What is your morning routine?
I wake up at 5:00am and drink one liter of water, I’ll then journal. My journaling process is to first write what I am grateful for, which can range from someone who made a positive impact on my life to a beautiful sunrise. After I write down what I am grateful for, I write out a prayer, telling the Lord what’s on my mind for the day.
Next, I’ll prepare a quick breakfast, which usually consists of coffee and a Clif Bar. It’s not glamourous, but it gets me enough fuel to start the day and doesn’t detract from my focused time. I’ll then sit down to work on my focused task for the day. Since I’m a CEO, my day is full of interruptions. I need my morning time before the rest of the world starts to work on my bigger projects. My project at the moment is writing, as I’m a contributor to various publications.
At 8:00am I’ll get ready and head to the office for my normal workday.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
A year and some change.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
It has fluctuated a lot. I was never a morning person until just over a year ago, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I’m experimenting with the routine. Right now, I wake up at 5:00am, which is as early as I’ve been able to go without feeling exhausted at the end of the day. But I’d like to push it to 4:00am in the future. I’d also like to experiment with different breakfast setups that involve more nutrition to see how that affects my cognition throughout the day.
What time do you go to sleep?
Nine o’clock at night, unless I’m attending an event that goes later. I’m basically a forty-seven-year-old living in a twenty-five-year-old’s body.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I make sure my morning workstation is clean and tidy, so I can jump right in when I wake up and not get distracted by clutter.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Yes, I do set an alarm but, unless I go to bed too late the night before, I usually wake up before it goes off.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I work out in the late afternoon. I prefer to leave my morning for work stuff and the afternoon for working out because I can deal with more distractions during a workout. I do have a workout routine, though: 1.3 hours of lifting weights and 0.7 hours of running four days a week, then yoga the other three days.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
Yes. I pray, which is my form of meditation.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I check email to make sure nothing drastic is happening, but I don’t answer anything in the morning.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Right when I get up.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Whatever my biggest project is. When I’m writing, it’s finishing the next article I need to deliver; when I’m working on a product, it’s designing the next feature; when I’m networking, it’s building lists of people I need to connect with; when I’m speaking, it’s outlining my next keynote.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I do keep most of the routine, but I typically move it back 1-2 hours and wake up at 6:00am or 7:00am.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
Yes, I actually love keeping my routine when I travel. I find a hotel or coffee shop to post up in and replicate my morning. A few weeks ago I was on a backpacking trip, and I kept my super early wake-up hours while on the trail. It’s absolutely stunning to sit under the stars before sunrise and journal while enjoying a cup of coffee.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I break my routine on purpose from time to time so that I’m not so affected when I fail to keep it. When I do stay out too late or travel and can’t keep the routine, I miss the joy of the morning. But rather than kicking myself for messing up, I use that feeling to drive myself back to the routine again the next day.
Anything else you would like to add?
I call waking up early “cheating” because it gives you an unfair advantage over the rest of the world. I fully believe that we’re all capable of a lot more than we think we are, and a routine can help unlock your next level of achievement.