It’s not a secret that the pace of your morning sets the pace of your day. How many articles have you read about the importance of a morning routine? Probably 1000+.
For years, when I was an employee, I would wake up an hour before work (because this is how long it took me to shower, hair and makeup and maybe eat something quickly). As a result, my days were always rushed, chaotic, stressful, and confused. I was stuck in the loop and not meeting the basic self-care criteria required for freedom.
The way you navigate your mornings is essential.
I’m going to share with you here some insights and tips to expand your capacity and take your days to the next level. The objective is that you can tap into the flow state to create more (& better), and feel better all around.
Morning Routine Cliff’s Notes
The morning routine’s purpose is to set ourselves up to master the art of presence, and do deep, focused work. The necessity is of clearing out any worries, concerns, and fears, to fuel ourselves and remove potential distractions. This part of the day is about getting out of our heads and dropping fully into our body, scanning the horizon for potential obstacles, and stepping into our days from a centered place.
During my morning routine, I give myself time before I get started working to do the things that I know will be potential distractions later. I move slowly into the world; there is no pressure to perform, and I know that time follows my lead, expanding or collapsing depending on my frequency.
Slow, easy mornings create expansive, fluid days.
I do not sit down to work until I am ready, meaning clear of my objective and having given my ego a little space to have her needs met (listening to music, texting with friends, sometimes a phone call, a little social media use, going out for a coffee).
It’s difficult to sit down to produce inspired, deeply creative work when we have a voice nagging us from within. This is why it’s so important to know yourself and your avoidance/procrastination/distraction tendencies.
I know that if I am not clean and dressed, nourished and hydrated, centered, and feeling like things are in order at least on a baseline level, I am not doing my best work. If my operating system is using precious bandwidth thinking about these things on some level the entire time I am working, then my capacity for presence and focus are lessened.
I know that if I don’t use the bathroom, or prepare a glass of water or a snack, it’s going to be more difficult for me to get, and stay in, flow for any duration.
And I know that this is the source of a major energy leak, so I take care of my personal business before I sit down to work.
Here is what a typical day of writing looks like for me.
My days tend to look different as I CEO my business, but the general framework remains the same. The “rules” and how I apply myself do not waver.
My objective each day is to be present, focused, and intentional in my choices.
You will notice that I give myself plenty of space to roam, while keeping to a general framework/timeline. This strategy sets me up so that often, I finish the routine early, which feels like SO MUCH FUN because then I have a little time to play before I work!
I do this intuitively now (and really only knew the timeline because I tracked it to share with y’all), but in the beginning (and any time I make changes and need to create a new habit), I use checklists to remind myself. Waking with no alarm took me years of sleep training, and is one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself.
This is my current pre-writing routine.
On these days dedicated to writing/recording Podcasts, I stretch my mornings out and make them really delicious, because it improves my efficiency and efficacy so much that I then don’t have to sit for as many hours to produce more and better work.
6:45am Wake naturally with no alarm
7-7:15 Get out of bed, make the bed, drink 1-2 glasses of water
8:15ish – 10ish/whenever: Hand grind/pour a world class cup of coffee (or go get one from a cafe), journaling and organizing my day (generally, if I’m home, I do this from my recliner or some other cozy and sunny spot, in my PJs), then breakfast, social media and checking messages
10-10:30ish Movement (usually a walk or stretching)
10:30-11ish Shower, get ready fully (I am often tempted to not “do” my hair or my makeup, and just jump right into working, but I feel better and am more productive when I do, so I do it)
11ish (sometimes noon) Begin writing.
At this point, I do a quick scan to be sure I’m clear. I make sure I have everything I need so that I won’t have to get up. I put on my blue blockers, have a snack and a drink ready at my desk, turn off notifications (airplane mode is a necessity), and turn on brain.fm and get to it.
Following through on your morning routine has to be a choice.
I know. Having a morning routine and doing the routine are not the same thing. It can be really frustrating to know what’s good for you and not be doing it.
Creating new habits takes work and our egos don’t like change. If we’ve been feeling bad, defeated, unproductive, disrupted, unfocused, flighty, or any other kind of way for a long time, the ego wants us to continue to exist in that state, and it’s up to us to use our conscious minds to get our brains and bodies on board.
If sitting in meditation for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour makes you want to fly right out of your body, you have to do it anyway and train yourself to sustain that discomfort. Eventually, it won’t be uncomfortable anymore (and you’ll have to add more time and get uncomfortable again to expand even further).
My top tip for overcoming the habit of choosing comfort over growth and doing what’s really good for yourself:
A good place to start with this is to ask yourself “how do I want to feel today?” and align the choices you make in any given moment to that. Meaning, do what makes you feel that way. I want to feel accomplished (like I made progress, and I’m completing things in an efficient and brilliant way); simultaneously fulfilled & emptied; prolific (always!); and confident.
This allows me the fluidity I need to make choices freely, and to never feel like I’ve put myself into a box, as traditional “masculine” productivity always did.
At any given point, I’m asking myself “what am I saying no to if I say yes to something else?”
It’s a simple question that keeps me on task.
I want to know, at the end of any given day, that I honored my highest good in every choice that I made.
Remember that you’re creating your reality with each move you make. Whether or not you believe in manifestation or magic, this is the truth. If you want to feel good and do good work and offer good loving to the world, your choices must align to that, no matter what’s going on around you.