We often hear about the routines of highly successful individuals. They know how important it is to get a good start to the day and the impact it will have on the rest of their day.
Tony Robbins follows a well known morning routine that consists of an ice cold water plunge, a form of meditation that he calls "priming" to put him in a peak state and some brief, intense exercise.
Richard Branson explains in another article how he wasn't always a morning person. But since he started following a structured morning routine he has become someone who "can achieve so much more in a day." He now wakes up before 5:00 am, gets in a workout, has time for breakfast, and also commits to 20 minutes of learning.
Tim Ferris, the author of 'The Four Hour Work Week' follows a 5 step morning routine. It starts with making his bed, 10-20 minutes of meditation, some quick exercise, drinking tea, then he journals for 5-10 minutes.
The list of successful men and women who follow a structured morning routine goes on and on.
But why is this so common?
Implementing the right strategies right when you wake up can have a profound impact on your energy levels, productivity, and even the mood you bring into the office.
After experimenting with dozens of different morning routines, here are 5 key components I highly recommend including to maximize your energy levels throughout the day and remain productive longer.
Completing a workout first thing in the morning can have a significant impact on your energy, mood, and stress levels.
Not only does it wake your body up, but many people report having more mental clarity in the morning after finishing a workout. (Me being one of them)
I personally recommend some form of strength training exercise that will burn calories while improving strength. If weight loss or fat loss is your goal, you can pair 3-4 strength training exercises into a circuit to burn more calories and save you time in the gym.
My experience was that this style of training gave me the most energy throughout the day and yielded the best results compared to regular cardio or machine work.
I also recommend including at least 5-10 minutes of stretching or mobility work in the morning. This is a great way to wake your body up before starting your actual workout and can prevent feeling tight or even sluggish to start your day.
Each person can have their own reason to practice meditation. To relieve stress, to put themselves in a positive mindset to start the day, and more.
For me, it was the need to focus on one task at a time and not allow my mind to wander into 5 different ideas at once. I started 5 minutes of meditation in the morning and then progressed to do it immediately before I would start my work for the day.
I found that this helped me focus and ultimately increased my productivity by determining what tasks needed to be prioritized now rather than hopping around from one task to another.
This can be done simply by searching for a short meditation video on youtube. There are also several free apps that make it easy to start, like Headspace and Calm.
After years of working in the fitness industry I have noticed that some people make sure to give their body the proper fuel in the morning, while others are less consistent with having a nutritious breakfast.
In fact, so many people are inconsistent with their first meal of the day that I have even used a nutrition method with many clients that eliminates this first meal totally from the schedule. (And it has been extremely effective.)
But the individuals who make sure their body is fueled properly to start each day often have a 'go-to' meal that doesn't require them to think about it each morning.
They have a structured morning schedule that includes the same meal every time and is usually very quick and easy to prepare.
This can be some eggs, or a smoothie, or protein shake, or anything. I highly recommend including some protein and healthy fats in there if possible. Protein will allow you to keep the feeling of fullness longer and a healthy fat will actually give your body some energy while at rest. (Sitting at work)
Both are super quick, don't require much preparation, and give me the fuel I like to start my day with.
Complete Important Tasks
One thing I've heard many times is to complete the most important tasks of the day first. While some projects may be bigger than others, I have set specific tasks to be done immediately after my meditation, exercise, and fuel.
If you have done these first, it makes it easier to deal with unexpected tasks that pop up throughout the day that we all deal with.
Reading Or Writing
If there is one thing that most successful people agree on, it's to never stop learning. Starting your day with 10-20 minutes of reading or writing is a great way to prepare your mind for a productive day.
Developing a morning routine that sets you up to be the most productive, focused, and energized version of yourself is something that will vary from person to person.
For myself, I have found these 5 steps to be incredibly effective in starting and finishing each day with more energy and focus. I execute the 5 steps in this order:
4) Reading / Writing
5) Important Tasks
One thing I learned from my personal coach who works for Tony Robbins is to have a couple levels to your morning routine.
It may not be realistic to do all 5 steps of your routine each morning for every single day of your life.
So if you cannot complete your full 5 step morning routine, develop a 'level 2' routine that includes 3-4 of those steps so you still prepare your mind and body for a productive day.