Developing a Morning Routine That Sets The Tone For The Day
Enjoying a cup of coffee as I execute the plan of the day
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but creating a morning routine that gets you excited to start the day sets you up for success right out of the gate. At a high level, my perfect morning starts with jumping in the shower first thing, hydrating with a bottle of water, pouring an amazing cup of coffee, and reading a few pages of whatever book I’m into at the time; currently, that’s a book titled Stealing Fire.
Rolling out of bed because you overslept and stumbling to your computer is not the best morning routine strategy and most likely will set you up for a stressful day. Decide what works for you and do it consistently! Remember to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Here is a breakdown of my routine each morning.
Your Morning Routine Starts The Night Before
I discussed this in my previous article about time management skills. Preparation the night before will be the key to making your morning routine a success.
Instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off every morning, the night before I make sure my coffee maker is prepped and the timer is set to automatically start brewing half a pot of coffee at 5 am.
Next, I decide what I’m going to wear the next day and lay those clothes out in the bathroom. Since I’m jumping in the shower first thing, I want my clothes to be staged and ready to go. It sounds too simple to really be effective, but it is. Trust me. Try it and you’ll thank me later.
The Importance of Hydrating First Thing
Drinking water and remaining hydrated is essential for the human body to survive. I remember during Marine Corps boot camp drinking upwards of 12 canteens of water each day depending on the training evolution. We would take water breaks and have to drink a canteen until it was empty, then hold it upside down over our head showing that we drank it all.
In the heat of the moment, it felt like self-inflicted waterboarding, but the drill instructors did it for a reason. Because of the level of physical activity done each day we required elevated levels of water to keep our bodies going.
Fast forward to today and I still drink a water bottle as part of my morning routine and another water bottle at lunchtime. Your body is naturally dehydrated when you wake up in the morning. Having that initial bottle or glass of water in the morning gives your brain a cognitive boost. Once you’ve jump-started your brain for the day, you can then enjoy that perfect cup of coffee.
Pouring A Perfect Cup Of Coffee
Believe it or not, coffee does provide some health benefits. It seems like every year we hear differing opinions of how coffee is good for you, only to hear the following year that it is bad for you. With regard to human performance and longevity, coffee does have benefits.
I indulge in a cup or two every morning, sometimes three depending on how the morning is going. As long as you’re not adding unhealthy amounts of creamer, flavors, or sugar, you’ll reap the health benefits of drinking coffee.
Incorporating a cup or three of coffee into your morning routine has the potential to reduce the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even Parkinson’s disease. Having seen what Parkinson’s did to my dad before he passed, that in itself is a motivator for me.
Coffee can also improve fitness endurance. Two studies were done in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. One covered the effects of pre-exercise coffee on athlete’s endurance. The second covers how coffee enhances 1-mile race performance. The authors of these studies concluded that between 3 and 7 milligrams of caffeine (in the form of coffee) per kilogram of body weight increased the athlete’s endurance by an average of 24 percent.
Coffee is also a part of the breakfast regimen for Australia’s pro cycling team during the Tour de France race. Traveling Chef, Hannah Grant is responsible for their nutrition and keeping the team fueled for peak performance. In the documentary Eat Race Win, Grant speaks on the importance of the team drinking coffee prior to the race start each morning. The caffeine gives the athletes an energy boost and cognitive boost, which is critical at the beginning of the race. This too is critical for us writers and content creators working from home.
Read Something That Feeds Your Mind
Some people like to journal in the mornings or meditate. I prefer to take 10 or 15 minutes to read whatever book I’m into at the time. Most of my books revolve around the topics of national security, business, and self-development. Reading in the mornings gives me a jolt of motivation to crush it that day. It’s almost as if the storyline or topic that I’m reading about flows through the book and into my mind.
A lot of times, I’ll gain new ideas for content that I can implement into this writing blog. The ideas that I gain from reading are usually put into my TeuxDeux app so that I can execute them that day or later in the week. Reading in the mornings is one of the most effective ways for me to get into a motivated state of mind and perform at higher than normal levels.
To get the most out of the book you’re reading, highlight the most valuable bits of information that stand out to you. After finishing the book, you can them summarize those into a Google doc for later reference. From that list, you can then create topics that you may want to expand on in your own writing. Doing something like this allows you to get much more out of a book than just reading it to read it.
End Your Day With a Routine
Although this article is about creating a simple morning routine, creating a routine when signing off for the day is a great habit to get into. If you’re working from home, it can be difficult to set that boundary of work time vs. personal time. Whether it’s an evening jog or turning on your favorite podcast or mixing a delicious cocktail, develop a routine that marks the end of the workday.