6 Lessons About Morning Routines Learned from The Tim Ferriss Show
By Dodi Darrow
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and one of my favorites is The Tim Ferriss Show. Tim Ferriss has created one of the most downloaded and frequently rated #1 business podcasts. He describes it as “deconstructing world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.” I wholeheartedly agree.
Ferriss provides interesting, entertaining content and he interviews successful people whom I respect. This week I listened to his podcast specifically about morning routines. He asks most people he interviews about their morning routines and he grabbed several minutes from 4 of his favorite past interviews. This episode includes excerpts from interviews with Seth Godin, blogger and author of Purple Cow, and he hosts a mentoring podcast of his own; Jocko Willink, ex-Navy Seal officer; Scott Adams, creator of the cartoon “Dilbert”; and THE Jamie Foxx. Who needs no introduction, #amiright?
Here are six of the staples these successful people had in their morning routines:
Both Adams and Godin agreed less choice is good for your brain to have so that when you need to use your “brain power” you have more of it to spare. It’s also good because if you’re in the habit of doing things that are good for you first thing in the morning, it sets you up for an awesome day, AND you're consistently making good choices for yourself daily. I have started to grab my clothes for the day and put them in the bathroom at night before I go to bed to remove that choice from my morning. It is a helpful start!
2. Early Workout
Everyone interviewed did some sort of early workout. Willink lives on the ocean so he surfs daily. Let’s pretend we’re not jealous! Jamie Foxx said, “The pull up bar is everything” and he went on to describe his 50 pull up, 50 pushup, 100 sit-up routine. I coach a bootcamp for ladies, and those days that I’m not coaching or working out with them, I have decided to go for a jog, a hike or lift some weights. I agree with these successful people; I feel I have more energy and brainpower with that adrenaline pump first thing in the morning.
3. Go-To Breakfast
They typically ate the same thing for breakfast. Adams said he eats the exact same Cliff Protein Bar every day. This might be a liiiitle boring for some of us. While this isn’t for everyone, it’s a great idea if you’re prone to making some bad breakfast choices, and it takes one more decision out of your morning. So I decided to make my morning routine easier. I will have 2 “go-to” breakfast options and be satisfied with those rather than having that “Hmmm… what will I eat this morning?” situation and feeling like I have 30 things to choose from.
Part of setting your day up well comes from practicing gratitude. Jamie Foxx starts his day by texting people he loves and sending them an encouraging note. Awwww! Gratitude came in different forms for different interviewees, but mine is good old fashioned “write it down in my journal.” I try and think of different things each day, but fairly consistently on my list: my family, health, our home, and coffee!
Do something mindful. This includes but is not limited to: slow breathing, meditating, really focusing on part of your morning routine with all 5 senses. For example if you eat yogurt, notice its color and shape, give it a sniff, notice its texture, its taste, and how does it sound as you stir it or eat it. Take your time. This one hit home to me. I’m guilty of wolfing down breakfast and running out the door. I am taking the time to make the effort to slow down, breathe, notice, and taste, chew and then swallow my meals.
6. Making the Bed
MAKE YOUR BED! Willink referenced the University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address by Admiral William H. McRaven, who spoke about the importance of making your bed. I found the speech on YouTube and it was powerful. McRaven says of making your bed, “You will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a sense of pride, and encourage you to do another. And another. And another… Little things matter to be able to do big things.” And I vow, even if there are people in it, I will make my bed!
Some things to keep in mind: Do what works for you and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Habits build slowly and there is no magic bullet routine that’s right for everyone. Play around with it. Write down how you feel about your routine. Come up with a morning that feels right to you and sets you up for a fantastic day, every day!