my new morning routine (2020 edition) - [1/3]
To say that this year has made everything in our lives topsy-turvy is not an understatement. We’ve all been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. And like a majority of you who were indirectly affected by this health crisis, I faced many personal struggles as well during this time. One of them was making early rising a consistent habit. This year, thankfully my allergies were in control, however during the springtime, my sleep discipline and hygiene got massively compromised as against my better nature, I was constantly checking my phone to stay updated on the pandemic as well as spending time on how I could get the essentials via online delivery until late hours. Nonetheless, these were minor struggles as compared to the massive battles that many people faced during this time.
Like the previous year, I still experienced insomnia during the summer, but I was expecting it in advance and while there were a few nights when I fell victim to it, overall I was able to tame it with the help of a few tools and strategies. Also, since my primary focus was on getting 8 hours of sleep every night this year, I struggled to sustain my previously dedicated time to my morning routine and had to downsize it. Another reason for cutting it short was to ramp up my focus and time on finishing and publishing The Daily Apple book.
Things have taken a good turn in the fall though, and my morning routine has significantly improved. I have been rising early for the past weeks, and returning back to my previously set rhythms. Something that I was struggling for the past few years and I finally made peace with is the fact that it’s genuinely challenging to wake up early at 5 am every single day. I have had massive streaks, but I also have been terrible at it. While I still strive to be a daily early riser, I decided to let go of the constant pressure I was putting on myself.
I have also realized how easily we can rationalize not to wake up early. As much as I’d like to stay in bed, and while there are all kinds of arguments about why you should wake up early or why you should not do that and instead just follow your natural rhythms, from my personal experiences this year, I again encountered the truth that waking up early can indeed be powerful and life-changing. Just to be clear, it may or may not be the best choice for you, but it works like a charm for me.
I have also become more flexible with my morning routine. Unlike my previous routine which was set in stone more or less, my current routine is more flexible. There are times when I would wake up a little late and/or I would need to focus more on completion of important work tasks, and during those occasions, instead to committing to an hour or more of going through my morning rituals, I shorten them so that I can finish everything within half of hour and promptly get to work. Also, there are mornings where as soon as I wake up and brush my teeth, I directly go to my desk and work towards eating a frog first thing in the morning before starting my morning routine. So, the routine that I’m going to discuss right now is the one that I perform on most of my days.
Right now, as much as I love spending an hour or more every day engaging in the different activities that comprise my morning routine, I’ve realized that sometimes it’s not a good decision, especially when it comes to accomplishing work goals and staying productive. Due to this, this year I made a cutoff time for my morning routine and made stricter boundaries around my work time. So if there are days when I wake up a little later than usual, then I work towards finishing my morning rituals as soon as possible, so that I can start my work without any significant delay. I hope this resonates with you, because I know most of the people who are committed to personal growth and mastery and are dedicated towards a consistent morning routine, sometimes struggle with this.
In essence, my approach towards my morning routine has been achieving the right blend of rigidity and flexibility. Something that I like to remind myself time and again and I hope you do too is the truth that “nothing beats taking action towards your most important goals.” So, basically have a morning routine but keep it simple and flexible, so that it doesn’t come in the way of achieving incredible productivity at work.