While I don’t consider myself a productivity guru by any means, I will say I’m probably more aware of good habits and bad habits, and the wide chasm between them. I know what I need to do in order to hit the goals I’ve set for myself, and I know all the self-defeating things I do that prevent me from being where I want to be.
I’ve been taking a look at what it is that I do every day and where it doesn’t align with what I want out of life. … And while I can’t make over my whole life in the beginning of the year, I can start with one piece of the day, and whip it into shape.
The ideal morning routine I’m about to share with you is pretty close to what I already have going.
This got me thinking about what my ideal morning would look like. For me, mornings are the most important part of my day. They are the only part of my day that I can have complete control over every single day. No matter what else I have going on during the day, my mornings are mine.
I have a long way to go to reach this ideal routine, but I am closer now that I was a month ago. So I guess I am trending in the right direction.
My ideal morning actually starts the night before.
Suppose this year you’d like to eat more apples and less potato chips.
Regardless of what your goal is, there is an awesome little trick that can help you with these small micro-habits that you do every day.
When it comes to the apples and potato chips, it’s as simple as buying some apples and setting them on your kitchen counter. And then — you guessed it — don’t buy any potato chips. Boom.
By making apples easily available, you have lowered the energy required to eat an apple. It’s right there. Sitting on your counter, ready to go. And those pesky potato chips are nowhere to be found. They’re at least a trip to the store away.
The easiest way for me to get everything done that I want to in the morning is to make it as automatic as possible. To prepare for my mornings, I always:
- Set out the clothes that I am going to work out in (including shoes).
- Set out the clothes that I am going to wear for the day.
- Put my sport band on my Apple Watch.
- Put water in the kettle and measure out coffee beans for the grinder.
- Set my MacBook, iPad, and notebooks up on my desk so they are ready for me to get to work.
If not all of these are done the night before, my mornings do not go nearly as smoothly.
On to the actual morning:
5:00am: Wake up, use the restroom, and weight myself. Part of my goal to be healthier involves weighing myself every day. To get the most consistent measurements, it is best to do this at the same time every day. Mornings are best because your weight is less influenced by any single meal that you have had recently.
5:15am:Workout. This typically means a 30 minute working in Streaks Workouts, but it could also be a run. Since this is the first thing I do once I wake up, it is important that I have my clothes and Apple Watch ready. When it is first thing in morning and my bedroom is cold but the covers are warm, I will use any excuse that I can get to stay in bed. By having all of my workout gear ready to go, I significantly lower the activation energy required to get out of bed and do the workout.
5:45am: Cool down from the workout and maybe have a protein shake.
6:00am: Shower, get dressed, and make coffee. Again, this is easier if my clothes are all ready to go and the coffee equipment has everything in it.
6:30am: Drink my coffee and do my daily Bible reading. This is another area where I can just sit down and do it: I have a reading plan in YouVersion, so I don’t have to plan what I am going to read for the day.
7:00am: Code on a side project or write for the site, but mainly code. In addition to having whatever equipment I am going to use (typically my MacBook Pro or my iPad Pro) ready, I should also know exactly what I am going to work on. I should be able to come into my office with my coffee and just get to work.
8:00am: Make some more coffee for the road.
8:15am: Leave to take Ollie (and soon, Caleb) to day care and then go to work.
I am not currently achieving this routine. I am waking up between 6:00 and 6:30, which leaves me enough time to get my workout and usually my Bible (and always the coffee).
Because I am not getting as much done in the mornings as I want to, my evenings are busier and more hectic than I would prefer.
The biggest elephant in the room here is that all of this may completely change as soon as we have another newborn to start caring of starting next week1. Luckily, I can take care of many of the things that need to be done to get a baby ready for the day while I am making the coffee or cooling down from my workout, so hopefully the core of the schedule will be able to hold.