I do lots of reading and follow lots of bloggers.  The middle of each week I will share someone else’s insights that I feel are very relevant, extremely practical and spot-on.

Today we hear from Kimanzi Constable…posted March 9, 2012 on Michael Hyatt’s blog.

Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar. You hear the alarm clock go off in the morning. You just need a couple more minutes of sleep, so you hit the snooze button. Ten minutes later the alarm clock goes off, but you’re already sound asleep. Thirty minutes later, you wake up in a panic. You just overslept and are going to be late. You rush out of bed, throw on whatever you can find and head to the bathroom. You look at your toothbrush and tell yourself there’s no time. You gargle, grab whatever is in the fridge for lunch and you’re off.

As you’re heading to the door, you see your Bible on the table, but you don’t have time. You get in your car, praying there will be no traffic. You get on the highway, and it’s bumper-to-bumper. Whatever shot you had of having a good day is gone. The whole way to work, you’re thinking up excuses of why you’re late.

The rest of your day, you’re dropping things and running into people. It becomes one of those days you completely want to forget. You get home, and you’re already worked up. Any little thing sets you off. You can’t wait for bed!

Now, your day may not have gone exactly like this, but you’ve had days that were close, right? How you spend the first hour of your day will determine how well the rest of it goes. You can have a bad first hour and turn it around, but nine times out of ten, if you have a bad first hour, the rest of your day is ruined.

Here are four tips for having a great first hour of the day:

1. Get things prepared the night before

Right before you go to bed, set yourself up for the next day. Get your clothes ready, and put them in a spot where you can grab them in the morning. If you have to iron, do it that night.  Grab everything you’ll need in the morning and put it in one spot, so you can wake up and have it ready to go. If you make your own lunch, have it ready in the fridge. Do as much prep work as you can to eliminate the hectic morning routine.

2. Get enough sleep

You have to get a good amount of rest. What that amount is—that’s up to you. For the last ten years, I have delivered bread, waking up as early as nine p.m. to three a.m. at the latest. For the longest time I would get between two to four hours of sleep. Do I need to tell you how rough the first hour of the day was for me?

When I got home I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t take a nap. The problem was the nap would cut into whatever time I wanted to write, do activities with my family, or any projects I wanted to do. Your body needs enough sleep for you to function properly all day. It’s just not natural to not get enough sleep.

3. Get up a little early and have devotions

That quiet time you spend in the morning, reading God’s Word and praying, will calm you and prepare you for the day.  The verses you read as a part of that first hour of the morning will be your shield. Even if you can only spare twenty minutes, it can go a long way to ensure a positive, stress-free day.

4. Use every minute of that first hour wisely

When I started the bread route, I would do devotions for twenty minutes, then my morning workout for another twenty minutes, then shower and head to work.

During that workout time, I would listen to some soothing music or a podcast that inspired me. Using every minute of that first hour helped keep me focused throughout the day. I was intentional with my time, which led to amazing results.