“While I get a lot done late a night, I always pay for it the next day. Getting enough sleep is the best productivity hack I know.” – Dan Counsell Share this quote on Twitter

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Dan Counsell

Dan Counsell

What is your morning routine?

I usually get woken up by the kids at around 7:00am, after which I head straight into the shower while my wife starts getting breakfast for them. I head down shortly after to join them. Most weekdays I’ll try to have a smoothie for breakfast (the greener the better; it usually consists of whatever veg and fruit we have in at the time). While not the most nutritious, my favourite by far is frozen banana, dates, and almond milk.

At the office we have a decent coffee machine. Like a lot of people that are into coffee I love the routine and process of making it. I’ll usually have an espresso while I make sure the machine is all set up, followed by a soy flat white which I’ll drink at my desk as I start to dig into work for the day.

I’ll deviate from this routine once or twice a week to go swimming or running before heading to the office. These are always the best days as I feel positively super-charged.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

It’s probably been the last 8-12 months. I’d like to fit in more exercise though, and make sure I stick to having smoothies every single day, even at weekends. Both of these things always help get the day off to a perfect start.

What time do you go to sleep?

I try to aim for 11:00pm or earlier, but sometimes I get sucked back into twiddling about on the Mac and I don’t get to bed until gone midnight.

It’s a double-edged sword; while I get a lot done late a night, I always pay for it the next day as I often feel tired and grouchy. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised how important sleep is. I now know how closely it’s linked to my health, mood, and general focus. Getting enough sleep is the best productivity hack I know.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

I haven’t used an alarm clock for over six years (I’ve had no need to since our daughter was born). We now have three kids so things haven’t gotten any easier just yet.

The youngest is just two years old and has a habit of always getting up early. I should probably embrace it because I know as soon as they’re older I’ll be battling to get them out of bed and up on time.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

No, but I do have a weekly routine for exercise. Squash on a Monday evening, swimming on Wednesday morning, and a run on Friday, before or after work.

I’d like to exercise five days a week, but it’s hard fitting it in between family and work.

How about morning meditation?

Not yet, but it’s something I’d like to start doing.

I recently signed up with Headspace to help get me started and have been doing it in the afternoon a few times a week.

I’ve found that the process of disconnecting from technology for a bit can have a really positive impact, so much so that we recently started a weekly no-technology day at home. We do it every Saturday and it’s amazing.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

I won’t check my phone until after I’ve had a shower. As soon as you check in on Twitter or email you’re thinking and responding to other people’s problems and agendas before your own and that can really screw you up.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Making sure I properly say goodbye to my wife and kids. Kisses, hugs and I love you’s all round. It might sound sickeningly sweet but when it comes down to it my family are the most important thing to me.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Always water, usually last nights half-empty glass from my bedside table. The best drink of the day is always my first coffee when I get into the office. I often wake up looking forward to it, though this is probably addiction rather than routine.

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

I can get by just fine, but if I’ve had the perfect start I’m in a much better place to handle whatever comes up and I’m more focused and productive.

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