Today we’re talking about a system that’s crucial to your long-term business success—your morning routine. I’m also sharing six ways I’ve revamped my own routine and why you should too.
Have you considered that the most important “system” in your business may be how you treat yourself — the visionary leader and driving force behind your company?
Are you ready to revamp your morning routine so you can truly maintain and build your business momentum long-term?
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL COME AWAY WITH:
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Courtney Elmer 0:11
Welcome back to the Systems Made Simple™ Podcast. I am your host Courtney Elmer, and so freakin excited you're here this week because I'm so excited for what we have to dive into today. This is an episode near and dear to my heart. I have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It's Episode 88 which is all about how to start a morning routine or improve your morning ritual.
And of course, you already know if you're a longtime listener, that running your business like a true visionary leader, learning how to do that — learning how to get the right systems and the right structure and support in place. That's what we focus on primarily here on the podcast. But at our company, The EffortLESS Life®, we also believe it is equally, if not more important, that you learn how to take better care of the visionary leader behind the business. Because without you, your business is just a business on its own. It doesn't run. It doesn't function without you, leading it toward a greater vision.
So that's why in today's episode, this is the last episode in this summer series of quick tips we've been doing these past several weeks. But this one's gonna be a little bit more in depth and detailed because we are focusing on how to revamp one of the most important systems in your business, your morning ritual, that you never thought of as a system. Did you? It is because while it's great to focus on systems and processes and procedures and save time, and do all those things to grow your team and your programs, it is equally important to examine the systems by which you're currently operating your life.
Courtney Emer 1:05
I'm guilty of focusing only on business. At times in my life, to the point where there were moments where I had neglected my own needs for so long in service to the business. It was almost too late. First time was when I was 25 years old. And my doctor sat me down in that cold sterile exam room and told me I had cancer. That was a huge wake up call. And in that moment, I realized that I had been overworking myself for the sake of success at the expense of everything else that mattered to me. So I made some big changes. And I had to figure out the hard way that the way I was working wasn't actually working for me.
And time went on and my business grew. And if you've reached a point in your life or your business where things have been going pretty well for a while, you know, days are hard, but overall things are moving in the right direction. It can be easy to think or to begin to think that you're invincible, that nothing bad can happen, that nothing else can come over and throw you off course you've already done the hard stuff for me.
Courtney Elmer 3:35
I was guilty of that way of thinking too. Because I had already been through cancer. What else could possibly happen? That could be worse? Well, a couple months ago, my husband came home on a Friday morning. I was in the middle of calls, I was jumping from one thing to the next. I had just taught a session for our mastermind and I was about to hop on an interview with a potential new team member. And my husband walks in the door and he looks at me and he says, Well, I tested positive for COVID. I think my jaw hit the floor. There's probably still a bruise there from when that happened. I was so shocked. And the rest of that day, it was like when you're in survival mode. That's what it was. Survival Mode.
I went into survival mode. And there was an initial scramble there to notify all the places we had been the past few days notifies school, notify our families, notify all things, make sure we had groceries, make sure we had meals getting people to bring us stuff and leave it on our porch because we all of a sudden couldn't go out anywhere. It was that mad scramble and dash and then the quarantine set in and then the silence set in. And I was forced to confront all the ways that my business wasn't working for me anymore. And all of the ways that the way I was working were no longer working because I had gotten into a rut and focusing on my morning routine.
Courtney Elmer 5:05
And sometimes when we're gaining that momentum, we're experiencing rapid business growth. It's all we can do to ride the wave and to just keep up. But inevitably, if you neglect you, while riding that wave, you're going to end up underwater. And something will come along and make you stop all together, your momentum will come to a screeching halt. Because if you don't build yourself out of your business, then your business will wait for you to get back to it to get up and running again. And all that momentum you built will level off to just a little bit. And it requires more energy to get that momentum going again than it does to keep it going. Chances are you already know this.
Courtney Elmer 5:55
So in that season of my life, which lasted for about two solid months of being in COVID, quarantine, going through healing from that, and then another month of just restoring the equilibrium to our lives. And within our family, the brain fog lingered for so long, I couldn't work. There was only so much I could do, as I had to take a huge step back from things. But in stepping back, it gave me a lot of perspective on my morning routine.
And today, I'm going to share the six ways that I've revamped my morning ritual and why you should too, if you want to be able to maintain and build your business momentum long term, because it starts with you. And it starts with understanding the importance of building yourself out of your business, so that it can run without you.
