Do you know what most business travelers do when they wake up in the morning on the road in their hotel room?
First guess would be to hit snooze on the alarm and many do.
But Elite Road Warrior Group Research has shown that most business travelers…
Reach for their phone.
Why? Well, there’s a handful of reasons but no matter the reason there is always one thing in common:
It hijacks their morning.
Why? Because it’s a time sucker especially if we jump into checking the news or social media.
It’s also filled with OPAs – other people’s agenda.
- What they want or need from you
- What they want to tell you
- What they want you to buy
Many lose a half hour or more and haven’t even climbed out of bed yet!
No condemnation here, road warrior.
I believed and justified in my head that if I could “just get ahead” by looking at my email, calendar, Slack or WeChat, etc. it would help me.
Lies nothing but lies!
I used to be so unintentional and reactive to whatever caught my attention or the path of least resistance in the morning on the road.
So I get it.
But here’s what I missed.
I missed the gift of the morning.
I missed the silence.
I missed the solitude.
I missed the chance to invest in me, the one thing nobody else can do for me.
And nobody else will guard unless I seize it.
And the morning is the perfect place for it especially if I’ve had a good night of rest.
Let me state upfront – right now, my 1st hour in the morning on the road is filled only with energy habits.
The two largest of my morning energy habits are:
- MOVE – Increase M4X – stand more / walk more / run more / lift more
- DEVELOP – Sharpen the Mind / Process the Thoughts / Monitor the Heart
And my motto is two phrases which you may have heard me say over and over:
- Consistency Over Length
- Something, Anything, is Better Than Nothing
Many ask how I spend my mornings on the road and that’s the crux of this episode.
But before we get to that, let me tell you two things I do immediately.
- Hydrate – (Fuel – Continually Hydrate) with 16 oz water, lemon, sea salt, and greens powder
- Read – (Sharpen the Mind and Process the Thoughts) – Bible/something inspirational (if it’s the day of a flight, I save this reading for the 1st 20-30 minutes of the flight which you’ll learn in the podcast episode Seven Things I Do on Every Single Flight)
Once those two habits are done, I move on to my Elite Road Warrior Journal. It has two portions:
- Think Space (Process the Thoughts) dotted page Notebook
- Eight Questions Journal (Monitory the Heart) blank page Notebook
Here are some initial questions people ask about my personal process:
1.How long do you take to journal your questions?
- 5-15 minutes
2. Where do you journal?
- Most of the time in my hotel room at a desk but sometimes if my hotel is near a park, forest, a body of water, etc., I’ll choose there.
One time I climbed Mount Spokane and journaled there – talk about silent/solitude / and inspiring!
3. What do you write with?
- I’m pretty anal and OCD and have four fine tip pens that I keep in my Elite Road Warrior pen case
I use different colors for different reasons when I write for both my Monitor the Heart journal and Think Space journal
4. What do you write in?
- Elite Road Warrior Branded Journal
5. What does your layout look like?
- Top Left – location
- Top Right – date (for example: M.10.10.19)
I use two pages of my journal so there’s a lot of free space.
Before we get into the Eight Questions I Answer Every Morning on the Road, let’s talk about WHY I do it. The road has the ability to suck out any empathy, compassion, generosity, etc. within a person and especially men.
I found that too often I was coming home jaded and it was affecting my wife and kids. I was bringing home the stress of the road from the long hours to the draining people I encountered and my family and friends didn’t really care for “that Bry” or “that guy” if you will.
I didn’t grow up journaling. I didn’t have examples of people around me journaling. Notetakers, yes, but not journalers and there’s a difference.
I viewed journaling as a girly diary-thing, and therefore not for me.
And when I eventually tried it after prompting from a mentor, I sucked at it. I was SO inconsistent. Huge entry one day then days and weeks would pass with radio silence and major gaps.
Then my perfectionism would come out because if I journal, I wanted to do it “just right.”
And I quit.
A few years ago Scott Mawdesley, our lead SME for Develop, really challenged me that it’s more important THAT I write, not what I write and I should try journaling “just one line” per entry.
I could write more but Write One Line became my mantra.
And you know what? It worked.
Then another mentor of mine, Jonathan Milligan, encouraged me with key questions he asked himself every morning to give structure to his journaling and encouraged me to do the same – hence the Eight Questions I Answer Every Morning on the Road.
But WHY do I journal these questions and what comes as a result?
1. Clarity – What do I want out of my life
2. Themes – What’s happening on a consistent basis in my life – what are the patterns I wouldn’t normally see without reflecting
3. Focus – where should I spend my time
Eight Questions I Answer Every Morning on the Road
I have three simple categories for my questions:
- Review Yesterday – 3 questions
- Reflect Now – 2 questions
- Rehearse Today – 3 questions
1. What Happened Yesterday?
I want to be able to track my time so I know what my day looked like. I want to be able to remember that specific day at a glance.
