Morning routines are like excuses. Everyone has one. And just like excuses, some morning routines are more “legit” than others.
Take, for example, the rushed morning routine that involves waking up 10-15 minutes before departure, grabbing a quick bowl of cereal or energy bar, and heading out the door. This is the common way in which nearly everyone handles their mornings.
What’s the more “legit” routine? I call it the relaxed approach: by waking up at least 45 minutes before departure at a set time every morning, the relaxed approach emphasizes a well thought-out morning routine that enables productivity and a happy mood throughout the day.
For most of my life, I’ve had a rushed morning routine, and man, was it AWFUL!
In high school, I absolutely hated mornings because of my morning routine – something I had total control over! After gulping down a cup of coffee and a bowl of some not-Real Food Kashii, I usually was harassed and bullied by my sisters until I made it out the door. For the rest of the day, I was one of two things: completely dead to the world and sleeping in class – OR – wishing I was completely dead to the world and sleeping in class, but doing my best to stay awake by playing games on my calculator. After class, I came home, took an hour long nap, watched some TV, and surfed the web.
Not an ideal mindset for learning.
From those awful days, I learned a pretty awesome lesson. Go to bed early, get at least 7 hours of sleep, and create a beneficial morning routine to boost start my day – the relaxed approach encompasses waking up around 5:30 a.m., shower, meditate, write, practice copywriting, and then eat breakfast before heading off to work at 8:15. Yep, that’s nearly 3 hours of mind-focusing, energy-boosting, karma- building awesomeness. Do I know I’m going to kick-ass every day? You betcha. And it’s all because of I have a morning routine.
If you don’t have a morning routine yet, no worries at all. There are a number of small steps you can take to begin a morning routine:
- Wake up 5 minutes earlier
- Eat a small breakfast
- Shower every morning
- Meditate for 2-3 minutes
- Drink a glass of water
Try including one of these in your morning routine for a few weeks straight until it becomes habitual. For more on how to BUILD a morning routine, check out this killer article by Maneesh Sethi of Hack The System on Forbes: Building a Morning Routine.
Need more convincing as to why a morning routine is critical? Well, keep in mind that a morning routine…
- Sets the tone – If you could live life either rushed or relaxed, what would you choose? Do you want every day to be a stressful 24 hours? Or would you prefer a relaxed approach that emphasizes slow movement, creativity, and stress-free living? Nearly everyone would choose the latter answer. Why? The negative benefits of stress outweigh the positive benefits to “getting more done”. In fact, most who successful people are incredibly innovative and creative. Innovativeness is hampered by a clouded mind. Start your day out by taking your time, thus setting the tone for the rest of the day.
- Creates Momentum – When you incorporate a morning routine, you build momentum for productivity throughout the day. Think of a domino set. My “first” domino is when I wake up to shower. When I’m done showering (when the domino falls), I meditate, my second domino. Meditation leads directly into writing. Writing leads directly into copywriting. Copywriting leads directly into breakfast. And so on, and so forth. Creating this momentum will have a stellar effect on the rest of your day.
- Enables Positivity – Two critical aspects of a morning routine – meditation and a gratitude journal – are helpful in creating a more optimistic and positive mood. Great habits and a happy life begin in the mind. When positive thoughts are intentionally cultivated in the morning, the trend continues throughout the day.
- Jumpstarts Habit-Stacking: Since I’ve began following meditation with 30 minutes of writing every morning, a curious question arose in my mind: Is it possible to “stack” all my daily routines, thus creating an effective work regimen for the remainder of the day? To explain: If one segments his or her schedule into short time-frames, say 30 minutes to an hour, and then STACKS one habit on top of another, would this be an effective way to boost productivity and create a day-long habit of productive activity? I have yet to try this, but assume it may be worth experimenting with. One downside, I imagine, is the restrictive nature of sticking to the same routine (pretty much) every day. This problem could be countered by “stacking-in” hours for creativity, or for socializing, or social media like Reddit and Facebook.
All of these reasons discuss the “why’s” of a morning routine.
So now, you’re probably wondering HOW this information applies to travel.
Here’s my take:
Some people see travel as an escape from the grind of daily life. Work-work-work for fifty weeks, and play for two. And, if that’s the case, it’s best to do away with any type of routine, and instead completely enjoy the relaxation of your vacation time.
If, however, you’re a nomadic traveler looking to get work done while on the road, a morning routine is the best way to cultivate a working mindset.
Morning routines can be turned off at will while on the road, like in case of a late-night party or an impromptu weekend together. But, if you absolutely need to get things done, your morning routine can be called on in times of need and desperation. Your brain, once it knocks off those first two or three “dominos”, will understand what’s going on and shift you into a zen-like working mode. Distractions will be eliminated, and instead of worrying about what you’re missing out on (FOMO anyone?), you’ll be zoned in on completing your work as soon as possible.
Even if you’re not working while on the road, a morning routine may fit your needs. Say, for example, you’re trying to learn the language of a country you’re visiting. If you incorporate a morning routine that involves an hour of language study every morning, you’ll enjoy your experience abroad so much more. Throw in a few sprints and some meditation, and you’ll be on top of the world.
Readers: Do YOU have a morning routine? If so, what does it involve? Share your thoughts below!