Is the routine I posted with screenshots of my morning routine app the “Best Morning Routine”?
After my post on my AM/PM routines, bunches of people messaged me:
“I got that morning routine app! I’m doing this!!”
Enthused, I said to myself, “Self! Why not see what they come up with? Maybe their routines will be helpfully ingenious.”
I asked a few friends if they’d be willing to have theirs published in a follow-up post.
They said yes … and here we are.
Their routines don’t disappoint.
(Scroll down to see the best morning routine each of the five have made so far.)
P.S. That post also got the attention of producers at an internet radio station. They invited me in for an interview, and you can now listen the episode online: Start Your Day Strong (12:31).
Back to the question … is my routine the best morning routine? Maybe it is for me, but it’s probably not the best morning routine for you.
The best morning routine is what helps you have your best day, by covering what matters most to you, and that is a set of things you love doing, and that you believe in because you’ve tweaked and tested it yourself.
And now I’m pleased to present …
Routines From Five Super Rad People
hailing from both coasts, the midwest and the mountain west:
Mollie, Nate, Madi, JP and Danny
AM: 46 min // PM: 24 min
New York City
Mollie with her mad genius man and business partner, Blake.
Pretty simple. Pretty fast.
body = fluids, nutrients and cleaning
mind = meditation
spirit = gratitude
space = bed
What part do I like best?!
She does all that in AIRPLANE mode. NO disruptions! Genius, Mollie. Genius.
This concept of a morning routine has been evolving for me and has especially shifted now that I’ve taken up 3 new habits:
- Vedic meditation
- tea (instead of coffee), and
- a gratitude list in the AM rather than the PM.
With the Morning Rituals app, I like that it’s dynamic and I was able to update my routine to account for these new habits. And at the exact same time, I’m intent on tweaking until I get to a routine that works effortlessly; one that I know cold that I can do on autopilot.
I’m clear that this level of attention (like the level that this app provides) is the thing that will get me there!
@ Mollie — I’m sure it will!
BONUS: Mollie also shared her evening routine … which ends with putting her phone in Airplane mode (no disruptions while sleeping!). Have a look:
Thanks again, Mollie!
Mollie runs Lecture Loft, The Nonverbal Group and Beyond Tells out of a sweet loft in the heart of Chelsea in New York City. I’ve hosted consulting workshops and attended parties there. If you need a space for 1-50ish people … or you could use development in your nonverbal communication and poker game … have a look at what she and Blake do.
AM: 2 hrs 37 min // PM: none
Salt Lake City, Utah
Nate has interviewed 100+ couples and love experts around the country.
@ Nate — you da man! But seriously tho, that’s a long poop session … good grief.
As I’ve developed a morning routine, I’ve noticed how much more energy and clarity I have during my day.
- I wake up every morning and the first thing I do (after going to the bathroom) is exercise. I’m the kind of guy who will make ANY excuse not to work out … so I’ve started sleeping in my workout clothes so I have a total of 0 excuses.
- After going for a run or doing my morning yoga …
- I eat some food …
- Do some breathing …
- And then I allow myself to write without any constraints in my journal. It’s basically a word-vomit session. I just write whatever I’m thinking and feeling at the moment.
- Then I give commentary on my thoughts and feelings. There are no rules during this writing session. Nothing is bad, nothing is good … it’s just clearing the clutter.
- Then I do some reading or make myself some lunch (depending on how I’m doing on time) …
- And take some time to write something more thoughtful.
I’m not perfect with this routine.
It’s still in development.
And during the days that I follow it, I feel like I am living my life instead of letting my life live me.
Nate is the creator of The Loveumentary, a podcast about healthy, long-lasting and wildly loving relationships, and co-founder of Unbox Love, a monthly date-in-a-box service for couples. His TEDx talk: Fight naked! And other epic love strategies (8:19), brought the house down in September 2015. Nate regularly speaks and hosts seminars to help singles and couples learn and improve the skills that build great relationships. And P.S., if you use Workfront to manage projects, jump into the Workfront Customer Success Portal where Nate is your front-line man.
AM: no app or timer, she just does // PM: none
Salt Lake City, UT
Madi took her church’s ladies’ bball team to the city championship.
Madi doesn’t use an app. She’s been doing her thang for years and has her routine down.
That’s especially why I asked Madi to share her routine — to show you can use an app but you don’t need one to have a great morning.
I love morning time. I love that it is a refreshing new start every 24 hours.
I wake up between 6:30-7:00 am most mornings. I love how quiet, cleansed, and still my soul feels.
I used to look at social media to help me wake up but I did away with that because it was a waste of time and never added to my morning experience in a good way.
- I always try to start my day with a prayer. I think about the things I’m grateful for and I think about the things I need to accomplish for the day.
- Then I hop to my feet and make my bed. I love when things are clean and in place, so I then tidy the rest of my room.
- I always listen to my scriptures or a talk. Those tend to set the mood for the day. They help me feel happy and hopeful.
