3 Simple Ways to Mentally Prepare for the Work Day

Written By John Richards on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 | 6:47 PM

Tsh Oxenreider Blogging has been a huge blessing in my life, but it hasn't been easy. There are many, many little, ten-peso things I've learned in the four-plus years I've blogged for income, and I'd love to share as many as I can. I'm grateful for the many blessings in my life that have come from this crazy job I accidentally created for myself, and I stand on the shoulders of many who've graciously shared their tips and encouragement. So how could I not do the same?

Several years ago, I read a punch-you-in-the-gut post from
Seth Godin. In a nutshell, he said there's a difference between producers and consumers, and that to be a producer, you need to first set aside your consumer self. If you want to produce something original, you can't rely on others for help.

In other words, you need to pour yourself out before you fill up with other people's ideas. What does this look like, practically-speaking? Here are the 3 ways I do it:

1. Turn off electronics Being creative and original means not checking my email, Facebook, Twitter stream, Pinterest, feed reader, or any other medium until I pour out my own words first. As a writer, I wait until I've written my first daily words before opening Gmail and everything else.

It was hard at first, but it gets easier. I think of this first-morning writing as a little treat to myself. I can intentionally close myself off for a few minutes to those many voices screaming for my attention, and I can just write.

2. Meditate Before I can take on the rest of the world, I have to make time to sit and breathe. It doesn't always happen, but I try my best to wake before my kids and husband in order to pray, meditate, and soak up beauty. This might mean reading truth in Scripture, or it might mean pulling out my camera and photographing the morning dew on the garden flower.

3. Pour out my thoughts

As soon as I've got some coffee running through my system, it's time to dump my brain. It's just as sexy as it sounds - I grab my legal pad and a pen, and I jot down all my thoughts as they come my way. I scribble everything from the grocery list to a blog post idea to the soul-stirring C.S. Lewis quote I don't want to forget. Everything goes on that yellow striped paper and out of my head. It's miraculous what this simple act does for my sanity.

In short, I give of myself before I receive from others. I take care of myself, and I calm my soul before entering the potential madness of the Internet. Those email requests and reader comments can wait just a little bit. And those minuscule, unfathomable beauties surrounding me might go unnoticed if I don't first take a few minutes to acknowledge them and say thanks in gratitude to their creator. 

What's one way in your life that you produce before you consume? How do you take care of yourself first thing in the morning?

- By Tsh Oxenreider


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