Following my brush with the collapse of control, I’ve been noticing a lot of chat about “morning routine” in my podcasts and webinars lately, and there has been one thing that stood out for me.
No one agrees on why you have a morning routine, but they all think it’s critical to use one:
- Craig Ballantyne argues that if you control your morning, you control your day, so he gets up, thinks good thoughts and eats a good breakfast. Interestingly, he believes that managing his day this way brings him freedom. Most people would probably think that his days are too structured and prioritised, but he says that by the time he starts work he has already made all his decisions so all he has to do is implement them. And he starts early so that he has more time for himself at night.
- For writer Mary Kathryn Johnson, her morning routine is about moving her business forward and making money. She sets an intention for the day, decides her top three must-dos for the day and gets started. Her top priority is usually to move her next book forward.
- Jeff Sanders says that his morning routine is about generating the energy he needs to do what needs to be done, so his routine includes drinking water, working out and eating a healthy breakfast. And he gets up early (5 am) so that he has more time to do the things he loves.
- For Chandler Bolt (source no longer available), his routine is about making sure that he gets the important stuff done. And while you might think that as he runs his own business, that would be doing the kind of things that make money, it’s not. His morning routine includes the kind of things that he says gives his life meaning, like reading a book, exercising, and gratitude. And he includes spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, and affirmations as well. His goal is that if he achieves nothing else during the day, he has at least fed his mind and spirit as well as taken care of his body.
The Purpose of My Morning Routine
So with those thoughts in mind, I thought my morning routine should at the very least be consciously based on developing my virtues, and consist of things:
- I regret not doing at the end of the day; taking a walk, reading a book, and tidying up a bit (beauty, pleasure and wisdom)
- to take care of my physical well-being; walking, eating, and drinking water (beauty and pleasure)
- that nurture me and my relationships; enjoy time with dogs and DB, reinstate skincare routine, and contact friends (beauty, friendship and pleasure)
- to grow my business; set an intention for the day, listen to a podcast (wealth and wisdom)
My Draft Morning Routine
And this is more or less what it looks like
- 06:00: alarm goes off, and I doze a bit so I wake up gently.
- 06:15: get out of bed, let dogs out and make coffee. Drink a glass of water, empty dishwasher and pet dogs while it’s brewing.
- 06:30: go back to bed and spend time with DB listening to the news, chatting, whatever.
- 07:00: get up, make more coffee, make and eat breakfast with DB.
- 07:30: feed dogs, make lunch, tidy up, do chores.
- 08:30: read a book.
- 09:00: go for a walk, listen to a podcast while I am out.
- 09:30: shower, brush teeth, do face, get dressed and set the intention to complete the most important thing on my to-do list.
- 10:00: make coffee, turn my computer on, contact a friend while I wait for the coffee to brew, and then get to work!
It’s been working reasonably well, but some days I feel exhausted when I get to work! And when I do get started, it feels too late, even though I work through to around 6.00 pm most days so a full day’s work does get done. Perhaps it’s a residual paid work compulsion – most workplaces don’t like it when you stroll in mid-morning no matter how late you work. And you often want to minimise the time you spend in your office and get the fast train home anyway. But I love taking that time to read a book in the morning; currently Eric, by Terry Pratchett. And coupled with my productivity journal, I feel as though I get more done when I follow the routine. It’s a good start.
Morning Routine Amendments
I often go by the mantra, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But I find that life has a way of not being routine so you need room for some flexibility. Some days, leaving the house after a nice relaxing read is too hard, especially when it is raining a bit (though as we know, it’s good for your hair). I was thinking I could get a lift to the village with DB when he goes to work and walk back. That way we get an extra few minutes together, and I’ll have no choice but to walk home.
I’m open to other suggestions – do you have a morning routine? Let me know what it looks like and why you think it’s important.
The morning routine above starts with a yawn and a stretch. Reveille c. 1939 Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
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