It’s 7 a.m., I just woke up, I have to exercise, write this week’s newsletter, I don’t know what the rest of my schedule looks like and I’m already dreading everything that is coming.
In a flash of the obvious, I realize staying physically healthy, mentally fit, and professionally productive requires doing a lot of things on a regular basis i.e. exercising, stretching, writing.
They are not something you do one time or for a short time, but over and over...forever.
In order to get to all of my daily to-do's, I combined everything into a morning routine.
In under 3 months:
All from 1 hour in the morning!
Today, I’m going to share with you the best morning routine strategies for creating and sticking with a morning routine.
I’ve compiled 3 of them into a 3-step guide you can download at the end of the article to create your own routine.
A morning routine is simply a 60 minute ritual, if you will, with a predefined set of tasks and activities that you do every day.
Each morning you wake up, before doing anything else, you do the items in the routine, and make sure to do them every single day.
The routine can include a variety of activities and those activities can be related to:
All highly successful and productive people have one, and I mean all. In fact, most great entrepreneurs and leaders throughout history cite their morning routine as a major reason for their success.
It warms your mind and body to have a constructive and productive day by jumping you into proactive, forward moving action.
Instead of wondering what you’ll do or worrying about what you can’t do, with a routine, you know exactly what is on your plate, so you can start the day doing!
Once you start action, it’s easier to carry the momentum.
As mentioned, we all have numerous things we need or should be doing on a regular basis, and those things can add up quickly.
With so many items, it’s easy to miss, forget about, or not get to them.
A morning routine combines 10-15 of your most pressing items into a 1-hour block, making everything on your plate easier to remember and do.
Life is not about how hard you work, but how consistent you are in your efforts.
If you show up with mediocre efforts regularly, you will make far greater progress then if you bring your A game intermittently.
Morning routine helps you show up regularly…in fact every day.
Activities in a morning routine recharge, revitalize, and give you energy to get through the day.
Also, when you can get everything done in the morning, you are not feeling guilty or constantly reminded about all the things you’re not doing.
After completing the items in the routine, you can go about the rest of your day without the weight of unfinished tasks hanging over your shoulder.
Samantha had a goal to lose weight.
She created a routine that included exercising for 15 minutes every morning. One morning she did cardio, next morning weights, the following morning, stretching.
She did this consistently for 90 days and lost 10 lbs.
Johnathan wanted to learn the violin, but didn’t know anything about or ever picked a violin.
He created a routine that included 30 minutes to either research, learn to play, or practice the violin.
In 60 days, he played for his first audience.
And this doesn’t include Samantha & Johnathan's other accomplishments from other activities in the routine.
All this only from one hour in the morning when you are not doing anything, anyway.
In order to create your own routine, you’ll need to do 3 things:
There is basically an infinite number of activities you can combine into a routine. These steps will dramatically simplify the process of creating the best morning routine.
I’ll walk you through each step in detail.
The way the mind works, we’re only aware of a few things we need to be doing at a time.
That’s why it helps to get everything out of your head and onto paper so you can see all your options laid out.
A. Write down everything you should or need to be doing regularly, but aren’t doing or as consistently as you’d like
That can involve drinking enough water, stretching, exercising, or taking your vitamins.
- For me, it’s flossing. I know how important it is, my dentist has told me how important it is, and I can see what happens when I don't do it regularly.
- Also, I have chronic muscle tension, so I need to stretch and do other exercises like get on the massage roller everyday to keep the muscles soft and lose.
B. Next, write down everything that will boost your mental, emotional, and physical well-being
That can include meditation, breathing or other relaxation exercise, journaling, reading something motivational, or other things you’ve heard people and experts say is good to do.
- I’ve heard many talk about the importance of thinking about what you’re grateful for. So, every morning, I think about three things I’m grateful for in life.
- I’m also a big proponent of self-talk and attribute all my success to it. I repeat a set of self-talk statements in the morning.
- Steve Jobs said, every morning, he looks in the mirror and asks, if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? I ask a different question; how can I complete everything I need to do today smoothly and efficiently?
C. Finally, write everything that will get you closer to a goal, develop a skill, or be more productive
If you’re in sales, that can involve writing a list of 5 prospects you can call that day. A student may set aside time to review notes from the day before. To develop a skill, like learning a violin, you might want to set time in the morning to practice.