- I love food so I always eat a yummy breakfast. Usually, it’s an egg, toast, and berries or a yogurt, toast, and berries. Food is healing, nourishing, and tastes great.
- If I’m lucky I get a work out in. I love playing basketball; all that running reduces stress, and I get to be with some of my favorite friends.
All of these things help me have a powerful start to my day.
I feel endowed with a power that is motivating, faithful and happy.
I love how Madi loves her mornings … didn’t you feel it? She’s smiling. And content. And cheerful. And pleasant. And simple about all this. It’s lovely.
ALSO, I can see that Madi is super clear on why she does each thing she does.
I’m positive that clarity-in-why counts.
I aspire to do my mornings as gracefully as Madi does.
Until then … I’ll lean on the app and it’s OK if you do too.
@ Madi — you’re awesome!
Madi loves basketball and works at Intermountain Health Care. Every Monday, she plans a mean-good activity for everyone at her church to attend for personal and social enrichment.
AM: 2 hrs 19 min // PM: the reverse
Las Vegas (but I’m counting him for the midwest … Cincinnati hometown homeboys what?!)
JP blogs about the LA Kings, travel and Meal Prep Sundays.
JP and I go way back to Sycamore High School, specifically the SHS Marching Band where he was drum major and I was the drumline captain. Good times.
For years, JP’s been inspired by Ben Franklin’s daily outline:
Check it out … a full three hour block before starting work!
After my post, JP kicked it up a notch using the app to add a little formality and structure to his routine, a boon considering his travel + startup founder schedule introduces loads of variability into his life.
I like that he has two reading blocks.
The WSJ gives him access info that stirs and nurtures his business brain.
The second reading block is open to nurture non-business aspects of his brain.
It’s been a challenge to maintain any sort of routine given my work starting an airline.
I definitely see the merits and the importance of maintaining any sort of order to help balance out the chaos of entrepreneurship. A good friend from high school, Nat Harward, introduced me to the Morning Routine app, a straightforward tool for timing and managing specific tasks.
My background: I always maintained some sort of informal routine having been inspired by Ben Franklin’s daily outline (see above). It makes sense to maximize production given the limited amount of daylight that was afforded during colonial era. Basically, my routine consisted of waking up, a few light chores, breakfast, fitness and business throughout the day.
While I prided myself in, at least, making a schedule, more often than not leisure crept into my day, which would significantly mitigate productivity.
When I initially deployed the app into my schedule, it was simply to keep track and manage my morning routine. Having been inspired by Nat to read, I built that in along with Yoga. I’m a huge proponent of Yoga since I’m not 18 anymore and my fitness needs have changed the older I get.
So far my routine consists of:
- Up – Get out of bed, recognize that it’s a new day
- WSJ – Read the latest articles
- Read – Any non-business related reading. Currently book written by a local Vegas pastor
- Make Bed – Still fine tuning this time depending on how stubborn my pup is
- Yoga – It says 20 minutes but some of the yoga videos I watch on YouTube last up to 30 minutes. This one varies but at least I have it set in the schedule.
- Active – This could mean walking the dog or going for a run, the time may vary but, again, it’s locked into the schedule.
My night routine is the reverse of this.
Think of it as falling back down into my bed.
The biggest takeaway, for me, is how vital it is to have any sort of routine or set schedule.
More often than not, I had video games or other leisure activities creep into my daily schedule mitigating my overall productivity. In the few stable days I’ve been able to incorporate a routine, I’ve been astronomically productive to the point where I thoroughly enjoyed my downtime in the afternoon leading to the start of my evening routine.
I have plenty of friends who are envious of my zen-like attitude, but it’s not without careful planning. Yoga and being active are definitely main staples of my routine, so at the very least those are non-negotiable.
@ JP — reversing the AM routine as the PM routine is brilliant … falling back down into bed. Great way to think about it! Thanks man, eager to follow the Airline 4.0 story.
JP loves playing ice hockey and rooting for the Bengals and the LA Kings. He faithfully preps a week’s worth of meals on Sundays … except when he’s traveling to build Airline 4.0. Follow his meals and startup progress on Insta.
AM: 2 hrs // PM: none
Long story … but Danny, his lovely wife and I flew a small plane over LA with a former Romanian street car racer as our pilot (that’s the long part of the story). Said he, “99% of airspace is unregulated, so when I got tired of them chasing me in the streets, I took to the air.” True story.
I can’t say enough about Mr. ‘DannyRas.’ I haven’t even read through his routine yet, which I’m about 30 seconds away from pasting into this blog, and I’m giddy to see what he wrote about it.
First up, Danny’s preface:
Ever since I started listening to The Tim Ferriss Show podcast [Nat here, also a fan! I’m not a regular listener but I listen when a title catches my eye … as this one did: The Man Who Studied 1,000 Deaths to Learn How to Live], I’ve been obsessed with morning routines. I’ve tried probably around 20-30 different iterations before finally settling on what I’ve been using of late [[Good on ya! SEE … experiment experiment experiment 🙂 ]]. It’s simple and not particularly flashy, but seeing as I’m really not a morning person at all, I tend to give myself a break.
