What successful people do in the morning

I read this post (http://www.inc.com/jenna-goudreau/what-successful-people-do-in-the-morning.html) about what successful people do in the morning while waiting for my flight back to China. It very much resonated with me.

Last year was the most challenging year of my life. The third year of being a founder was the hardest. I often found myself completely drained by the end of the day. And by weekend, I was ready for nothing but simple rest and recovery.

But of course life has other plans. It’s never as simple as just focusing on one thing is it? As I get older, I find responsibilities and expectations only increase. As I made a promise to myself to lead a more balanced life when 2013 started, the weekends when I wasn’t working often turned into time to catch up on “the rest of life”.

At times, it felt like I was juggling so many things that I was turning into an octopus. Dealing with those demands weren’t all bad though. I found that while allocating more time to friends, family, and even ‘me’ time required a lot of will power, doing those things made me much happier.

So as 2013 came to an end, I was grateful to get a chance to take some time off and reflect on my year.

What separated my 2013 from 2012 was:
1. I went to bed earlier (not quite the same as 1, but the same idea)
2. I exercised a lot more (at least 2-3 times a week, usually with a 20 minute 5k on the treadmill every week)
3. With the focus on balance, I finally learned to delegate more, and focus on the things that just I can do
4. I found a passion project outside of work, the Chinese American social fraternity I joined in 2010, FF.
5. I dedicated a lot more time to family and made plans for a long overdue trip to China to visit my 90 year old grandmother
6. I paid more attention to the needs of my girlfriend
7. Started reconnecting with some people I’d lost touch with, even on weekdays
8. Started reading using my iPad

These changes have all made significant positive impacts on my life. And I think it’s no coincidence that the Inc article mentions all of them.

Most importantly, I was able to do all of these things, because I finally committed to a philosophy of “And” instead of a philosophy of “Or”. Before 2013, I often viewed options given to me as “this or that”. But once I made balance my top priority, I found that when faced with choices, I started asking myself “how can I do this AND that?”

By asking that question, I find I’ve been able to accomplish more, be happier, without spending a lot more time and energy than before.

In 2014, I hope to incorporate even more ANDs into my life. Two of those ANDs I’ve already started on are Yoga for meditation and being more grateful. I want to incorporate the remaining items in this Inc article to my schedule.

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