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The Morning Ritual — Injecting Routine In Your Day To Boost Productivity

08/07/2012

in Make Money

It’s amazing what a little bit of routine can do for your productivity.

For the last month, I’ve been formulating and following a morning routine from the moment I get up. I’ve learned, from tracking my experience over the last few days, that the simple activity of doing an action every morning allows you to get into the mindset you’ll need for a successful day.

Ask yourself: What did you do this morning? And what did you do yesterday? Was it the same?

We all wake up with a blank slate every morning, a chance to have an awesome, productive, successful day. A morning routine will help set the path for an awesome day to follow.

In the video above, you’ll see my morning routine. It’s a simple process.

My Current Morning Routine

1) As soon as I get on my computer, I activate Freedom, a simple app that turns off the Internet, for 30 minutes.

2) I drink a liter of cold water. This jumpstarts my metabolism and makes me feel great during the day.

3) I journal 2 pages in my LiveScribe Notebook. Part of my journal includes my MITs (Most Important Todos) of the day, so I know exactly what I have set for me.

At this point, I will still have 10-15 minutes of Freedom left–so I’ll turn on my computer and start working on whatever is the most important task of the day. Restricting access to Internet is the most successful way, at least for me, to really focus on a task and get work done.

The Morning Routine habit makes creating new habits very easy

One of the biggest benefits of creating a Morning Routine is that you can easily add a new habit into the routine. For example, if I decide that, after Journaling 2 pages, I want to write 1000 words for a blog post, I can simply add it as step 4) of my routine. The main habit is the Routine itself—after that, everything else is just a sub-step.

Some other successful peoples’ morning routines

Leo Babauta’s Morning Routine is similar.

  1. Wake at 4:30 a.m.
  2. Drink water.
  3. Set 3 Most Important Things (MITs) for today.
  4. Fix lunches for kids and myself.
  5. Eat breakfast, read.
  6. Exercise (run, bike, swim, strength, or yardwork) or meditate.
  7. Shower.
  8. Wake wife & kids at 6:30 a.m.

Tim Ferriss has one as well (paraphrased from Leo’s excellent Sea Change program)

  1. Wake up and brush teeth, boil water, and set up his thermos and tea.
  2. Immediately write, without eating or using the Internet

Simple, right? Do it immediately upon waking, and you can pump out your most important tasks of the day.

So what about you? What is your morning routine?

Try instituting a repeated process for the next week, immediately upon waking, and WRITE IT DOWN. You’ll see some instant benefits immediately.

Tell me below, in the comments, what your routine is.

{ 42 comments… }

Michael September 6, 2012 at 11:56 am

I’m dividing my morning routine in the rooms, where I’m doing the things.

1) Bedroom (making bed, opening windows, putting everything where it belongs)

2) Bathroom (brushing teeth, wc, washing my face)

3) Office (putting all things where I’ll need them later to work)

4) Kitchen (drinking a coffee, 1L water, reading the newspaper)

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Tanuja September 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

I love this post! I believe that all successful people have some sort of morning routine.

Mine is this:

1. Wake up between 5:30a-6:00a
2. Take a meditative walk for 30 min – 1 hour
3. Drink 32 oz of water
4. Shower, get ready
5. Sit in silence for 5-10 minutes.
6. Make something to eat or prepare a green smoothie.
7. Leave for work.

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Andy Amick August 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Very nice post. The morning routine is so hard to get started, but it’s worth the battle. With young kids, I don’t have too much time in the morning before they get up (can’t do the Leo thing at 4:30AM) so the ideal morning would be:

Wake at 5:30
Start coffee
Journal
Set 3 MITs
Enjoy coffee
Wait for the chaos of kids up at 6:30

Would love to include some physical activity in there too.

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Jessica August 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Great ideas with the morning routines. :) I have been struggling to get mine in order, as I’m prone to multiple depressions of the “snooze” button. I want to aim to be up by 6:45 a.m…

Wake
Drink water
Meditate + walk dogs
Breakfast + pack lunch(es)
Shower
Journal + MIT’s
Work-It
Break and create something (me=artist)
Work-It some more before attending noon workout classes

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Anouar August 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

Wake up
Internet/facebook
Protein rich breakfast
Internet/facebook
Decide what I’m gonna do that day

I need to redesign this…

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Rebecca June 22, 2013 at 4:58 am

This made me chuckle :) as mine is very similar.. I also need to re-do my morning routine. Have a great day!

