The first few things you do in the morning set the pace for the rest of your day. If you’re the kind of a guy (girl) who has a hard time getting up each morning, this post is something you need to read. It will help you create a morning ritual that will make you more productive.
I wasn’t always such a focused guy who knows what he wants. I was kind of lazy in the past. I struggled each morning to get out of bed. I had no idea what is a morning ritual nor I wanted to understand what it is. After smartphones took over the world, things get even worse. Facebook, Twitter, and my email box were the first things my eyes saw every morning for many years. As you can imagine, this nasty habit had a negative effect over my productivity and life in general. I woke up and went to sleep with social media. Like I was married to this thing.
MY PREVIOUS morning routine
Before I explain what are the actual benefits of having an extraordinary morning ritual, let me first share what I did in the past. I think that is an important step. I’m sure you won’t be surprised and you will relate to my previous morning routine:
- 07:10 – Attempt to wake up: From very little, I learned to set my alarm at least 20-30 minutes before the time I had to get up. I was doing at least something right. This gave me enough time to lay around and prepare for lift off. Unfortunately, this didn’t quite help. When my alarm turned ON I continuously hit the snooze button and I was often late for my daily duties.
- 07:30 – Social Media Check: I grab my phone with my eyes still closed. I unlock my phone and hit the Facebook icon – I knew exactly where this was on my screen. My eyes open and I scroll through the feed hoping there is something interesting – most of the times there wasn’t anything worth even liking but I did this anyway. If there was a funny video or a gif to stare for a while my morning felt productive.
- 07:40 – Email check: Of course, I had to check my mail. Almost no one knows my email, thus I didn’t receive anything. Still, my inbox was swarmed. I was subscribed to a lot of sites that send regular updates. Another 10 minutes of my life wasted.
- 07:50 – Attempt to get up: I finally get up out of bed after several attempts. Grumpy and still half asleep, my next stop is the bathroom where I brush my teeth.
- 08:00 – What to wear: Decisions decisions. Since I was obsessed with clothes, I had plenty of choices. Meaning, I spent nearly as much time as my wife deciding what to wear. Kind of embarrassing but I’m 100% honest here.
- 08:30 – Leave for work: No time for coffee or breakfast. I had to leave if I wanted to be on time for work.
I believe you get the point – lazy, slow, lack of focus or direction. I was walking around like a zombie, hating everything and everybody I saw and touched. I thought that other people where guilty for my mood and state. Well, this is what happens when you wake up with your phone each morning.
WHAT happens when YOU’RE clueless in regards what you need to do in the morning?
Most of us work a 9 to 5 job and we kind of know what needs to happen each morning: to get up, to eat something, to get dressed and to be on time for work. Still, we manage to be late for work or feel miserable each morning. Or both.
Here’s what happens if you don’t have a direction right from the start of your day, when you don’t have a set morning routine:
- You’re sleepy throughout most of your day.
- You’re grumpy and you hate everyone around you.
- You’re disorganized and you don’t know what to do first in the morning.
- You will probably be late for work.
- Even if you’re not late you’re working on less than 50% of your capabilities.
- Even a simple task requires a lot of time to be executed on your end.
While none of the above will shatter your world, it’s clear that they aren’t helping also.
Reasons You Need AN Extraordinary Morning Ritual:
Three words – enjoy life more.
If you really wake up only after you had your second coffee, or you oversleep every day, you miss a lot of your life. The main reasons you need a morning ritual are the following:
- To get more stuff done.
- To have more time in your life for the important things.
- To feel better.
- To look better.
- To have a healthy breakfast.
- To have a heathy life in general.
- To be on time.
If you’re the kind of person who wakes up around 08:00 AM each morning, imagine what will happen if you start waking up around 07:00 AM. You will have an additional hour at your disposal. An hour to do something you really love.
And what if you wake up at 05:00? You will think that I’m insane, right? But exactly at 5 o’clock, Benjamin Franklin’s day began.1 The first question he asked himself was the following: “What good shall I do this day?” Simple, yet powerful question that set the pace for the whole day.
