I’ve been humbled and honored by all the feedback, support, and positive takeaways from so many people who’ve read my book, ERW – Six Energy Habits to Master the Business Travel Life.
This book would NOT have hit #1 best seller in two categories (business travel reference and work-related health) without your incredible support so know how much I really do appreciate it.
I try to bring you tangible and practical strategies based on the six energy habits, the premise of the Elite Road Warrior book, that make a difference on your business travel day.
My challenge is two-fold:
1. Don’t think “this will never work” and never even try it
2. Don’t say “I’ve already tried it” and discount the content
The goal of this blog and the ERW podcast is to leverage the road and what it CAN give to you not let it limit you and what it can’t give to you. That’s old school and why most people on the road are just existing road warriors simply getting by.
We’re here to get better not get by.
I’ve seen MORE than my share of existing, sloppy road warriors and it breaks my heart. They can leverage the road to transform their work, health and home life! It’s possible and I’m living proof.
So here’s a question for you right out of the gate (and quite possibly an airplane gate for you):
Do you consider yourself a morning person?
Just hearing the word “morning” can often cause a mixed reaction of joy, excitement, anticipation.
Some people are HUGE morning people. They wake up with the sun and the morning is their best friend. “Give me that early morning sunlight and let me attack this new day!”
Then, there are the others…
I would say they’re described in this famous quote, “I’d like mornings better if they started later say, after lunch” by the great philosopher, Garfield.
Regardless if you’re a morning person or not, every single one of us on the road from executive to regional manager have one specific thing in common:
We ALL have the FIRST hour of the day. But here’s where it changes: how we spend the 1st hour is dramatically different.
I’ve found most people’s mornings are one of the following:
1. Lazy (do whatever I feel like doing) – meander
2. Reactive – check email, text messages, phone calls
Do either of these sound like your morning routine?
You roll over and immediately check your phone. In Bed. You check your email and start reacting to everyone else’s false emergencies and needs.
You eventually stand up and stumble over to the tiny coffee maker in your hotel room and gulp down as much coffee as possible, rush to get ready for the day and then start working based on what’s in your inbox.
By checking your email upon waking you have just hijacked your day. You are now reacting to what everyone else wants from you versus proactively setting the direction for your day.
I love this quote by productivity specialist, Carson Tate: “The first 60-90 minutes of the day is your opportunity to lay the foundation to achieve your goals and dreams. Yet, for many of us, our morning routine is undermining our achievement. Instead of setting up the day for purpose, success and enjoyment, we become reactive slaves.”
Jeff Sanders of the 5AM Miracle says, “the norm for most people is starting off each morning with the decision to procrastinate by smacking their alarm clock and delaying the decision to bounce off to bed and dominate their day. Snoozing inadvertently becomes a reactive choice, which leads to further reactivity.”
I love this Hal Elrod quote: “Most people just focus on getting through the day, taking the path of least resistance, and pursue short term, short-lived pleasures along the way, while avoiding any pain or discomfort that might cause them to grow.”
I can hear the pushback already: Alright Mr. Self-Proclaimed Elite Road Warrior, you don’t know my travel schedule or how long my evenings are or….
You’re right… and wrong.
You’re right, I don’t know your exact schedule.
But you’re wrong in that when you pushback you already are in a defensive mode and the more road warriors I talk to, the more I learn this is Pandora’s Box where there’s a lot more involved:
- working too late with your laptop lover over dinner then in your room and it’s taking you twice as long and your work is half as good
- hanging out too long at the hotel bar
- catching one more inning or quarter of the game or mindless binging on streaming services
Shall I go on?
But the most successful are both of the following in the morning:
1. Intentional – They have a plan
2. Focused – They execute the plan
And THIS is regardless if they’re a “self-proclaimed” morning person or not.
They use the 1st Hour to do one specific thing: take care of me first (it’s all about me, baby!) – but in THIS instance, it’s a GOOD thing!
How do you use the FIRST hour of your morning on the road?
Lazy and Reactive
Intentional and Focused
My goal is for you to be willing to experiment with your first hour of your morning on the road and ask how you can maximize it to be a catalyst for the day ahead.
