Here’s When to Skip Your Morning Routine and Dive Straight Into Work

There’s a time for reflection and there’s a time for action. Not the mindset-shifting, affirmation-thinking kind of action, though. I’m talking about rolling up your sleeves, givin’ er some elbow grease, and making shit happen. You know…real work!

Ya dig?

Because you know when you’re mentally prepared enough to dive in. And if you keep mentally preparing, you prolong the actual “doing” needlessly, which instigates the habit of procrastination, and trashes your confidence.

Think I’m preaching from the pulpit?

Nah. I’m speaking to you from within the trenches—knee deep in the muck and surrounded by Charl…ee, I’ll stop with the Vietnam war references and just get on with the article now:

I’ve been buried in procrastinations for a month.

My morning routine is probably a lot like yours: I pray, I visualize, I’m grateful, and I flood myself with affirmations before I plan out my day and dive in. This routine has been the difference between earning $50 bucks an article and dumpster diving to making several grand per article and teaching others how to kick ass for a living. But it actually handicapped me in the past month.

I’d procrastinated on a couple big-ticket to-do items (one of which was overhauling this here site) and they were really eating at me. I knew what I had to do: site work, finish up some major proposals, etc. But I went about my morning routine just the same—which was spending almost an hour doing the internal preparation stuff, planning, and then exercising before I jumped into work. And it was that hour-plus that kept me from pulling the galdang trigger and hitting my marks.

I’d do the routine and work up all those buzzy, confident vibes we all love—and that ordinarily would supercharge a productive day. But in that hour or so of morning routine I always found some other thing that seemed more important than these procrastinations. So I’d write an article, throw out some pitches, edit, read, exercise some more, meditate, and do pretty much every other thing on my daily planning lists.

But then the day was done. And I still had those disgusting blank checkboxes leering at me from my planning page.

“You couldn’t accomplish your way out of a paper bag,” they’d say. And I’d acknowledge that they were right. Here I am a planning “expert”, teaching people how to do it for a living—”it” as in planning, not sex—and I somehow couldn’t check off three simple boxes. We’re talking 10 hours of work, total.

So this morning I woke up feeling like dog dick, pardon the expression. (We can use “snake dick,” “duck dick”, or “frog dick” if you prefer.) I felt that fey wall of impossibility looming over me like doom itself. I’d been battling similar feelings for, huh…nigh about a month exactly. Go figure. But this morning I did something different.

Instead of hoping, wishing, and “vibing” my way out of my funk, I f&@^!ng worked.

I rolled my raggedy ass over my bed, snatched up my Macbook and navigated to my site for some immediate application. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t think about thinking about it. I didn’t think about all the times I hadn’t done it, or my likelihood of still not doing it, recent history considered. I just did it. And right there in bed I worked for five solid hours until the majority of my biggest task was finished.

(Insert Super Mario Brothers sound for getting bigger)  Confidence: Quadrupled. 

In those five hours, I metamorphosed from a namby-pamby, feeble-feeling slug into the confident and purposeful man I really am. And you know something…I didn’t utter one damned affirmation. I didn’t visualize how freaking amazing I’d feel after I did what I had to do. I didn’t even exercise.

I just did it.

And in doing the physical work, I summarily broke down every mental barrier I’d been building in my head that had been dogging me down for the better part of a month. And it felt soooooo good.

Now had I tried this battering-ram approach when I first started my self-improvement journey, it wouldn’t have worked. In fact I had tried it over and over and over again, with nothing but nothing to show. That’s because I didn’t have a plan; I didn’t have self-confidence; my inner dialogue was a train-wreck that presaged more train wrecks. So I learned how to fix my inner problems that were holding me back from making effort and doing consistent work. And that’s when I started achieving rapid success.

But today I have five years of affirmations, achievement and confidence under my belt. I have a habit of continuously encouraging myself throughout the day—thanks to my trusty daily planner, and my ten self-encouragement checkboxes. I have direction. The only thing I lacked was work. So I worked. I put in the elbow grease to make shit happen, and voila: life’s good again.

Conclusion

My point is that if you have work that needs to be done, don’t delay yourself any longer than necessary. By all means: go pee, or even defecate if you must. But exercise can wait. Mindfulness can wait. When you’ve got shit to do and you need to do it yesterday, get that shit done, quick.

Because the longer you put it off, even if that delay is an otherwise healthy habit, you’ll start a procrastination trend that will drain your confidence and swamp your accomplishments ten times faster than any number of positive habits can grow them.

So, if you could roll over tomorrow morning and do three things in bed, what would those be? Do those now. And if you have to wait till tomorrow, just remember one thing:

Your routines will be waiting for you when your work is done.

Cheers to your confidence and your success! Hip hip, Huzzah! Now do work. 

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Written by Daniel Dowling
As a "lost millennial" turned solopreneur writer and coach, I write on massive personal development for sites including Entrepreneur, Fitbit and Fast Company, and I teach ambitious people how to become successful solopreneurs and balanced human beings here at Millennial Success.