I would not describe myself as “a morning person”.
I love a lie in. At the weekends I’ve always enjoyed lying in bed – perhaps with a cup of tea – and making the most of relaxing.
But during the week it’s hard to justify spending your morning under the covers – there’s a job to do, a business to build.
Needless to say, there are articles galore out there about building a good morning routine, to the point where the mere mention of the topic induces an audible sigh from those in the same room.
Despite the extreme cliché of the subject, I’ve been trying to figure out the right routine for me, and I thought it might be worthwhile sharing my learnings so far.
What I have learnt so far seems to suggest that waking up earlier – and happier, with more energy – requires more than just a loud alarm.
Goals for the morning
I have a few goals for my mornings:
- Wake up early (to give me time before any scheduled events in my calendar).
- Get myself showered, and feeling fresh.
- Wake up with energy to start making decisions and acting on things.
- To arrive at the office with a clear plan for my day.
- To arrive at the office in a good mood, ready to crack on with the day.
- To ensure I have enough energy to keep on form for the entire day – especially after lunch.
With all these desires for my mornings, I realised I clearly need to avoid any situations where I wake up late, rush to the office, and feel like I’m playing catch-up from the moment I’m in. I also need to avoid situations where I'm in a total grump and a pain for the team to work with.
My current routine
My routine so far goes something like this:
- Set my alarm for 6am.
- Actually wake up and get out of bed at 6am.
- Get the kettle on.
- Jump straight in the shower – no questions asked.
- Leave the shower, shave, dry hair, get dressed.
- Make tea (kettle now boiled!), eat a bowl of cereal.
- Catch up on more casual / personal tasks like reading the news and messaging any friends who are waiting on me to get back to them.
- Run through my tasks, emails, and other items and get them prioritised. I've started using Superhuman to manage my email workflow which has been a massive help here.
- Leave the house for a leisurely stroll into the office, mulling over my first tasks for when I get in.
The morning routine starts the night before
Getting up at 6am has been painful for a long time. I'm only just getting used to it, and I still have my days of failure.
Even before I started reading "Why we sleep", I was vaguely aware of the importance of a healthy night of sleep. But waking at 6am simply can't happen (for me at least) if I'm getting to bed at midnight.
- After work, my goal is to cook and eat dinner as soon as I can – eating too late just gives you too much energy to want to sleep at a sensible time.
- I've dramatically cut down my caffeine intake – I love a cup of tea, but I try to resist the temptation in the evenings now.
- Rather than using my phone until the moment I hit the pillow (and beyond), I try to stop looking at it after 10pm.
- Reading a book (especially one on sleep) in bed has been a great way to transition from wide-awake to feeling sleepy.
- 10-11pm is my window of "time to start sleeping".
The outcome so far
It's always hard to attribute feelings to anything specific, but from what I can see so far, there's a strong correlation between "having a great day" (feeling positive, energetic, and productive) and my morning routine going smoothly.
Have you tried improving your own morning routine? I'd love to hear what has worked for you!