What gets you up in the morning?

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Want to be more productive, happier, better at your job and reduce mental fatigue with just a little change to your day and with minimal effort? The answer could lie in creating a simple, repetitive morning routine to set you up for success instead of failure.

If you work in the hospitality industry, chances are the obligatory late nights and non-9-5 hours, means that ‘morning’ is a subjective term, but whatever time you get up, having a pre-determined waking routine that requires as little thought as possible to execute can supercharge the rest of your day.

Tim Ferriss, a man who makes a living interviewing and dissecting the habits of billionaires, world-class athletes and the planets most successful people on his award-winning podcast, highlights the morning routine as one thing that is common amongst high achievers.

We have a limited amount of cognitive energy each morning, and each time we make a decision, a little bit of that energy is drained away, so the more you can save by automating your morning tasks, the more energy you have for the rest of the day. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are famous for removing decision making from their mornings by wearing the same clothes every day, freeing up their mental energy for more important tasks. They may not have won any fashion awards, but they built two of the largest companies in history.

They’re not the only ones that believe in starting the day the right way:

As my recovery from mental illness continues, I’ve built myself a morning routine which I do my very best to stick to. Some days I don’t follow it, and that’s ok, but the days that begin with this routine are days that I feel like I’m winning and I’m noticeably more productive and happier.

My morning routine goes like this:

  • Wake up
  • Stumble bleary-eyed to the kitchen to make myself a coffee. I have a simple black coffee from fresh ground beans
  • Return to my bedroom and meditate for 20 minutes. By the time I’ve finished meditating, the coffee has begun to kick in and the double hit of energy really helps kick start my day.
  • Spend 20 minutes stretching to keep my body flexible and mobile, particularly important as I get old.
  • 20 minutes on simple body-weight strength exercises to keep my core strong and get my metabolism going.

I keep a picture frame with this routine written down in the simplest of terms next to my bed so it’s the first thing I see in the morning which helps remind myself of what my ideal morning is supposed to look like.

To build your own morning routine, sit down and ask yourself: what are the 4 or 5 things that I’d like to achieve within the first 60-90 minutes of your day?

The tasks have to be simple, repeatable, require little to no cognitive thought and give you a sense of achievement which you can take forward into the rest of your day. Tip the scales in your favour by starting with simple, easily achievable tasks such as making a cup of tea or catching the headlines of your favourite newspaper. As you begin to get used to having a regular routine you can include energetic tasks like doing 100 press ups or exercise the brain with meditation.

Once you’ve got your 5, write them down and put the list somewhere clearly visible when you wake up to remind yourself of what you need to do. Even if you only manage to do 3 or your 5 things, it’s still a good start to the day and if you manage all five, you’ve already won the day.

Set yourself up for success every morning and you’ll find it’s one of the simplest, most effective ways to take yourself to the next level.

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