The world’s best athletes have it. The world’s best performing executives use it. And the world’s most talented musicians won’t go on stage without it.
Can you guess what it is?
Right: A pre-game ritual.
Today we are going to talk about a pre-game ritual and how you can turn that into a productivity ritual, so that you can turn your productivity on whenever you need it.
What’s a ritual
A ritual is a set of things you’d before an important event, to get you into the right mindset.
Top athletes have been using the pre-game rituals for quite some time, to get them into the play mindset, where they are focused on the goal at hand.
This can be specific music they listen to, special foods they eat or even a meditation session, where they think about their greatest accomplishments.
What this ritual does is put your mind into the situations, where you were a winner. Whether that be a good negotiation you led, a killer sale you closed or a paper you got a good grade on.
We will use the same things in order for you to get into the productivity mindset, so that you know it’s game time.
Difference between routine and ritual
Most people might think that the ritual is the same thing as a routine, but that’s not true.
A routine is something you do every day at specific times. A ritual is something you can do every day, but at different times, only to accomplish the task at hand.
I have to admit in most cases the routine and the rituals go hand in hand, but you can use a ritual whenever you need it. You can’t use a morning routine in the afternoon, the variables are too different.
Are rituals for religious people?
Rituals are not for religious people, or as my friend Grumpy Cat would answer:
A ritual doesn’t have to be religious if you don’t want it. If you remember, we defined it as a set of things you’d do before an event where you want to perform.
If that’s praying or doing the rain dance, yes, then it can be religious. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s something YOU do and other people shouldn’t and won’t care about your own ritual.
I might have confused you a bit with this ritual talk, so I’ll show you an example, of my “Productivity Ritual”: the set of things I do every morning in order to be and feel productive.
This is partly taken from a reddit post, I’ve written a few days ago.
I have the following ritual to get me into productive mood:
- get up at 6am (if I oversleep I feel mentally like the day is lost)
- DON’T snooze, get up immediately and go to the bathroom
- at this stage my phone is in airplane mode, DON’T touch the phone
- prep a special tea blend
- while the water is heating, fill out journal and (big) goals
- prep the tea ready and write down THREE most important todos for the day
- write 1000 words, while drinking tea (1/3 of all todos most of the time)
- finish other todos before checking Email, phone and social networks
Essentially it’s the first part of that list, which really gets me into the mood: It’s the “wake up and don’t go back to the bed for snoozing” part and the sitting down and writing down my goals while enjoying some tea part, which really sets my mind into a mood where I know, now I’ll write 1000 words and then I’ll finish X and then Y.
This ritual is some habitual for me at this stage, it’s funny: I even do it on the weekends if I can.
Before you ask, here are my answers:
- Yes, you might not use all of those 1000 words
- Yes, the big goals are really big
- Yes, I really do not turn on the phone
- And yes, of course the tea tastes delicious, that’s why I created it!
The effects of a Productivity Ritual are real.
I wrote over 10’000 words in 10 days, using this technique.
I started a side business while still working full-time on bitehype.
I was really focused when it came to my gym regimen.
Check out this example from a different person, with similar results (taken directly from the reddit post):
“There’s something unbelievable peaceful, recharging, and productive about being up before the rest of the world. You don’t come into the office looking like you just woke up and you can hit the ground running each day.”
So the idea is that you get into a productive mood, “work before you work”, meaning work on your hobby or your passion before going to work, do some movement to get the day started right, plan a short session of meditation to calm yourself.
How to create your own productivity ritual
Whether you want it or not, you already have it.
The knowledge to create a ritual is essentially just thinking about your most productive days (mornings, nights) and extract the specific steps it took you to get there.
A few examples:
- a specific breakfast that you really like, which gives you energy and makes you feel good
- immediately doing some exercise after waking up
- meditating in the morning
- journaling to get you into the writing mindset
- brewing a special tea
Again routine and ritual go hand in hand, but routine is the thing that enables the ritual!
I have this rule of 5: Make a ritual not any more specific then 5 steps. If it’s longer than that you might be tempted to skip a few. If it’s shorter, it can also work. Do what works for you.
Some other examples, I’d like to show you:
Famous video creator and vlogger Casey Neistat does exercise almost every morning to get a productive day started, so it’s his way of becoming productive, here’s one example:
Mimi and Alex Ikonn have an evening ritual of sitting together on the couch, drinking mint tea and talking about the day, or doing some work while drinking the tea (starting at 3:41):
Johnny Drama does this scream before every important audition (here at 1:05):
You get the point: Different goals, different rituals!
Another source of inspiration for your ritual are your own habits: What are things you do every day, that help you in accomplishing your goals?
Form these elements into a set sequence, and repeat it every time you need to be productive.
From athletes to vloggers, every one uses a ritual in certain situations to get into the right mindset. Why don’t you?
Remember that a routine and a ritual are different: A routine is time-bound and something you do every day, which allows you to do certain rituals at specific situations. A ritual is something you can use every time you want to accomplish a specific goal (e.g. be productive, be creative or close the sale every time)
I highly recommend you to create a specific ritual to get you into the right mindset.