What Constitutes A Good Morning Routine? Here’s Mine.
It’s probably fitting that I’m writing this article when the clock currently says 6:32am. I woke up about forty-five minutes ago. I usually wake between 5:30am and 6:20am – which I realise makes me sound like a psychopath, but that’s just the way I’ve always been. I think it’s because I go to bed reasonably early (in bed by 9pm, lights out by 10pm), and I also think I’ve inherited the early-riser gene from my dad who has risen at approximately 5am for most of his life and told me that one day he just gave up trying to be one of those kids who slept in ’til noon on the weekends. It’s not the way he’s wired. Which brings me to my first and maybe only piece of advice: Do not compare your morning routine with that of your neighbours. Which is to say: Don’t push against the grain too much. We are all fundamentally different – some of us require more sleep than others in order to function, some of us need more food, less structure, more caffeine, less movement, more meditation. I’m an early riser and I simply like to capitalise on that.
Now it’s 6:36am. I just checked. Here are the things I’ve already done:
Upon waking, the first thing I do is check my phone. And look, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. There are two kinds of people in the world, those that check their phones as soon as they wake up, and liars. Once I’ve checked my phone I roll – and I do mean roll – onto the floor in my pyjamas to do approximately four minutes of stretching. There’s no health philosophy behind this, I just love the feeling of a Downward Dog, a few rounds of Cat Cow, and finished off with two minutes spent in Child’s Pose, to iron out any kinks that have accumulated from eight hours in bed. Try it! Then I pray, stand up, and head to the bathroom to do the bathroom things.
Okay, so, the bathroom things! I use a tongue scraper. Have I lost you yet? It is, sadly, as gross it sounds, and I’m addicted. I’ve done it for about five years and I largely credit it to why I never get sick. There’s a belief that your tongue is a kind of microcosm of what’s going on in the rest of your body and while you’re sleeping bacteria and toxins start to accumulate there, so it’s beneficial to remove those toxins each morning. It’s also incredible for avoiding bad breath. STOP JUDGING ME. My morning skin routine is quick and painless; a warm face cloth (so comforting, so underrated) followed by two cotton pads soaked in Bioderma Sensibio H2O to remove any products from the night before, followed by a Vitamin C serum (Emma Lewisham Skin Reset or Summer Fridays CC Me), and Glossier Boy Brow. I avoid wearing makeup at all costs because it breaks me out. I then guzzle two big glasses of water with all my supplements.
I go to bed each night dreaming of my morning coffee. That first sip really is something special. I alternate between Nespresso and plunger, and right now I’m loving the ritual of making a hot plunger. While the coffee brews for ten minutes I gather my laptop and diary and write out my three MITs. These are the “Most Important Tasks” that I have to complete before anything else. If I send that email I’ve been avoiding, write that article that is due, or finish the proposal for that client, then I know that even if the rest of my day falls apart I have been productive. Figure out your three MITs each morning and then be uncompromising and meticulous about completing them.
The best advice I’ve ever been given when it comes to productivity is also the most simple:
“Give the best hour of your day to yourself.”
Everyone has a “best hour”. It’s those sixty minutes of the day when you’re at your peak. The mistake we often make is allocating that hour to someone else: we give it to a meeting with a co-worker we don’t particularly like, or a phone call with a sibling, or a lunch with a friend who’s having a bad week. And what ends up happening is you hand over that precious energy to someone else and then it’s gone. My best hour is 6:30am to 7:30am. It’s when I feel my most energised, creative and motivated. Figure out your golden hour, and don’t just say “morning person” or “night owl”, get really specific on where that sixty minutes is, and then run a metaphorical pink highlighter through it and call Shotgun.
Okay now it’s 7:26am and I’ve still got two MITs to finish.