I wake every week day at 5 am. Come hell or high water. That’s the only way to get my morning routine done before for work.
The most important part is keeping the alarm on the other side of the room. If my alarm clock is physically within reach, I hit the snooze button every time, usually multiple times. By having it on the other side of the room, I have to physically get out of bed and wake up!
After I am out of bed, this is what I do:
1) On my phone, I start playing a spiritual talk that I picked out the night before. This helps my mind wake up. I choose to listen to a dharma talk because they are calming, positive, and thought provoking. Spiritual concepts help get me centered before my day begins.
2) While I am listening, the next step is getting in touch with my body. I do this with some gentle stretching, foam rolling, and yoga.
3) When I finish exercising, it’s about 5:25 am now. I set a timer for 20 minutes and start to meditate.
The app I use is called Insight Timer (android version here). Headspace is okay, but Insight Timer is the best mindfulness app I’ve found so far. It has all kinds of guided meditations, relaxing music, a free and versatile timer, and a list of people who are meditating nearby and all over the planet.
5) I shave, shower, get dressed. It’s 6 am now. At the end of my warm shower, most days I gradually cool the water down until I get that ‘holy shit’ factor. It’s exhilarating.
6) Journaling. Not so much ‘dear diary’, in the mornings I have specific exercises that help me cultivate gratitude and identify my most important actions for the day. I have 5 that are outstanding: These include:
- Gratitude journal with a twist… I think of 5 things I’m grateful for, and also come up with 3 things that would make today great.
- Tony Robbin’s questions to ask to put yourself into state. I gleaned these from his Personal Power II audio program… So good.
- Morning pages – writing down 3 pages (or for 10 minutes) anything that comes to your mind. A great way to clean the soul and put that monkey mind back in it’s cage
- ‘Daily 10’ practice. Got this from James Altucher. Come up with 10 new ideas for solving a problem you have, no matter how ridiculous they are… Every once in a while you’ll come up with a gem.
- ‘Fear Setting’. A technique from Tim Ferriss. This one is tough but extremely rewarding. Usually don’t do this one in the morning because it takes longer than I can afford. I included it here just so you can be aware.
- 7) I then read something positive or motivating for about 30-45 minutes. I love giving my mind something positive or motivational to chew on for the rest of the day.
8) It’s about 7am now, and it’s time to walk Missy. During these walks, I have to try to do something productive or else I feel like I’m wasting 30 minutes a day. I usually read more of my book, a magazine, or listen to an audio program.
9) It’s 7:25 now. I make a cup of tea and then venture off to work. I listen to a podcast or audiobook on my way to work.
Everyday I spend 50 minutes round trip in the car, and I find this time to be an opportunity to learn something valuable.
10) When I step out of my car, I’m ready to attack the day. I have a mental edge. Most people unwillingly rolled out of bed 45 minutes ago and aren’t ready for fully awake and accomplished me.
My body is awake, my mind is calm, and I already feel productive because I got a whole lot done before 8 am that I don’t have to worry about after work.
To wrap it up, I’ll include some other ideas of steps I’ve either tried before or am trying to incorporate in my morning routine in the future:
- Inversion table
- Wim Hof Method
I’ll finish with this important note:
On weekends I don’t even worry about my morning routine. I sleep in as long as I can. Time off gives me some space around it to relax and then by Monday morning, I’m ready to go again.