May 19, 2021
I follow the checklist referenced below every weekday. I actually have checklists for most things (weekly review, travel, cleaning checklists etc).
As per David Allen's GTD methodology, the least amount of things that live in my head and the least decisions that I have to make, the less stressed and more productive I will be.
As soon as I wake up, I don't check my phone or any device... I follow the exact process laid out below and I've been doing this for years with great joy. I should clarify however that workouts only became a part of my morning routine as of recently (I'll expand on this further below).
My morning routine was inspired by the The Miracle Morning — In order to wake up earlier, you need to be excited about your morning, and you achieve this by having a routine you love... That's what Miracle Morning is all about.
For a long time, I have been trying to make morning workouts part of my routine, but with little success... The few times that I did do it, I'd feel amazing, both physically and mentally. Not having to worry about it for the rest of the day was a huge relief and it opened up my day — This was the most difficult thing for me to incorporate.
Unfortunately I couldn't crack the code on how to be consistent...
What the Miracle Morning Morning taught me in a nutshell is that you have to be excited about your routine. The book explains that kids typically don't enjoy waking up early to go to school, but they'll be the first ones up on Christmas morning.
Being excited is key — That makes sense.
However, I became aware of two additional factors that made it much easier to execute my ideal morning routine:
- Don't try to wake up two hours earlier than usual and implement the perfect morning routine in one go. Like anything else, small steps is the key to longterm success. When I started my morning routine, it didn't include workouts at all. Once I was confident and feeling good about my morning routine, I added the workout!
- Add the workout to the latter part of your morning routine. Waking up early to workout isn't easy... It's not a very exciting way to wake up. BUT, if I added the workout towards the end of my morning routine, it became way easier to incorporate, nearly bulletproof! By that time I've already meditated, stretched, had a cup of coffee, and read. My body and brain were primed and ready for physical activity. But going from 0 —> 100 and doing it first thing in the morning was tough.
After I've completed my morning routine, I review my calendar to make sure that I'm aware of any scheduled meetings or events. Then I list out the things that I will work on — I do this by reviewing both yesterday's list for unfinished tasks and my existing projects.
Lastly, I put everything on Do Not Disturb mode (my computer is now always on DND) and I simply focus on my list for the rest of the morning — No calls, no texts, no email (I typically only do emails twice per day, inspired by Tim Ferris' The 4-Hour Work Week).
You will notice that my To Do list is called "Next Actions" because it specifically describes the actual thing that needs to be done next. For example, "finish research project" is NOT a Next Action while "create references" is — Not being specific promotes procrastination.
I always clarify the Next Action after I'm done working on a project. This way, you're doing the heavy lifting in advance.
Then, all that remains is my Midday Review where I take another peek at my calendar and go through my emails. More on how I use my calendar here.
I encourage you to create and define what your ideal day looks like. Having a daily checklist has not only helped me be more accountable to myself, but has also increased my sense of fulfillment and accomplishment as I look back at my day.
If you have a morning routine or a daily checklist, I'd love to hear about it 😊 —> Share with Thomas
My Daily Gameplan Template 👇
MORNING ROUTINE ~ 2h
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