Morning Routines — The Simple Secret to Success
Human beings value freedom. We’re intrinsically motivated by autonomy. Perhaps just as much as financial compensation, we’re drawn towards careers and lifestyle businesses that provide us with control over our lives.
Having the ability to choose where and when you work is incredibly liberating. Feeling tired? No problem, smash that snooze button. Want to work from bed or the beach? You can, just don’t forget to take some pictures for Instagram.
Yet, as anyone who has worked remotely knows, having this amazing flexibility can backfire at times. Sand in your laptop, going outside after the sun has already set, procrastinating work on that project until you’re left with an impossible deadline; we’ve all been there.
That’s why many of the world’s most successful people live highly regimented lives. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, for example, are famous for wearing the same outfit. Every. Single. Day.
Tony Robbins has his “Hour of Power”. Tom Hunt, the author of the Internet MBA, has a dozen specific tasks he begins every day with to prime himself for success.
While having autonomy makes people happier, it can also make them less effective. Human beings need structure to succeed. More specifically, we’d like to argue why having a morning routine will make you both happier, and more productive. First, however, let’s dispel a few myths regarding morning routines.
Myth #1: Morning Routines Will Make Your Life Stale
Reality: Your morning ritual will become a grounding part of your day. Many entrepreneurs even cite their morning routines as being the most pleasurable part of their day.
Furthermore, having a morning routine doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the same routine forever. You’re free to adjust your morning routine anytime you’d like. Many entrepreneurs change their morning ritual based on seasonal business while nomads may switch things up each time they move to a new country.
Myth #2: Having Discipline Makes Morning Routines Unnecessary
Reality: If Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg aren’t above structuring their lives, you’d probably benefit from routinizing your life as well.
Hyper-disciplined people like Connor Grooms, a nomadic entrepreneur who learned Spanish in a month, and was generating monthly five-figure income at age 20, also believes in the importance of morning rituals.
Morning routines prevent you from having to make irrelevant decisions each day. Should I take a walk or brush my teeth first? Should I wear the red shirt or the blue one?
Eliminating these decisions gives you the ability to direct your extremely limited willpower to the decisions that will move your business and life forward.
Myth #3: Morning Routines Decrease Your Level of Autonomy and Spontaneity
Reality: Having a morning routine will make you more efficient. You’ll get more done in less time. Plus, having a consistent structure for your time before lunch will allow you to more easily plan the rest of your day.
The increased productivity you’ll enjoy as a result of your morning rituals will give you more financial flexibility too. It’s important to remember that financial freedom is just as important as freedom of time or location.
Struggling to pay your bills each month isn’t conducive to taking time off or saving money for the future. Without the ability to do these, your autonomy and ability to be spontaneous are highly compromised.
Myth #4: Morning Routines Don’t Account For the Unique Demands of the Day
Reality: Morning routines are pivotal if you intend to meet your daily demands. Constructing a set of morning rituals gives you the ability to create a schedule for yourself that’ll maximize your creative output and professional success.
The benefit of a morning routine is that it’s a daily schedule you prepare for yourself days, weeks, or even months before you need to do tasks. This allows you to consciously choose actions you know are best for you, rather than being pulled by the emotional whims of the moment.
This makes it easier to do mentally intensive or difficult tasks. Your daily schedule will also help you identify and take action on things that are important, rather than just urgent. Of course, your morning routine can have flexibility built into it as well.
Perhaps you begin your day followed with an hour of what best-selling author Cal Newport calls “deep work”. You do something that’s mentally draining, requires maximum focus, and that will produce something valuable that’ll move your career or business forward.
Perhaps that means recording a sales video for one of your products, writing a blog post for your company’s blog, or working on projects to increase your proficiency in a new programming language.
Once these tasks are complete, you can then move on to processing email or responding to “the demands of the day”. Structuring your life in this way will allow you to produce more, efficiently complete daily tasks, and become more valuable to your employer or customers each day.
Myth #5: Morning Routines Aren’t Compatible With Other People
Reality: Defining a routine will make it easier for the people you care about. Your family or significant other will take comfort in knowing exactly when you’ll be emotionally available for them.
Clients or coworkers will appreciate your increased quality of work as well. Plus, they’ll also know exactly how and when they can best reach you.
Morning routines may not be sexy, but they’re an important tool in any entrepreneur’s toolbox. Morning rituals allow you to produce great work, conserve willpower for important decisions, and have a consistent availability schedule for both your loved ones and professional connections.
BONUS: As long as you’re feeling motivated to create a morning routine and have it at the forefront of your mind, we thought it’d be beneficial to give example morning rituals of a couple successful internet entrepreneurs.
These morning rituals may give you inspiration, and help inform you of exactly what activities you’ll like to include in your own routine.
Tom Hunt –Founder of Virtual Valley & Author of: Internet MBA: How To Start A Software Business (Without Writing A Line Of Code)
- Drink 500 ml water
- Stretching/bodyweight exercises
- 10-minute meditation
- Write down answers to 4 questions [Note from Cam: Tom is referring to the following questions:]
#1 What are you excited about?
#2 What did you do well yesterday?
#3 What are you excited about?
#4 What are you afraid to lose?
- Visualise goals
- High-protein breakfast and 10 minutes reading non-fiction book
- Walk to office
- Black coffee
- 1 hour product-creation or high-value marketing activities
- Check email/phone etc.
(Source: Internet MBA)
John Lee Dumas — Founder and Host of the Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast
[Note from Cam: I abbreviated John’s routine for brevity. You can find the full unabbreviated routine in the source listed below.)
- Wake up at 5:30 am
- Splash cold water on face, brush teeth, scrape tongue (to remove bacteria
- Drink 16 ounces of purified water from reverse osmosis machine
- 35 minute walk capped off with 7 minutes of bodyweight exercises
- 2 cups of water with Himalayan sea salt
- Drain lymph nodes with neti pot
- Drink heated bone broth
- Hot-cold shower
- 5 minute meditation
- Starting at approximately 7 am Pomodoro work sessions until 6 pm
P.S. Still reading? Create your own morning routine now. Quick. Before something else gets in the way. Your future self will thank you.