- As an author, I set 15 minutes each morning to write as much and as fast as I can without censoring.
- Since I'm staring at the computer all day, which strain my eyes, I spend 1 each morning doing an eye exercise.
- As a speaker, I set 5 minutes to do vocal exercise.
On the surface, 10-15 items seem like a lot to squeeze into a 60 minute block of time
But it really isn’t!
A. Most items take only seconds to a minute to do
Drinking a glass of water, for example, requires only pouring water into a glass and drinking.
The same with taking vitamins and supplements, asking a question, or thinking about what you’re grateful for.
B. Other items take a little longer than a minute, but not more than 5 minutes
I can repeat a set of self-talk statements in under 5 minutes.
The same with brushing, flossing, vocal exercises, as well as eye exercises.
C. Some items require more time
Exercise, stretching, yoga, meditation, writing, journaling you want to spend 15 - 30 minutes doing.
Couple models to follow is to select:
5 items that take under 1 minute = 5 minutes
5 items that take under 5 minutes = 25 minutes
2 items that take about 15 minutes = 30 minutes
5 minutes + 25 minutes + 30 minutes = 60 minutes
10 items that take 1 minute = 10 minutes
1 item that takes 5 minutes = 5 minutes
1 item that takes 15 minutes = 15 minutes
1 item that takes 30 minutes = 30 minutes
10 minutes + 5 minutes + 15 minutes + 30 minutes = 60 minutes
6 items that take 5 minutes = 30 minutes
1 item that takes 30 minutes = 30 minutes
30 minutes + 30 minutes = 60 minutes
This blog is about creating the best morning routine, so include as many items you feel necessary that will fit into a 60 minute block of time.
It's important to understand that what would normally take an hour or more to do outside of a routine, takes considerably less time in a routine.
That's because you're doing that activity every day, so the effort builds quickly.
For example, people are surprised I only set aside fifteen minutes for exercise. 15 minutes every day adds up to 2 hours a week, which is the equivalent of going to the gym twice a week.
With that said when it comes to a routine, you want it to be exactly that, a routine. That means doing the same set of activities over and over. Don't switch it up so one morning you start with exercise, another with email, the following morning reviewing the marketing summary.
That’s not a morning routine!
I don’t know what that is, but it’s not a morning routine.
One of the challenges of a morning routine is that it’s difficult to get started. When you wake up, you are tired, groggy, and waiting for the body to fully adjust to the fact it's morning.
Also, many of us have difficulty getting out of bed. From the time we open our eyes to the time we get out of bed can take an hour or two.
That's an hour or two wasted!
A great strategy is to start the routine while laying in bed
Many items on a morning routine can be done while laying in bed, like meditation, self-talk, relaxation, asking a question, and so on.
In fact, it’s better to do while lying as the body is more relaxed.
Once you do these activities, it'll be much easier to do the activities out of bed.
So organize the list into two groups, one for activities you can do while laying in bed and the other for activities you do after getting out of bed.
1. Activities to Do While Laying in Bed
I mentioned a couple of the items in my morning routine include eye exercises, self-talk, thinking about what I'm grateful for, and visualizing how I’d like my day to go. Those are all things I do while lying down.
As soon as my eyes open, I immediately start the eye exercises. Then, I jump into three things I'm grateful for. Next I repeat a set of self-talk statements. Afterwards, I visualize how I'd like my day to go.
I can get all that in while still groggy, half-awake, waiting for the energy to get up. Once I do those things, I'm much more ready to get out of bed and start the other items.
In fact, in the past I'd spend hours in bed trying to call up the energy to get out of bed. Starting the morning routine activities in bed, helps me get out of bed quicker.
2. Activities to Do After Getting Out of Bed
The remaining activities you will do once you jump out of bed like exercising, stretching, yoga, writing, journaling, reading, practicing.
After completing the list, keep a copy next to your bed.
Every morning you wake up, look at the list and get started.
The moment your eyes open, begin with the items you can do while laying in bed.
Once those are complete, jump out of bed and complete the rest.
There you have it: 3-simple steps to create you best morning routine
Now you have no excuse for getting to all those I’ve been meaning to, but haven’t had time tasks.
My challenge to you is to try it once. See the effects of morning routine for yourself.
I’ve put together a pdf that walks you through the 3 steps.
This is a great resource to get you kick-started.
You can download the pdf here.