3 things I love from my new morning routine, and 2 things I don’t

I’ve been trying out a new morning routine based on James Clear’s (the author of Atomic Habits) morning routine. You can check out my video on this routine here. My routine is a little modified to fit my needs better; it is:

  1. Prepare the day before
  2. Up at 6am
  3. Drink water first thing
  4. Write three things I’m thankful for
  5. Two-minute meditation
  6. Read ten pages of a book
  7. Read articles (Google News and Flipboard)
  8. Walk the dog (while listening to a book or podcasts for half the time)
  9. Work out (Peleton workouts and a ride)
  10. Create something (writing, live stream, planning)
  11. No email till noon

This routine is designed so that I can spend time learning, growing, and thinking while also moving my body to stay fit and active. It gives me time to focus and grow as a person before the day starts to wear me down.

Three things I love from my new morning routine

  1. Preparing the day before. I’m tired at the end of my work day, but I’m also clear on what is critical for tomorrow. So, at the end of each day, I write out my working hours for the next day like a list. Then I add in all of my meetings for tomorrow, ensuring I’m prepared for each of them. Last, I look at my list of priority tasks and plug the ones I will work on tomorrow into the open slots in my day, blocking time for those tasks. I’ve done this for years, and it helps me start my next day with complete clarity and a sense of momentum and purpose.
  2. Write three things I’m thankful for in my notebook. I used to write one thing I was thankful for each day. That was easy. I could write something quick that was top of mind like, “I’m thankful for date night with my wife last night.” But, having to write three things I’m thankful for forces me to think more deeply, making me more thankful for the many wonderful things in my life.
  3. No email till noon. Email is work that isn’t real work. It makes us feel like we are working, but not much is getting done. With this rule in place, I get to around 10am and feel like I have “nothing to do.” Then, I look at my list of priority tasks and realize I have a lot of deep work that needs to be done and two hours of distraction-free time to work on it. This rule forces me to do the work that is not easy but is far more rewarding.

Two things I don’t love from my new morning routine

  1. Getting up at 6am. Getting up early has been a struggle forever. I’ll go through stints where I do it well and many when I am not. I may have to move this goal back a bit to make sure I’m getting enough sleep and not constantly missing this goal.
  2. Walk the dog. I should love walking our dog. It gets me outside, I get to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, and I get exercise. But I don’t love it most of the time. Our dog is really young and still a little too hyper on the leash, so he needs a lot of training and attention during the walk. He’s getting better each time, so I know I will love this soon enough, but as I write this, I’m not excited about putting down my laptop and grabbing that leash. And yet, that’s what I’m about to do.

What is your morning routine? What is working for you right now? I’d love to hear about it. Post a comment and let me know!