What is your morning routine?
My morning routine goes like this: I wake up precisely at 6:00am, do twenty minutes of meditation until 6:20, and then I’ll usually have a call with my virtual assistant at 6:30am to talk about the day ahead.
Then, I’ll write or do other creative, important, and difficult work for 1-2 hours, before having breakfast and getting ready for the day. I usually leave my house around 9:00am to go to the office space I’m working from.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
Every piece of my routine emerged at a different time: I’ve been meditating every morning for about six months, but my breakfast has been more or less the same for a couple of years. I like to experiment with one variable at a time to see how it affects my performance and mood.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I’ve always been an early riser - there’s never been a time in my life when I enjoyed sleeping in. I always wake up with a certain hunger and specific purpose for the day.
What time do you go to sleep?
I generally go to sleep any time between 11:00pm-1:00am, which means I average about 5-7 hours of sleep per night.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I use my Nexus 5 as my alarm, but I hate hitting snooze.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I’ve been experimenting lately with when I eat breakfast. Right now I like to do at least 1-2 hours of writing or other creative work before breakfast; that way, by the time I eat, I’ve already created something. I also find I think differently on an empty stomach than when I’m full, which means when I hit a major creative wall, I can take a break by preparing breakfast instead of procrastinating.
My breakfast is the same every day. I have four eggs scrambled French-style (thanks Tim Ferriss and The 4-Hour Chef), about 100-150g of fried ground beef or a similar amount of frozen meatballs, a full banana, two cups of water, and one cup of vegetable juice.
All in all, it adds up to about 70g of protein and three servings of fruit/vegetables. I don’t eat grains or dairy, so this breakfast makes perfect sense for me and it powers me for the first 4-10 hours of the day (I often skip lunch if I’m really into my work). A lacklustre breakfast simply isn’t an option.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I don’t have a morning workout routine. I used to have a pretty intensive pushup routine that I’d do each morning - increasing the number of pushups I did every day by 10% over the previous day - but when the number got to around 800 per day it became difficult to continue.
How about morning meditation?
A twenty-minute meditation is the first thing I do every day. As soon as I wake up - before peeing, before even leaving my bed - I start into twenty minutes of meditation. Sometimes my mind wanders a lot, and I allow it; those twenty minutes are a time when I solve problems before my mind has been tainted by the events of the day.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I answer email around noon each day, and try to check my email as infrequently as possible.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I check my phone shortly after my meditation, but only to see if I have any text messages from friends. Email and all of my other apps can wait until later in the day.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
My most important task of the morning is my writing. I’ve noticed, though, that there will be stretches of days or weeks when I’ve got great stuff to write about, and then other stretches when I can’t seem to find anything.
I listen to what my body and mind are telling me, so I’ll write when I feel like it and avoid it when I don’t. I don’t want to force myself to do something I don’t want to.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
I drink two cups of water shortly after waking up, followed by a cup of vegetable juice with breakfast.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
When I’m away, I still do my morning meditation and try to eat a similarly high-protein breakfast.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
If I break my routine, I generally maintain a feeling of being behind for the rest of the day. My meditation guides me to my priorities for that day, so without that I’m a bit lost.