This is something that has interested me for at least the last year. How can I optimize my day so that I feel productive by the end of the day?
Morning rituals have been a popular topic in the last year or so, and it was my first exploration. I’ve found my preferred waking time lies around 2 hours before I have to leave the house. What I choose to do with these 2 hours is, essentially, my morning routine. The following is a list of my attempts to fill these 2 hours in order to optimize my day starting from when I first wake up.
1. Block off the internet. This was my first attempt at altering my morning routine. At face value it is seems very simple, but in practice it can get a bit tricky. Here’s the rule: no social media, email, or internet before 10AM.
2. Read or Write. The first 30-45min might just be the best time to work on that book you wanted to start (or finish). You could also spend this time exercising your idea muscle by trying to come up with 10 new ideas every morning. This, just like everything, else is hardest at first, but after a few days or a couple weeks you’ll be surprised at the connections you can make. If 10 new ideas are too much, then do not settle for less than 5.
3. Liquids. There’s something about rituals that provide a sense of structure and framework to think (about anything). This isn’t new to you; in fact, you probably do this already. What do you do when you’re stressed? Exercise? Sleep? Watch TV? Grab that pint of ice cream? These are routines that you’ve created for yourself without intentionally fostering an end result. So why not create a routine intentionally? A morning routine of making tea or coffee, or simply making breakfast fits the bill.
4. Shower. Not everyone prefers morning showers, but if you are, then consider the James Bond shower. This just involves taking your usual warm/hot shower, followed by a minute or two of cold shower. How cold? As cold as you can tolerate. Ease into it. You’ll be more awake than you thought you could be at this hour of the day.
5. Clothes. Will-power is limited. Minimize decision-making in the morning by doing one of two things: 1. wear the same clothes every day (like a uniform), or 2. decide what you’re going to wear before you go to bed. This step should not involve having to decide which shirt, socks, shoes, etc. to put on in the morning.
Mea Culpa: I haven’t stuck to this 5 step routine as consistently as I hoped I would, but I can say that having some routine puts your day on the right track from the start. You might include other activities in your routine; maybe running, exercise, yoga, meditation. Whatever you chose, it should probably be something that you want to do in order to become the person you’ve always wanted to become.
What’s your morning routine?