Because otherwise your business will always be dependent on you to grow. And long term, that's not the healthiest of relationships. So the first thing that I did was I went back to the bare basics. And I looked at my foundation, and I looked at my sleep. And prior to getting COVID, there was a couple of months of extreme stress in our lives and our families with our work, just different things we were dealing with.
I felt like there was a period there where I was always putting out a fire and I was like, gosh, is there light at the end of the tunnel. And then we got COVID. And I was like, Oh my gosh, the world's coming to an end. So I went back to the basics and started a morning routine.
Courtney Elmer 6:35
I started looking at my sleep, because for those couple of months pre-COVID, and then of course during COVID, and then after COVID, my sleep had fallen off the rails. I was not sleeping well, which meant I was drinking more coffee the next day to try to stay awake. It just created this vicious cycle where I would wake up through the night. I would have trouble falling asleep, the insomnia was horrible. And then of course, being sick, I was up through the night caring for my son and just not sleeping well because you're sick and you don't feel well. So I went back to tracking my sleep patterns, because I wanted to see what was going on with my sleep.
One of the apps that I like for this is called SleepScore. It uses sonar technology, you put your phone on the side of the bed at night, and it tracks your movements through the night and helps register when you get deep sleep, how much deep sleep you get. If you're getting REM sleep, it's amazing technology tried and true, scientifically backed. I definitely recommend that.
Courtney Elmer 7:10
There's something else that really is great for tracking your sleep that I love. It's a pricier option. But if you are committed to getting your sleep back on track, this is a great place to start. And this also provides other health data and it's called the Oura Ring. O-U-R-A and it's a ring that you wear on your finger. It emits very low EMF teas, you don't have to worry about wearing that device 24-seven or anything like that if you have those concerns, like I do, and it helps track your sleep, there's an app that goes along with it.
And the app is free, unlike other companies where you buy the product and then you also have to pay for the app. So when you purchase the ring, the app is free. It gives you all kinds of data that you can learn what your sleeping patterns are right now and then make changes to tweak those over time.
Courtney Elmer 7:50
That brings me to the second thing that I did to revamp my morning ritual, which is cutting my coffee in half because this interferes with focus. I don't know if you know the caffeine stats that are out there, but the reason that people have such bad withdrawal symptoms from detoxing from caffeine is because they're doing it too fast. The body hates abrupt change. Chances are, if you've ever tried to decrease your caffeine intake or go cold turkey during your morning routine, you have a horrible headache, the brain fog it's not worth it. It's causing you to reach for that coffee just to make that horrible feeling go away. I don't know if you know this — this is crazy — but the American Psychiatric Association considers caffeine withdrawal by quitting cold turkey a mental disorder. I'm not kidding. And the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are headaches, anxiety, fatigue, decreased alertness, that foggy brain feeling, feeling depressed. Not the best morning routine.
But the good news is that if you decrease your caffeine intake progressively, you can avoid those symptoms as part of your morning routine. So the FDA actually defines caffeine as both a drug and a food additive. Here's what happens when it enters your system. When you drink a cup of coffee, the effects of that caffeine come on within 15 minutes, the levels peak about an hour later.
For most people, about half of it is still in their body six hours later, and a quarter of it remains 12 hours after that first sip. If you have a particular gene that causes you to metabolize caffeine more slowly, this is very common, a very common variant here. If you're a slow metabolizer of caffeine, you're going to keep it around in your body even longer.
So imagine, if you drink your first cup of coffee at 8am, and you go to bed at 8pm, you still have a quarter of that cup of caffeine in your system. If you drink another cup at 10am, and you still have a quarter left in your system at 10pm. Then you've got all that caffeine in your system from those two cups of coffee way back in the morning. 12 hours ago, it's still in your system at night, and it can prevent you from falling asleep. It can affect your sleep, it can cause you to wake up more at night, it might even worse in your performance in sports or in working out compared to what some people say or claim that caffeine helps you work out better. This can lead to a disastrous morning ritual.
Courtney Elmer 10:35
No, all of that is false. Caffeine is nothing more than a drug that your body becomes addicted to. When you can slowly wean yourself off of caffeine, then you will improve your focus, you will improve your sleep, you have to give it time though, there are a lot of coffee alternatives out there. I've tried a bunch of them. Two of my favorites are called Mud and Ryze. M-U-D and R-Y-Z-E. Mud has a seventh of the caffeine of a regular cup of coffee; Ryze has half the caffeine of a regular cup of coffee.
