What is your morning routine?
I wake up around 8:30am, typically after falling asleep sometime around 1:30am. I produce some of my best work at night, so I’ve created a structure that goes with my natural rhythm rather than trying to fight it.
The first thing I do after waking up is hydrate. I get twelve ounces of room temperature spring water, a dash of himalayan salt, and some lemon and crush it to rehydrate from the water I lost overnight. I then strip off my clothes, put on my goggles, and head out to the pool. The combination of the cold water, the movement of swimming laps, and the sunlight is the absolute ideal combination. The cold water boosts norepinephrine and drops my cortisol levels, and the sunlight and the movement sets my circadian rhythm. When I’m not at home, I’ll try anything from sneakily attacking my fiancée in bed with some morning jiu jitsu, or simply doing a few push-ups, burpees, or a little yoga. Not only does this make me feel more alert for the day, it helps me fall asleep later at night.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
Since I wrote a book about creating an ideal daily routine, I have really honed in and refined my process. I’ve stuck with it with about 90% adherence for the last year.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
To be perfectly honest, my morning routine used to be all over the place. It wasn’t until I did all the research for my book that I was able to really understand the importance and science behind everything I was doing to make it stick. I’m thrilled with this morning routine, and don’t have anything much more to add.
What time do you go to sleep?
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
The key thing I do before going to bed is journal. I write my life mission on the top of a page, and my three daily objectives below it. By reiterating the big picture of where I am heading, along with the objectives for the following day, when I wake up I know exactly what I am doing and why I am doing it. This is crucial, because the bane of discipline is ambiguity.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I set my alarm for the bleeding edge of the last possible time I could wake up to still make it through my morning routine and arrive at my first appointment on time. It isn’t always easy for me to fall asleep, so I want to get every last minute I can in the morning. That way I also know that there is no choice for me but to get my ass up out of bed when the alarm goes off and get to moving.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Sometimes I skip breakfast entirely, practicing intermittent fasting where you compress your feeding window to 8 hours. For me this is usually from noon until 8:00pm. But if I do have breakfast I usually have it about an hour after I wake up, and I make sure it is very high fat, high protein, high fiber, but extremely low carb, and no sugar. The worst thing you can do in the morning is spike your blood sugar, because if you do an hour later your blood sugar is gonna crash and you are going to be exhausted right there at the start of your day.
Bone broth and avocado or a smoothie are my go to breakfasts. On the weekends I’ll sometimes make bacon and eggs with some sauteed greens with my fiancée, which is always a treat.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
Other than my morning swim, I work out in the afternoon. That is typically when you are going to be the strongest, and have the most effective workout. Plus, it is something for me to look forward to and to help me destress after a long day.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
I meditate in the car on the way to work. I practice something called the wide peripheral gaze when I am in a safe driving condition or stopped at a light, where I look at everything possible in my visual field, and relax my mind completely. This overloads the bits of information the brain can process and the mind clears of its thoughts. I combine this with six deep breaths which is enough to actually lower blood pressure. It’s a great way to make sure I always have time for meditation.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I will always read and star the important emails first thing in the morning. I don’t always have to answer them but I need to know if there is anything urgent for me to handle. If nothing is urgent I will handle the most important thing first. Maybe that is making love, or maybe that is writing, or maybe that is something on my Asana task management screen.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
I go to sleep every night wearing a sleep tracker called the Oura ring. It is one of the most accurate sleep trackers in the game, and can actually read the difference between light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep, as well as measuring all the usual biomarkers like resting heart rate, etc. It puts all the factors together into a total score in the morning and I know that if I can get close to 80%, I’m golden for the day.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Just like email, I check my phone immediately. I don’t respond to anything immediately unless it’s urgent. But it’s more stressful for me not to check my phone than just to check it, make sure my company or my relationship isn’t burning down, and then I can get on with my morning routine.
How does your partner fit into your morning routine?
My partner is either up and out of bed before me or still laying in the sheets like my favorite cat. My morning routine doesn’t take very long, and she knows that I’m a less stressed out Aubrey Marcus when I complete it so she is thrilled when she sees my naked butt in the pool.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I don’t do my morning routine just to be more productive at work, I want to live a better life. The weekends are no reason to skip the routine, since the routine gives me a better day, no matter what day it is. The only time I skip the routine is if for whatever reason I didn’t plan out the timing well enough before my first meeting.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
To be honest, my routine isn’t as good when I’m not at home. I don’t always remember to travel with salt, I don’t always have lemon, sometimes the water is tap water, and I typically don’t have a pool. But I make do, and get as close to the routine as possible.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
If I fail to follow my morning routine I try to get a hard workout in. A hard workout is like a manual restart of the day anyway, so after I’m done with training it feels like I have a second chance at getting the day off on the right foot.
Our recommended book this week is The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep. We only recommend three things a week that we believe will be of interest to our readers. Please take a moment to check it out.