Reflections on Morning Routines

How to build a morning routine to maximize performance
Health & Fitness
Personal Development
May 2, 2021
4
min read

Having a solid morning routine is a staple for any high performer. Pro athletes and startup operators alike have to consistently operate at a high level.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant was infamous for his structured routine.

Since his high school days, Kobe would wake up at 4.a.m. to focus on his craft. By the time his peers would join him to workout at 8am, he had a 4 hour head start.

While waking up at 4.a.m. may be excessive for most of us, his philosophy still holds true.

The way you start your day can help you invest in your health, expand your mind and hone skills,  with each incremental investment compounding over time.

The 5am Club

My personal routine is a variation on the 5am club by Robin Sharma, leadership expert and bestselling author.

He recommends dividing your day into 3 pockets:

1. Move (exercise, hydrate)

2. Reflect (journal, meditate, pray)

3. Grow (consume books, podcasts or educational videos)

By the end of the routine, you’ll have deepened your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy and be ready to start your day with a bang.

My Morning Routine

After testing a few variations over the past year, I settled on my current routine which takes 2.5hrs in total.

There are 5 steps, starting at 6:30AM:

1. Pray & Meditate

Each day starts with prayer & meditation to center myself. The time varies depending on the day but I aim to spend at least 10min on each task (20min total).I usually alternate between using Waking up by Sam Harris & Insight Timer, depending on my focus for the meditation.

2. Workout

In a world where we no longer commute to work, exercise has become essential for charging up and maintaining high energy levels throughout the day. I design my own workouts (I'm a certified trainer) and my weekly program involves weightlifting, basketball and yoga.

3. Learn

Every 2 weeks, I identify a focus area (e.g. marketing, leadership, etc.) that I want to learn about and identify the best resources to dive deeper each morning.This means spending 20-30min reading or listening to an audiobook, usually while having a quick breakfast.

4. Plan & Time Block Key Tasks

Finally, I head over to my desk and plan out the day.I use to time block my calendar and make sure I'm accurately forecasting the time that different tasks will take.Every hour is blocked including projects, meetings and breaks.

5. Execute

My morning ends with a focused block of deep work. During this time, I'm exclusively focused on the "one thing" I need to accomplish that day to make it a success.That way, I'm ready for whatever comes my way later in the day whether I've planned for it or not.

By following this daily sequence, I'm ready to take on the day, regardless of the ups and downs of startup life.

Next Steps

The important thing about routines is that they work for you. If you're looking to establish a morning routine, I'd recommend testing out one of the activities above and slowly stacking more habits over time. Atomic Habits by James Clear is an amazing read on this subject.

Thanks for reading until the end! If you enjoyed this, consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter. Once a month, I'll send you an email with actionable insights to help you develop your mindset, systems and habits — so you can approach your career like an athlete.

Until next time,

EB

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