How comfortable would you feel hearing an announcement like this the next time you took a flight somewhere:
“Apologies for the delay, ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. It seems I forgot my pre-flight safety checklist at home today, but since I know you are all in a hurry, I’ve decided to just go ahead and wing it this time and see how we do.”
Or how about an exchange like the next time you are in the operating room:
“Ah, stop bothering me with all the boring pre-heart-surgery safety checklist stuff. Let’s just dive in and see what happens this time.”
Not great, right?
So why do you think two of the most highly-trained professionals in the world, pilots and surgeons, have checklists?
It’s because checklists guarantee consistency.
While you might not be in control of people’s lives like pilots are, you are in control of an important one: yours.
I’ve found that the easiest way to start packing results into your life is to use your morning as a personal pre-flight checklist. The cool thing about it is it’s super simple to do. It doesn’t take much time, it’s easy to follow, and guess what happens when you run your pre-flight checklist? You start consistently knocking out incredible results.
Here’s my step-by-step process for a powerful pre-work routine that will set you up to knock your day out of the park:
1. Start the night before.
Starting work the night before is the easiest, most effective, yet most overlooked way to start the next day. The most powerful thing you can do the night before is decluttering.
One key aspect of decluttering that often gets overlooked is digital decluttering. Archive emails you’ve already dealt with and close whatever windows you’ve had open all day. This enables you to open your laptop in the morning without being bombarded by all of yesterday’s clutter.
2. Over-resource yourself.
However you choose to get yourself ready for your workday — a cup of coffee, a glass of lemon water, a ginger shot — make sure it’s something that energizes you and preps your brain for work.
Another tactic I love is having a pre-work soundtrack. It can be any music of your choice, as long as you listen to it consistently as you’re starting work. This acts as an audio cue for your brain, letting you know that it’s time to get focused.
3. Reconnect with your peak performance mindset.
At this point, you might be thinking, “I don’t have a high-intensity job like an airline pilot. Today’s just another day that I need to get through. It’s not that big of a deal.”
As a coach who cultivates massive transformations for my clients, just getting through another day isn’t enough. I’m constantly raising the stakes for myself, constantly setting new near-impossible goals and reaching them.
I attribute that to the mantra I say to myself every morning before I start work: “Every conversation today is a chance for transformation, and I take that responsibility as a sacred obligation.”
Saying this to myself and really meaning it pushes me to make every interaction I have with my clients meaningful and transformative. And when my clients reach their goals, I do too!
What could your peak performance mantra be?
4. Set your priority (without looking at your to-do list).
Where should you find your next priority, your to-do list or your email?
Truth is, you shouldn’t look at either one. Not straight away. They’re both full of OPPs: other people’s problems.
Your top priority isn’t going to be in either of those places. It’s yours. So before even opening your laptop or your calendar, set your top priority of the day. And then block out time to get it done.
5. Give up control of your day.
Even with all this prep, odds are your day is never going to go exactly the way that you want it to. Trying to hold on to complete control of your day is just going to wear you out from the get-go. And it’s the punches we don’t see coming that hurt the most.
That’s not saying that planning ahead is pointless. Quite the contrary: We need to pencil in time for the unexpected.
I call this time on my schedule UUW — or unwanted, unplanned work. If I block out time every day for this stuff, I never fall behind. And if no UUW pops up, I can keep moving forward on my top priorities. It’s magic.
So instead of stressing out when an issue crops up, you’ll be able to bob and weave through your day like a pro.
With the right pre-flight checklist for the first 15 minutes of your day, you can relax knowing that you’re set up for success for the next 10 hours.
Blog Post written by Demir, the Co-Founder of Lifehack Bootcamp