Spoiler Alert: the KEY to a successful 1st hour of the day begins the night before: getting a good night of sleep
Most people struggle in the 1st hour of the morning simply because they’re just too tired, maybe even exhausted. They’re just not getting enough sleep.
George Lorimer had a challenging quote: “You’ve got to wake up each morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”
And how do you do that? By leveraging the power of the first hour of your day. What can you do each morning that will create energy for you for the day ahead?
That question is intentional and focused and what gives the high achiever an energy edge.
So, Why the 1st Hour of the Day?
1. Blank Slate – the day has not taken over just yet
2. Your Mind is Clear
3. Nobody else’s agenda yet
4. What you choose to do will give direction to the rest of your day
But this is assuming you’ve not had only a few hours of sleep, and waking up a little hungover or feeling like you swallowed a half dozen cotton balls.
Here are some Definite Don’ts right from the start:
- Don’t email
- Don’t check my phone
- Don’t turn on the TV
- Don’t waste time
Now, everything is viewed through the Six Energy Habits on the Road, so the ideas are to encourage you to implement as many of the six energy habits when you leverage your first hour of the day.
2nd Spoiler Alert: You can hit 4 of the 6 Energy Habits in the 1st hour of your awake time.
So What does every Elite Road Warrior do the 1st hour on the road?
Here are 8 Practices to Creating An Energy Hour Before Your 1st Minute of Work:
Two quick details:
1. You don’t have to do every single one – they’re practices, ideas for you to pick and choose what works for you
2. The 8 are in no particular order except the 1st one:
I don’t mean alcohol or even coffee.
Chances are you don’t drink enough water during the day and/or have an adult beverage or 3 close to bed and you have that feeling when you wake up that someone stuffed a cotton ball in your mouth multiplying every hour!
- Water is absolutely critical to get your high performance vehicle, aka: your body, the fluids it needs to run at an optimal level.
- You need to add water into your body immediately to wake your system up and ready for the day ahead and this means before Coffee (which is morning booze to most road warriors)
- But what does an ERW do? – My morning drink – room temp water / lemon essential oil / hymalayan pink sea salt / greens powder
Two Quick Tips:
- Set a goal of how much water you’ll consume within the 1st hour – if your only water absorption is from water hitting your body in the the shower or rinsing your mouth after brushing your teeth, set a goal of 8 oz. If you’re taking the Morning Drink then set a goal of 16 oz.
- Think Convenience – have it set out or made the night before – ease will help set the habit
Drink falls under FUEL Energy Habit #3
Read or listen to something for personal/professional growth. The 1st hour of your morning on the road is a perfect time to “get your read on.”
What if you reserved time (30 min / 20 min / even 10 min) to learn – activate your brain and put something good / challenging in the 1st hour of the day? You could read, I don’t know, maybe a book called Elite Road Warrior. There’s an audio version too, so no complaints, man.
Learn falls under DEVELOP – Energy Habit #5
3) Meditate / Pray
This is time to be mindful. This could be a spiritual practice or just a stress release, centering practice.
Meditation can be simply clearing the mind and finding a place of peace. Prayer is well, prayer. Talking to God. I’m not trying to sell either concept but a reminding you of their value especially the 1st hour of the day to give you energy.
Many do breathing exercises as they meditate. Others use Guided Meditation.
I recommend the 10% Happier App – but there a number of other apps.
Prayer reminds me life is not all about me. Just think through which one would serve you during the 1st hour of your road morning. Just 5 minutes will make a big difference.
Meditate/Pray falls under DEVELOP – Energy Habit #5
Journal / think space
I realize this is a big step for most road warriors and definitely higher up in the Elite Road Warrior levels.
But it needs to be on your radar and hence one of the options.
This could be as simple as writing one line, the concept from Scott Mawdesley which says it doesn’t matter what you write but that you write. It could be something reflective, a way to process your past day, something you’re learning, etc. Here are Scott’s Write One Line Journals: www.WriteOneLine.com
Or consider the ERW Branded Journal
THINK SPACE – this is putting your thoughts on paper. I’ll take even 5 minutes with my Think Space Journal (TSJ) to “get things out” (it could be work-related, ideas for connecting with my family, writing ideas, anything)
I love looking back at the end of the quarter for trends and where my list has gone the past few months in both my quarterly journal and my think space journal.
