A Morning Routine for Energy+ and Productivity+
Want to feel better? Have more energy? Improve your focus? Have more time? Read on as we discuss why the morning routine is essential for all those. Also why you should stick to it even when being chased by cannibals in the kongo river.
Lets start by comparing two scenarios, one might be very familiar:
- A: You wake up, 10 minutes late for work, skip breakfast and have to rush to work.
- B: You wake up 90 minutes early for work, get a workout in, have breakfast and shower. How will the rest of your day go in either scenario? Think what's going through your head the moment you exit your door. Lets play each scenario through and see what happens.
You arrive at work 30 minutes late, feel like shit. Boss is pissed, you're gonna have to stay late - again. Also write off the first 3 hours as you attempt to triage yourself with a 1:1 ratio of caffeine and sugar. Finally as you start to wake up you realize you are hungry. Welp, time to hit the vending machine and/or get a McFatty.
You arrive home feeling exhausted. Time to workout right? Nah. Well at least you'll make up that morning workout? Right. You spend the rest of the night eating crap and playing video games to make yourself feel better. You also made some headway with your feeder alter ego's goals.
If your brain wasn't so stressed from the beating you just put it through it would've remembered "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" so time to repeat the cycle all over again tomorrow. Wonder why things aren't working out.
You arrive at work 15 minutes early, feeling great. You are wide awake, it's 7am and you've already accomplished several things. Since you lift 3 times a week, you just finished 33% of your weekly lifting obligation already. Your boss sees you all buff and tidy and contemplates giving you a raise just because of the halo effect.
You don't waste any time and immediately dig into your work. You are a productivity machine; not only do you finish today's work but dig into some future projects. You did so well you can leave early. A sense of accomplishment and relief fills you as your sub-conscious registers that all is well and you are ahead on your work. Now you can spend the afternoon doing whatever you want - a good thing since you aren't sure what to do with all this energy.
Wow, way to idealize things Mike
Okay so that was a bit hyperbolic but I'm not saying this is what happens with everyone or even that everyone can fix their lifestyle and suddenly they enter a personal utopia. What I'm saying is that lifestyle has a big impact on how you feel, how much energy you have, how your body looks, how much money you make and just about everything ..and it all starts with your morning routine.
Anatomy of a Successful Morning Routine
Your morning routine actually starts the night before you wake up. Why? Because you need two things:
- Time: you can have the best routine in the world but it will suck if you only have 10 minutes to go through it.
- Energy: a routine is a blueprint. It tells you exactly what to do but you still need the energy to do it.
It also happens improving your sleep effects both of them. So sleep more and wake up earlier.
I know a lot of people like to shower in the afternoon but I'm not a fan of that. I personally go straight from bed to the shower. Here's why:
- Increased circulation: hot water and movement both will stimulate your circulation. This is important because you were in a static position for a long time. Improved circulation will make you feel better, get your systems running better and help warm up your muscles.
- Joint mobilization: very similar to circulation but when you are going through the motions of showering you are also moving your joints. Combined with the heat from the water this makes your synovial fluid less viscous and will circulate into your cartilage - nourishing, lubricating and removing waste.
- Hygiene: you sweat a lot when you sleep. Plus you will look a lot better if you shower.
- Because badasses like Stanley do it.
[Stanley] made it a rule, always to shave carefully. In the Great Forest, in ‘Starvation Camp,’ on the mornings of battle, he had never neglected this custom, however great the difficulty; he told me he had often shaved with cold water, or with blunt razors.”
[..] Now, you might think the energy spent shaving in the jungle would be better devoted to looking for food. Wouldn’t that exercise of self-control leave you more depleted and less able to exert willpower for something vital? But orderly habits like that can actually improve self-control in the long run by triggering automatic mental processes that don’t require much energy. Stanley’s belief in the link between external order and inner self-discipline has been confirmed recently in some remarkable studies.
From the book Will Power: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
Finally it's Action A.
What is Action A? It's the first action in a sequence - the sequence here being the routine. Action A doesn't have to be the shower, it can be anything. Action A just has to be quick and easy since it will be setting off the domino effect. What do you do after Action A? Well Action B of course.
Action B and Beyond
For me, action B is my morning shake. It provides me with the nourishment that will help me wake up and fuel my workout. The order doesn't really matter, what matters is that you have concrete actions and procedural steps to follow. Just be realistic, start with small sequences and as you beat every sequence add to it for next time.
A morning routine should
- Get you out of bed as fast as possible
- Allow you to have a proper breakfast - poptarts don't count for chrissakes
- Warm up your joints and muscles, extra important if you are training.
- Give you enough energy and time to train if you choose to.
- Setup the rest of your day for you to succeed.
So there you have it. Start your day on the right foot and everything will get easier. It's kinda like catching a bus, if you arrive early you can sit, read the newspaper, relax. If you arrive on time you might have to rush a bit to make it. If you arrive late well you just end up chasing it all the way to work.
What's in your morning routine