What is your morning routine?
I get up between 5:00-5:30am and make a pot of pour-over coffee. While the coffee is brewing I drink twenty ounces of water with lemon squeezed into it and do a stretching routine, which mostly consists of yoga poses; typically downward dog to sphinx, to warrior one, with some Bikhram, half moon, and standing on one leg. It’s kind of my version of a sun salutation, I suppose. I then meditate for about ten minutes and read from the sacred text I’m working on at that moment (it changes).
Next, I take my wife coffee in bed (I’ve been doing this for about 35 years) and we usually talk about the day for half an hour. Five or six times a week I exercise—a mixture of weights, yoga, running, and biking. I used to run a lot more, but now I think I enjoy the higher intensity weights stuff more.
Then I walk or ride my bike to work. It’s only about a mile.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’ve stuck to some variation of this morning routine for about fifteen years.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
When my kids were young this was more of an attempted morning routine. I would still get up early and try to squeeze some of my routine in, but the pace was different as my routine—at least the part that was solo—had the deadline of my kids waking up and becoming little tyrants. Or maybe I became the tyrant trying to get them dressed and ready for school?
What time do you go to sleep?
Always before 10:00pm, often between 9:00-9:30pm. Early in my entrepreneurial journey I would work at night after the kids went to bed. Now I read and relax a lot more. As I’ve gotten older I don’t plan much that keeps me up or out.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I end my work day creating my to-do list for the next day, but that’s about it.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Only when I have an early flight or something else I can’t miss. To be honest, I don’t have any trouble waking up, nor getting going. I really love morning!
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Usually after an hour or more; when I exercise I like to eat after. I eat a lot of fruit and veggie smoothies, oatmeal, and occasionally eggs. On Saturday we have pancakes!
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I’m usually working out by 7:00am. I rotate my workouts; here was last week’s (it was a good week):
Mon: 45-minutes weight training
Tue: Three-mile run
Wed: 45-minutes weight training
Thu: Cardio at the gym
Fri: Day off
Sat: Twelve-mile bike ride
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
I’ve meditated for the last fifteen years but I rarely go over ten minutes. I’ve stuck with a light version of Transcendental Meditation (TM) using the repetition of a daily mantra to stay focused. I love the focus the mantra helps me keep—without it I’m more likely to drift into thoughts about client work or something else related to business.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I do everything in my power to not check email until I get to my office, but often I fail. That said, I don’t return email until I get to work.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
I’ve used Deepak Chopra’s Ananda meditation app off and on.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Too often this happens as I’m making coffee.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Exercise, particularly as I’ve gotten older. I think the big thing for me is stamina and mental clarity—this entrepreneur thing is grueling. I would also say that exercise helps me to be less reactive to things that don’t go as expected. I still sit too much—I do about two hours a day at a standing desk, but still a lot of sitting—I focus a great deal of my weightlifting and yoga time on “unsitting”—working on my hips, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. I don’t think I would be able to walk if I didn’t focus on these parts of my body.
Another thing I failed to mention—my wife and I recently purchased a home in the mountains and will likely end up there. Life at 9000ft and the hiking, skiing, climbing, and biking that comes with it requires staying in shape, and that drives a lot of why I do what I do as well.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
As I’m brewing coffee first thing I squeeze half a lemon or some apple cider vinegar into twenty ounces of water, and I pretty much chug it.
How does your partner fit into your morning routine?
She gives me all the space I need in the morning to perform my routine, so long as I bring her coffee!
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
On weekends I stick to my weekday routine pretty closely. I don’t sleep in, but I may make a full breakfast such as pancakes, and my wife and I often work out together on the weekend.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
I travel a lot for work and I have to admit that I don’t do this well at times. I think it’s the stress of travel and the work I do, which is speak at conferences, that kind of throws me off. I eat worse when I’m traveling, and I find it hard to get my exercise in.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
It affects my work, my mood, my level of stress, and likely my overall health. Before I got serious about some of my morning practices I had pretty high blood pressure. I was able to reverse that with much of what I do each morning. I also stopped eating meat.
Anything else you would like to add?
I have bouts where I fall off the bandwagon that is my morning routine. I took a month long vacation recently and my routine fell apart. But during this time I wasn’t working, so I still felt pretty relaxed.
Sometimes I think you need a break from your routines as there are days I just don’t feel like exercising and days that I love it. For me, knowing I can easily get back to a routine that works takes some of the guilt away from taking occasional breaks from it.