Win the first hour of the day to have huge impact on your life.
First thing in the morning can be a hectic time for us all. I guess especially if you have kids. But I want to convince you to take a moment to think about your routine and deliberately construct a serious morning ritual. I want you to endeavour to do it most days and I want to hear about what impact is has on your life in the next month.
Reasons why your first hour is so important:
It gets your priorities straight. Your day can go the way you want it to go, or it can be led by the random collisions with other peoples lives and agendas. By having a well defined morning ritual you can establish the most impactful task you want to get done, this reduces interference from the rest of the world and helps you make more progress where you want to.
It’s a peaceful time. Most people that I know who are extremely busy tend to love the solitude and peacefulness of the early early morning. Personally it’s the only time of my day that I get to myself and my own thoughts. It’s an amazing time for writing, clarity of thought, planning, even productive daydreaming. I find it very therapeutic and it helps me be calm and focused the rest of the day.
It’s often the most productive time of day. I get more done in my first hour or two that any other equivalent block of time in the day. For some (like many academics) the same seems to be true of the twilight hours. Personally I think that by that time I want to be chilling out and unwinding rather than winding up. So the 5am - 6am hour is best for me.
In general, days where do my morning ritual are more productive, more inspired, I have more energy and I perform better. If my routine gets disrupted I can easily find myself tail spinning and reach the end of the day realising I didn’t get the few highly impactful things done that I wanted to get done. I feel more grounded, clear and driven when it happens.
Here are the most common morning rituals and routines I have come across in the most productive and impactful people I know.
Meditation: See my article on meditation here. In short, it helps you get focused, calm the chatter and get clarity of thought, which leads to better choices and actions. Also great for times of high stress or pressure.
Exercise. For many people first thing in the morning is the only chance they get to train. Too much goes wrong during the day and motivation is generally low after work. This helps lots with feeling like you achieved something and raises energy levels for the whole day. Also great for improved drive.
Reading. Top earners read more than the average person. I personally aim for a book a week. That first hour of peaceful-me-time sees more pages completed than the equivalent time in the evening or daytime due to less distractions.
Journaling. Simply writing down an agenda or key task for the day and why it’s so important can help massively with productivity and getting the important tasks done. (Which reminds me I need to call the optician, back in a moment).
Writing. Content, blog posts, books, whatever you’re writing you can do yourself huge favours by working on it every single day. That sacred time early in the day can be the very best time, especially if you have the right bed time routine (I’ll cover this at some point). I personally find the morning with a pot of coffee, my cat, and nothing more, to be highly conducive to creative thought.
Planning. For the same reasons as writing, using this time for planning I find works well. Pure, undisturbed thought can be very hard to come by in the modern world. Take advantage (or rather, engineer advantage) wherever you can.
Here are a few really bad Ideas you should stay away from if productivity and impact are on your agenda.
Social media. Fine if you're putting content out for your following when they rise. Terrible if your sat in bed scrolling through facebook. You’re already getting your head filled with everyone else agendas before setting in stone your own. Obviously there are exceptions that might, for example, fall under reading and help you in some way, but these are rare.
A complete lack of deliberate ritual. As I stated in the first section, the lack of self direction leaves you more open to other peoples.
TV, same as social media.
My Personal Ritual:
Following is my personal ritual right now. It changes from time to time depending on what my goals are and a slew of other factors.
5am. Wake and get straight out of bed, no snoozes.
Make coffee and breakfast, feed the cat. (breakfast is some sort of red meat usually with butter and MCT oil or Brain Octane). The breakfast is highly specific. The MCT oil is a fantastic addition. It help with mental performance and energy for the next 4 - 5 hours by converting to ketones quickly. Read More Here.
5:15. Read while eating, usually business, science papers related to my field, or non-fiction in other interests of mine. Right now it’s The Entrepreneur Revolution by Daniel Priestly.
5:45. Book down and look at last nights journal entry that shows all my tasks and to dos for the week, current project, day etc. Decide what’s going to make a difference to my life and look at my schedule for the day / week. Make sure it gets time set aside for completion. Read More On The Morning Journal
5:55 clean up, get dressed
6:10 leave for the gym, listen to podcasts or audiobooks while driving to work. Right now it’s a London Real episode with the author of the book I’m reading. Often the Tim Ferris Show.
I get to work with energy, clear intention and a peaceful mind.
Advanced Hacks and tips:
MCT oil is a game changer! Read more Here.
Ultra Brain Force and Focused Response are kept in the cupboard for days when I’m struggling. Try as I might I do not always get the best sleep, I might be up late, it might be a really long week. On days where I’m really hurting I take a scoop of UBF and 2 focused response. This protocol can help you concentrate and perform in almost any circumstances. When Charles Poliquin invented these products he had the secret service in mind. When mental performance really matters these are a strong favourite of mine.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this piece and what you do to get the best from yourself each day. I welcome criticism as well, so feel free to respectfully disagree.