A productive day doesn't just happen.
It happens when you're intentional about it.
And while I think the key to a great day starts with a solid morning routine - the subject of this post, I believe the key to a said morning routine starts the night before.
Let me share with you how I set myself up for a productive day.
Note: please don't overthink what you're about to read. Take it in, think about it, and then figure out how you can set it up to work for you.
It starts the night before
A good morning routine starts the night before with a solid bedtime routine.
For me, this means all screens are off at 9 pm: TV, smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc. Anything that I've not done can wait until morning. If it can't, well, that's my problem and I don't worry about it now.
A powerful signal I give my brain that it's time for sleep is to read a print book next to my bed. The only light I have on in my bedroom is a 40-watt, yellowish light on my nightstand. You want to avoid the Daylight light bulbs as they mimic the sun which tells your body to wake up instead of getting ready for bed.
How long do I read? Until I'm tired enough to crawl into bed and fall asleep. This could be 5 minutes or it could half an hour. It varies by the night.
DO NOT have any heated discussions with members of your household in the last 1-2 hours before bed as this will make it more difficult to sleep.
A-sleeping I go
If I do my bedtime routine well, I will fall asleep fairly quickly.
For me, I can't listen to anything other than white noise from my fan to fall asleep. Despite many audio options that allegedly put you to sleep, they rarely work for me. I find myself becoming more awake. Your mileage may vary.
My room is on the cool side with both a standing and ceiling fan on (even when it's cold outside). I have to have air moving around. It's just one of my things.
Right before I close my eyes, I switch my Apple Watch to a dark blue watch face and enable Theater Mode. This makes sure that my Watch won't turn on during the night as I adjust or when I get up to use the restroom. (I use an app called AutoSleep to track my sleep.) Note: when I enable Theater Mode, I disable mute because otherwise my alarm will vibrate only and I don't want that.
In the morning
I wake up at 5 am every day - as in seven days a week. I voluntarily joined the 5 am Club on February 4th after reading Robin Sharma's bestselling book, The 5 AM Club.
Upon awaking, I make my bed (my wife, Michelle, sleeps in another room by choice - don't worry, there are no issues with our marriage!), turn on all the lights in the room, and then use the restroom if I have to.
Next, I read my Bible (I've been reading the Bible every day since August 16, 2013) followed by 1-2 devotionals.
After I've finished with this, I grab my Brendon Burchard High Performance Planner (something I've been using every day since January 4, 2019) and fill it out. It's more than a planner. It has 10 morning mindset questions that help me start my day intentionally. It also has a place for Today's Message to Myself, Today's Top 3 Goals/Priorities, Tasks That Absolutely Must Be Done Today, and Notes (where I write my goals out, again every day).
Off to the races, well, sort of...
Once I've done all of the above, I'm out the door for my daily run. I've been running at least one mile every day since August 29, 2017 (the day after Hurricane Harvey left Houston). I usually run 3 miles a day and my yearly goal is 1,000 miles.
It's important to note that I'm not racing or training for a marathon or anything else (other than life). I run because I love to run. Sometimes I run fast, other times, not so much.
Upon returning home and after cooling off, I take a shower, have breakfast, and then it's off to my day.
...and it's usually only around 7:30 am!
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