I’m a sloppy savage, just like the rest of you.
In another life, my sweaty hungover back is sticking to a pleather couch — cracked pleather, not even something nice and smooth — mumbling in my drool-inducing sleep. Luckily, in this life, that’s not the case. I’m up and hustling at 6 AM.
I don’t say that to inspire you, it’s not about you at all. I’m self-centered, as you’ll see as you read more of my content. Anyway, it’s a reminder to me that life and progress are fragile. In order to combat the fragility, to reinforce my successes and progress, I build routines and processes for myself.
In the rest of this post I’m going to breakdown my current morning routine in detail.
Every morning I try to write for 10 to 15 minutes. I don’t have any prompts, I just let my mind go. Usually, I write about the previous day, my amazing 5-year-old daughter and the hilarious things she says and does, my incredible wife, things that made me proud or ashamed of myself, etc. It’s journaling, really.
I started the practice of freewriting a little over a year ago, consistently, and it’s been an excellent way for me to get my thoughts out of my meat bucket. Once my thoughts are typed or handwritten, I can take a more objective view of them and attempt to solve any dilemmas. Often I realize I’m succumbing to irrational thoughts, fears, or self-limiting beliefs.
Free writing is the first step in my morning routine and the one thing I make sure to never skip.
This one is pretty simple and I heard about it a dozen times before I decided to try it out. I’m fairly certain I was first introduced to this concept by The Tim Ferriss podcast or blog.
This is the lightest activity in my morning routine, yet one of the more impactful. I pick 3 fleeting things that I’m grateful for at that moment. Sometimes it’s something as simple as the way my daughter snuggled up next to me, the warmth of my coffee mug in my hands on a chilly morning, or something else small and seemingly inconsequential.
Gratitude journaling reminds me of the things I should be grateful for, the little things. When I appreciate the little things in life, I tend to appreciate the bigger things even more.
I’ve tried numerous approaches to meditation. At first, I did a lot of guided sessions using tools like Headspace. Then I started listening to natural sounds and focusing on my breathing.
Now, I typically use Brain.fm for 15 minutes of unguided meditation. I usually start with 10 or so deep slow breaths. I find this helps me relax and cleanse myself a bit.
Throughout the day, I’ll often take 5-10 minute recovery sessions to get out of my own head. During those sessions, I’ll turn on the brain.fm app, take a seat and focus on my breathing, or just let my mind run and “empty my mental inbox” as Naval explained on the Tim Ferris show.
10 Business Ideas
Every morning I try to come up with 10 business ideas. Typically I’ll get around a half-dozen before my brain starts to gum up, but I’ll circle back later and cap off the list with around 10 or more.
I don’t focus on practicality or reality with my business ideas in the morning. I focus on getting my mind moving and primed for creativity throughout the day. This can be a little difficult the first couple of times you do it but gets easier with time. I have days now where I’ll come up with 25-30 business ideas, often with half or more being things I could act on.
I tend to let my work bleed into everything else. For a while, exercise was replaced daily by something popping up at work early in the morning. To eliminate work interference and make sure I get in at least some sort of exercise every day, I started using the 7 Minute workout app.
It probably seems a little silly, and my former special operations buddies would probably make fun of me for it, but all I need is 7 minutes and EVERYONE has 7 minutes to spare at some point in the day.
I don’t use the app every day, I often lift or do cardio in the morning, but the 7-minute app functions as my minimum-viable exercise for the day.
My morning routine is a work-in-progress, as is everything in life. I plan to edit and update this article as time passes, so do check back and drop any questions or suggestions you have in the comments!