Why you should have a morning routine

Alex Pak
6 min readJun 28, 2020

Everyone could benefit from having a morning routine, and I’d like to share with you how I design my mornings.

A sunny morning
Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

There are many reasons why to have a morning routine. It is said to boost productivity and happiness, reduce stress, and many other great things, but to me, the main reasons are taking control of my day, having time for myself, and creating momentum for the rest of the day. As Hal Elrod said in his book “The Miracle Morning”:

Focused, productive successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days — which inevitably create a successful life.

Normally, I am not distracted by anything or anyone early in the morning, I feel well-rested and ready for the new day, so I designed my morning routine to take advantage of that and suit my needs based on the personal principles and goals. I believe it depends on the individual what to include in the morning routine, you can try various things and see what works for you best.

My current morning routine looks like that:

1. Wake up

Usually, I wake up without an alarm. If you go to bed in time and have enough sleep, you’ll wake up when your body is ready. There is no need to set an alarm.

Natural sunlight helps your body wake up, and it also regulates your biological clock. If you can’t sleep with open curtains (because for example, the street light is too bright), you can buy smart curtains, or use this robot to automate your existing curtains to open with sunrise.

Alternatively, you could buy a lamp-alarm clock with a sunset/sunrise simulation — no sounds that will wake you up from a very deep sleep, wake up slowly and naturally with gentle light from the lamp.

2. Water

The first thing I do as soon as I get up is drinking a glass of water — simply because I feel thirsty, and I function better when my body is well hydrated. Water allows nutrients to travel to your organs and tissues.

3. Bathroom

I don’t do anything special in the bathroom except for thinking about what I want to do that day.

One thing I noticed, though, is that using an ultrasonic toothbrush is much more effective compared to a normal toothbrush.

4. Journal

A Journal on a wooden desk
Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

Journaling helps me think more clearly and focus on what matters. It doesn’t take much time, I mostly journal about the things I am grateful for (it helps me have a more positive mindset), things I want to accomplish that day (helps me focus on truly important tasks), and my thoughts on a quick philosophic question (usually from Stoicism or Taoism).

If I remember something interesting or insightful from a dream, I’d also write it down and reflect on it later.

5. Plan the day

After journaling, I check my calendar and my todo list to know what to expect from the day — what events I have planned, what I should remember, and whom I will interact with.

I try to prioritize the tasks I came up with while journaling over the ones I saw in my todo list because they are usually more impactful and meaningful to me, and that’s why I think about them right after waking up.

6. Run/Morning Exercise

Once I’m done planning, I go for a run with my wife or do some light morning exercises and stretching on rest days.

In addition to becoming fit and healthy, exercising increases your energy, sharpens your mind, helps you focus, reduces stress, and makes you feel happier right away. Cardio exercises stimulate neurotransmitters and vascular endothelial growth factor in your body.

Also, running outdoors means you’ll get some sunlight exposure. Sunlight plays a key role in maintaining your health and helps regulate serotonin and melatonin.

7. Shower

Wim Hof aka The Iceman
Photo by www.wimhofmethod.com

You probably know about the benefits of cold showers, I also read and heard a lot, so I gave it a try. Unfortunately, after a week or two of taking cold showers regularly, I noticed that I was not feeling good. I suppose it was due to personal health issues, so I stopped this practice and never returned to it. I take normal showers with warm water (or hot water when I need to relax my muscles).

8. Meditation

Right after taking a shower, I prefer to spend 10–20 minutes meditating. Nowadays, almost everyone knows the benefits of meditation — it helps you focus, reduces stress and anxiety, helps you become more mindful, to name a few.

The more you meditate, the more calm and present you become in your life. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose yourself thinking about the past and planning or worrying about the future. As Shawn Stevenson, the author of “Sleep Smarter” said:

The most important takeaway is that the only side effects associated with meditation are a better quality of life.

You don’t need anything to start meditating, although, for some people, it can be easier with an app. I practice both guided and unguided meditation. I tried many meditation apps, and I can recommend Balance and Oak.

9. Creative work

Usually, during or right after my meditation, I’ll come up with some ideas to work on. I prefer to start working on these ideas immediately or at least to write them down. I focus on having more output and less input, especially in the first half of my day, so I avoid browsing, news, books, social media, emails, calls, messages, and other input sources, and instead, concentrate on creative work and thinking.

In case I can’t get into my flow state to be in the zone for high-quality work, I play some repetitive music — something that is not too distracting and not too boring at the same time.

10. Breakfast

Usually, I have a rather late breakfast, because I don’t get hungry early in the morning, and I’m not very productive after a meal.

Since I also don’t eat late at night, it turns into a TRF (time-restricted feeding) fast by itself. Intermittent fasting is becoming more and more popular these days, and if you want to give it a try or just want to learn more about it, you can try Zero — a fasting tracker with many studying materials.

I avoid eating processed foods, so my breakfast is always something fresh and healthy with a smoothie or a vegan protein shake.

Caffeine

I rarely need caffeine, so I don’t drink coffee, I prefer herbal teas instead.

If it’s hot and I want something chilled to cool me down, I like drinking a cold infusion of hibiscus tea which is consumed in many countries and known as Agua de Jamaica in South and Central America as well as in the Caribean or Karkade in Egypt and other North African countries.

Preparation of matcha tea
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

When I do need some caffeine boost, I either drink white tea or matcha. I usually make matcha latte or add matcha powder to a smoothie.

Just like coffee, matcha tea will make you feel energized, but it does it in a much better way. L-theanine, a phytonutrient in matcha slows down the absorption of caffeine by your body and makes it smooth so that there are no spikes or crashes, and it doesn’t disrupt your sleep.

Supplements

I take many vitamins and other supplements. Although it’s better to live close to nature, eat a balanced diet, and spend enough time outdoors following an active lifestyle, food supplements can help you fill in the nutrition gaps in your diet.

Conclusion

What works for me might not work for you, but just like me, you probably have much more control over your morning than over any other time of your day. So try to make some time in the morning for doing things that will positively affect your life in the long run.

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