System Failure

Some days we don’t have it all together. We are stressed and anxious and have a ton of responsibility to attend to.

Getting through those days seems like an endless chore. It’s tough to prioritize for the long term when we are putting out fires all over the place.

This is why our preparation becomes so vital to our long-term goals, attitude, and happiness. When we create systems for our good habits it helps us accomplish them even on the roughest days and in the most adverse conditions.

It’s not that we can’t miss every now and then but when we get away from our good habits for an extended period of time they become distant to us. We are out of rhythm. We can get lost and have a hard time finding that equilibrium again.

We need to start putting those in place now.

We schedule our work meetings, kids’ soccer games, dentist appointments, etc. Why not everything else critical to our mental and physical health?

Thinking/meditating
Fitness
Healthy eating
Date nights
Sleep

It should all go on the calendar if we need it to. Then we can take a wide lens look at our day or week and work around it.

It’s not that things won’t come up and we have to alter our plans every now and then. It’s when it’s never a priority in the first place it falls through the cracks time and time again.

The system we’ve created becomes broken.

We wonder how we ever get anything done.

System Failure2022-08-23T08:57:23-04:00

Morevember

Inevitably, the holidays will come here soon and distractions upon distractions will once again give us the excuse to “just relax” until the new year. 

But, we’ve fallen into that trap far too often. We know that once the new year hits we’ll face more challenges that continue to push us away from what we really want to be doing. 

So Start now. Start to put a plan together today and start acting on it. 

Use November to be Morevember (corny, yes) but if it helps then let’s use it. 

What have you wanted to start in 2021 that you haven’t yet?

  • Reading a certain book
  • A home project
  • A business idea

Use this time before the holidays get ramped up to start. Block just 30 minutes this week to plan out how you are going to work on this through the holidays or tackle this project when it gets “busy”. What do the next few weeks look like until the New Year? 

Some ideas:

  • Every Weds morning you wake up 30 minutes earlier to put time toward it. 
  • Each day you block 10 minutes off at lunch to focus on the project 
  • Get a friend to join and have an accountability partner to go get coffee once a week to focus on it. 

Figure out something. It doesn’t matter. 

Thanksgiving will be here in a matter of days (or has already passed depending on when you read this) and then once December hits we can forget about it. We kick the can down the road another month. January is here before we know it.  

New Years’ resolution time! We make these resolutions that never stick. 

They don’t stick because we haven’t built the habit and routine into our day. 

Start that process now and when January rolls around we’ll already have momentum because we’ve put a plan in place. 

I’m almost certain this year’s New Years’ resolution will stick. 

This year will be different because you are different. 

You’ve made a commitment to change. 

Not because of some arbitrary date change on a calendar but you’ve changed your mindset to start putting time into what you want and what you think is important. 

That’s when real change starts to happen.

That’s when we start to pile up the progress.

That’s how habits start to stick.

Morevember2021-11-02T19:54:04-04:00

Script The First 15

One of the most difficult parts of starting anything is if it feels like it’s going to be a long and arduous process with no end in sight. We get discouraged right out of the gate.

This happens a lot when we set a barrier for entry to new habits and routines too high. 

Something we may consider to overcome some of these challenges is what I call “Script the First 15”. Similar to how a head football coach may script the first set of plays during the game, we can do the same for our life. 

Think of all the actions that are being taken in those first 15-minutes and write them down so we have a clear vision of exactly what needs to be accomplished. 

Having this checklist can allow us to be more hyper-focused on completing what we’ve said we want to complete and can create momentum for the minutes or hours following this where we might continue on with this particular project or task.

When we write it down it allows us to stay on track. 15-minutes is a short enough amount of time where we don’t lose focus but feel free to switch this to 10 minutes or even 5 minutes. Whatever works for you.

The more days we can stay on track the better chance we have to develop a great routine. 

“Script the First 15” and we can set ourselves up for success right out of the gate and keep the momentum flowing for the rest of the day.

