Does every day feel like a blue Monday? Wondering how you will survive the week? An established morning routine will set you up for a successful day.
An established morning routine forms an integral part of highly effective people. Professional athletes, entrepreneurs, artists and spiritual Zen masters swear by the power of the first hours of the day. An established morning routine has also become an integral part of my work life for many years now and positions me correctly at the starting line of my most productive days.
In this article I’ll share my routine simply as an example for you to get some ideas or to test what works for you or not. I have tested dozens of different variations and I am always open to new ideas to try as I see it as a work in progress.
Why is a morning routine so important for me? For starters, I like to be efficient in my business, but also with regards to all other activities I see as important, for example my well-being.
In the past, the days simply seemed too short, and I ended up not finishing things the way I wanted. As a result I felt bad about the day, about my achievements and battled with thoughts like “I did not do enough” and “I wasted time with not important tasks”. At times I simply felt anxious and stressed.
After some time, I reached the conclusion that I did not want anymore “stumbling into the day” with no plan and structure. I also looked for a way to make sure that I had enough time for the most important and urgent topics in my work life. I quickly realized that the things you start your day with create the positive and productive energy for the whole day. I also realized that I am far more effective in the morning hours than in the late afternoon or evenings. On top of that, routine and structure give me a clear path and security that help me to run my day based on conscious decisions, instead of fear or impulses.
Let’s start with my five keys of my daily morning routine:
Key #1 Wake up at the same time every day
It has been shown that a regular habit in the morning neurologically programs the mind and creates an “inner alarm”. This also explains why people sometimes predict their alarm by some seconds just before it goes off.
My alarm is set at 4.45 a.m. in the summer, which is around 20 minutes before sunrise. In a normal scenario, when I had eight hours of quality sleep, I wake up before my alarm rings. Our inner clock can be amazingly accurate and if you like to wake up with the first light, you won’t need an alarm at all. Our sleep rhythm adapts to light and dark that determine how much melatonin the body produces.
Key #2 Have your healthy morning drink
After eight hours of sleep, the body is dehydrated. The body still feels sluggish and your thoughts are not clear yet. What you should do now is to drink a glass of still water to fill your cells and this will help you to wake your body “from the inside out”.
I prefer to prepare and drink a superfood powder drink. As the name indicates already, the drink is based on a special green powder mix and normally I add vitamin C and magnesium powder too. I also add half a lime or kombucha tea which gives the drink a refreshing taste. The formula of my superfood powder drink is more or less the same every day and it has a great energizing effect. Furthermore this drink has a cleansing and detoxifying effect on my body.
Key #3 Do your favorite morning activity
I have mentioned already that my focus in the morning is on my well-being, and therefore I choose to practice sport for the next 75 minutes. Physical exercise in the morning keeps you fit and can also be good for your mind to mention only two of the countless other benefits. Every morning I try to turn my exercises into a mindful practice. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many new ideas for my business arise from one of these morning exercises.
If you are not into typical exercises like running or weight training, then meditation, yoga, Tai chi, qigong or any combination is great in the morning.
Key #4 Eat a healthy breakfast
In general it is believed that your breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I agree with this, however, it depends on what you’re eating. Assuming you’re food choices are healthy, then a breakfast will give you the right energy, improved concentration and higher performance for your workday.
I am a believer in intermediate fasting which means I eat only two main meals a day, namely breakfast and lunch. The topic intermediate fasting will be the topic of one of my next articles and from my own experience I can say it’s more than worth trying it.
My breakfast is mostly the same every day and mostly raw. It is a combination of 60% fruits, 30% fresh greens and herbs freshly picked from my garden and 10% mixed nuts, seeds and berries. With this, I drink a refreshing herbal tea. Later on in the day, around 10 a.m., I drink a cup of organic decaffeinated coffee with soymilk.
Key #5 Have a plan for each day
After breakfast I start with my work and my phone leaves flight mode for the first time that day. Now I shift my actions from active to reactive. After I switch on my computer, I first check my daily to-do list which I have updated the day before. It is important not to start without a plan for each day. Make sure you start with your most important and urgent task first. I have described this planning process in my article “6 Steps to Increase Your Productivity in 2018”.
In the hope that a few of these ideas will help you to structure your days in the best possible way and set you up for a successful work life. Don’t hesitate to share your ideas and comments below.