You need a predefined morning schedule to prepare you for what will happen during the whole day. To wake you up, to give you direction. When we wake up and we don’t know what to do, we tend to procrastinate and waste time.
When faced with too many options our mind tries to focus on everything. A recipe for an unproductive day. We get confused and we start to think about what’s the most important thing. Since we can’t actually decide, we draw our phones and take a moment to check social media hoping that this will answer our question.2
MY CURRENT MORNING ROUTINE
If you check most of the morning routines advertised by the famous internet people, you will see the following things on their morning schedule:
- Be grateful;
- Write in your journal;
- Cold shower;
- Drink a gallon of water;
- Lock your phone in the basement;
- Hire someone who will force you out of bed;
- Sleep vertically so you only step out of bed when you’re awake.3
Ok, I may have invented some of the statements but who the hell takes a cold shower in the morning? Or, how the hell you can be grateful? I wake up early for more than a year now and I can’t be grateful for anything in the morning. I’m still dizzy and I probably curse silently. My mind still sleeps and desires to be again 10:00 PM so my body can have another cycle of sleep.
Even though it’s a good idea to check what other people are doing in the morning, your own morning routine should be yours. I mean, don’t try to do what other people are doing only because they have 10,000+ followers. “Steal” their ideas and tailor them to fit your personality. Don’t blindly copy paste. Steal and improve.
So, without further ado, let me share my personal, genuine, and at the same time extraordinary morning ritual:
DURMONSKI’S extraordinary morning ritual:
- 06:35 – Alarm goes ON: The alarm goes ON. I grab my phone as fast as possible to disable the sound. I don’t want to wake up my girl. Sometimes I’m actually awake a couple of minutes before my alarm.
- 06:40 – I get up: I take a minute to get up. I stretch my feet. I wiggle my toes. I take a deep breath and I get out of bed. The important part of getting up early is to get up as soon as your alarm goes ON. Otherwise, you will fell asleep again. I’m sure you know how often the “5 more minutes” turn into 30 minutes.
- 06:41 – Toilet: Of course, I go to the restroom to brush my teeth and to do some other things that my body desires. I leave my phone outside before I enter the restroom.
- 06:49 – Workout: I turn ON my computer and I play some music. I pour a glass of water and I start my morning workout which is a compilation of a couple of YouTube videos. It’s around 40 minutes long.
- 07:30 – I take a shower: A quick shower for around 5 minutes.
- 07:40 – Prepare breakfast: My breakfast includes the following: apple, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a yogurt. It takes me between 5-10 minutes to prepare everything.
- 07:50 – Eat: While I eat I check my phone – emails, social media. Sometimes I even turn my TV to watch the morning news.
- 08:05 – Dress: These days my wardrobe is really simple – a capsule wardrobe – and I need only a couple of minutes to decide what to wear. I follow these guidelines: Minimalist fashion guide.
- 08:10 – Leave for work: I grab my backpack, put my food box inside, go outside, take the elevator, go to my basement to take my bicycle and I hit the road. I have a car but my girl drives it. I use a bicycle for transportation and I’m happier than ever.
Do you see something unusual about any of the above? I’m sure you don’t. It’s quite a regular mourning ritual. But there is something I wanted to leave for last. The reason I call my mourning schedule extraordinary it’s because it starts from the previous day. Here’s what I do before I go to sleep:
- I clean my desk and I arrange everything that I’ve used during the day.
- I put my yoga mat on the place I will be working out.
- I prepare a glass and I place my everyday water pitcher near the sink. The idea is to pour water when I wait for my PC to load.
- I put food in my food box and I leave it inside the fridge.
- I iron the t-shirt that I will be wearing the next day.
