One of the latest Pat Flynn Smart Passive Income podcast episodes was a whole thing about his daily habits and morning routine. Normally I tend to gravitate more towards his bits about blogging and entrepreneurism. But with the big recent changes in my health, I’ve been more open to trying just about anything.
And I’ve got to say – I was glad I did!
I’m not sure I’ve ever really realized how much time I waste in the morning … or the rest of the day for that matter. What if I tried a little harder to “design” better habits? Habits that could help improve my health, relationships, income, blogging, etc?
What I Learned from Pat’s Routine:
Like all of Pat’s podcasts, it was packed with quite a bit of stuff. But the things I really clung to were the parts about he starts off his morning. It’s amazing how much of his routine is pre-conceived; each step deliberately intended to keep progressively improving upon the next.
For example: When he first wakes up, he splashes water on his face to help wake up his senses. Not long after he drinks a glass of water to rehydrate his body and think more clearly. (I actually tried this one myself and believe it or not – it worked pretty well!)
There were plenty of other things like adding in some sort of stretching / meditation routine. Though I often include a quick stretch as part of my regular workout routine, I’m not sure I’ve ever focused on it or made it a priority of my morning.
So this got me wondering … what are some of the things I could be doing in the morning that would help me to improve my day? Or another way to look at it: What are some of the habits I have that really aren’t helping myself to be any better?
For example: In the morning I have a really bad habit of:
- Sleeping in for too long.
- Sluggishly dragging my feet until there’s hardly any time to exercise.
- Checking my work email. What is responding to a bunch of emails before I’ve even hit the road going to accomplish?
- Checking my blogging email too often. What is it that I’m expecting to find? A million dollar deal to buy my blog?
- Checking my affiliate accounts. I’m not sure at all why I do this. No matter how many times I look at them, it’s not going to make me any richer.
Then there’s the biggest time waste of all: Worrying about all the things that could or might happen today at work. Honestly why let anyone have that kind of control over you? I know this is human nature, but honestly it’s such a mental drain trying to come up with rebuttals and arguments for things that haven’t (and probably never will) happen!
And the list could go on and on and on…
While each of these things is relatively tiny and seemingly harmless, together they compound into a monster waste of time! That’s time I could be using to talk/listen to my family, time I could use to produce good content or get actual actionable tasks done for my online business projects, time I could be using to learn something new and simply make my life better for myself!
My New Morning Routine Checklist:
After some reflection, I’ve decided it’s time to put some more thought into the first few actions of my day and manufacture some good habits that will help me start my day off right.
As with everything in my life, my top priorities are always my family and health, followed by things that help further my income (like my job and blog income). So with that in mind, here’s a few of the things I’d like to start trying:
- Wake up on time. I usually try to get up by 5AM. By doing so that gives me 2 hours before I have to leave for work. The key to waking up on time will be to make sure I go to bed the night before at a decent hour and get a full night’s sleep.
- (To borrow from Pat) Immediately after waking up wash my face off and get a nice big drink of water to stimulate the senses and rehydrate.
- Check my blog email by phone. I say by phone because if I do that it’s simply one click. If I check it from our desktop computer, I’ll wind up sitting my butt down in the comfortable computer chair and browsing the Internet for 15 minutes or more (wasting my time). If there are no immediate “deals” that have to be responded to immediately, then don’t check it again all morning.
- Start my daily exercise routine off with some stretching. Stretch for at least 5 minutes. Exercise for at least 30 minutes.
- Eat breakfast. The body needs fuel to function in the morning.
- Talk with everyone in the family at least once before we all leave for school and work.
- In the car ride to work, reflect for a few minutes on what’s important in my life and what my priorities should be.
In addition to my morning routine, follow-up the rest of the day with this:
- During lunch check my blog email once. Again if there are no immediate deals that need responding to, then move on and do something else productive the break.
- On the way home from work listen to a podcast from a website that I respect such as Smart Passive Income, Niche Pursuits, or No Hat Digital. Really try to pick-up on the parts that I can take action on.
- When I get home be sure to give everyone in the house some attention. That might mean listening to my wife, helping the kids with homework, or any number of things I can do to interact with them.
- As the night winds down and the family starts to go to bed, get to work on things like interacting with my readers who left comments, working through my “to-do” list, etc.
Ultimately we can’t control how many hours there are in a day. Nor can we simply skimp out on sleep. So as hokey as it sounds, the only thing left to do is evaluate your routine, eliminate the wasteful habits, and try to optimize our windows of opportunity as best we can. But thankfully with a little forethought and discipline, this is something we should be able to accomplish that will pay off in dividends for time to come.
Readers – What are some of the things that are on your morning routine checklist? How do you optimize your habits to make sure your day goes right?