Oh my God, can we please stop people guilt over morning pages, diaries, meditation, drinking 18 gallons of mint infused water, and yoga?
If you want to do that, great! But you don’t have to.
My rules for the perfect morning:
- No, you don’t need to meditate to be successful!
- No, you don’t need to write a diary or do yoga.
- It’s okay to check Instagram first thing in the morning. (I am doing.)
- If it isn’t on your calendar, it doesn’t exist
- You decide your rich life, including your morning routine.
Why do we take bad advice about our morning routine
There’s a new cottage industry of people telling you all the things you “should” do every morning. But as it gets absurdly more specific, it gets more performant. Drink a glass of water? No! Make sure to soak it with turmeric and mint.
If you like mint, this is great. But just adding mint does nothing. The real win here is being intentional about what you want to do – and how you want to do it.
This is much more difficult than making an esoteric recommendation like drinking 6 ounces of yak tea. People love these recommendations because we all want a magic bullet or “secrets” that will magically change everything for us. Deep down, we know it’s all nonsense.
I spoke to Tim Ferriss about it on his podcast a few years ago – you can watch the interview here:
How to create a morning routine that works for you
True happiness and productivity come from making much deeper changes.
- If you love waking up without an alarm clock, how do you go to sleep at a time when you can turn that into a reality?
- If you want to prepare breakfast for your kids every morning, how do you arrange things the night before?
- If you want to have a fun day where you take two hours to watch TV, what does it take to make it happen?
This is much more difficult than taking a magic pill. This means fundamentally restructuring your lifestyle, including the way you work (maybe even where You work), how you relax, what time you go to bed, and even what you think about yourself (“I’m not a morning person” is an identity that you can rewrite).
The real morning routine is determined the week before, a month ago, and a year ago
Love the idea of crafting a meaningful morning for your rich, personal life. I don’t like the merchandise cult fanaticism about random tactics. The best morning routine for the day before, the week before, and the year before is determined by mastering the basics.
What I mean by this: When I wake up and have a good morning, then walk around to start work, I open my calendar. What I see has been outlined weeks and months ago:
- I know what I’m working on Because every Monday looks the same, every Tuesday looks the same, etc.
- I have customized my work to suit me. For example, I’m more creative in the morning, so I set a time to write at that time. I make most calls in the afternoon.
- I respect my own obligations. If it’s on the calendar, it’s done. If it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t. Do you know how to “not try” to brush our teeth every morning? We just do it. Same for the schedule: once it’s scheduled, I’ll respect it. This has become a habit – and you can build the same habit!
It is much better to consciously decide what your morning looks like. If you want to go and check Instagram (like I do), that’s great. The first thing I read was a 17 year old girl telling me I was wrong about investing. Good morning @crypt0_4_lyfe7291. Thank you for your contributions to the investment literature.
Be realistic about your time and energy
Look at your calendar for tomorrow. Have you thought about how your energy fluctuates throughout the day? Does your calendar include the 3 most important things you need to get done? Is this realistic – does it include time to use the bathroom, eat, and just go out?
These are much more important than decisions than how many ounces of water you will drink. It’s also harder, which is why we avoid it. I believe in tackling the big gains in life, not chasing small, meaningless decisions in the end.
3 questions to ask yourself when designing your morning routine
- What would your perfect morning look like? Think broadly. It can include walking your dog in the park, making the perfect cup of coffee, or watching TV for an hour. It’s your decision!
- What are all the reasons that will never work? Get them out on paper. I know I know. You are not a morning person. Your boss won’t let you start work at 9:30 in the morning. Your kitchen is too crowded. You do not have the proper equipment to make espresso. Write down all the reasons.
- What are all the reasons for you could make this work? Now the opposite: if you definitely had to, then what could What do you do to make your perfect morning happen? Perhaps you can come to an agreement with your boss about when to start. You can buy an espresso machine. You can even come close to the park. Think big and don’t limit yourself.
As you tackle these questions, you may realize that your perfect morning is a lot closer than you thought.