cable. Dial up internet service is good if you rarely get on your computer and is cheaper than faster connections. Go to local farmers markets and buy your produce.

8. Shop at thrift stores and yard sales to find things that would be nice to have but you can live without it being brand spanking new.

9. Have an emergency fund.  How long could you survive if you lost your job today? If the answer is less than 8 months, you could be faced with a very stressful situation if it happens. Cut out all nonessential expenses – vacations, new clothes, dinners out and nights at the movies – until you have saved enough to last 8 months without a paycheck. Why 8 months? That is how long, on average, it takes to find a new job.

10. Do without the expensive toys.  Do they really need an iPhone, an iPod, a Playstation, a Wii, an Xbox, and a Gameboy? Kids can entertain themselves pretty good and it is cheaper! 

Source:   Michael New Jr. – An authority in the financial industry. He has written hundreds of articles relating to consumer services and Payday Loans. miken@checkcity.com or http://www.checkcity.com

Top 10 Communication Tips for Managers
by On June 22, 2010

If you are a manager or supervisor, how are your communication skills? Poor communication with your employees is one of the key reasons people choose to leave their job. By following these communication tips from Glenn Ebersole, you can increase employee satisfaction and improve productivity.

Be Free!
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Recently I read about a study conducted in 2001, which included approximately 20,000 exit interviews. A major finding in the study was that poor communications skills of supervisors were a leading factor in poor supervisory behavior, which caused people to leave their jobs.

And I believe there is plenty of evidence today that there are many people who have been promoted into management and supervisory positions without the proper communications skills and therefore are causing this dysfunctional behavior to continue in many workplaces.

Okay coach, what do you prescribe to take care of these poor communication skills of managers and supervisors? Well, your strategic thinking business coach wants to share 10 powerful communication tips for them, as well as others in the workplace. Here they are:

1. Commit to becoming an effective listener. And learn how to “hear” what people are saying to you.

2. Conduct regular 1-on-1 meetings with people that work with you. And give them your full attention when meeting with them.  These meetings are a great time to actively seek feedback from your staff about your own communications.

3. Demonstrate the core values of your company or organization on a consistent basis in whatever you do in your communications with fellow employees and those you supervise and manage.

4. Be sure you make extra efforts to ensure that all those people that need to know are told what they need to know and in a timely manner. For performance issues, this means communicating with them well before an annual performance review.

5. Discuss personal and delicate matters in person, preferably face-to-face or if need be by telephone, rather than via email.  Ensure confidentiality in communications where appropriate and required.

6. Learn how to effectively communicate with groups of employees.

7. Make eye contact with the person or persons with whom you are communicating.

8. Send a consistent message by making your words; gestures facial expressions and tone of voice match your message.

9. Stay focused on the present, your feelings, understanding one another and finding a solution.

10. Ask for assistance if you need it from people that demonstrate effective communication.

If you want to learn more about being an effective communicator with your work force and the positive impact good communications will bring to you and your business, please contact Glenn Ebersole today through his website at www.businesscoach4u.com or by email at jgecoach@aol.com

Source

Top 10 Tips for Stress Management
by On June 15, 2010

recommended intake and helps you to function better physically and mentally.

(9) Talk to a friend

Sharing your worries with someone allows temporary relief of burden and helps you feel cared for.

(10) Cultivate a hobby

Your hobby should be something you’re passionate about- it helps to take your mind off the stress and gives you a sense of renewed awareness.

The next time you feel stressed out; remember that you are in control and try to practice the steps above!

Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/stress-management-articles/10-tips-for-stress-management-1177887.html

About the Author: Francis Murphy

Learning to relax and reduce stress in your life is crucial for maintaining a healthy body and mind. These 10 tips for stress management will help you to achieve a state of balance to live a better life. Visit us to get your free Stress Relief Tips ebook download today.

Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Morning Routine
by On June 8, 2010

This week’s Top 10 Tips Tuesday is a guest post from Kevin Purdy at lifehacker.com

If you haven’t already, be sure to enter our contest this month – What Do You Say to Start Your Day? Consciously saying positive things in the morning is one way you can upgrade your morning routine.

Be Free!
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Never feel like there’s enough time in the morning? Find yourself struggling to get up or into work mode? We know the feeling. Try out these tips on waking up, getting energized, and getting things done in the early hours.