Rebecca

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ben August 14, 2012 at 6:13 am

1. 7am (working on 6am)
2. 30gm protein shake
3. turn on shower / make bed
4. walk to coffee shop (7:30)
5. daily plans & working on new video clients

my 2 cents. good post. i need more podcasts. they good…

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Jose Vergara August 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Hi Maneesh,

I´ve been following you for some time but this is my first time commenting here. I started the morning ritual today (since I came back yesterday from a month vacation at home, in Spain). This is it:
1) I go on the scale to control my weight (I´m following the slow carb diet)
2) I drink half a liter of iced-water and a protein shake
3) I write the 3 most important tasks for the day
4) I prepare an omelette for breakfast
5) I go to train boxing (this alone charges my batteries for the rest of the day)

This ritual is a little different from yours because I’m more of a night owl, and during the first hour of the day my mind is still a little dizzy. I prefer to do my reading and writing at night, since my mind is more focused at that time.

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kmulhoon August 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm

You have to have an “app” that turns off your access to the Internet? How strange! I just turn my system off if I don’t want to be disturbed. Same with the phone. It’s so easy to unplug the cord from the wall jack, dude, or simply not turn my cellphone on! Technology does not rule me … I rule it. I decide when I am available, not a machine.

Morning routine starts whenever I get up … anywhere from not going to bed the night before and therefore still up when dawn comes to 2 or 3 in the afternoon.
Pee first.
Drink vast amount of water.
Walk in rainforest or swim in ocean for one hour.
Open shutters and front door to let the day in.
Sweep porch of dead ants, gongola (millipedes), and leaves.
Open folding chairs.
Water plants.
Pick ripe fruit, vegetables, and herbs for the day’s meals.
Wash dishes (if any).
Make bed (if not too busy).
Prepare breakfast.
Eat breakfast on porch.
Chew slowly.
Enjoy nature.
Take shower.
Write in journal (if I feel like it).
Begin work on freelance projects (if any).
Design digital art for sale (if no freelance projects).
Take power nap.

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maneesh August 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm

pretty inspirational! where do you live?

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andrea August 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm

i love all the replies. n u maneesh r good looking guy.
i love the post.

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Mike August 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Usually I’ve got an hour before heading out so the only thing I do is think over the day while having breakfast, thus far having no social interactions. Waking isn’t a problem for me and I never drink coffee though the water greatly helps waking you up.
The main problem I see: when you’ve got to get to work or school for 8am and you’ll wake at 7, how do you fit in the writing and other stuff? I could wake earlier but that would mean I’d have to get to bed early too.

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Tyler August 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

If I were to create one, this is how it would go:

1. Wake up at 9 or 10 a.m.
2. Turn on immersion within 5 minutes.
3. Walk for 15-30 minutes (Walking meditation is the best meditation, imo)
4. Sit back down at journal, write today’s three most important tasks.
5. Journal.
6. Start first task.

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shanna August 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

Maneesh, I dig you! Great post (as usual). And I love that you are rockin’ your WDS shirt in the video :)

I wake and drink a big glass of warm water with lemon (jump-starts digestion and it alkalizes the body), then I meditate for 15 minutes. Afterward, I play with my dog and take him out for a few, then, sadly, I neglect my own writing as I panic and head into the day and on to the computer to write for others and to manage the many moving parts of my business.

I need to do something about that last part…

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Luis Fernandes August 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Great Post!

Here´s my morning routine for the last 6 months :

1.Wake up at 6:00am
2. Big Glass of water
3. Joint Mobility exercises (Intu-Flow) 30 m
4. Breakfast
5. Read BookSort out the coming day
6. 30m after Breakfast exercise for about 40m (using a 4 day cycle of intensity day 1 – joint mobility only day 2- j.mobility and yoga day 3- j.mob, strength exercises and yoga, day 4 – j.mob, high-intensity interval training, yoga)
7. Shower
8.Big Smile to start the day

I also have an evening ritual :

1.stop watching tv or internet 1 hour before sleeping.
2.Meditate daily (at the moment 17m)
3.Read fiction for 30m
4.Lights out

Started this routine 5 months ago, building it up slowly over 28 day-cycles…have lost more than 50 pounds and getting more and more disciplined and motivated with life.

Luis

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Linda October 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Awesome. I like that you added a night routine.

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Kirsti August 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Thank you! This post gave me lots of inspiration. Already done my list. I also thought that thinking about the evening routines would help too. What is your evening routines?

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maneesh August 8, 2012 at 5:24 am

sleep :) No evening routine yet.

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Chris Reynolds August 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Great Post Maneesh!!!

