In the last 2 months I have started trying to grow on Twitter, created a YouTube account and actively post videos. I started learning serverless framework, changed jobs, worked on my side projects and still have time to do the things I enjoy, but how have I done it? I supercharged my morning routine.
It's funny how I call this the morning routine when the evening routine plays such a critical part in the making the morning work.
Before we can talk about the morning routine we need to talk about the evening routine and more importantly, sleep! I recently watched Matthew Walkers MasterClass on sleep.
In this masterclass he covers the ins and outs of sleep and why it's so important and how to do it right. And I realised, like a lot of people, I had been neglecting my sleep by being very inconsistent. I used to wake for work at 6/6.30 and go to bed anywhere between 10 and 12. Then at weekends I would wake up at 9 and go to bed anywhere between 11 - 1am. A lot of people are the same, they have a schedule through the week then it goes out of the window at weekend.
Weekend is when people "catch up" on their sleep debt (which actually isn't effective at all). I found that on Sunday evening going to sleep for work on Monday was always my worst nights sleep, I was much more restless than any other night of the week. And it was all to do with my sleep consistency.
Fixing sleep consistency. The first step towards powering up my morning routine was fixing my sleep consistency. To do this I now follow a strict evening plan:
- No caffeine after midday - Caffeine has a half life of approximately 8 hours, so if I have a cup of coffee at 4pm its like waking up at midnight to drink half a cup of coffee, When you think of it like this its pretty clear to imagine the impact it has on your sleep
- no screens after 9pm, stop that evil blue light keeping you up. Ideally this could be earlier but this seems to be working for now.
- In bed at 9.30pm and reading until a cutoff of 10, then its sleeping mask on, I find reading naturally helps me wind down.
The next bit is setting a consistent morning time. So I wake up at 5am every morning, it was very very hard at first. Naturally you may not be a morning person, so don't try and force yourself to do this if its not in your bodies best interest. just set a consistent time that suits you.
The key thing here is consistency, bed at the same time, wake up at the same time. This means weekends too. I follow the same evening patterns and the same morning patterns as much as I possibly can.
Now the bit that has made me so much more productive and given me time to do a lot more thing. Building your morning routine!
I wake up, and just get up. It's hard sometimes and you want to hit snooze or lay just that extra minute.... resist. I leave my clothes by the side of the bed the evening before so I can step out of bed, grab my clothes go to the bathroom and get ready.
Do things to make it easier for yourself, change your heating timing to come on before you wake up so you are not tempted to stay in bed whilst the house warms up!
Once I'm dressed and ready to go I come downstairs have a quick glass of water then get the dog ready and go out for a walk. Before I had the the dog I would just go out for a walk anyway. This is amazing (especially at 5am). Its so quiet, just a nice peaceful walk to wake you up and make sure your active before you start your day, it really clears your mind. Usually this brings me to around 5.30/5.40 when I get back home.
When I get back home I can spend some time planning out my day, but first I make a nice cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast. To plan my day I use todoist. And I wrap up my days plan in there. usually its a simple list with categories and subtasks
Once that's done I will complete any of the tasks I can right away so I can forget about them for the rest of the day, such as taking the bins out and throwing some washing in, or writing a script for a YouTube video. And then I do the rest through the day when I find the time.
The good thing with planning things out before the clock has even hit 6am means that I never suffer that late rushed to work feeling where everything is chaos. Every day I sit down at my desk to start working I know what I need to get completed that day.
Now you may spend the rest of your morning before shooting off to work executing the plan you have made above. I tend to create the plan, do a few tasks off it in the morning and then spend some time learning something.
At this point you have had food and drink, had a walk and planned out your day, so by now, your wide awake. Good time to pick up some new skills, I usually spend 30ish minutes on PluralSight or FrontendMasters just looking into some new tech. And its proven that if you nail down the consistent sleep stuff we talked about earlier, this stuff will stick in your memory much much better!
And thats how I supercharged my morning routine:
- Go to bed at the same time
- Wake up at the same time
- get some fresh air
- have a coffee and some breakfast
- plan the day
- execute the plan
- learn something
And that, in a nutshell, is how I managed to create an active YouTube channel, learn new technologies and work on my side projects whilst changing jobs.
I would love to hear what you think of my advice! How do you supercharge your mornings?
Check out this post on my website!