“If I miss one day, I try to get back on track as quickly as possible. My general rule is: never miss twice.” – James Clear Share this quote on Twitter

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James Clear

What is your morning routine?

I wake up, take a shower, get dressed, drink a glass of water, write down three things I’m grateful for, read twenty pages of a book, then get into whatever my work is for the day.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

The majority of the routine I’ve been doing for at least two years. The twenty pages of reading is a new addition that I’ve been doing for the last three months.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

I’ve added the gratefulness habit in (I also say one thing I’m grateful for before I eat dinner each night) and I’ve added the reading piece.

I think a morning routine should be simple and repeatable (at some point, if you add too many pieces to the mix, you’re not really doing a morning routine anymore, but simply a daily routine).

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What time do you go to sleep?

Depends. Usually 10:30-11:00pm. Sometimes later if I’m really excited about working on a project and can’t pry myself away.

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

I rarely use an alarm. Only if I need to wake up really early for a flight or some other event I can’t miss. Typically I just wake up when I feel rested.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

I don’t typically eat breakfast.

I love breakfast foods and I eat a lot of food (I’m an athlete and train pretty heavy in the gym, so I need a lot to recover), but I follow an intermittent fasting routine where I eat most of my food between 12:00pm and 8:00pm each day. I do it mostly because it makes my life simpler and I get to spend the morning (when my creative energy is highest) focusing on important work rather than cooking/eating/cleaning.

I’ve been following this pattern for over two years. Intermittent fasting is getting popular in certain niches now (bodybuilding, paleo, etc.), but I’m still skeptical of the actual health benefits many people cite. That said, I don’t believe it’s detrimental to your health either. It doesn’t make much difference if you eat 2,000 calories in a twelve-hour window like most people (7:00am to 7:00pm) or in an eight-hour window (12:00pm to 8:00pm). Your body can handle both with relative ease, assuming you’re eating well.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

No, I lift in the evenings. I train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Usually between 5-7:00pm.

How about morning meditation?

I’ll usually sit in silence and do some deep breathing for a minute or two before I start reading my twenty pages.

Do you see to email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

Not if I can help it.

My most productive days are the days when I avoid email until as late as possible. I think it’s pretty much always better to spend your time working on your own agenda rather than responding to someone else’s. I typically don’t open email until noon. Occasionally, I’ll go later than that.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning, either for calls/messages or social media and news?

I have removed all push notifications and most social media apps from my phone. I generally don’t watch mainstream news.

I usually schedule any calls between 1-4:00pm during the day, so I don’t break my creative flow in the morning. Whenever I am writing, I leave my phone in another room.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

It depends on the day. I generally try to do the most important thing first each day.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

I pretty much only drink water and I drink a lot of it. My first glass is usually after I get dressed.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

I usually don’t worry about this. I try to limit travel to about six weeks per year.

My take is that if I master my morning routine (and others: lifting routine, writing routine, etc.) during the 46 weeks that I’m home, then those other six weeks aren’t a big deal. I don’t stress about doing something different or not having a morning routine on the road.

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

There are always emergencies that can pop up and take things off track. If I miss one day, I try to get back on track as quickly as possible. My general rule is: never miss twice.

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