Rethinking Morning Routines

Notebook on wooden table

There’s no shortage of morning routine advice on the internet … including an older episode of No Meat Athlete Radio.

It typically goes something like this:

Do what I do and you’ll be more productive, creative, and cool.

But that’s not how self improvement works. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to habits, nor is there one for what to do when you get your butt out of bed in the morning.

Today Matt and I share our new take on the morning routine, and the habits and structures we think work (and why other approaches might not).

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Doug calls you out
  • Does other morning routine advice get it wrong?
  • Why the simplest habits are often the hardest to keep
  • How we structure our mornings
  • A morning routine formula

Click the button below to listen now:


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  1. I’m a big fan of morning routines! My big problem, however, is that I often get stuck reacting to incoming things – answering email, replying to social media, reading through blog feeds, etc, etc. This is a never ending stream and so I can easily spend two hours being busy without actually getting anything done.

    What’s worked very well for me is:
    1) First decide on two big things I want to get done for the day. They need to be non-recurring (you do it and it’s done) and small enough that I can actually make them happen in a day. Bigger tasks get broken up in smaller ones for this purpose.
    2) Check through incoming streams but put a time cap on these activities. Half an hour is usually enough. Any ideas for things I want to do gets put in a list of smaller tasks.
    3) Then I set a timer for at least one hour (but preferably more) to work on one of the daily tasks. Once it’s done I allow myself another – optional – half hour for incoming streams and smaller tasks.
    4) Repeat #3 until daily tasks are done. Anything that happens afterwards is a bonus and usually I manage to cross of a couple of smaller tasks more before wrapping up the day.

    I’ve tried lots and lots of productivity hacks and tools over the years but this routine is the one that’s worked the very best. For me, which I think is an important point to make – different strokes for different folks. 🙂

    Thanks for a good episode!

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