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NOTE: This week’s blog is the last we plan to produce so we can focus on making more impact through video content and the Huddle, a team coaching solution that brings all-star businessmen and businesswomen together into one team to grow profits and get more done.

If you can’t control your mornings, your days will control you.

A lot of people set their alarm just early enough to get to work on time in the morning. It’s a mad scramble to even get in a shower and a shave and maybe take a few hurried bites of breakfast and then you race out the door to work.

When you get there, the madness of the morning only intensifies.

If you wake up in scramble mode, you’ll have a really hard time settling into a calm steady rhythm. 

If you can’t control your mornings, your days will control you.

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Every time you rush out the door in the morning, you’re sacrificing clarity and control over your day.

Here’s what to do instead.

Your morning pre-flight routine

Before every flight, pilots have a checklist to go through. When they don’t follow the checklist, people can die.

On May 31, 2014, a business jet carrying, among others, the co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, took off in Bedford, Massachusetts.

The plane couldn’t take off and crashed into a ravine at the end of the runway at high speeds.

According to USA Today, the black box recorded the pilots saying “The lock is on!” just before the pilot said “I can’t stop it” and the plane crashed in flames off the end of the runway.

Both pilots, a flight attendant and its four passengers all died in the accident.

Turns out the lock they referred to was part of the preflight checklist these experienced pilots had skipped over. Something that the investigation of the accident found these pilots routinely neglected.

They got too comfortable with a shortened and modified routine.

And it caused a disaster.

About 8 percent of flying disasters could have been averted if pilots followed the preflight checklist more perfectly.

And I’m telling you that if you institute a pre-flight routine for your day, you’ll be able to routinely avoid many of the work disasters you have to endure.

How to improve your morning routine

There’s no silver bullet for morning routines, but there are some common elements that make a great one for most men. Do what follows and your morning routine will help you maintain clarity and control all day at work.

1. Get intentional

If your day starts with a decision – even if that decision is what to wear – you’ve already depleted a little bit of your good decision-making ability for the day. Research has found that your ability to make good decisions depletes throughout a day, especially in leadership roles.

That’s why a routine can be so helpful. They let your subconscious, driven by habit, pull the load for decisions in the morning. That essentially automates your decisions at least until you get to work.

But you need structure and time to create good habits. Invest in both.

2. Visualize success

Athletes do this a lot, and it drives success. For instance, golf legend Jack Nicklaus said he visualized every successful shot before he took it like “a very sharp, in focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie. First I ‘see’ the ball where I want it to finish, nice and high and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing.”

Visualize key moments in the day you have planned, anticipate problems and steamroll them in your mind before they happen.

3. Pump up

Athletes also tend to have warm-up routines. Can you imagine a football player hopping out of bed, scrambling to the arena while slipping pads on in the car and running into the game just as the coin flips?

Didn’t think so.

But that might just be how you’re tackling your days and wondering why you aren’t more successful.

Athletes have a warm-up routine, and your work should too. Add exercise into your morning routine and you’ll have a lot more clarity and energy all day.

The brisk pace you set with exercise in the morning carries forward into your day.

4. Fuel up mentally and physically

Food is fuel for your body. Eat well to start your day right.

Knowledge is fuel for your mind. Find a book worth reading to throw into your morning routine daily.

5. Minimize distractions

If you wake up first thing in the morning and check your email on your phone before kissing your wife good morning, number one you’ve got some screwed up priorities, and two, you’ve started your day with an interruption.

Email, notifications and other distractions are generally the in-road for other people’s agendas. Stay away from them in the morning and isolate yourself for best results with your routine.

6. Don’t rush it

You may say to yourself that you don’t have time to do all these things in the morning. Well, right now you don’t because you haven’t gotten intentional about becoming a morning person.

My good friend Craig Ballantyne, the author of “BOOK,” says to become a morning person, don’t make the change all at once. Start by moving your clock back 15 minutes, throwing in a good habit or two, and moving the clock back another 15 minutes once that’s gotten easier.

A safe takeoff

With this framework and maybe sprinkling in a good habit or two that fills you up personally, you’ll have a safe takeoff that leads to disaster-free days at work.

Now go roar, Lion.

Clarity and control comes with a morning routine.

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