Script The First 152021-10-19T20:20:04-04:00

Time Machine

The strange thing about time is that if you can get your brain invested in something for just a short time and spark interest, time evaporates. 

2 minutes becomes 20. 

If we believe this can be true for anything then we have a choice. We can use the time to create new, positive habits that enhance our lives or putter around in the “binge” vortex and waste it away. 

It’s actually a choice and one that is controlled by creating easy barriers to hop over at the beginning. 

If we’d rather read, don’t try to read for an hour and just carve out a couple of minutes. If we’re trying to improve our health and workout more then opt for a 5-minute jog versus running a 5k. 

Eventually, we’ll start to get in the rhythm of the new habit and might surprise ourselves that we decide to go at it for much longer. 

But putting that large goal out there on day one almost always makes us avoid it and find something easier to do. 

Next time, if we lower the hurdle and just start to inch forward we’ll have much more success in finding out what we are capable of accomplishing. 

Time Machine2021-09-30T21:36:46-04:00

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes

We all want to be doing something we are not currently doing. From big to small, it doesn’t matter what it is, all of us have things sitting on the “to do” list that for whatever reason are not taking priority. 

The first question is why? Should it really be this far down the list and neglected or does it belong there because it’s not an important endeavor? 

If it belongs down the list then stop worrying about it. Stop saying we “should” be doing it. It doesn’t matter. It’s not a priority and shouldn’t be bothered with. It’s one less thing we need to be worrying about and causing us additional stress. 

But, If we are honest with ourselves and decide it should be given a higher ranking then we have to figure out how we manage to add it to our calendar. Whatever it might be. If it’s important to us to some degree we have to figure out how we start. 

Here’s an idea. There’s a good chance whatever we are trying to accomplish won’t take a full day, week, or even months but it will take some amount of time greater than what we might have allotted tomorrow. 

But that shouldn’t mean we don’t start. 

Start the action of completing it tomorrow. For 10 minutes even. Set a timer for 10 minutes and think and act on that thing. Commit more if you’d like but at worst just 10 minutes. If it’s a larger-scale project it might just be the first ideation phase and for a shorter home project, it might just be searching online and actually buying the tools we need. 

Every situation will be different. But we all need to start one way or another.

Forget about the next day and the one after that. Focus on tomorrow. Let’s check that box off first before we get ahead of ourselves. 

From there, we can have small wins and mount a path forward. 

For now, start with tomorrow. We’ll figure out the rest when we get there.

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes2022-08-01T19:56:08-04:00

Benefits of a Morning Routine

My focus over recent years has been to improve my overall bedtime routine as I’ve found that if I get to bed properly it allows me to form better sleep habits and wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle the day.

Here’s the Bedtime Routine I’ve put in place if you were curious https://brianondrako.com/blog/benefits-of-a-bedtime-routine

However, in recent months I decided to get intentional about my mornings and evaluate how those were structured and what was working or not. I realized through the pandemic with not having to waste time driving into an office or dropping my son off at school allowed me to sleep in more. Definitely not a bad thing but it wasn’t working for what I needed in this next phase of my life.

***If you wanted to listen to an audio version of this and some more depth feel free to check out my One Mic Session on the Just Get Started Podcast here – Listen Now ***

What I found was that each day was very inconsistent as I’d wake up at varying times and I never had a set routine. I felt that I was getting through the morning with little accomplished especially important personal time for myself.

So, I decided to make a change. It wasn’t easy. Waking up earlier for me is always a chore but when I put it into the context of improving my overall health and wellness, it helped make it stick.

After some trial and error with various morning activities here’s what I’ve settled on that has worked well for me for the last 2 months.

