BYOB: Be Your Own Boss— My Morning Ritual

by Ari Takata-Vasquez

We're starting a new blog series called BYOB-- Be Your Own Boss. We'll write about different aspects of being a small business (yes, probably some ramblings, too).

Being your own boss is tough because it requires a lot of discipline and motivation. It’s pretty easy to blow off a report when you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck to get it done. I found  a big part of staying motivated comes from my mornings. If I start my day rushed my whole day will feel like I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off. However, if I start my day slowly enjoying my coffee, my entire day feels great (even if it does gets busy). A big part of starting my day right is my morning writing ritual; I spend 10-15 minutes on a writing exercise that helps me stay positive and focused throughout the day:

 Morning Writing Exercise

1. Write three things that I’m grateful for.

It doesn’t have to be huge or grand, a lot of times I’m grateful for simple things like having food to eat, having awesome friends, or a bomb cup of coffee. It helps me to get my mind right because it focuses on the positive. Sure, I maybe I didn’t hit my numbers for last month, but at the end of the day I still have a place to live, food to eat and good people to spend my time with.

2. List three things I want to get done for the day.

Now, this is just the stuff that actually makes a difference. This list isn’t for errands; it’s the work that moves me toward my larger life goals. It’s important that it’s just three items. It’s pretty impossible to really do any more than that in a day and give it your full mental capacity. The fact that I’m limited to three also means I cherish those slots and more importantly I treat my time as precious so I don’t waste it on Facebook.

3. Free write for 5 minutes without distractions. 

This is mostly to get out any sort of anxious thought I have running around my brain. I put my phone on airplane mode, set my timer for five minutes, and just write in a stream of consciousness. Knowing I have a time limit ensures I don’t spend too much energy trying to craft a great piece of literature but really just freely write what’s on my mind. Sometimes I have more than five minutes worth of writing and when I do, I just keep writing because clearly I've got something to work out.

4. Set out a rough schedule for my day.

Remember those three things I wanted to get done? I set up an hour or two of focused time for each activity. I also try to schedule in short creative items between tasks that can help me break up the day. If I have a schedule full of looking at excel or updating inventory, I throw in some creative stuff like making a new sign or taking photos for Instagram.


This might not work for everyone, but I found this is the right mix of gratitude, planning and reflectiveness to get my day off to a great start. Another great thing about it only taking 10-15 minutes is that it’s such a small amount of time that I can’t really justify not doing it.


Tell me what you think about this? Is this something you’d be willing to try? Do you have a morning ritual to keep you mentally healthy?