Your First 20 Minutes of the Day

What did you do this morning when you first opened your eyes?  Hopefully, your answer is not, “Hit the snooze, closed my eyes again, rolled over, and fell back to sleep.”  What did you do the morning before and the one before that?  If you are like most people, the answer is pretty much the same every day.  With few exceptions, we humans are creatures of habit, and we do things pretty much the same every day, from week to week, from month to month, from year to year, and… well, you get the point.

If I told you that the first 20 minutes of every day will determine what kind of relationships you have, your health—to a large part—and even how much money you make, would you pay attention?  The fact is, I am in good company when I make such a strong statement.  Success giants from pioneer Napoleon Hill to contemporary Chris Brogan have also taught this principle.  And, I do not use the word ‘principle’ lightly.

Your first 20 minutes of the day sets the tone and direction for the entire day.  Let me say that again; what you do in the first few minutes after waking will determine the rest of your day!  Most business owners (i.e. appraisers) check their email, voicemails, Twitter and Facebook accounts within the first few moments of waking up.  Therefore, they are allowing someone(s) else to determine the course of their day.  Too radical a statement?  Think about it.  When you check an email that requires your response, you will likely… well, respond.  Then, it is on to the next email.  When your inbox is clean, you are on to Twitter or Facebook.  Messages which come to you via those platforms have power to affect you emotionally.  It is emotion—most importantly—which will determine man’s destiny.  That emotion can either come from you and your own goals, or it can come from others.  Since most people have no real goals, they allow others to determine a fate for them.  Thus, 97-98% of humanity is unsuccessful.  What do the 2-3% do differently?  In a word, everything!  But, one thing they do is determine their own destiny each morning by focusing—if only for a few minutes—on their own ambitions and desires for the day.

I call this sacred time my “Prime Time.”  While the world often refers to the evening watching sitcoms in front of the television as Primetime, my “Prime Time” has a much different connotation.  My Prime Time is much more than being a ‘prime’ part of the day, it is also the time to ‘prime’ my pump for the day.  In the old days, wells could not pump water unless they were first primed.  We too must prime our pumps each day if we expect to be able to allow fresh water to flow throughout the day.

So what happens during this ‘Prime Time’?  Well, that is up to you, but a few things to consider might include:

  • ·         Prayer or meditation upon things higher than yourself
  • ·         Scripture study or readings from thought leaders
  • ·         Review of goals and determination of which ones will be worked on that day
  • ·         Affirmation statements to help set the tone for the day
  • ·         Finally, write down important thoughts that come to you during this time

What not to include:

  • ·         Worries about relationships, heath, money problems, etc.
  • ·         News, social media updates, email, etc.
  • ·         Recreational readings (i.e. novels)
  • ·         Sleep
  • ·         Food or drink
  • ·         Interaction with family or others
  • ·         Music or noise of any kind
  • ·         Movement and exercise (that comes later)
  • ·         Anything else that may distract you from creating your vision for the day

I know these things sound a bit “Law of Attraction-ish,” but I am unabashed about my thoughts revolving such principles (again, used purposefully).  I used to be a skeptic, and now I am a believer that your thought patterns (and more importantly, your emotions) will absolutely define your success.  Since most of your thought patterns are determined by what you do the first 20 minutes you are awake, I suggest you purposefully determine what it is you think about during that critical time.

Now, go create some value!



Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner, but he has found most of his success as a self-employed, residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., and is a popular author, speaker and consultant. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach ( where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers helping them to also run successful appraisal companies and increase their net worth.  He is also the Founder and President of Your Appraisal Office ( which implements some of the systems he has developed to help lower costs and free up time for real estate business owners.   He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children.


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