Morning Routines –– my winning formula

Afterthoughts: 1984 by George Orwell

A productive day begins with a productive morning

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The most accomplished I have ever felt is not after winning an award, a scholarship, or a job offer, but this morning. As I write this, it is not even 9am yet. I am so unbelievably jazzed up and excited for the day ahead. It is difficult to put into words this creative energy I feel, there is no embellishment when I say that this the most psyched I have been at 8:30am in the morning. I, no doubt, attribute this feeling to the as-close-to-perfect-start-to-my-day that I have ever had.

Over the year, I have cobbled together the makings of a morning routine: meditation, exercise, journalling, shower, brushing my teeth, and drinking a liter of water, taking a shower. During this time, the order in which I do those things vary somewhat haphazardly, there is no method behind the madness. I was more focussed on building a habit out of them i.e. I cared more about getting each of them done than worrying about which order was most optimal (if even there was one). This morning, however, I think I stumbled on the winning formula:

6am –– I woke up, drunk my litre of water, and brushed my teeth.

6:15am –– I did my warm ups: static stretching and spent some time foam rolling.

6:30am –– I went for my run around the Lake while listening to a podcast.

7:30am –– Finish my run and used the foam roller to stretch out my legs.

7:45am –– Meditate.

8:00am –– Did my journalling (Morning Pages).

8:30am –– Took a shower.

8:45am –– Writing this article.

So what?

I can already hear what you are thinking: this looks pretty bog-standard in terms of aspirational morning routines, what is so special about this?

My answer would be the synergy of the order of the things I do.

The reason that I drink water and brush my teeth first thing is because they are things that I don’t want to do, they are the most mundane-but-also-necessary-must-do’s each morning. Doing them first is a burden off of my shoulders, allowing me to be more present and be able to enjoying the next thing I do, my run. In the past, I have run before I did those things and found myself anchored to the thought that I still haven’t brushed my teeth this morning. While it may appear a trivial thought, I found it to be a burden that took away my ability to be completely present on the run (or if I journal first, during my journalling).

It did not take long on my run for me to get into a rhythm. Not five minutes before I set off, I felt imperious, I felt I was invincible. My choice of podcast happened to be IndieHackers and I quickly found myself enrapt with the conversation. Usually, if I stumble across an idea that I thought interesting and warranted further investigation, I would slow down my pace, take out my phone and make note of it on the notes app. On this particular day, I felt like I had so many breakthrough moments in listening to the podcast that I jotted down notes on six separate occasions. Ideas were percolating as well as I have ever experienced, I was making connections other ideas I had been toying with left, right, and centre. It gave me such an unnatural jolt of energy which made the promise of the day ahead ever so bright. The ideas, the connections, and the promise of what I could do to leverage these were so front of mind, I forgot that I was running from time to time.

As the ideas percolated and simmered, the prospect of getting home and journalling grew ever more exciting. After I got back, and foam-rolled as efficiently as I had ever done, and did my 10 minutes of daily meditation. I found it quite soothing, a calm before the storm if you will, because as soon as I opened my eyes, the ideas that had been bouncing around for the last hour and a bit came to a boil.

I let the floodgates loose and journaled. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. Often in this morning pages’ sessions, I run out of things to say before I hit my 750 word target, but not this time. It is not often this happens, but I found myself smiling as I wrote. I was making so many breakthroughs in my thinking almost simultaneously. Ideas that will guide my work for months if not years to come. After I exhausted my mind, I went and took a shower. That brings me to the end of what I could call my morning routine.

It is all good for you

In the previous section, I have gone into depth the synergies I have been able to enjoy and leverage by doing these things in that order. What I haven’t touched on is how good for everyone some of those things are. We all know deep down that meditation, exercise, and personal writing is good for us on their own, but how many of us actually do any of them in any way that could be perceived as consistent? Take my word for it, it is all good for you.

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