Updated: Jul 9, 2019
What can you learn from the mornings of the most successful people?
I’ve found my way through trial and error to a morning routine that is both productive, looks after my mental and physical health and sets me up for the day ahead and what I want to achieve. That was mostly found out by getting it wrong though, staying in bed and not getting done the things I wanted to, and then feeling bad about it for the rest of the day - often with high levels of stress! The ideas here pretty much came from a podcast (which I listen to on my commute) by Jay Shetty, who described some of the main components of the mornings of some of the most successful people. However listening to it I realised ‘I ALREADY DO THESE THINGS’. I just hadn’t consciously worked through the process and therefore had taken longer to figure them out by myself (about 3-4 years!!). Here are some of the ideas you can have a go at:
First thing I do is get up earlier than I need to. I get up about 3 hours before I have to start my day officially, but 1-2 hours may work well for you. This gives me the time to work out, get ready, and have breakfast before I need to be anywhere or do anything. I have to carve out that time for myself in the morning because I just can’t find it anywhere else in my day. I’m sure a lot of you can relate with busy schedules! A lot of very successful people do this – starting earlier than they need to means they are setting themselves up for productivity and success – whilst everyone else is still asleep!
Saying this though, sleep is NOT sacrificed in order to achieve this. Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury and it should not be compromised; so by getting up earlier I just feel tired earlier and go to bed earlier. We all need 7-9 hours to be running optimally and with good health. The average adult in the Western world gets by on just 6.5 hours a night, ultimately raising their risk of cancers and Alzheimer’s later in life, not to mention the poorer decisions around health throughout the day. The research into the effects of sleep deprivation (even one night’s worth) are shocking and worth looking into; it definitely changed my priorities.
My morning routine also starts the night before – I’ve made a lot of the decisions I need to before I even wake up. What workout I’m going to do, what clothes to wear and what to eat for breakfast. If we run around fighting fires as soon as our feet touch the ground out of bed, then it’s easy to run into decision fatigue very early on. This means arriving at work already stressed and unproductive. Making a to-do list the night before or at the end of the previous working day is also really helpful, as well as making a conscious decision when to switch off electronics the night before, and on again the next morning.
Finally, meditation. I am a big believer in standardising before we optimise. Systems and habits allow you to operate at a level that means your general health and well-being are taken care of without having to rely on motivation. Meditation has definitely come to me as part of my ‘optimisation’ phase but I think actually it should be part of our health foundations, and I’d really encourage everyone to have a go. Don’t be fooled, it’s hard and you won’t be good at it right away.
It’s important because a healthy body can’t be achieved without a healthy mind and vice versa. At the moment, meditation falls into my time before bed, but however you can integrate it best into your lifestyle in a way that sticks is the best way to approach it. Having it as part of your morning routine, even if it’s just two minutes, can be a really powerful tool to set you up for your productive and successful day.
Finally, don’t try and do all of these at once! For example, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier next week, and then 15 minutes earlier the week after. You CAN do these things; if we see time as an investment and make small changes to our daily routines. Focus on mastering one section at a time before you move onto the next. Master your morning routine, and you master so much more.
Want help with this? Drop me a message and I'd love to help you figure some of this out!