I’m the type of person who can sleep for 8 hours and then slack off and waste hours and hours of time on Youtube and other social media platforms before I even get out of bed.
As much as I dislike structure and routine because it seems boring I find it to be essential to getting the things done that are most important to me.
The first few early morning hours really set the tone for the rest of the day and I find that by starting off strong I am able to do more of the right things instead of just jumping between random things and letting my schedule be dictated by other people.
It’s Sunday evening as I am writing this. I am actually putting together my morning routine for the week as I put this together.
I typically change my routine up each week and make sure to structure my routine around those things I need to get done so that I can fully optimize my day and be more productive.
Its all well and good to make yourself suffer through the gym for an hour each morning but if it’s more beneficial to your goals to spend that time walking outside in nature so you can gain clarity over some of your ideas then going to the gym wouldn’t be the optimal thing to do.
On that same note if your goals are to get into shape for a bodybuilding competition then obviously the gym would be your ideal habit.
At the end of the day, all I care about is making sure that my routines are helping me towards my goals because if they don’t then it can be really hard to push through when you are having an off day because you don’t have a “why” for doing the activity.
As I mentioned earlier I struggle to get out of bed in the morning if left to my own devices.
I have a pretty easy, yet slightly painful way of overcoming this issue which will lead me into my first habit of my morning routine.
My 5 Morning Routine Habits
Here are my 5 morning habits that I am currently using to make sure I can get the things done that I need to do each day.
1. Setting the alarm for early in the morning.
This is really important for me as I am much more of a night owl but that leads me to really bad habits such as staying up until 6am and that just feels really bad and unproductive to me.
Waking up between 3am & 5am feels amazing as you can accomplish so much before the day really starts and as a freelance web developer I like to work on all my personal projects before clients wake up and start bombarding me with questions as that causes me to lose control of my day.
The secret to actually making sure I get out of bed when my alarm goes off is simply by placing it on the other side of the room so I am forced to get up and turn it off.
This sucks but it works.
2. Going for a walk for roughly 30 minutes.
After turning my alarm off I sometimes stand there in a daze for 10 minutes just completely zombified. It’s pretty funny, just don’t lay back down whatever you do.
I need to make the first thing I do after turning my alarm off something that I actually enjoy and is easy to do without requiring much willpower.
Going for a walk in the fresh air and listening to great music does that for me.
I have tried listening to audiobooks while doing this and it works great if that’s what you’re into and I go back and forth between music and audiobooks all the time.
I just find myself much less motivated to walk out the door and listen to an audiobook as I generally find music more enjoyable.
I’m also trying to limit the amount of information I am taking in right now as I tend to get overwhelmed with information and that overload can paralyze me and cause me to pace around my room not taking action.
Which leads me into my next habit.
As I mentioned in #2, information overload is something that happens to me a lot as I love learning and taking in new information but it can be a hindrance to taking action so I have to limit it when that overload starts to build up.
One amazing way of dealing with that overload is meditation as it helps me clear my mind and get some clarity over my ideas or tasks for the day.
My morning walk already does a lot of this but sitting in silence can be really beneficial and always leaves me feeling REALLY calm for hours afterwards.
I usually do 15 – 20 minutes but sometimes I’ll do 1 hour based on recommendations by Kyle Cease, although I think he does like 3 hours now. I imagine he sits in his house levitating or something, that’s a long time (it’s not really but it feels like it!).
It’s amazing how scary sitting with your own thoughts can be.
Your mind just keeps coming up with random excuses and complaints and it’s quite amusing sometimes.
I don’t really focus on anything particular, sometimes I’ll focus on my breath but generally, I just let my thoughts do what they want and this helps me get rid of that information overload and gain clarity.
If you wanted to build more focus and willpower it might be worth focusing on your breath as that would literally be an exercise of focus.
Again, I just make sure my habits support what I want to do so just sitting there with my eyes closed is good for me right now.
4. Cold shower.
I have been taking cold showers for nearly a year and I don’t think I could ever go back to a hot shower.
Whenever someone asks what it’s like to take a cold shower I tell them it’s like injecting coffee directly into your bloodstream.
Be warned, these suck, especially in the beginning but there are a ton of health benefits to them (apparently) I haven’t really looked into the science of it that much because I do it for two other reasons.
The first reason is that it doesn’t matter how tired I am, when that ice cold water slaps me in the face, I’m awake, instantly. End of story.
The second reason is that it’s difficult and is a great self-discipline exercise. It makes me feel like I have gone beast mode and could break through a concrete wall. I love cold showers so much.
Cold showers are even more amazing first thing in the morning after turning the alarm off. The problem is that they take so much willpower first thing in the morning that it leads me to some epic procrastination situations where I am just standing in the bathroom like a zombie looking in the mirror for 30 minutes.
Not an ideal way to start the morning so I put it in later on during my morning routine before or after the meditation works well.
I want to start implementing it first thing again though as it’s sooo powerful and I’ll get more out of my walk if I do.
Maybe next week I’ll switch it around again.
5. Most Important Task (MIT)
This is the last habit in my morning routine and it’s super effective at getting things done long term.
By focusing on the most important task early on it allows me to get the things that I don’t want to do out of the way and then I can focus on things I enjoy more after that.
Typically I make sure this task takes less than an hour to complete, ideally 20 minutes.
You’ll be amazed at how much of a project you can chip away at by just working on it 20 minutes a day instead of leaving it to the last minute and spending 10 hours straight on it.
Almost every task can be broken up into a bite-size chunk like this.
For example tomorrow I have to build a website for a client and I break that down into multiple steps the first being to gather all required information for the project before I start anything else.
So tomorrow morning I will be going over the brief and making sure I have all the information, requesting content I need, downloading images etc.
Then the day after that my most important task will be to create a mockup of the website, often via pencil and graph paper unless using a template.
As a website project may last for 2 – 8 weeks you can see how just 15 – 20 minutes a day could help you accomplish this effortlessly.
However, I still screw up a lot and end up doing a project I said would take 3 weeks in 3 very long 15 hour days.
That isn’t so bad because quite often the website building process is creative which means I will get into flow most of the time and the end result is still awesome.
It’s just stressful as fuck though especially when you realize you need to ask for more information or you overlooked something that will actually take you much longer than you thought to complete as now you are almost out of time.
This happens all the time.
When chipping away at important tasks 20 minutes a day this happens much less frequently and I feel like I am actually on top of things instead of feeling like I am in absolute chaos.
That’s My Morning Routine
At least for the next 7 days anyway and you can follow my Facebook or Instagram stories where I’ll share parts of it and talk about any struggles I am facing.
Let me know in the comments below what your morning routine looks like and if you don’t have one, why not?