The point is trying something that works for you and give it a real shot
Write falls under DEVELOP – Energy Habit #5
We simply don’t move enough when traveling. The road does the moving for us but we’re usually sitting down. On a plane, in a rental car or RideShare, in a conference room or restaurant.
We need to be intentional about adding movement into our day and we do that by Increasing movement in 4 ways.
- Stand – up on my feet not down on my butt
- Walk – take that stand and move forward
- Run – think cardio
- Lift – think strength training
And the morning is a perfect time to “get your MOVE on” You can even combine energy habits with MOVE and DEVELOP – listen to this podcast or an audiobook as you go for a walk or run or workout
Moving creates energy in your morning and gets you ready to perform.
Move shockingly falls under MOVE Energy Habit 1
6) Connect with Family/Friends
Connect focuses on not being a check-in guy or girl but a connect-in guy or girl and this is done in a Block & Tackle time like now.
This may be a text banter with a spouse, child, or friend.
But the purpose here is to have real purpose that moves the relational needle
Connect: Intentionally / Thoughtfully / Creatively
In the ERW book in the Connect chapter, I dive deep into each one of Connect: Intentionally / Thoughtfully / Creatively so that may be your best reference.
The point is taking time to connect with those back home in an intentional, thoughtful, and creative way.
Connect with Fam/Friends falls under CONNECT – Energy Habit #6
This is an absolute MUST to get something healthy to refuel your body especially if you don’t know when you’ll eat next or exactly what.
Control every meal you can on the road with CLEAN & GREEN. Clean and Green is a process.
Remember: Add first then reverse. Get the good stuff in then begin eliminating the bad stuff.
Too many people have a coffee and donut/bagel breakfast and wonder why their energy tanks mid morning or make a bad lunch decision.
Not the ERW.
Remember, food is fuel and fuel is energy. Most mid to high level hotels have a good breakfast selection but you need to “select” the right food.
We must make smart choices that increase and almost guarantee our success for the day ahead and that 1st hour means fueling the Ferrari!
Drink falls under FUEL – Energy Habit #3
8) Plan / Review
Sadly, most of us go into reactive mode for the day ahead. We put it little to no thought of where our day is headed and then we wonder why didn’t get much of anything done especially of any importance.
But what if we took even a few minutes to plan our day and really think through the Top 3 tasks that need to get done?
We know the value of planning but how about making it part of your energy hour that affects the rest of your day? If you don’t plan the night before, this could be your time so you know where your day is heading before it officially begins.
I choose my Big 3 – Must Do No Matter What most important tasks. I ;ist my appointments for the day which include appointments to myself to Block and Tackle (discussed in detail in the ERW book).
Review is looking at who you’re meeting with today, do some research on LinkedIn, review your presentation, pitch, etc. I want to be sharp and on my game by not only knowing people’s names but a little about them, the agenda, and what I want out of the meeting. This all comes out of a quick review.
Take a few minutes to plan your day and to review. It’s a must to becoming an ERW.
Plan / Review falls under PERFORM – Energy Habit #4
So let’s make some changes!
1. Choose which of the eight options we just discussed that you want to begin to implement
2. Create two versions. Why? Because some mornings you’ll have more time than other days and you want to be able to do something, anything, just not nothing! (heard THAT line from me before?!?)
Long Version (ideal)
Short Version (bare minimum)
Here’s a Personal Examples of My Normal Routine:
1. Drink – 1 min (make and drink)
2. Read – 20 min
3. Pray and Meditate – 15 min
4. Write – Journal – 15 min
5. Move / Listen – 30 min
6. Connect – 10 min
7. Fuel – 15 min
8. Plan (my day / names and research of the people I’m meeting) / Review – presentations, etc. – 15 min
My long version is 2 Hr
My short version can be 30 min or preferably 1 Hr
Leverage that for road for YOU to become an ERW today.
You Got This!