I know, I’m coming in a little hot there. Honestly, I don’t want to knock the morning routine per se. In fact, I’m cited in Hal Elrod's book, “The Miracle Morning For Entrepreneurs”.
But people put so much emphasis on it; like if you don’t have a morning routine, there’s no way you’re going to be successful.
The thing is, setting the alarm is easy. It’s what you do after that, that determines your productivity.
I get up at 5:45 in the morning. I have four children who go to three different schools, want four different lunches and require a full-court press of attention from my wife and me before I drive them to their respective schools.
I mean, it is a morning routine, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with me, and I like it like that.
After drop off, I have a full day of work that requires me to schedule interactions before 2:30 pm, because I pick my children up from school. Everyday. I’ve cleared my schedule to allow me to be entirely present for my kids while they are home. No distractions, no phone calls, no meetings.
After the kids go to bed, I get on my gym clothes and go out for a four-mile hardcore run in all kinds of weather over two bridges. I think about ideas, for my clients’ businesses and my own. I can solve many problems at a 7:00-minute mile pace because my body knows what to do, and my mind is free to engage in higher level thinking.
I can work stuff out in the half-hour it takes me. When I get home, I immediately make Trello cards for my team about those ideas. Then I shower, get in bed and watch TV.
I feel amazing. I look forward to that part of the day. It allows me to clear out my brain so that when the day starts, it can begin without lingering anxieties or unsolved problems. Plus an evening routine is so much more in my control. A morning routine can get easily derailed by a sick kid, a hectic travel schedule or a miserable night’s sleep.
The building of a nighttime routine requires self-discipline, as you only have yourself to hold to account. I believe developing that mind muscle is a cornerstone to building a more productive life.
My point in describing this routine to you is not so that you’ll be impressed, or irritated, it’s to illustrate the importance of a day designed around a singular priority, one at a time.
Super interesting sidebar here, did you know that the word priority was only used a singular noun until the Industrial Revolution? Then it quickly became a plural. So, if you think about it, there can only be ONE priority, because the definition describes something of the utmost importance.
So when you think about organizing your day, developing a routine, think about a singular priority during a specific time. When you make something a priority, then you make the time for it. Having too many priorities (more than one) is a sure-fire way to get your brain to do none of them. “I’m so swamped, everything’s a priority” no longer works, and that feels pretty damn good.