I rolled out of bed, the sky still dark and the sun rising ...
Without pause I put on my running shoes and head out the door to jog before the heat began to build and the texan sun would make me break instantly into a sweat.
I come home breathing hard and turn on the fans as I roll out a mat and stretch into downward dog, my body already loose and my muscles warm. My preferred way to do yoga.
Afterwards I look at the clock to adjust if I’ve fallen behind schedule, and meditate briefly. 10 maybe 20 mins, often with a kitten purring in my lap (turns out he really digs the energy!)
And then I meditate on philosophy and go over my aspirations. Setting my intentions for the work day ahead. I’ll have several hours to myself before anyone disturbs my focus ...
Imagine waking up with the sunrise -- not because you HAVE to commute to your office but to enjoy the simple pleasures of life in peace before starting your workday. A good cup of coffee, a moment of silence to read a good book.
Too many entrepreneurs quit their jobs to build a company and add value to others, and gradually get seduced into 100+ hour weeks. Declaring with pride that they work from home while in reality they spend very little time being present with those they love.
They confuse busy with productive, and without structure or deadlines fall into a routine that replicates the sense of stress and responsibility from their old careers. Oddly it just feels right.
Or they find it too easy to sleep in. Getting a slow -- often aimless -- start to the day, before getting distracted by the responsibilities of the afternoon. And so work slips into the evening and cuts into their plans. They might not notice the overwhelm and burnout yet, but it’s creeping up.
It’s not that there is too much to do. But that most entrepreneurs don’t effectively structure their days. I remember going through both of these experiences myself -- alternating between being overworked, anxious in the evenings and working unconsciously into the weekends. And then sleeping in hoping for some sense of freedom and control.
I thought I loved spontaneity and adventure, and this was the price for freedom. What it meant to be my own boss and work on my own.
It was whole reason I became an entrepreneur (well, part of).
And then someone taught me,
“whether you think you love routine or you don’t, you actually DO.”
Then it dawned on me.
Freedom meant routine, but not any routine, one honestly tailored to my own needs and desires. It wasn’t good enough just to do what others told me to do. With a simple google search you can read about hundreds of routines, and yet none of them will be ideal until you listen and discover what works for you.
A good morning routine is not something you HAVE to do but something you CHOOSE to do. It brings joy, relief, or a sense of peace while naturally positioning you to slip into the flow as the work day starts. You have already accomplished most of what matters to you -- and it takes pressure off of having a perfect afternoon. Allowing you to adapt to demands as they emerge.
When you do start designing your morning routine start with these steps:
Take a moment to prepare the night before
A good morning routine starts the night before. Planning, whether it be through meditation or journaling, sets you up for success. Encourages you to set up your environment to remove resistance and overcome forgetfulness.
Imagine deciding to go for a run in the morning and putting your shoes out at the front of the bed with your gym clothes folded, versus leaving them in a pile in the closet. Which will get you out of bed, and which will lead you to hitting the snooze button again and again?
Getting up earlier is easier when you go to sleep earlier, and the body is more responsive to your demands when you are thoughtful of its needs.
Process takes precedence over results
Most entrepreneurs recommend meditation claiming it has many instant benefits.
Yet, I have learned as I have dived into meditation that it's not about the results but the process. I may never master meditation, accepting that and proceeding regardless is crucial to the experience. In fact, it is the experience. Presence is not about perfection.
True masters see themselves as students and so they continue to outperform everyone around them. So whatever you choose as part of routine know that it is the commitment, and NOT the immediate outcome, that matters. As they say, the journey is more valuable than the destination.
Focus on your wellbeing
Great entrepreneurs know at the greatest threat to their success is burnout, and so the morning routine is really meant to focus around wellness. So as your day begins you nourished your body, mind and soul. Exercise even if just for a few minutes, eat a nutritious breakfast, take a moment to breathe without feeling the pressure of “being perfect”.
If we go through life feeling like we are always behind, waiting for tomorrow before doing that ONE thing that we know is good for us, we make not live the long healthy lives we strive so desperately for. At some point, we will break emotionally, mentally, or physically.
Connect to your loved onES
Whether it’s sharing a meal, or getting in a good laugh, or a kiss and a hug in the morning -- it’s important to take a moment to connect to those we love. To remember why we work so hard (and why we stick to our boundaries when work is over).
Don’t forget these moments are what matter more so than any achievements we hope to accomplish, and they nourish our soul. And if you don't have time to spend with loved ones before you work read out your morning aspirations and make sure to include how you choose to live with those you love whether they are near or far.
I'm grateful for my morning routine and it is constantly changing as I change and grow alongside it. It's not perfect and neither am I.
Remember don't listen to others but to yourself. What morning routines work for you?