The morning routine I’ve landed on after 5 years of experimenting

Morning Routine Watching the Sunset

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

I’ve been searching for the ultimate morning routine for years. The morning routine is touted as one of the most powerful tools in creating the life you want. Those who conquer their mornings conquer their days. The internet is littered with recommendations on what you should do in the morning, and yet very few of us master this critical time we receive each day.

I’ve been a night owl most of my life. I’ve also always leaned towards a more organic and unstructured way of living. However, I found myself hitting a ceiling as I took on new endeavours.

About five years ago I started a quest for routines and habits that would both bring some order to my life while also making space for additional creativity and the unexpected.

I’ve read dozens of books, hundreds of articles, and conducted countless experiments on myself to enhance my capabilities. Pomodoro techniques, Tools of Titans, 80/20 rules, but I’ve found nothing rivals the morning routine.

One principle you’ll find in productivity circles is deciding on your 1 to 3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) each day. These are usually the harder projects, activities that require the most energy, and often it’s work that you fear the most. It’s a good practice; however, I’ve come to realize that my most important task of the day is me.

It was easier for me to react to the endless needs coming my way. It was easier to avoid the signals beneath the surface and having to deal with them. It was easier to be highly productive and feel like a selfless human being. And yet, as I was clocking in 70+ hour weeks of ‘impact’, I had a nagging voice in the back of my mind wondering when I was going to get some ‘me’ time.

In hindsight, not giving myself space created an internal excuse for taking full responsibility. The project or the conversation didn’t work out because I didn’t have enough sleep, there were too many priorities, I haven’t had time to think it through, and on and on.

The hard part now is having a great morning routine, bringing my best self forward, and owning the fact that sometimes things still don’t work out. What you’re seeing is the best I’ve got, and that’s okay.

There are hundreds of best practices out there. Tim Ferriss hangs upside down in gravity boots, Richard Branson kite-surfs, Tony Robbins does a cold plunge, those aren’t in the cards for me right now. I’ve experimented and whittled it down to what makes the most sense for me and gives me the most life right now.

The morning routine

I’ll go more into the rationale and hacks behind each of these in future posts, but this is essentially what‘s made the magic happen in my life the last few years.

Wake up

Usually, between 4–6 am. No alarms, apps, or lighting systems. I had tried everything in the past, but I now allow my body to wake itself up naturally avoiding any form of deep sleep disruption. I consistently clock in 7–8 hours. The key is obviously sleeping earlier along with an evening routine I can share at another time.


This is on the list for most morning routines. I’ve been using lemon water prepped in advance the evening before for the past year, but since I started intermittent fasting the past six months, it’s straight-up water hydration when I get up. Lots of it.


I’ve got a spot I use every morning. I turn on my HappyLight (Canadian winters) along with an essential oil diffuser. Lavender currently. I either use straight silence or an app. Calm has been my app of choice for the past two years, but I’ve been experimenting with Headspace as of 2018. Simple breath and body scan activities do wonders.


I do morning pages — a free-form stream of consciousness writing allowing myself to float up what’s beneath the surface.


I count my days down. Reflect on my annual life plan. Review the day ahead.


A few years ago I discovered I had an unusually high resting heart rate. I started running. Winter hit. I hated it. I eased my way into becoming a gym person. For a year I snuck into my in-laws’ condo to work out. When I knew I could be consistent with that, I graduated myself to a gym membership. Last month we officially invested in a home gym.


I often overlap my reading time within my rests when working out. Each day I read supertexts (currently going through the biblical scriptures backwards) and a few blogs I follow religiously.

Everything else

The rest of my morning is less zen. I wake the kids. Shower, cold if possible. Make breakfast and pack lunches for the family. I make my way out to work usually to a podcast or audiobook.

The ultimate morning routine is the one that you stick with.

This is essentially what I do seven days a week. There are some variations due to a weekly routine that overlaps — like hitting the sauna, longer creative writing sessions, or nutrition plans I’m experimenting with. The routine that’s best for you is the one that you’ve intentionally designed, gives you life, and that you can make automatic.

I think of routines and habits like investments. Most of us understand the impact of compound interest over time. The right habits, even small, will reap a multitude of benefits in the long run. There’s no asset more important than the time you’ve personally been given. Invest wisely.

If you win the morning, you’ll win the day. And if you’re winning most of your days, you’ve got a fairly fantastic life.

Check out the SUPERCHARGE YOUR MORNING ROUTINE guide below to dive deeper.

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