One of the keys to staying focused, avoiding stress, and being productive is keeping the many facets of your life in balance. That’s easier said than done, right? You are busy with kids’ priorities, work beating at the door, and juggling to find time with your significant other… And that’s just the start of your day!
While it’s easy to get sucked into the routine day after day, I’ve found that stealing away for a little time before each day starts to be a keystone in lowering my stress levels and framing my mission for the day. Regardless of your own spiritual beliefs, I think it’s time that you consider some time dedicated to getting centered before you get started.
Centering Your Mind
After seeing my daughter off to school each workday, and before I start my work day, I sit down and begin reading. While I enjoy reading devotions each day, the important point is that what you are reading is priming your mind for the prayer and meditation to come. If you’ve ever started a car on a cold, winter day the principal is much the same. As you turn the key in the ignition, the motor begins to growl as it wakes up–turning faster and faster until it jumps to life. Much the same way, I’ve found that my mind needs something to help it jump into action.
You will have your own preference on what you choose to read, and it may well vary over time. The important perspective I try to keep is that it has to be digestible, meaningful, and spiritual.
Exploring Your Purpose
After reading, now comes the important point. As I said, reading helps me become more centered and essentially puts me into a zone of readiness.
Now, your own habits and preferences will certainly vary, but I prefer to be alone with my head bowed, eyes closed, and kneeling on the floor. I then begin to pray and meditate–seeking to understand how my earlier reading is supposed to be applied in my own life. I ask for forgiveness of the wrongs I’ve done, and forgive wrongs committed against me. I ask for guidance to walk the path I must, and to be a good servant to all those I encounter.
Approaching each and every day in this way renews my purpose, keeps me focused on what is important, and provides momentum to enter my day.
It was hard for me to get started with this part of my daily routine for a very long time. Intellectually, my reading and coaching had all touched on some aspect of this. But it just felt like a waste of time in an otherwise overly-busy day.
But as it turned out, it was a lot like a physical workout routine:
- You have to force yourself to start,
- it hurts a lot when you start,
- it feels better over time, and
- you begin to look forward to it with more practice.
In the end, I realized you have to work out your spiritual muscle just like you have to work out your physical and mental muscles! I had to turn “head knowledge” into “heart knowledge” before I understood the impact it could have in my life.
What’s your routine? What best practices can you share with all of us here?