I wake every morning aroud 6:30am.
1. Make my bed
2. Drink a glass of water
3. Go for a jog or hike, 30 minutes of cardio (Jog in Costa Rica, hike in Peru)
4. Make myself a fruit and veggie smoothie (at least 1 liter, and drink 1 liter of water after that)
5. Cup of Green Tea
6. Begin the most important task for the day.

These are implemented only Monday – Friday, weekend is play time.

Great stuff man!

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muriel August 8, 2012 at 1:40 am

Thanks this is inspiring, I realize that half the morning is gone and I am not sure what I have done, I am impressed about Chris reply “jog in Costa Rica and hike in Peru” are you another “online business success story??

I start my routine tomorrow!

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Liz August 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Love this video.

My morning routine is a horrifyingly frightening lack of productivity, this is something I have to change.

Have begun the steps to get myself more together in the am, namely cooking in bulk. I’ll hard boil a bunch of eggs for breakfasts and then make a huge batch of chicken or beef that I can alternate taking for lunch at work.

This has absolutely made me feel less harried in the morning, now it’s just getting out of bed when my actual alarm goes off rather than hitting snooze repeatedly.

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Michelle August 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Thanks for this post! I’ve been needing something like this for a long time. My mornings are very hectic, I barely make it to work on time and I’m always stressed out and feeling that I didn’t get everything done that I needed to. I am going to make a sample routine for tomorrow and give this a try.

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James Gore August 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm

1. Drink Water
2. 15 minute stretch and recovery work
3. Check white board for mission critical tasks for the day
4. Write
5. Breakfast

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Erin August 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I’m totally adding water to my morning ritual. I’ve been working on starting something for the past few months. Right now, it’s go straight to my meditation spot, followed by yoga, followed by making breakfast for myself and my husband along with jasmine tea for myself. If I start with water and end with the way in which I start my tasks for the day, I think I’ll have a really nice thing going! Now, to keep it going when my usual routine gets screwed up…

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Alex August 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Thanks Maneesh, the Livescribe pen and Freedom apps sound amazing. Definitely going to add that into my system.

When I heard that the morning ritual was really important, I went all out. Mine takes about 2.5 hours (6am-8:30am). But my day is ready to rock after all this madness.

- Drink water, brush teeth, scrape tongue (5 mins)
- Morning pages to clear the brain, brain dump / freewriting / initial to-do (10 mins)
- Meditation, breathwork, yoga poses (20 mins)
- Exercise (run, sprints, pushups & abs, burpees, etc), then stretching (20 mins)
- Make a protein shake (5 mins)
- Cold shower (5 mins)

- Life from other perspectives – other people, me 10 years from now, contemplate my death (morbid, I know)
- Reading mission statement + Visualization (5 mins)
- Plan out day, to-do list, look at weekly goals, look at calendar (15 mins)
- Morning questions (5 mins)
– What can I do today that I didn’t do yesterday?
– What can I appreciate about myself today? How can I love myself more today?
– What or who can I be more curious about today?
– What and who can I appreciate today?
– Who can I reach out to today?
– How can I lead more today?
– How can I proactively give more today (work, relationships, health, favors, sharing)?
– How can I make today more fun? What can I notice?
– How can I be social today?
– How can I improve my thoughts/focus/actions/perceptions today?
- Add anything to my to-do list that came up after questions list (2 mins)
- Morning gratitude list/prayer, Set intent for the day (5 mins)
- Do EyeQ Advantage / Lumina course (10 mins)
- Reading (30 mins)
- Make breakfast (20 mins)
- WATCH SOMETHING FUNNY, LAUGH

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Kirsti August 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Your morning questions sound worth trying!

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Tyler August 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

Honestly, I think that’s too much. Think big, do small.

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Katie August 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm

As of yet, I haven’t got a routine routinely in place, but this has motivated me to implement one! So as of tomorrow I am going to:
1) Drink tea (I am English) :)
2) Shower and feel fresh
3) Sit down and write – a blog post, some ideas, an article, whatever.
4) Sort out to-do list for the day (and DO IT!)

Great article, thank you!
Katie.

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vidiSEO August 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I used to start my day with 24 (1.5oz) shots of water, but I’ve seen some pretty huge efficiency gains after buying a pint glass . Same amount of liquid! So fast!

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maneesh August 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

what the… do you only own shot glasses at your house?

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Debbie May 17, 2013 at 4:11 am

I know! That’s what I thought!

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Marc August 8, 2012 at 3:29 am

Me thinks you jest sir!

I like your video seo site. Just bookmarked it.

