The pandemic wasn’t good for a lot of things, but it was good for resetting my relationship with my mornings. I used to be the guy that slept in as late as humanly possible.
I would wake up, and right away be rushed to get ready and out the door to get to work on time. My days started with high pressure and high anxiety. Creativity was a challenge, project management was anxiety-inducing, and connecting with people felt hard. And at the end of each day, I found myself feeling tired and yet restless. I needed a change.
So, here’s the thing – I’m a 6:00 AM guy now. I start my days early and with intention.
Removing the rush from my morning, waking up slowly and building in activities that are meaningful to me rather than running on autopilot, allows me to start my day with no pressure. And I get to work with a new sense of energy and attitude.
Right now, my morning routine is a little bit off, because I have two new puppies at home, but here’s what my ideal morning routine looks like to show up as my best and most creative self:
6:00 AM Wake Up
I do not check emails or socials first thing in the morning. There is pressure to be online and available at all hours of the day, but ensuring I stay unplugged right after I wake up has been a game changer. Most social media platforms work hard to draw and keep your attention for as long as possible. If I let myself, I will get lost in the endless scroll OR jump right into work mode. I had to replace this habit with a new one. 👇
6:00 AM – 6:30 AM Coffee + Quiet
So, instead of getting online immediately, I’ve replaced the habit with reading an article I’ve been meaning to get to OR listening to a podcast. Preferably something I don’t have to look at a screen to accomplish, and focused on my teams (Leafs, Jays, Bills, Ticats).
Coffee is a necessity for me to get into the groove of my day. Coffee makes me happy (and functional).
6:30 AM – 7:15 AM Move
I’m a runner that hates to run. It turns out that runner’s high you hear people talk about, that feeling right after you run is done? It’s real, and it’s addictive.
On days when it’s the dead of winter, -10 degrees outside, and I can’t remember what the sun looks like – I sometimes walk. By the way, if you’re just starting out running – start slow and don’t put pressure on yourself. In the beginning, my “runs” were actually jogs with some bursts of walking mixed in. Getting up and getting moving is the priority.
The best part of this time is finding a podcast or music to keep me company – I personally listen to Overdrive or my own personal playlist on the regular. I love podcasts that either teach me something new or are sports-related (surprise, surprise).
7:15AM – 7:30AM Stretch*
When I was in my 20s, I was foolish and prided myself on not stretching. But over the years, I’ve come to appreciate it. After all, the wrong sleeping position can now throw my back out and ruin my week. Stretching is mandatory.
I use the free Nike Training Club app on my phone to help guide me through a routine in the comfort of my living room. There are a ton of free routines on there, and most come in at under 10 minutes and require no special equipment. Just do it – your body will thank you later.
7:30 AM – 8:00 AM PUPPY TIME
Granted, this is a new development, but I have to say hi and play with my dogs.
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM Refresh
At this point, my mind and body are ready for the day. But I stink.
I shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, get my lunch ready, and grab a second coffee to go.
These days I start my workday feeling rejuvenated, energetic, and ready for anything.
Ask yourself, what’s the game changer you’ve added to your morning routine to jumpstart your creativity?