Entrepreneurs start each day bounding out of bed and getting on with saving the world. They get up and start blasting through their emails, slack, jira and social media messages. This is a terrible Morning Routine
That’s why so many burn out. Unless you have a balanced start each day it is hard to be consistently productive over time. Mine is still a work in progress but having been involved in startups for over 15 years I have confidence that it is a lot better than diving in. I will cover each aspect of my morning routine and let you know why it is important.
TL:DR – Start Gentle and Focused and Build a Resilient Foundation with a Strong Morning Routine
When at all possible I will sleep in until I awaken naturally. My target goal is 8 hours each night. When I don’t get this it’s important to let the body decide how much it needs to get. So I let it happen. When I need to wake up for a set time then I use an app to assist. My favourite is SleepBot on iOS which has a movement sensor and will wake me up up to 30 minutes before my target time if I am showing signs of light sleep. This helps avoid the muzziness of being woken up by an alarm when in deep sleep
Morning Ritual Mediation
I then start off my morning following a morning ritual by Jason McGrice on Insight Timer. This is a 10 minute gratitude and focus meditation that has wonderful and appropriate music. I keep on thinking of retiring it as the next step does much the same. Habit keeps me on and it delivers the results. “Today is wonderful. Namaste!” How’s that for the last moment before I open my eyes
6 Phase Meditation
This is absolutely awesome. It is a key part of my morning routine. It’s designed by Vishen at Mindvalley to deliver massive benefits very quickly. Think of how Tim Ferris would hack meditation to got all the benefits in the fastest time possible.
It starts off by getting me to think about love and compassion. From a start thinking about how much I love my wife and children it then spirals out to get me to think about how much I love everyone and every creature in the world. That’s pretty powerful and moves you into a much calmer place before the day even starts.
Next is gratitude. I think of 3-5 things in my life, then in my work, and then about me that I am grateful for. most of the time I think about things that have happened in the last few days. This is super powerful because it helps me to remember what has gone right in my life. This helps keep me strong under the mountain of setup backs entrepreneurs can often face. We often think about the negative 5-10 times as often as the positive. This counteracts that.
Forgiveness comes next. I’ve made a list of several hundred people who have been nasty to me. Well they may not have been but for each of them there is some imagined hurt that I nurture deep in my psyche. Each day I think of one and visualise them. I remember the hurt that they did to me and forgive them and ask them for forgiveness. This is all inside the mind so no loss of face is involved. It kills off so many quarrels with my wife before she even knows about them 🙂
Then it’s onto looking at one of my big visions. I think of one of my big plans and imagine myself in three years time. I try and touch, smell, taste and see exactly how it feels to have achieved the success that I am dreaming of. The point of this is that if I imagine the dream during the day the next steps on the way to achieving it will come far more naturally.
After this I imagine the day. The perfect day where everything that I have to do goes right. I imagine perfect emails to customers, my children getting dressed perfectly and having a great time in the car on the way to school. I visualise eating the right food and pushing hard up the hills when I go out on my bike. It’s a great way to set the standard that I expect from myself for the rest of the day.
Finally I ask whatever it is I believe in to give me a helping hand. (I am an atheist/agnostic/theist/deist depending on how I am feeling). Something usually does which is cool.
I gave up reading the news a while back and this is my daily fix. I read the Espresso app from the Economist. 6 articles with a 2 sentence summary of 10 other stories. Its probably all that is important in the world. Dispassionate it rarely gets negative emotions bubbling up.
Shower and Music
Then it’s onto the floor to do 10 pushups. I’ve put on my awesomely uplifting Dawn Awakening soundtrack on spotify. I struggle through the pushups (I can run for 12 hours but upper body strength has never been a priority – so starting from a weak base) and then head into the shower. It’s cold. I don’t have hot water. So the first big test of the day is to nerve myself to get under the freezing water (it’s not really). Generally that is the hardest thing I do each day. After that most other stuff seems trivial
Then I head downstairs and make my breakfast. At this point I’ve still not thought about work or opened any electronic devices. I quite deliberately move my thought on from any attempt of my mind to chatter about work. I need to get a firm stable foundation. So I clean the kitchen listening to an audio book. I read a bit as I have my breakfast. Then when I am finally grounded and have everything set I sit down at my desk and get things done. When I start the day like this it seems that I am twice as productive as when I do not.
Why does this work
My morning routine works because I spend the start of the day building my self esteem and my self confidence. By the time I let the outside world into my bubble I am the person I want to be and I deal with the world on my own terms. It’s like putting on a suit of armour. Go into battle without armour and sooner or later your blood will be flowing. This is like that. Actually it’s more like being a Zen master and flowing through all the sharp pointy things without them coming close. Whatever it is it works.
How do you start your day? What is your morning routine? What other things could I incorporate in mine to make it even better? Use the comments below