  • Wake up at 7 am – Hopefully without an alarm but the alarm is set if necessary.
  • Make coffee – The smell of the coffee always wakes me up and this also helps have the coffee ready as I finish step 3.
  • 10-20 minutes of Yoga – This is not to get in a strenuous workout but just enough to move the body and loosen these old bones up a bit. I feel relaxed but energized after completing this.
  • I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit for 30-45 minutes and think. I don’t put pressure on myself at this time. Sometimes I just sit and ponder, sometimes I write a blog that pops in my head, sometimes I want to post a thought on social media. I don’t judge myself for how I am feeling that morning. Research suggests your most creative moments are the first couple hours after waking so I’ve tried to prioritize myself and my well-being over giving it to others that early.

I generally have been doing this Monday-Friday and occasionally on the weekends depending on planned activities. By 8:15-8:30 am I am ready to start tackling the day and already feel like I’ve gotten some things accomplished which motivates me even more.

There are 4 main learnings from doing this Morning Routine: Intention, Accomplishment, Movement, Creativity

Intention: I am making a point to commit to something every day, to start the day with this intention allows me to get out of bed and work toward something.

Accomplishment: Little wins add up. Whether it is the act of getting out of bed, completing yoga, or other things I might do, that accomplishment gives me the momentum to excel the rest of the day.

Movement: I’m getting older and flexibility and pliability are important to me. When I move I feel energized. although I don’t like doing big workouts this early, yoga and stretching are great ways to get my body moving and waking up my brain. Plus, it’s short enough to be able to commit to it every day.

Creativity: When I can get moving and let my brain wake up a bit I find I am super creative. The momentum I’ve built in the time prior to sitting and thinking and the energy flowing through my body gives me good vibes and the “juices start flowing” much more easily.

There is no silver bullet to this stuff. We have to try and test what works for us and be happy with how we want to structure our day. If we feel we are missing something or could be doing things that make us feel better it’d be advantageous to explore that and try it for a week. See how your body responds. Don’t feel like you have to make some long-term goals for yourself. Try it out for a bit, tweak it, and make it work for you. Certainly, there may be some uncomfortable moments as you try to reach outside of the status quo and be open to these new feelings and what they can do for you.

I’ve discovered that routines are one of the building blocks to happiness because it wipes away a lot of uncertainty in our lives. Whether it is morning, bedtime routine, or something else, prioritize yourself and your well-being and you’ll be able to tackle the world and bring your most positive and energized self to it each and every day.

Benefits of a Morning Routine2022-04-22T20:07:38-04:00

Plan To Change

Change is inevitable and most of the time we can’t control what changes take place. But, when it comes to us personally, the way we can make sure the changes are more positive is to create repeatable processes or habits.

Habits are either going to be good or bad. It’s that simple.

We choose which ones we let into our lives and which ones we don’t. The more positively beneficial habits we can implant into our daily routines the better chance we have of succeeding toward our goals.

But, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

Choosing the “good” habits requires discipline and focus with a sprinkle of willpower mixed in. That’s why having the proper game plan is necessary.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it starts with today.

Most people are told to write down their 1,3, and 5-year goals. I’m not a big believer in those. That’s way too far out to have much impact in my opinion.

But what about your goals for today? Do you know them? Have you written them down?

Research suggests you are 42% more likely to reach your goals if you write them down every day. They don’t have to be big and audacious to be impactful. Write down 2-4 goals you’d like to get accomplished today. I’d encourage you to write down ones that will move the needle but not overwhelm you to the point that it takes all day just to complete one of them.

Then, cross them out throughout the day as you accomplish them. You’ll feel amazing and you’ll boost your confidence because you are moving forward in the right direction.

If you can start to do this every day you’ll notice how much progress you’ve made in such a short period of time and then the momentum will build rapidly.

Habits are hard to change but if you can add new ones that will help hold you accountable you’ll have done yourself a big service and set in motion a positive wave of energy that’ll carry you to become a changed person, for the better.

Plan To Change2022-04-11T19:07:16-04:00

Benefits of a Bedtime Routine

Discovering the power behind sleep has been one of the most important findings of my life and I wanted to share a brief breakdown of some of the things I’ve learned in recent years and how they have impacted my overall daily performance.

