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I Tried To Hack My Morning Routine
I spent this last month trying to optimize my morning routine. This is how it went along with tips for doing your own. I knew the goals I...
I spent this last month trying to optimize my morning routine. This is how it went along with tips for doing your own.
I knew the ,goals I set for this year would either require sacrificing Netflix binges (never) or adding additional hours to the day (big sigh).
The internet is obsessed with creating the perfect morning routine. YouTube is full of “productivity influencers” filming stylized videos full of gentle awakenings at 4am, eye crust-free journaling, 12 step skin care, quiet contemplative coffees, full gym sessions, and even the odd walk on the beach. Instead of just calling shenanigans (or “cap” as I almost said but then remembered I’m not in Gen Z), I thought I’d give creating my very own morning routine a go. Here’s how that went.
Of the 2 goals set, the creativity goal is one that I knew would need dedicated time ideally before work while my brain is still fresh. Starting work at 9am meant waking up at 6am instead of 9am which meant going to bed at my usual 2am post binge-scroll was no longer going to be viable. To prioritize 8 hours sleep for maximum function, I’d have to be in bed by 9/10 and my phone would need to be in a completely different room, miles away from reach and the soothing baseline fear and rage that morning doom-scrolling usually brings.
My previous routine
Wake up at 9 and immediately check emails then doom-scroll through the headlines
Let the anxiety build and build until I eventually half heartedly roll out of bed to start work,
Make an awkwardly timed breakfast (around 1pm),
Work all day,
Make an awkwardly timed dinner (around 10pm),
Netflix and more scrolling until 2am,
Get into bed with phone
Let the YouTube rabbithole take me to sweet sweet sleepytime
My Perfect new routine plan
Wake up gently in slow motion to the 5am alarm like they do on YouTube.
Journal for 5 minutes.
Have a full pint of water and my all vitamins/supplements.
Light a diffuser with the scent of the day.
Turn on mood lighting (because winter) and do some light yoga.
Spend a couple of hours writing up the week’s blog post and/or recording the week’s podcast episode.
Make coffee and a wholesome breakfast.
Get ready for work work.
What actually happened
JETLAG. Every day for an entire month.
The first morning that alarm went off, I thought my time was up and the good Lord was calling me home. I’d gone to bed at 9 the night before and stared at the clock until at least 1am. Upon waking, I fumbled all over the bed looking for my phone for longer than I care to admit before I realised it was in another room. Turns out, you can’t just adjust your bedtime by 5 hours overnight and expect no consequences. Who knew! The whole plan went in the bin. I decided to take my own advice and focus on just getting out of bed as soon as the alarm sounded. Towards the end of the month this did get a little easier. Partly because the sun was rising earlier. MOSTLY because I changed the alarm time to a more reasonable 7am instead of 5am.
IN MY DEFENSE, I have a SAD alarm clock which you can set to do the sunrise about 30 mins before the actual alarm goes off so if you wake up before the alarm, it’s not as harsh on your spirit. I’ll gradually move the alarm earlier and earlier until I get my 3 hours of pre-work time back. I’m currently on 90 minutes but 3 hours is the eventual target.
My current routine
Wake up at around 6:30
Drink something, anything. Sometimes, remember to take supplements
Sit on the sofa, play wordle (resistance is apparently futile), then and write/tinker/create/plan/record/fix whatever I’m working on at the time
Make brekkie at a reasonable time for a reasonable office worker (around 9)
Get ready for ‘work work’ and work all day
Make dinner at a reasonable time (around 6) and settle in for whatever activities are planned that evening (usually a workout or a class or tv)
Bed by 10
What I've learned so far
Whew. What a blooming journey this has been so far. I think the hardest part has been adjusting bedtimes. It’s one thing when you work from home, it’ll be another thing when the office and socialising becomes the norm again.
Banning phones from the bedroom has been very interesting. My mornings are wwwaaaayyyy less anxious, especially as I’m not starting the day already feeling crappy about having spent an hour scrolling through Instagram with nowt to show for it.
I know not everyone has the flexibility to change their schedules around to suit their goals however, at every moment of every day we’re making choices for how we spend our time. We choose to go to work, to watch tv, to care for children, to shame scroll gossip sites, to read these words, to do whatever it is we are doing at any given moment. i.e. I found an extra hour or so just by not social media-ing in bed anymore.
A great place to start if you’re looking for an extra hour is to examine the myriad of choices you’re already making every hour in an average day and assess if what you’re currently choosing is more important than what you’d rather be doing instead. If it is, then great! You’re exactly where you need to be. But if it’s not, I can probably help.
I can feel myself wanting to build on this with a really grandiose limiting rule like no phones before 6pm or a daily yoga but, we can’t let our perfectionist fantasies get in the way of our actual growth..right? Small changes consistently over time will get us where we want to be more than one grand plan done twice.
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Just 20 minutes to share what’s on your mind
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