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sKY January 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm

LOL, too funny!

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Matt Cartagena August 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I like this post…makes me realize I need to get BACK into my old morning routine:

1. Meditate! (Mindfulness meditation)
2. Write (Externalize what’s heavy on my mind, not allowing it to bottle up)
3. Drink water (hydrates me and clears out my stomach, making me feel lighter)

Cheers,
Matt Cartagena

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Marc August 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

1-Get up at 5 am and make coffee.

2-Check the weather while drinking the coffee.

3-When my brain is buzzing with a caffeine high, I yield all control to my taskmaster which is an autohotkey script. The script opens all the files and websites needed for task 1. It also allows a preset time for the task to be completed before it nags me with a “are you done yet?” message every 5 minutes. When I’m done I click a “task 1 completed” button. Then the script starts in with task 2, etc.

4- when the tasks are completed for the day, I tweak the script for the next days tasks. I don’t have much will power and I can perform and accomplish so much more when I’m booted around by my “boss”.

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Dave (Inky's T-Shirt Printing) August 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

What I have to do is avoid looking out of the window of my apartment and remembering that I’m now living in Budapest as a result of the success of my online business. Otherwise I just wanna go out there and enjoy it instead of staying at home and getting work done.

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Benjamin August 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

Yo Maneesh,

I’ve found the same. I started a morning ritual about a month and a half ago and have been noticing monster productivity boosts.

I do 5 sun salutations, then 5 minutes of meditating. Being sure to sit for a few minutes more and feel grateful about the good shit in my life. Then I crank up the coffee pot or tea. Write in my notebook what I want to rock today.
Then start.

If I don’t do it, I feel it and if I do do it… I’ll add honey to my tea as a sweet reward.

Rock it,
Benjamin

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Jason Martin August 7, 2012 at 11:33 am

Upon waking, I have a routine of 10 minutes of meditating / silent sitting; this allows my mind to settle. The rest of my day then builds upon this conscious awareness, rather than just being thrown into the day head first and reacting to whatever the moment brings.

I find that this practice causes me to lead a proactive life, rather than a reactive life.

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Steve Boyer August 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Just wanted to thank you for this idea. I’m going to give it a shot.

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Jason Martin August 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Awesome :) I hope it serves you well

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Brian Kwong August 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

I don’t really have a routine besides drinking a cup of water and walking my dog. So after watching your video and your post, here is my routine.

1. Drink water
2. Walk dog
3. Activate Freedom (Internet access is a big distraction for me)
4. Write for 15 minutes and reate 3 tasks that I will complete that day.
5. Start on my task

Will let you know how it goes by the end of the week.

Brian

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Brian Kwong August 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

As I said, coming back to let you know how it went.

I downloaded Freedom after I left a comment here on Tuesday (You should get a commission!) and started the morning ritual on Wed.

Wednesday:
Drink water, walked dog, ate breakfast, started Freedom at 9:36am, Open a “Journal” folder, created a text file and wrote in it.

I felt so much lighter after I dumped what was on my mind in the journal and got clear on where I am in my life.

Created 3 tasks and completed all 3 tasks, but the problem was that I was drained and tired. I didn’t take breaks in between task and I didn’t use Freedom.

Thursday:
Drink water, as I was walking my dog, BOOM SHAKALAKA, a new vision showed up in my head, building on top of what I am currently working on. I was so freaking exciting, I couldn’t wait to get home to write in the journal

Ate breakfast and launched Freedom at 930am for 60 minutes as I know I will need more time to flush it out in the journal.

Not only I wrote down the vision of the lifestyle that I am making to reality (Travel the world). I came up with an action plan, including launch dates and marketing around it (Its related to your Learn a New Language in 90 days topic, how I found you in the first place).

Created 3 tasks and got 2 of them done (On top of the ongoing tasks that I need to manage).

I was not burned out at the end of the day as I used Freedom as a timer. I set it for 60 mins and took 15 mins breaks in between. So I felt I got a lot accomplished and not burnt out.

I shared my vision with my wife after she came home, she was excited too and working with me to make it happen.

Friday:
Drink water, walked my dog, while I was eating breakfast by my computer, my programmer started a conversation with me as his time zone is ahead of me. (Part of my ongoing task that I need to manage as I am building an app)
Freedom didn’t get launch and my journal is empty for Friday.

I still got a whole lot done because of the vision that I created the day before but I was drained and not as free up at the end of the day.

So starting next week, I will not check email and turn off Skype UNTIL I completed my morning ritual.

Thanks for making a difference in my life Maneesh.

Brian

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