Originally published on Medium
My morning routine
And why I find them important.
After many years of early waking and tinkering with many different morning routines I have found my (almost) perfect morning routine. These are the steps I take:
- My morning routine actually begins the day before. I take a look at what I have accomplished during the day and quickly plans the tasks for the next day.
- I make sure that I sleep early enough to get at least 8 hours of sleep.
- I wake up at 6. Every day. To ensure that I do not deviate too much from this time, I set the alarm on my phone to always wake me up at 6 no matter which day it is.
- At 6 my LIFX light bulb turns on and projects harsh white light in my room. I have set it up with IFTTT to run every day.
- I brush my teeth, draw the curtains and start cooking breakfast. More or less simultaneously.
- I turn on my computer which has f.lux installed and which is set for maximum brightness and cold colors in the morning.
- I write my journal in Evernote. I usually write about how I feel in the morning but also what I want to accomplish during the day.
- After journalling I plan the day in Trello and in Google Calendar.
- With plans made, I catch up with the rest of the world using feedly. I subscribe to many RSS feed from various sites and feedly allows me to quickly process the news. When I find something interesting I save it to Pocket.
- I catch up with events on Facebook as well. These are the steps I use at the moment and which I have used for the last year. The steps can be divided into two broad categories: waking and planning.
A crucial part of my productive morning routine is actually waking up. I ensure this by doing several things. My LIFX light bulb is set to blast the harshest white light out in the room at 6 which means that even if my eyes are closed, they should still be affected by the light. The theory here is that the light helps inhibit the release of melatonin which makes us sleepy.
Another part of waking up is simply moving out of the bed. Luckily for me, it is not a problem but to ensure that I do not fall back into bed, I quickly make my bed and draw the curtains. It works as a signal for myself that now the day has begun.
The second part of my morning routine is simply planning out my day on my computer. I usually begin with writing an entry in my journal on how I am feeling that morning, what my goals of the day are, and what I want to improve about myself. To make sure that it is actually useful, I have set a 250 word minimum limit that I want to reach. This works really well for me as it sets the tone for my day.
I then use Trello to make sure that I am accountable with the tasks that I want to accomplish. I use Trello as a Kanban tool which I love since it is so analogous to the post-it system I used before I discovered Trello.
The last step of my planning is simply to catch up with the news I am interested in. I use feedly to compile a list of unread news articles and can relatively quickly scan through the headlines and short text snippets of each article to decide whether I want to read them or not. The ones I do want to read goes to my Pocket which allows me to queue interesting articles for later.
I am very satisfied with my routine. Right now I can go through all of these steps in around an hour. The best part is that I have automated my routine so much, that I essentially don’t have to think the first 30 minutes of my day. Everything runs on autopilot which leaves me more energy later in the day. My morning routine sets a solid foundation for the rest of my day and is crucial for my productivity.