Maybe the title of this blog is a bit presumptuous. I should first be asking, do you have a morning routine?
If your answer is no I must respond with a dumbfounded look on my face followed by another look that tries to pull back on the judgement because I wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings. Regardless, my word choice would be somewhere along the lines of “Why not!!!???” Or “Hmmm…so you’re happy with your level of productivity?”
The reason I wonder whether or not you have a morning routine is because it can become such an asset if you choose to use it to your advantage.
Some people might think that they have to wake up so early already that they couldn’t possibly add anything into their routine other than getting ready for work.
My response to that is a simple request to keep an open mind.
As I write this I have a full time job, a pregnant wife, a 4 year old and a 2 year old daughter. To make it to work early and still (along with my wife) get my kids ready, my wife wakes up at 5AM and I have to be showering no later than 5:30AM.
For a long time I simply laid in bed and enjoyed the extra 30 minutes after my wife got out of bed to shower.
Eventually I realized that I wasn’t sticking to my writing schedule because I was too tired by the time I got home from work and spent time with my family and exercised.
Therefore, as much as I loved the 30 minute post sleep cat nap, I accepted that it had to go. Not a fun choice, but a neccessary sacrifice to achieve better results.
Since reaching this conclusion I’ve adjusted my morning routine and the results have been great.
Currently, I set my alarm for 4:38AM. I hit snooze once which brings me to 4:47AM. I get out of bed and get into my gym clothes which are laid out the night before. I go the bathroom and brush my teeth and head to the gym at 4:55AM. It takes me approximately five minutes to get to the gym (which is extremely convenient) and it opens at 5AM.
I give myself 25 minutes to exercise so I focus on full body exercises that maximize the value within the short amount of time that I allot.
I’m back home at approximately 5:30AM which is when I showered anyways.
Additionally, after I finish my daily tasks for work instead of going home I write for 30 minutes. I don’t stress over output, I just write for 30 minutes and when my phone alarm goes off, I’m done. Whether I wrote 5 words or 500 words, I’m done.
I arrive home feeling super productive and energized to play with my kids and enjoy the evening with them and my wife.
When they go to bed, if I’m not exhausted I write for a little more but I keep the perspective that it is “bonus writing”.
I put zero pressure to force this bonus writing.
I find that I’m usually looking forward to finishing what I started earlier in the day, but if I’m behind on Game of Thrones I give myself the freedom to watch an episode before going to bed instead.
A couple points I’d like to make before closing:
1. It is important to follow a strict routine but also to allot opportunities to relax without feeling guilty.
2. Embrace that with any routine, you will be required to adjust to something that throws it off. Don’t stress, just get back to it the next day.
3. Give yourself time every now and again to reflect on the routines you have in place. Have new variables in your life created opportunities to increase productivity? Are you in a routine rut? Should you change it up just to keep yourself sane?
Consider these points and questions as you assess your routines and remember don’t listen to me, don’t listen to anybody, before you listen to yourself. You are the most qualified to determine what works for you.
Adjust as YOU see fit!