Your morning routine SUCKS and what you can do to make it better!
Now you must be thinking - holy fuck another fucker writing about Morning routines!
Look, I hear you but hear me out before judging me for writing yet ANOTHER article on this topic- okay? cool!
Now first lets pay some respect to our buddy Ben who pretty much invented the idea with his famous quote "Early to bed, Early to rise, makes a person healthy wealthy wise". Pretty much saying that if you don't wake up early you are SCREWED!
You won't be healthy wealthy or wise - LIFE RUINED.
And look I hear Ben - he's a cool guy and thought a lot before saying that. Waking up early seems important. Most CEOs do it. Most successful entrepreneurs do it. Most successful horse racers do it. you get what I am saying...
And before I move further... I can hear all of you haters talk about being night owls and all. And how morning routines don't matter.
Yes there is some proof that you don't NEED to wake up early BUTTTT thats more of an exception to the rule than the rule.
Let me explain.
Most of the time if you are up late - you are MOST LIKELY finishing the 4th season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and NOT working through.
How many people do you know would wake up at 5 am just to finish another season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Ever heard an early morning work conversation go like
Yes, me neither.
So now that we are done talking about waking up early in the Morning and all not being shit- Lets get into what to do when you get up in the Morning and WHY! If you have read some advice on google - it goes something like
And if that is your to do list- this is what will happen
And then this
Anxious? Its cool- I got you!
I like to break down what you do in the morning in FOUR simple steps. A focused but a flexible approach. You can do whatever you want within these 4 categories and if you want to do more - sure but this is a good start. I and many people around me appreciate this simple and flexible approach. Here goes...
First - DO NOT CHECK YOUR PHONE
You want to check your phone before you start work? cool!
Want to check emails on your commute? cool!
BUT don't do it right when you wake up. Why?
First it has been shown that sleeping next to your phone affects concentration the next morning. If you are checking your phone as soon as you wake chances are pretty high that you sleep right next to your phone and that shit is DANGEROUS. Don't believe me? Here- read about it.
And lets say you are iron man or super man and don't believe this shit or don't get affected by radiation and all! Another issue with looking at your smart phone in the morning is that it focuses your brain on all those messages and social media posts. Before you even wake up- you are worried about your next meeting, figuring out your kids carpool ride, knowing that your soccer schedule changed or that Suzie bought her favorite car. Your brain is exhausted before the day even begins!
This is why I believe its important to use the mornings to start the day out calmly - it allows you to feel more in control and you will be more prepared to handle all the shit coming your way.
The fact remains: DON'T be on your phone first thing in the morning.
Now you wonder - HOW??
You can do this by NOT being cheap (because nobody likes cheap people) and buying another alarm clock (go to a nearby flee market ( I am brown and love the flee market) or here is one on amazon) and then you can
Put your smart phone on airplane mode the night before
Put your smart phone on your partner's side of the bed (This will obviously not work if you sleep alone- Duh!)
Put your smart phone in another room
Feed your smart phone to your dog
Hey! the methods are endless. You just need to stop making excuses for wanting your phone near you. Thats all. So stop whining - Nobody likes Whiny Suzie.
Second - GRATITUDE
Shawn Achor's books have definitely changed my life. He puts a lot of emphasis on the practice of gratitude specifically specific things that we are grateful for that happened in the last 24 hours. Reading and watching him- the first thing I did was just download a gratitude journal app on my phone. The first one that showed up on the search results. Then just started writing about three things that I was grateful for- simple! right?
No, Not really.
At first, I would always forget to write down my gratitudes. So then, I used what I learnt from the book, Power of Habit and applied it to the situation. In the Power of Habit, they speak about 3 things that are necessary to build a habit.
I take the Go train to work every day (WOOT WOOT to all the commuters!!)
So I thought maybe I could make that the cue. Then I started buying the 2 dollar coffee at the station JUST so I could make that the reward once I am done writing my gratitude. I LOVE coffee and it was a small price to pay for a habit that will bring me these AWESOME benefits Shawn mentioned in the book.
Then it started - I went to my train - bought my coffee and I told myself that I couldn't drink my coffee till I write my gratitudes and so I did. At first, it wasn't as easy and there were days when I was late for the train or forgot to buy the coffee but eventually I started noticing (around a month or 2 in) that I no longer needed the coffee!!
All those $2 were back in my bank! And I was a lot HAPPIER writing those gratitudes every morning. PLUS, I had established a routine - a fucking routine. I was now part of the cool club!
Third - Priorities/ Focus for the day
I like this practice because it is important for me to have some sort of focus for the day. Some days my goals are super detailed. For example:
9 am- Brush teeth
9:30 am - Drink coffee
10:00 am - Conquer the world
And some days I give myself big chunks of time with vague focus
9 am - 12 pm - Do something creative
Regardless- I always have time dedicated to writing my focus and priorities down. To further help with this, a good friend of mine introduced me to the Panda Planner. Writing in the Panda Planner has been a game changer for me because I like how all the sections are labeled and easy to write into.
Here are is a snap of the Daily review section of the planner. This section is the one I mostly use. There is a weekly review and monthly review as well.
Fourth - Brags/Affirmations
My super cool friend Erin and her super cool coach Caitlin introduced me to the Daily Three! Here they spoke about doing three things daily (gratitudes, desires and brags). I would already do the gratitudes and desires but they introduced me to this concept of brags! The positive affect of brags led me to google affirmations and those were super helpful!
When you speak positively to yourself about yourself - MAGIC happens.
Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!
Take 5 mins and a pen and paper and start adding a section for brags and/or affirmations.
Brags:Where you speak about awesome things about yourself. You can put a number on it - like 3 brags? or 5 brags? or 1000 brags? Do what you want, I am not your mom.
Affirmations: Statements which affirm something to be true.
Don't get what that means? Yeah. Me Neither so HERE are some examples!
Write them down and let me know how it goes!
In conclusion (fuck .. that brings back memories of my high school English class)
Here is the list of 4 things to do
Do Not check your phone
You TOO can do this by going back to what my man Ben said - WAKE UP early (I would say give yourself an hour or two)
You have now reached the end of this page and that EINSTEIN means the article is finished - so stop scrolling and go take action. Thanks!
P.S- Have questions? comment below and I promise to get back to you in 5 mins. Kidding - I have a life. Will definitely get back though!:)
And And And I'm not Affiliated with any links mentioned above. Just sharing because they are awesome.