Danny’s simple, good-enough-for-a-non-morning-person Morning Routine:
Here’s Danny (buckle up!):
As a natural night owl, mornings and I have never gotten along.
Mornings don’t like me and I don’t like mornings. If mornings were an animal, they’d be those noisy crickets that sound like they’re right by your ear but you can’t seem to locate the source.
I am not a happy person in the mornings.
In fact, I can be downright angry. Those who know me understand that this is counter to my very nature and disposition at all other hours of the day. I’m a happy guy … after 10AM. Before 10AM, it’s best to stay away. My brain is pretty much useless for a good hour after waking up. Meanwhile, my body is all about retaining its inertia in it’s perfect cocoon. My mind, meanwhile, performs one and only one function at that hour: silence the snooze and justify hitting it just one more time. When it comes to snooze justifications, my brain is straight-up Einsteinian.This is a daily struggle.
As a result, I’ve built my morning routine around three simple concepts:
- Activating my body,
- Activating my brain and
- Feeding my soul.
That’s it.Activate Body: get out of bed, move my body, shower/shave/get dressed, eat breakfast. Activate Brain: listen to podcast or audiobook, eat breakfast, Feed Soul: listen to inspiring audio First thing I do is I physically pry myself away from my covers and into the other room where I, in my catatonic state, attempt to clothe myself in the workout clothes I laid out the night before. This occurs with varying degrees of success. I grab my phone and headphones and turn on some form of inspiring audio, typically a podcast (like Tim Ferriss), an audiobook (currently: The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield [[Nat here … I HIGHLY recommend this book.]) or an inspiring talk (e.g. anything from #ldsconf) and walk out the door. The passive audio consumption begins the brain activation and soul feeding processes.
During my “workout,” I don’t care if I run in record time or leisurely stroll around the neighborhood.
My only goal is to move my body. That’s it. No judgment, no personal records. If I move my body, I succeed. When I get back, I go through the usual shower/shave/get dressed process. Nothing fancy here. If I take a longer shower, it just means I have to get dressed quicker. This is all a continuation of my “activate body” process, but it also helps me take the rest of my morning activities a little more seriously. This is especially important on the days that I’m working from home. Breakfast is either lovingly prepared by my wife or rushingly thrown together by yours truly. The inputs vary with one exception and that is fresh squeezed OJ. One of the perks of living in pricey Orange County is the abundance of cheap, sweet oranges at the local farmers markets. We go through a lot of oranges …
Once my body is awakened, exercised, bathed, clothed and fed, I’m ready to sit down for my communion session.
This is where I come to really feed my soul. I sit down at my desk, say a prayer and make a concerted effort to commune with my Heavenly Father. I just want to talk to him, and try and listen to what He has to tell me. That’s why during my communion session, I tend to focus on reading scripture. That’s where I get a lot of answers. Of all the activities I participate in during my morning routine, I find that this one provides the best ROI for the rest of the day.
After feeding my soul, I review my To-Dos for the day and it’s game on.
I’m glad Danny’s ended up being last in order here because I think he’s set up a great pattern that anyone wanting to make or tweak their personal best morning routine can follow.
What parts of myself need waking up or nurturing in the morning?
Danny IDed for himself: body, brain, soul.
When charting your best morning routine, perhaps that’s the best question to start with … it’s not “what ‘should’ I do in the morning?” or “what does everyone else do in the morning that seems trendy and therefore good to do?”
The key questions are something more like, “As I think about what’s most important in life and what I want to accomplish each day, what parts of myself then do I want to take care of? What aspects of myself further my goals, and of those, which need the most support to establish momentum in the morning?”
@ Danny — You’re a rockstar! Way to take your known weaknesses and craft your best morning routine to lovingly work yourself awake each day. Thanks, brah.
Danny is a marketer and responsible for the growth the trampoline park franchise Big Air. He’s also one of the founding contributors of Normons, a blog about how Mormons are actually super normal. He and his wife, Ashley, are working on a forthcoming podcast about shame, conquering it and healing oneself of the impact. I can’t wait. He’s die hard for the Angels, In-n-Out and Twitter. Catch him at @dannyras.
What do you think? Who’s got the best morning routine?
If you were inspired or got any new ideas on crafting your best morning routine, I’d love to hear about it.
Leave a comment below.
# # #
To the app developers of Morning Routine (formerly Morning Rituals) … the lovely people of Ubicolor:
I got feedback from people that would be better in your hands than mine. Here’s a punchlist of feature requests that came my way:
- Two modes: morning routine mode and night routine mode
- Night routine mode: have an alarm that goes off at a set time to support us in starting the routine on time
- Option for more than 2 modes or routine “lists” … sometimes the Sa/Su routine is different from M-F
Got more feedback? Send it via the comment form at the bottom of Ubicolor’s Press Kit.
To download the app, do that here ($2, no affiliate status; iOS only).