Lack of exercise nearly bent my skinny ass in two.
Humans aren’t meant to sit all day. Some weeks I sat for multiple days in a row.
My back started to seize up.
A disc in my spine got messed up. All because I let coroni-macaroni cancel my gym membership and lie to me about how easy it is to do workouts at home.
Not a single workout at home — after two years.
I kept saying, “honey, the virus will go soon. Then I’ll rejoin.”
But global health crises are unpredictable. No one knows the end date. You can’t shoot an invisible virus with a handgun. Some Texans may disagree 🙂
So I’ve now gone back to the gym despite the risk and the three jabs of elixir I’ve had to protect me from the ghost of 2020.
Morning exercise is the first rule of my new morning routine.
Don’t make it all self-helpy
When I read about morning routines my manhood shrinks.
I’m no navy seal. I can’t do cold showers … I scream.
The trend on twitter of drinking animal liver puree to get protein scares me. I can’t stand to see animals get hurt by humans. They’re too cute.
Then there’s the “read a book before you start work.”
I’m a zombie in the morning. It takes 2-3 hours before my brain even wakes up. Whatever I read at 6 am will likely escape my mind through a trap door and waste my life.
Self-help morning routines aren’t for normal people. It’s better to design your own and borrow pieces from more human morning routines.
Rule: No navy seal morning routines.
Get that naughty coffee
Many people don’t know I used to own a coffee company.
We would blend different coffee beans together and roast them in a huge roaster we got from Turkey. A big part of my day was spent sampling coffees.
As a result I’d drink at least 6-8 double espressos per day.
I’d piss like a leaky ship and talk faster than the Wolf of Wall Street after a few rounds of white angel dust.
Eventually, all the caffeine screwed up my already screwed up brain.
Coffee amplified my mental illness. It turned my anxiety into a debilitating handicap. I couldn’t trust gravity to keep my feet on the ground.
A face-to-face meeting in a square room felt like a prison cell I couldn’t escape. The psychologist eventually forced me to give up the modern-day psychedelic drug that powers capitalism.
But I miss coffee.
So my new morning rule is to do one thing I enjoy before noon.
That thing is coffee. Decaf coffee. (Sorry coffee snobs.) The liquid pleasure I get helps me start the day with a reward.
It tells me I’ve worked hard and deserve to waste $5 on a soy decaf latte with a love heart carved into the froth from the 30-something man with the hipster beard who blows kisses at me.
Shhh …. I don’t think he likes me — much! Awkward.
Rule: Reward yourself for hard work past, present, and future.
One win before midday
I have a habit of procrastinating in the morning before I start work.
I can goof off for hours on Youtube and call it “research.” Since when did watching “ya ya ya Coco Jumbo” music videos count as research?
Coconuts and tropical paradise have nothing to do with teaching people how to write online.
(At least not the last time I checked.)
My solution is to get a big win from my to-do list early in the day. The winning feeling helps give the rest of the day momentum.
Rule: Choose the whopping big task you’ve been avoiding. Do it before 12 pm.
Check email first thing
This breaks every guru’s rules. Screw em.
I like to check email first thing because when I’m tired my laziness filter is higher, so I’m more likely to delete extra emails. This is good.
Replying to email creates more email.
So if I’m deleting more emails out of laziness then I’m saving a lot of time. I’m so lazy first thing in the morning that I don’t even reply to requests in emails with a no. CBF. I simply hit delete.
Whereas if I replied to emails later in the day I’d be way more empathetic and thoughtful — and probably spend most of the day typing emails.
Rule: Leverage natural morning laziness to empty your inbox faster.
Get up at 6 am each day
Time is the greatest currency we have.
Sleeping in wastes that time. It’s hard not to though. When my phone is next to me I snooze the alarm. Every. Time.
So I put my phone on the other side of the room. By the time I’m out of bed it’s not appealing to go back to bed. Success! I beat my sleep zombie addiction.
Going to bed at the same time each day and waking up at the same time helps me leverage brain automation.
My mind starts to feel sleepy and ready to wake up at common times. It’s habitual. Habitual equals automation.
There’s another big win…
I don’t have to negotiate with myself. Have you ever tried to negotiate with Tim Denning? The guy’s a psycho. Here’s what it sounds like.
Sleepy Tim: “It’s time to go to bed.”
Productivity p*rnstar Tim: “I need to write one more article.”
Sleepy Tim: “But I feel tired.”
Productivity p*rnstar Tim: “Shut up idiot. You’re such a lazy ass. I’m winning. Can’t you see moron? We’ll sleep when we’re dead.”
The hostage negotiation goes on for hours.
When you leverage morning and evening rituals there’s no more negotiating with yourself. The deal is already done.
Rule: Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
Hug your phone
…Then throw it in the corner to collect dust.
My phone drives me nuts. It’s a place where other people’s agendas sneak into my morning and ruin my day.
Have you ever had the experience where you unlock your phone to look at something, like your calendar, then end up clicking something else and then thirty minutes later you forgot why you picked up your phone in the first place?
This is Mark Zucks-who-gives-no-f*cks evil plan.
Phones equal stupid zone, not genius zone.
Rule: No phones in the morning. Deep work instead of shallow work.
Add to your quirky life story
The cool kids journal. I don’t. Makes me feel like a 5th grader.
I do, however, open up my Roam Research note-taking app each morning and write a new dot point under my life story.
It’s so easy to forget everything that happens in your life. You can create a timeline from when you were born until now. Each morning you can add one new event or recall an old memory and enter it on your timeline.
A timeline becomes your life story. A life story can be shared. It can also get given to those you love when you’re dead as a way to live forever.
Rule: Write down your memories every morning so they live forever.
Steal from Ryan Holiday (he’s always on a holiday)
Be happy…you woke up alive — Ryan Holiday
The stoic badass strikes again. Snap.
There are people who wake up dead. There are people in the hospital that would love to have a morning routine, yet they don’t. Why?
They’ve got given the bad news. They’ve got told roughly how many mornings they have left.
Waking up in the morning is a reminder of the final rule: No one lives forever.
Not even Elon Musk.
Make your mornings kickass to fully experience life before the hearse comes to pick up your body.