The first hour
Meaningful habits to start your mornings. By Leo Babauta
As your day starts, it’s easy to get lost in the habit of checking messages, replying to email, checking the news and your favourite blogs. It’s easy to fritter your day away doing a thousand small harmless actions, while the essential actions get put off.
The antidote is putting a little emphasis on making the first hour of your day the most powerful hour. Treating that first hour as sacred, not to be wasted on trivial things, but to be filled with only the most essential, most life-changing actions.
Sacred actions might include: meditating, journaling, reading, writing (or creating in some other way), practicing or studying, doing yoga, exercising or focusing on your most important task of the day.
On the days you’re able to perform these kinds of sacred actions, your entire day can be changed: you’ll feel more mindful, energetic, focused and productive.
Treating this first hour, when you first wake up, as sacred also helps you to remember that every hour is sacred…if you choose to treat it as such. We can then live each hour with greater appreciation and mindfulness.
Create your own powerful first hour
Figure out what you think would be most powerful for your life, and put these things into your sacred hour. A good mix might include:
- Some kind of meditation or reflection (gratitude journal, for example)
- Your most important task
- Something that takes concentration, like creating, reading, or studying
- Something physical, like a run, yoga, workout, tai chi
None of this is fixed in stone. If you find that you can’t concentrate in your first hour, maybe use it for physical activity instead like taking a walk, or a home yoga practice (even 10 minutes will do). The main question to ask yourself is: if you were given the gift of an hour in the morning, what would you spend it on? What would make a big difference in your day? Then test it out. Try the routine for a week and see what happens. Adjust if needed.
The first hour is arguably the most important hour of the day.
Use it wisely.
Leo Babauta is the founder of zenhabits.net