Just Google “morning routines”, and the search engine will blast you with millions of pages with juicy information on the best, the most productive, and the classiest morning routines of all time. People are fascinated with this kind of stuff, and I don’t have a freaking clue why.
Believe it or not, you’ve been following a morning routine your whole life; it’s not optimal for your goals and ambitions. But the challenge with the thousands of morning routines out there is this — it’s leading us anywhere. Sure, “the chase is better than the catch,” but chasing ain’t progressing, but it’s just getting started… only to get started again and again and again. You get the idea.
Also, how exactly would following Richard Branson’s morning routine help you go from a beaten up Toyota pick-up, three kids, and thousands of dollars in credit card debt to becoming financially successful? It won’t. What you need is a realistic routine that’s tailored to you.
I have often wondered how useful will it be if these gurus talk about building a routine for ourselves instead of telling us about Branson’s or Benioff’s routine. But alas, that’s not going to happen any time soon. So, here’s my simple two-step methodology to build a routine that works for you.
- Wake up early – it doesn’t have to be 4, 4:30, 5, or even 5:30 am… 6 am just as good; the key is to get enough sleep, and most folks can’t help but get to bed by 11 or later, so a 12-6 am block is perfect for most people. Of course, if you’ve been tracking your sleep and know that you need more sleep, you must sleep more. I like the idea of tracking the average hours of sleep over some time before determining the actual time you must sleep. You can probably experiment and see what works for you for the next couple of weeks. Go to bed at a set time and wake up naturally, without an alarm clock.
- Decide what are you going to do after waking up? One of the following:
- Go to the washroom for BM (without your phone, please)
- Drink at least half a litre of water
- Make coffee
- Do some exercise
You can do all of the above (in any order that you want) if you wake up a little earlier than usual (between 4 and 5). For me, the following process works:
Drink water, BM, make coffee, write, exercise, meditate, shower, and read/study.
I have been following the precisely same routine since 2002. Sure, I’ve been experimenting with morning routines for the longest time, probably way before all this became a fad (believe me, it is). But I’ve always seen myself get back to the above routine because it works for me.
And also because I’ve never seen morning routines as a productivity hack but as a way to carve out time for what II love the most — writing, exercise, meditating, and reading or studying. And these activities sure have made a difference in who I am as a person over the years.
One of my friends recently mentioned something profound, “people prioritize their life around their work schedule instead of the other way around.” For me, waking up early has been my way of prioritizing my life ahead of my work schedule. It just makes me happier, healthier, and to some extent, a lot wiser.
My suggestion will be simple — build a routine that works for you. If you don’t have much time, a 20/20/20 routine is probably worth exploring where you spend 20 minutes each to exercise, reflect, and read/study. I don’t think 20 minutes is enough time for me to achieve anything significant, so I wake up earlier to do what I love to my heart’s content.
And remember, if you’re not enjoying your routine, something is wrong. Most likely, you’re following one of those “millionaire routines.” Please, stop it. Build your own because you’re different from the rest. And I’m pretty sure your life’s priorities are way other than some of the elite performance athletes or Fortune 100 CEOs, so you do you.
The amount of time a person wastes these days to build a morning routine is insanely stupid. It’s something we’ve never needed help with because we had our routines in place. I can’t imagine my 5-year-old searching for morning routines of other 5-year-olds (probably YouTubers or Instagram influencers) who are making millions.
I know it sounds absurd. And you’re no different if you find yourself searching for a morning routine. It’s stupid simple to build your own.