10. Save the Morning for Thinking

The morning tends to have a quieter, more contemplative feel to it. Take advantage of it, as one CEO recommends, by following poet William Blake’s advice to divide up your day: “Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night.” Even if your job’s more about cranking than managing and contemplating, you can use the mornings where you’re not on tight deadline to think over problems, consider future challenges, and give your tasks more mindful attention than they’ll get when everyone else gets in and starts grabbing for your attention.

9. Track Your A.M. Habits

Why are you always late to work or school? It’s not because the Earth randomly spins faster on certain days. There’s a good chance you’ve given yourself an arbitrary time span, like an hour, rather than see what your morning really requires. The Unclutterer blog suggests a system for tracking and streamlining your routine, and determining what wild cards can throw you off-balance. Got a rough list of necessities? Make a list, follow it, then revise it—but give yourself a couple days to see what really works for you. Yeah, it feels geeky to use a timer and spreadsheet walking around your kitchen in the morning, but once it becomes habit, you can put down the pencil and get on with life.

8. Put Your Kids on an Itinerary

You may be master of your morning, but your smaller subjects can quickly cause it to go haywire. Gretchen Rubin, blogging at The Happiness Project, suggests a deadline-oriented, precise routine for your kids to eliminate the dreaded “One more minute!” It takes some time and consistency to enforce, but soon enough, your children will be able to actually relax in the morning, if they know they’re ahead of their specific breakfast/bathroom/homework-roundup routines.

7. Eat for Better Sleep

The simple way to realign your energy throughout your day is to eat less at night, saving the big meals for when you’re up and running. If the problem is that you’re just not falling asleep, plan your dinners and later snacks around foods that contribute to a good night’s sleep, like turkey, bananas, honey, potatoes, almonds, and others.

6. Choose Your Most Important Task Over Email

Whatever your boss sent out at 5:45 p.m. last night likely isn’t as important as the most important thing you need to work on this morning. The way most of us handle our mornings, though, you wouldn’t know it. If you want to look back on your morning and not feel like it disappeared, take control of your workday by prioritizing one task—just one thing you really need to do—and put off opening your inbox for one hour. Seems sacrilegious, but if you asked your boss or clients which was more important, their answer might not surprise you.

5. Trade Coffee Jolts for Smaller Perk-Ups

When it comes to caffeine, a tall cup of coffee is a sledgehammer. If you’re going to use caffeine to boost your morning energy, there are real benefits to spacing out smaller caffeine boosts. Switching to tea or diet soda, if you can stomach it, also makes for a slower-dose substitute.

4. Wake Up Without Any Caffeine

Blogger Scott Young, waking up at 5:30 every morning, had to find a way to convince his mind and body that it was actually time to get up. He’s not a caffeine person, so he relied on other cues and tactics to wake up. Filling the room with light, tricking himself into committing to “just” 10 minutes of staying awake, doing his creative work early in the morning, and a bit of exercise worked for him. The real secret, he writes, is in getting enough sleep that mornings just feel like a soft transition from sleep, but his other strategies can help when that basic foundation fails.

3. Set a Morning Prep Reminder the Night Before

Whether it’s your watch, your cell phone, or a microwave reminder, set something in your home to beep at a certain time every night. When that beep goes off, around 10 p.m., for instance, it means you should drop what you’re doing and spend just a bit of time preparing for your morning, while you’re actually awake. LifeClever calls it the 10 O’Clock Rule, and suggests a few things we can all do to semi-automate our mornings: set out your clothes, pocket contents, and shoes, grind coffee, check your calendar for events and reminders, and packing anything you’re bound to forget into your bag. It’s a night person’s best hedge against the morning, and a morning person’s ticket to spending their energy on more exciting things.

2. Crank Out Some Push-Ups

When a loud noise wakes you up, you might notice you’re not quite so groggy and annoyed as wide-awake and alert. Cranking out push-ups first thing in the morning can provide some of that same kind of bio-feedback that tells your body it’s time to get up and do something, something maybe even related to caveman-instinct survival. Do as many push-ups as you can (or as many feel comfortable, without sore arms), wait 30 seconds, then repeat two more times.

1. Know Your Peak Performance Times

Different people find their energy, and inspiration arriving at different times, but not everybody can rearrange their work schedule. If that sounds like you, you can benefit from learning the peak times for early-risers and night owls, or learning your own energy schedule. If you’re a data hound who likes specifics, you can do more than deal in generalities of morning, afternoon, and evening—you can map and graph your daily ups and downs.
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What change to your morning routine has made the biggest difference in your days?

What parts of your early hours still need work? Share your scheduling strategies in the comments.

Article Source:
Top 10 Ways to Upgrade Your Morning Routine