Starting Your Day The Right Way

In our show "Self-Care and Preservation" we shared a lot of tips that busy women can use to fill their own wells.  One practice that I shared in detail is called the Power Up & Power Down Routines.  This practice is an important part of bringing peace in my busy world, but because it’s so powerful and so important I wanted to share it for you here in detail.

The Power Up and Power Down Routine is a must for anywone who wants more out of life. Just like airline passengers are instructed to put on their own oxygen masks before helping those around them, busy and driven people know they must take care of themselves in a nurturing and energizing way that brings order, clarity and peace. It’s easier to handle the stresses of the day when you start with a full tank. If you’re a peak performer running on empty because you never have time for yourself, the Power Up and Power Down routine will help you begin and end each day with you. You’ll start with a full well of love and nourishment that you can share with others because you have filled your own first.

I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea in it’s basic form, but I’ve tested and tried it in a few ways, and I feel passionate that I pass along the way I’ve implemented it as one of my favorite and most effective success practices.

Perhaps you’ve already heard of a “Power Hour.” It’s basically an hour in the morning full of planning, reading, and preparing for the day. After reading about this practice a few years ago, I realized that since I was 12 I’d been doing something similar—the fifteen minutes of morning planning recommended by Franklin Day Planner. Eventually stretched that time to an hour. When I made a commitment in 2011 to do it with regularity, it changed my life.

Later that year I started coaching with Tiffany Peterson. She introduced me to her “Morning and Evening Ritual,” which added even more focus to my routine.

I’ve combined and modified all of these philosophies to create what I call the Power Up and Power Down routine. I like the energy around starting my day with positive re-charge and putting body and mind to sleep at the end of the day. As we’ll discuss in the PHYSICAL HEALTH chapter, sleep is such a crucial part of our peak performance abilities, and preparing your body and mind for that is important. The Power Down helps me quiet my thoughts and put my world (and my brain) to bed.

In the morning, before I do anything else, I get my heart rate up with some physical exercise. Sometimes this is a little walk around the house to get a glass of water, or sometimes it’s some jumping jacks. Anything will do, really. I usually do my full workout after I’ve been up for a while, so this is a simple movement to wake me up physically and mentally.

After my physical activity, I review my goals, listen to my Ideal LifeVision, look over my vision board, and flip through my “Why” cards. I think about my husband and kids individually, and get centered on how I can show up for them. I read something inspirational or motivational, and then meditate and pray. This gets me ready to face the day.

An important thing I learned from Tiffany was that this doesn’t have to take a whole hour. If your time is limited, it can be fifteen minutes, or you can spend more time if you have it. The key is to do it before any other distractions enter your day. That means you do it even before logging in to Facebook or checking your email, because those things take you into other people’s issues, questions, and drama. If you have children, it’s best to do it before they wake up so you have some quiet time that doesn’t involve their agendas.

At the end of the day, I start my Power Down routine by writing five things I’m grateful for in my gratitude journal. Next I review my schedule for the following day so I don’t end up lying in bed wondering what time my dentist appointment is, or if my meeting with a key client got moved. Then, I read a little for business and a little for pleasure before I close my day with something inspirational to reconnect me to my Source.

It’s important to do all of this in a technology-free zone so the brightness and images aren’t burning into your brain right before you go to bed. Turn off your laptop and stop looking at your Instagram feed. You’ll rest easier when you steer clear of it before bed.

My Power Down routine always happens, but I sometimes notice after a vacation (or even a long weekend when I’ve slept in), it’s easy for me to fall out of the habit of my Power Up routine. However, I can always tell the difference in how my day runs when I miss it. If I wait until the phone rings or my kids are awake to start my day, I feel like I’m always a step behind, and so it doesn’t take long for me to get back in the habit.

Like all success practices, it’s important not to throw in the towel if you have a hard time implementing this new routine, or even if you sometimes forget to do it. Keep at it so you can see the long-term benefits. It’s worth it. It’s true, you’ll probably have to get up earlier than you used to, but since you’re putting your brain to bed well, you should sleep better and wake up more energized and ready to embrace the day, despite the earlier time. Be committed to you and make the appointments with yourself morning and night non-negotiable.

I challenge you to give the Power Up & Power Down Routine a try!  Try it for 3 weeks and see what changes.  I'd love to hear what you think!  Email me at michelle (at) speakmichelle (dot) com I can't wait to hear your results!

To your happiness & success!


Michelle McCullough is a speaker, strategist, success coach, serial entrepreneur and show host. She's also the Bestselling Author of the book Make It Happen. In addition to The Living Room, Michelle also has a solo show called Make It Happen.  She's the managing director for Startup Princess, an international organization for women entrepreneurs.  She loves God, is married, has two kids and her secret love is sugar cereals.

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