What you do soon after you wake up has big consequences for the rest of your day.
Have you deliberately designed a morning routine, or do you just do what you feel like until you have to get ready?
For over a year, I’ve been experimenting with various morning routines. The number one thing I learned?
Do Your Most Important Thing soon after you wake up.
For me, that’s writing. Actually, it’s preparing and eating a healthy breakfast, and then writing for two hours.
What’s yours? Chances are, Your Most Important Thing is also one of the most difficult things to do. That’s exactly why you should do it soon after you wake up, for two reasons.
First, your willpower will be at its highest early in your day. If you set up your morning routine right, your brain won’t have been overloaded yet with instant messages, “urgent” emails, and funny YouTube videos.
Your willpower will be high, so you’re more likely to do the thing. Now what’s the second reason?
If you do Your Most Important Thing early in your day every day, it becomes a habit. And when something is a habit, it takes less willpower to do it, making it even more likely you’ll do the thing.
When I began the latest iteration of my morning routine, I started writing each morning only because I didn’t want to disappoint myself. I started writing reluctantly.
But after a few weeks, something happened. I conditioned my brain to expect to have to write after breakfast. And that dramatically reduced my resistance to sitting down to write.
Cal Newport wrote about this idea in Deep Work and it works like a charm. If you do something at the same time every day, you will need much less willpower to do it.
What you need to do is to figure out what is Your Most Important Thing, and then design a routine so you do that thing early in your day. That’s it.
As a bonus, after you complete Your Most Important Thing, you can feel awesome for the rest of the day .
In fact, after I write for two hours, I throw up my arms like Rocky and I shout “I WIN! I WIN!”
Because I did win. I beat my limited willpower reserve. And you can beat yours too, if you design your morning routine this way.
First, identify Your Most Important Thing. Then commit to doing it early in your day, every day, starting tomorrow or next Monday. Leave a comment here telling me what you plan to do, to increase your accountability.
And don’t forget to shout “I WIN!”
Not happy with your work?
If you're not happy with your work, you might like my guide:
Five Steps to Finding Work That You Love
Here's what you'll learn:
- How to get in the right mindset
- Why feeling proud is key
- How to lean into action
- Why you need to save money
- How to make the jump