They also have adaptogens in these blends, which is going to give you that feeling of focus that you're looking for coffee to give you, but that coffee doesn't actually give you. It's also going to help you sleep better. The real reason I had to cut back on my caffeine was because through this entire experience of several stressful months followed by COVID followed by the rebound effects of COVID, I started having heart problems. I started having sharp pains in my heart. I’d go for a walk with my family and come back, and my heart felt like someone was grabbing their fist around it, squeezing it; it was painful and it hurt. I talked to my doctor about it, and we ruled out a whole bunch of things. She said cut back on your caffeine intake and let me know how you feel in a couple of weeks.
Courtney Elmer 13:10
And the problem is virtually gone. So I'm convinced that I had way too much caffeine in my system and I'm committed to finding my focus and my energy through other means. Another way that I do that, which is the third way that I personally have revamped my morning ritual, is to attend to my soul first thing in the morning. I have a deep spiritual life and a very deep spiritual practice, which isn't something I often talk about.
But I'm always so happy to share about it with anyone who asks me, because this is the foundation of everything for me. This is often the most often neglected aspect of a person's life is their spiritual life tending to their soul. You can do this through prayer. You can do this through meditation. I have a prayer meditation practice that I practice every morning. And part of this practice also includes two other aspects that I'll get to in a moment, which involve tending your mind, and tending your body. So that before you even start your day you are tending to your whole self.
One of the biggest objections I hear from people who want to start a morning routine, they want to take better care of themselves. They want to show up as a visionary leader, they want to show up as the highest version of themselves. But all this stuff is getting in the way and one of the number one complaints is that it takes so much time. I don't have hours to sit every morning and be leisurely because I’ve got to get up and the kids and the school and all of the things I have to do and then get into work and it's too much.
What I'm challenging you to consider here is that this entire routine,, this daily morning ritual--you can tweak this however you want. It can be all of 10 minutes. So the real question isn't, do I have the time? The real question is, how important is it to me to make the time to nurture myself and take care of myself first so that I can go out and do everything else that this day holds for me?
And that brings me to the fourth way that I've revamped my morning routine, this is something that has always been a part of my routine. But this was a part of my morning routine that sometimes I would procrastinate or put on the back burner, because of how time-consuming it became for me. And this is journaling, and reading, these are ways to tend your mind.
Courtney Elmer 15:00
I always have a book or two going, as I love to sit and read a few pages of that as part of my morning ritual. I also love to journal and sometimes I alternate between the two. I don't journal and read every day, sometimes I do one and sometimes I do the other. Sometimes I do both. But my journaling method was the one that was really becoming time-consuming because I would sit there and I would get carried away with my thoughts. And then all of a sudden, 10 pages later, and 20 minutes later, I'm going oh my gosh, I gotta get going.
So the journaling method that I use now is an ultra simplified method; it is called the “tweet method”. Because you are going to write one to two sentences max when you follow this method. So this is where it starts, it starts with “I feel…”, you're going to ask yourself that each morning and you're going to answer that for yourself. You're going to fill in that blank with one to two sentences at the most. You're going to look at what you wrote. Notice any underlying limiting beliefs, and then focus on shifting those beliefs.
Some mornings I wake up, and I feel overwhelmed. I write a sentence or two about why I feel that way. And I look for any limiting beliefs there and shift them so that I could nip that in the bud and move on with my day. Other days, I wake up, and I feel grateful. Other days I wake up, I feel concerned. Other days I wake up, I feel worried about something or anxious about something. This has become my morning routine.
Courtney Elmer 17:23
So this method is such a great way to get an accurate read on your emotional state when you wake up first thing in the morning. Many of us launch into our day without taking time to consider how we're really feeling. But your emotional state will inform how the rest of your day unfolds. If you have what we call in our family “big emotions” — because I don't label emotions as negative or positive — emotions are just emotions, we all experience all the emotions, and feelings are meant to guide you in the right direction as part of your morning routine.
Sometimes those emotions feel really big, like anger or guilt or sadness or overwhelm or frustration. Sometimes they feel a lot lighter--happiness, positivity, and anything in that realm. When you're having those really big feelings, noticing what those underlying beliefs are, and shifting those will also shift the course of your day.
Finally, after that, I spend a few minutes stretching or working out. This is about tending to your body. If you work out first thing in the morning, and you're already in the habit of doing that, continue to do that just move right into your daily workout. Maybe this is just 10 minutes of stretching. If you don't have 10 minutes, maybe it's five minutes, whatever you can do to get your blood flowing, and get your body moving and move through that stiffness of laying in your bed for the whole night.