I have everything prepared for the following morning. I don’t leave a dirty dish or something that will slow me down and take out of my time. Before I lay my head on my bed every night, I make sure that everything is ready for the next day. It’s super simple routine that takes no more than 5 minutes. Still, it’s something really powerful. When I wake up I don’t have to look for my yoga mat or clean a glass in order to drink water. These things are already set. Also, when I wake up I know that everything is waiting for me to workout. I don’t have to do anything extra, I only need to show up and train. This thought in the morning helps me to get up.
How to Create the best morning routine you can?
If you look at my extraordinary mourning ritual you will say that I’m some kind of robot. You might think that my main goal is to lose weight. The last is true but there is more to that. I also want to wake up and feel good. I mean, I’m not some sort of a human cyborg that starts operating at 100% immediately when he’s awake. I feel terrible in the first 5 minutes of my workout session. I’m still not awake in full when I start but I’m slowly getting better. At the end of the session, I’m wide awake and I’m ready for my day. After the breakfast, I feel great. I’m ready to work, to talk with people, to create. Not like most of the people I see in the morning: grumpy, sulking, mad. Still holding a pillow.
So, here’s a couple of things that will help you set your own personal morning routine and become a more productive person:
- Commit for the change – The first thing you need to do in order to create a morning ritual is to first commit. Decide that you want to improve. Understand that it’s going to be hard but do it anyway.
- Stop saying you aren’t a morning person – No one is. Remember that. I don’t believe that there are actually people who really love getting up early. It’s simply a habit. Everyone loves resting. But there is more in life than simply laying around and doing nothing.
- Prepare your home for the morning: You can leave your dishes in the sink with the idea to clean them in the morning but this is a huge time waster. Arrange everything in your home before you go to sleep. It’s better to do that in the evening than to leave this for the next day.
- Workout/Stretch: The most obvious goal in the morning is to prepare yourself for the day. What better way to do that then stretching your body? You don’t necessarily have to run a marathon or lift weights, you can simply load a video on YouTube and make a couple of exercises. There are thousands of videos online with simple workout sessions that can prepare your body for the day.4
- Set your goals prior: If you’re a writer, or a person working at home, it’s best to set your goals on the previous day. It’s much better to wake up and start working than deciding what you need to do in the morning.
- Be consistent: It’s going to be hard. Understand this. There will be days when you’re late for bed. When you fall asleep around 02:00 PM in the morning. Still, do everything possible to get up according to your schedule.
- Play music: Play some music as soon as you’re up from the bed. Make a playlist or simply turn on the radio. The music will help you move quicker.
- Avoid alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol. Or let say large amounts of alcohol. One bear or one drink for the whole night is OK.
- Remove social media: A good idea will be to delete all social media accounts from your phone but there is something less radical. Rearrange the icons on your phone. Remove your Facebook and Twitter icons from your home screen or place them inside a nested folder. Everything that will prevent you from using these things will work.
- Be proactive: Being proactive means: “Creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened.” This is exactly what needs to happen. You’re in control of your life. Checking your phone is a reactive move, it’s not a proactive one. Do more things that are energetic and less that are slowing you down.
Once again, a morning ritual will prepare you for the day and help you be more productive. It’s the best time for ourselves. Creating an extraordinary morning ritual is a great way to squeeze a couple of extra hours from every day. The best time to focus on yourself and on your personal projects. To write, to think, to draw.
The most important thing is to be consistent and to get out of bed as soon as the alarm triggers. If you’re doing the above two things right you’re doing 50% of the work.
Besides everything I mentioned, my mourning ritual also includes writing. Setting goals, writing notes in my personal journal and thinking about the future. There is something magical in putting words on paper when the whole world is sleeping. It’s like you have all the time in the world and everything is possible. Don’y you think?
- You can see his daily schedule here – LINK.
- There is an important lesson from a famous lion tamer which I recommend checking – LINK. It will surely help you focus even more.
- I a guy actually invented a system to help you sleep vertically – LINK.
- Here are a couple of the workouts I watch in the morning: LINK; LINK; LINK.