I want to know:
- Was I productive?
- Was there margin in my day and where?
- Did the six energy habits exist?
This is GREAT intel at the end of my month and the end of my quarter when I review my journal to see how I spent my time
2. What Were My Biggest Wins?
These are some answers of what I actually accomplished.
Some days my response is “busy but not productive” – I detest these days on the road.
I want to see forward motion on my goals for the week and the day to day big wins give me that intel.
3. What Were My Lessons Learned?
This may come from what I read or listened to the past day. It may be from my big wins or lack thereof.
It’s how I’m doing and what I’m learning in regards to the three focus areas of Elite Road Warrior: Work/Health/Home Life.
This is feedback on if and how I’m growing on a DAILY basis – is there a theme?
This 3rd question challenges me and sometimes it takes me a minute or two to think of something if the answer is not top of mind.
Note: sometimes I may need to move on to another question and come back to it but I always want to answer this key question.
4. Who/What Am I Thankful For RIGHT NOW?
This is the GRATITUDE CHECK
Learn to ask: “Who or what am I grateful for right now?”
I have to be honest, some days it’s easy to mail it in and put something generic but that’s not the goal.
It’s The Who and/or the What but also the WHY – why am I thankful for that person or situation?
I’ve learned through the years people I’m grateful for actually don’t know I’m grateful for them UNLESS I TELL THEM!
This is a GREAT chance to prompt you to take action RIGHT THEN to let them know – send them a text/email, or leave a voicemail.
Sometimes I actually take a picture of that answer in my journal and send it to them.
You’d be shocked how much this little gesture means to people especially people who you care about and are thankful for.
If I’m struggling to answer this question on a consistent basis, this is a heart issue on my part that needs attention.
5. How Am I Feeling Right Now?
This is the PULSE CHECK
Learn to ask: “How am I REALLY doing?”
I know what you guys are thinking: here’s the diary “touchy/feely” part of the program.
And you’re right – suck it up and try it.
I’m not asking for you to write paragraphs and have a Kleenex available.
Mine are short bullets.
- Exhausted from…
- Better rested because…
- Proud of…
- Disappointed in…
- Frustrated by…
- Missing home right now…
- Motivated to…
Nothing earth-shattering but I want a pulse on how I’m really doing.
Am I seeing patterns of day-after-day-after-day of being frustrated or tired?
This question is not nearly as hard as you think especially if you do it bullet style and lead with a key emotion word: proud, disappointed, tired, motivated, etc.
Three “Rehearse the Day” questions. Why rehearse the day? It’s like an athlete playing their game in their mind.
Too often we just let the Road Day happen to us.
We’re not intentional and then we wonder why our road day gets hijacked and we’re ALWAYS up until midnight working.
6. What Are My Big 3 Today?
This is a concept from Michael Hyatt in his Full Focus Planner.
The Daily Big 3 are designed to come from the Weekly Big 3 which come from your Quarterly Big 3.
I set quarterly goals in business but also in life so my weekly Big 3 should influence your daily big 3.
If I have a heavy travel day, these are key.
What do I want to get done on my 4-hour flight?
If I have a heavy meeting or event day, maybe my Big 3 need to happen 1st thing in the morning.
Pro Tip: almost every single business travel day one of my Big 3 is energy habit six: CONNECT – I want to make my family a high priority within my day which means I need to schedule it.
7. What is Today’s Highlight?
I learned this one from the book, Make Time.
The authors have three ways to determine your day’s highlight:
- Something URGENT that must get done today and will be a huge relief if and when it is done
- Something SATISFYING that will make you feel pleased and proud it’s completed
- Something that brings you JOY – what you look forward to = mine is usually my downtime activity
And the last of the 8 questions and final of the Rehearse Today questions
8. How/What Would Make Today Great?
I credit this question to Jonathan Milligan, my mentor and friend, who challenged me to answer this question each day.
And it was a challenge but now I depend on this last question.
Alan Stein, Jr. in his book, Raise Your Game, states there are only two things in life you have control over:
- Your attitude
- Your effort
And oftentimes my response is one of those that deal with the six energy habits
I want and I need to make each day on the road GREAT.
I want to be at my best and no longer just get by but leverage each day on the road to get better.
I answer these eight questions on the road every morning but also at home.
Did you catch that? Both on the road but also at home now. This is not ONLY a Road Thing.
1. Just start – write one line for each question, and maybe you have your own questions.
2. Order the Elite Road Warrior Branded Journal – enjoy what you journal in. For me, I love the leather – the look and the feel. I love the paper in the journal. I love the pens I write with and the leather case they’re kept in. This makes a HUGE difference when it comes time to write. I’m also proud to carry it around.