Over the years I’ve developed somewhat of a morning routine.
Since I don’t have a job that requires me to get somewhere at an arbitrary time I try to finish my morning routine before I actually start working, regardless of what that time is.
I believe these routines contribute to a more productive day. If I check my email or sit down at the computer too quickly, I usually get sucked into the internet and feel guilty about ignoring the habits that make me a more productive individual.
I do a variation of these things every weekday because it simply makes the day more productive.
As Jocko Willink says in Tim Ferriss’s “Tools of Titans:”
Discipline Equals Freedom
I think this is an excellent statement because I believe in the power of routine to make your entire day better. Even if not everything during the day is structured, having a semblance of structure is important to create balance.
Weekends are reserved for randomness, but I’m also getting more and more disciplined there over time.
My wife and I have a dog so this is probably my most reliable habit. I simply have to take Buckley for a walk so I use the time to listen to podcasts or get my brain going for the day.
I listen to a lot of podcasts that help me become more knowledgeable about my interests. I’ve listed some of my favorites here.
I’ve had the same thing for breakfast for years, a green smoothie. People that only know me from happy hour or the weekend might mistakenly assume that I’m an extremely unhealthy person that only drinks beer and eats pizza and burgers.
Although I do like my craft beers I like my green smoothies even more. Pizza is still probably #1 though but it’s a recipe for diabetes to eat it for breakfast…
Smoothies are such an integral part of my diet (about 30% of what I eat…) that I justified buying a $200 Ninja blending system. I went through two shitty Kitchenaids before I bit the bullet and invested in this health machine.
Here’s my general smoothie recipe:
- Assorted fruit (strawberries, bananas, pineapple, melon etc…)
- Chia seeds
- Protein powder
- Assorted nuts (unsalted)
- Coconut oil
- Yogurt (optional)
- Water or juice to fill
I tend to make a huge batch at the start of the week so I don’t waste time making a smoothie every day.
My exercise of choice is running.
It’s basically an excuse to spend an hour listening to business podcasts and brainstorm ideas.
It just happens to take place over a six mile run so my body stays in “relative” shape because of it. If it’s too hot and/or I’m lazy, I like doing the 7 Minute Exercise just to get my blood pumping and my heart rate up.
When I started developing pain in my knees from running I learned to slackline in order to strengthen my core muscles.
A stronger core helps you lessen the impact on your knees while you run so I basically prescribed a weird method of physical therapy in order to run again.
Out of my many addictions, running is definitely my favorite.
I started meditating about two years ago. I mainly do mindfulness breathing meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is exactly as simple as it is difficult.
Sitting still and focusing on your breath and trying not to make your mind wander is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest thing you’ll do.
I have both the Freedom Journal and the 5 Minute Journal. Although the Freedom Journal is technically “better” from a productivity standpoint I usually prefer the 5 Minute Journal unless I’m really trying to get shit done.
I tend to forget the part where you’re supposed to journal at night but I’ve slowly been getting better about it.
Even if I forget the occasional night-time journal session, I feel like I get enough out of it without feeling guilty every time I see a blank page in the mornings.
As a Kindle Zealot I try to read every morning for about 10 minutes.
I also tend to read after work to decompress and usually, if I’m eating alone for lunch, I’ll read a few chapters while I eat.
People who say they don’t have time to read are lying to themselves. They do, they just tend to read their garbage Facebook feed instead of something worthwhile.
Even just 10 minutes of reading great authors per day will add up over the course of a year.
No morning is without coffee.
Being Icelandic I drink a lot more coffee than most people, especially during later parts of the day.
My pet peeve with silly American coffee drinkers are those that think their day is somehow ruined if they have caffeine after 4 pm because they “won’t ever be able to fall asleep!?!”
To each his own I suppose, but I guess they’re just ok being a non-productive zombie running at half-charge for the latter half of the day?
Most of my work involves writing in some way but I’ve just started prioritizing writing to the start of the day before I even check my email or anything else.
This is a really hard habit because I think we’ve developed an addiction to checking into the world to make sure nothing’s gone wrong while we were asleep.
Turns out, everything’s usually fine so I try to knock out 1,000 words before I give anybody else a piece of my attention.
This is a developing habit but I’m committed to keeping it.
Be Grateful and Say I Love You
I love my wife and I tell her so daily.
She definitely has the more stressful of our two careers so she deserves all the love she can get. If you’re in a relationship, make sure you tell them often. If you don’t, why are you even bothering with the whole thing to begin with?
Additionally, my journaling habit also involves writing down what you’re grateful for.
To get out of the rut of just rewriting the same things over and over again, like “Liz” and “My dog” or “My health,” I took a play from Tim Ferriss’s new book, “Tools of Titans.” (Referenced twice in one post….must be a good book…)
To avoid repeating yourself, think about:
- An old relationship that helped you, or you valued.
- An opportunity you have today.
- Something great that happened yesterday.
- Something near you or within sight.
I practice the first one the most, so my journals are often filled with gratitude notes to old teachers, mentors, friends and family.
What does your morning routine look like? Let me know in the comments.