Do I Really Need a Morning Routine?

Have I ever mentioned that I am a research junkie?  I mean seriously addictive behavior.  So when I heard the concept of morning routines, I immediately went prospecting for all the best information.  I mean, why not?  The promise of limitless productivity is a siren’s call!

So I followed all the gurus.  I read “The Miracle Morning” along with the rest of the world.  Lifehacker.com even took it a step farther and created an ACRONYM for it – SAVERS.  It breaks down thusly:  Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, and Scribing.  For ONE MINUTE each.

OK, in case you can’t tell, it didn’t work for me.  First of all it takes me way more than one minute to even get focused.  And secondly Exercise??  Yeah, I’m still laughing.  And Scribing.  NO, I’m not a journaler.  Where I think this miracle morning breaks down is that the same miracles don’t work for all of us.  So I researched more.  There are hundreds – or more – websites about a morning routine.  And I hated them all.  But I loved the idea, and decided to do it a little differently.

Here’s how I created my morning routine.   I asked myself what would make me feel like jumping into work.  That’s it.  So I listed; time with the hubs, coffee, coffee, coffee, listening to a book on tape, a foot rub, a shower, a good hair day.   Then I decided what time I wanted to start work (if you don’t have that luxury, decide what time THEY think you want to start work) and calculated backwards to what time I had to get up.

I get up at 6:30, make coffee, then go crawl into bed with the hubs and we chat and do some affirmations and gratitude (part of his morning routine), then we listen to a book on tape while we have coffee.  After the first cup, he rubs my feet (yep!!).  We listen or chat for an hour, enjoying more coffee.  At 7:30 I get up and do the shower, makeup, perfect hair jam and I’m ready to hit the desk by 8:30.  Ok, sometimes I sleep until 7:30 and everything slides an hour.  Don’t judge, I earned it!

I did my work startup and work shutdown routines the same way.  I sat back and thought about things that frustrated me about my work.  The list included missed e-mails, unreturned phone calls, e-mail interruptions, unpreparedness for meetings, putting out fires, and feelings of ‘where the hell did the day go’ and ‘oh man, what did I say I was going to do about that?’

My work startup routine is simple:  coffee (of course), e-mail to zero, return phone calls, write down The Big Three, put email on pause.  My work shutdown routine is also simple:  e-mail to zero, return phone calls, review any notes/meetings and transfer actionable items to tomorrow’s task list, review today’s task list and forward what didn’t get done. At first I wrote down the startup and shutdown routines as checklists so I made sure I finished them all.  Now I just do them as a matter of habit.  I schedule the first and last half hour of each day ON MY CALENDAR.  That’s how important they are.

I don’t have an evening routine; I don’t feel it’s necessary for me.  If you want one, follow the same model to define it.  I’m living MY best life.  Not someone else’s idea of my best life.  I don’t want an evening routine.  I’m not doing an evening routine.

So here’s the bottom line.  It really doesn’t matter what you do in your daily routines.  The point of the routine is to mentally move your brain out of rest mode and into work mode.  How you do it is totally up to you.  Amy Landino has written a book (that I have not read) that’s much along these lines.  It’s called Good Morning, Good Life and it looks kinda OK!

I’m not going to give you the call to action to create a routine – if it sounds like it might work, go for it.  If not, then happy onward!!!!

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