Back a few years ago I would sometimes struggle with getting a full night’s rest. I’d either take to long to fall asleep, wake up during the night, or not get enough rest and feel horrible the next day. I uncovered that when I get a great night’s rest I normally have a ton of energy the next day but I didn’t know where the inconsistencies were coming from. Around this time I started to add meditation to my life and found that I liked doing it more in the evening before bed as that helped me wind down and relax. All of a sudden, my sleep quality improved. I was hooked on learning and discovering more.

Shortly after, I came across the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast episode with Dr. Matthew Walker who wrote the book “Why We Sleep” and is a world-renowned sleep expert. I started to implement a few of his recommendations but it was only after purchasing his book and fully grasping all of the reasons we sleep poorly that I was able to form a new bedtime routine.

I’ve kept it simple.

  1. I try to go to sleep around 10-10:30 pm every night
  2. I turn off all devices
  3. I read a book for 20-30 minutes once in bed
  4.  I meditate, sometimes, if my brain is very active that day
  5. I try to lower my body temperature by making the A/C lower or removing blankets (might even be a shower prior to reading)
  6. I shut off the lights and calm my mind

Some of the keys I’ve added to this routine like going to bed at the same time each night and trying to remove devices 30-minutes prior are paramount to gearing your body up for sleep and building consistent routines into this practice. By adding this routine into my life I feel more energized in the morning and I’ve had a lot easier time falling to sleep at night. Nothing is worse than laying in bed for an hour or two and trying to fall asleep and typically those nights happen when I am off a routine like where I might be out late, had a drink, got right into bed after doing work on the computer, etc. Being mindful of the things that prevent me from a good night’s rest has been beneficial to making the right choice most of the time and setting myself up for success with my sleep.

Again, I highly recommend Dr. Walker’s book if you are interested to learn more about sleep and sleep patterns and are trying to improve your overall health and well-being. Here’s a link to find it on Amazon: “Why We Sleep” by Dr. Matthew Walker

If you’d like to hear the full audio version on this topic I recorded a One Mic Session on my Just Get Started Podcast.  Click here to go to Apple Podcasts-> Benefits of a Bedtime Routine or you can listen on any major Podcasting platform.  This episode originally aired on October 22nd, 2020.

Benefits of a Bedtime Routine2021-03-19T10:41:49-04:00

Grab That Notebook

habits

I’m thankful that I came across an article a few years back where Richard Branson had mentioned that he carried around a notebook to jot things down from time to time because he didn’t want to forget them. I never really thought of doing that in the past. I’d have ideas, thoughts, observations, etc and they’d come and go without any real consideration if they could turn useful down the road.

I decided about 18 months ago to order a couple of notebooks from Amazon (here are the ones I got) to start this process and try to form a habit around carrying it from various meetings or writing it in when ideas pop in my head.

It’s been a gamechanger!

I write down all types of notes from meetings with mentors, business ideas, or just a quote I see online that piqued my interest.  Having these jotted down has helped me stop worrying if I was missing out on an idea but what it has done more than anything is to help organize thoughts that I had in the past and then reference them to see how I’ve grown. Things like what I thinking then, why was it important, what could I learn from it today that I didn’t learn during that time. It allows me to recalibrate in more real-time as I look at where I could have altered course or made a better decision.

This seems a bit old school with all of the digital options out there but just the feel of the pen and paper helps me remember things easier and gives me quick access since it is normally next to my computer or in my backpack. 

Simple thought and idea but I know I personally lacked this understanding and notes I wrote down on a scratch pad would get lost or I’d just listen to a discussion and never fully absorb all the main points. I’d loved to have looked back 10-15 years and see what I was thinking then.

If you are looking to organize ideas and have a roadmap from where you’ve come from then I’d encourage you to take Richard Branson’s advice and carry a notebook around wherever you go. I hope it helps you on your journey!

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem,

Brian

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Grab That Notebook2021-03-19T10:42:24-04:00
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