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  • Writer's pictureJo Small

Set your own tone

Updated: May 3, 2021

The morning alarm on your phone goes off. You roll over, turn it off and start scanning your emails. You’ve just set the tone for your morning and it’s one of reactivity.

In a world where work is home and home is work for so many of us, it can be tempting to pick up emails outside of working hours in an attempt to ‘get a head start’ or, sometimes, demonstrate to our boss that we’re working hard. Setting boundaries between work and home life was tough … now it can feel almost impossible.

Checking emails first thing in the morning may make us feel productive but it can actually put us in the role of ‘reactor.’ We start the day by focusing on what’s important to someone else rather than on our own priorities. You might be going through deleting stuff that isn’t important and getting a getting a feel for what your day will look like but, don’t kid yourself ….. you’re still responding to external demands. You’ve now put the emails in charge of setting the tone for your day.

You might not be an early morning email checker. In fact, you might not have given much thought to morning rituals. But just stop for a minute and think about how many times you or someone you know has been in a 'grump' because of something that has happened to them that day. Spilling coffee on your favourite top. A cross word from a colleague. Getting stuck in traffic on the way to work (in the olden days when we travelled more!). These are all random events that can impact on our mood so why not start as we mean to continue? Setting the tone early on in the day will give us a boost and help us to maintain it throughout those random moments.

Here are a few things you can do to set the tone.

1. Get an alarm clock. There are loads out there that tick noiselessly and have varying types of alarm sounds depending on how much you need to snooze! It’s simple, if the phone isn’t in the bedroom you can’t check your emails. The first thing you do in the morning is switch off the alarm and then plan the next tone setting activity. Forget emails and social media scrolling.

2. Set a new morning ritual. Don't get up straight away. Savour waking up and the fact that it's a new day. Take some deep breaths and fill your mind with an image of one of your favourite places.

3. Get energised. Do some stretching. Put on some music – the kind of tunes that get you singing or dancing – and get moving. You could consider developing a morning playlist to help get you going.

4. Get colourful. What colour do you want today to be? Imagine all the things you are going to do to make it that colour.

5. Play wake up roulette. Write down an array of quick morning rituals – one ritual per small piece of paper. Keep them in a box by your bed and choose one (without looking!) each morning.

Just drop me a line if you’d like me to send you a waking up rituals roulette sheet!

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