Something else that I really love, and this is something you can invest in for yourself if you're into biohacking and if you're interested in detoxing your body and clearing out those lymph nodes, and flushing your system every day. It's called a whole-body Vibration Plate aka “vibe board.” My son calls it “the jiggle board”. He's like Mom, can we do the jiggle board today. And it's this little device you take out, you stand on it, and it jiggles and your whole body vibrates. He loves putting little things on it to see if they shake off or whatever.
But let me tell you, after five minutes on this board, oh my gosh, the focus is amazing. Your body feels so warm and loose, and it helps get all that blood flowing through your system. It's flushing your lymphatic system, it's getting all the bad stuff out of there. If you don't have a vibe board and you don't want to invest in one, do some jumping jacks or grab a jump rope. Or if you have one of those little trampolines, just jump on it. Just jump in place. This is a really great way just to get your body moving in the morning and I feel so good. So I highly recommend that especially as part of your morning routine.
Courtney Elmer 19:01
Anything you can do to tend your body in a way that serves your body and gets that blood flowing. Then finally, the sixth and final piece of my morning routine. And this is the closing point of it. As soon as I finish this piece, then I am on with my day. It closes off the personal time for me, and then I am open and available for my day. And it's a question, and it's, what's my one thing today? How can I improve my morning routine?
That question is designed to enhance your focus on your morning routine, as what is the one thing that needs to get done today, your number one priority, don't do anything else until you do it and celebrate it when you do. This personal system, personal daily morning ritual is about you taking personal responsibility as the visionary leader of your company. Yes, your company, this is not you the business owner, this is not you, the employee or the marketing person, or the virtual assistant, or the web designer or the copywriter. This is about you as the leader of your vision, the leader of your company.
Yeah, of course, you might have other roles to fill. But the more time you spend in those roles, the more time you allow yourself to spend in those roles. The more time you rob yourself, of leading your company. The degree to which you experience success in your life and business is a degree of your commitment that is dependent on the degree of your commitment to yourself.
Courtney Elmer 21:37
The most important reason that you need to have a morning ritual is that it's time set aside for you to put on that visionary leader hat. This is the hardest thing for some people. So many people are in the habit of rolling over hitting snooze, grabbing their phone, scrolling through emails, scrolling through Instagram, they stumble out of bed, they're groggy, they gulp down a cup of coffee, and they hit the ground running. And this approach is only going to work for so long, you know it and I know it. You can only run so long before you have to stop altogether to recover. And your business suffers when you operate your business that way on a run, stop run stop model. Setting up a morning routine will help you start the day off the right way.
Courtney Elmer 22:20
So if you struggle with setting aside time for you, me sitting here telling you how important it is and why you need it, and that you can't pour from an empty cup, all the things you've heard before is not going to help your morning routine.
What you really need are better boundaries. And I have the perfect resource for you that's going to help you learn to evaluate why you struggle with boundaries and how to work through that. How to set healthy boundaries in your work and in your life, which by extension will affect your happiness and your mood and your outlook. And it's going to positively impact the people around you when you do boundary setting is something that I have been working on continually for years.
If you're committed to growing your business, this is one of those skills that you need to master. So here's the book I'm going to recommend for you. If this is resonating with you. Go to Amazon. Type in the title Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Tawwab, and you can find Nedra on Instagram too @nedratawwab. She has over a million followers on Instagram, a highly influential woman. She has a lot to say to help you set better, healthier boundaries in your life. Because finding work life balance isn't so much about finding balance. It's about having better work life boundaries. That's the bottom line.
Courtney Elmer 23:45
So next week, we're going to continue this theme of the morning routine and talk about how not to start your workday. I have a very special guest joining me, who is going to share the number one reason why you struggle to stay focused. He's going to give you one simple tweak that's going to help you increase your productivity and help you take better care of the human behind your business.
That's all coming up next week right here on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast with me Courtney Elmer — you know, the podcast you should be telling all of your friends about because it's that good. Hopefully, you're getting value out of this show. And if you are, I would love to hear from you. There are two ways that you can share with me how this show is impacting your life and your business.
The first way is to go to our website Systems Made Simple.co and click the little microphone icon that you see pop up there and send me a two minute voicemail there and let me know how the show is impacting your life. We might even feature it on the air in an upcoming episode.
Another way you can do this is to scroll down inside your Apple App, tap the five stars and write a review. Write a sentence or two letting me know how this show is helping you buy back time in your life in your business, have a morning routine, and help you streamline your business systems. I really would love to hear how this is making an impact for you. So I, Courtney Elmer, will see you right back here next week. Until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.