If you’ve ever listened to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, you’ve heard about the morning routine. Tim asks almost every guest he interviews what the first hour of their day looks like. With over 100 guests, it’s obviously important to him.
As I thought about why a morning ritual is so important to him, I realized that the way you start your day is great indicator of how it will end. So, I set a morning ritual for myself and I’ve followed it for several months.
It’s been so helpful that I believe everyone who wants to get the most out of life should craft a morning ritual for themselves.
Why Do You Need A Morning Ritual?
Getting the work-day started is hard enough. When you finally get into a rhythm, one random thought can completely derail you. I call this monkey mind. When you’re constantly interrupted by your own thoughts, it’s impossible to stay on track and be productive.
A morning routine allows you to proactively choose where to focus each day before it begins. By deciding what’s most important, you can cut out brain chatter.
Without a morning ritual, you run a risk of spending your entire day playing catch up. You may get to work on time, to find your inbox is flooded. Without a morning ritual, you’ll lack the ability to focus on your most pressing tasks and get lost in email. You may feel like your day was incredibly busy but nothing was accomplished.
Avoid these days at all costs. You want life to catch up with you!
When you build and follow a morning ritual, the foggy head you’re used to having in the morning becomes clear. This clarity gives you a feeling of altitude, lifting you above the confusion and noise, instead of surrounding you with it.
It also allows you to jumpstart your day. For me, there’s nothing better than driving home after finishing my morning ritual and feeling like I have a head start on the rest of the world. To me, the rest of the world is still asleep, but I’m moving and planning. I have momentum and energy. I’m miles ahead. I feel unstoppable.
How Do You Craft It?
“I want to design the first 60 minutes of my day in so much detail that an actor could get it perfectly right.” – Tim Ferriss
When we craft our morning routine, we want to design and script in a way that anyone could do it. Why? Because when we wake up, we’re still out of it. If we have to think about it, we won’t do it. To craft a routine we’ll actually follow, we must make a system out of it.
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
First, list 10 to 20 activities that make up your ideal morning. They can be simple and quick, or longer and sporadic. You don’t have to do every activity every day. Think to yourself, “If I started my day doing this, it would be the perfect day.”
Step 2: Build your ritual
Take those pieces and group them together by category. For example, If you have several activities that involve with friends or family, put them in the same category.
Once you’ve added each activity into a category, create your order. This will be the order or sequence you follow.
Step 3: Run the program
Finally, write your morning ritual down on paper. Remember – we’re not firing on all mental cylinders when we first wake up. When you can see your ritual on paper, your chances of sticking to it are much higher than relying on your memory.
Then all you have to do is wake up, look at the paper, and run the program.
It’s important to realize that it won’t be perfect in the beginning. You’ll find that some parts work great and others are clunky or unnecessary. Don’t give up on your ritual just because you don’t like one moment of it. Tweak it and move forward. The great thing is you’ve got 365 days a year to make it better!
The Morning Ritual Worksheet
This is an early version of my morning routine to give you an idea of how to craft your morning routine.
On the far left, under ‘Ideal Ingredients’ I’ve listed all of the actions I want to be part of the ritual.
Next to that, I have a column for grouping the ingredients together. For example, I’ve placed an ‘M’ next to everything that gets me to Move and Sweat.
In the ‘Focus’ and ‘Purpose’ columns, I fill in the groups I’ve put my activities in and the reason those are important to me.
Then, I take the individual activities and put them in the ‘Strategy’ column. This becomes the order of my morning ritual – the program for getting every single day started in the right way. If something doesn’t work, I can reorder at any time.
Build yourself a morning ritual, and live it. When you do, what happens is extraordinary. You’ll love your mornings. You’ll be clear about what you need to accomplish and jumpstart the day. Get ready to feel unstoppable.
Without a morning ritual, you run a risk of spending your entire day playing catch up.