My New (Better) Morning Routine


– One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned about productivity is that the way you start
your day really matters. Waking up on time and
going through a sequence of healthy habits can
give you the momentum that you need to roll
right into your work. While waking up late or
waking up without a plan can easily lead to
procrastination and wasted time. So, today I wanna share
the morning routine that I’ve been using recently. It’s pretty simple, but it does involve one pretty big change from the
way that I used to do things. Though we’re gonna get to that later because well, first things first, I just have to get out of bed. And these days I’m waking up
at about 6:30 in the morning. And I do this using a pretty simple trick. So, if you saw my video that
I put out a few years ago about how I used to force
myself to get up early. I actually used to use
a social media scheduler to schedule a tweet that would go out and tell people that I was being lazy. So, to prevent this from going out, I would have to get up before
the tweet’s scheduled time, turn my computer on, and
either move it to the next day or delete it. And for a really long time this was an incredibly
effective way to get up at the time I wanted to get up and go through my morning routine. But when I tried to use
it again earlier this year I found that it no longer works for me because it led to me actually waking up in the middle of the night worrying that I had slept through my alarm or that something else had gone wrong and the tweet had gone out. So, this method was
literally giving me anxiety and negatively affecting
the quality of my sleep. So, what I’m doing now is a lot simpler, but it’s just as effective. I just have a second alarm
on an iPad downstairs. So, I have to actually go
downstairs from my room and turn it off. And that alarm is set
for about five minutes after my main one, which
virtually guarantees that I’m never going to hit snooze and I’m always going to go downstairs and get both alarms turned off
and then get into my routine. Next I feed my cat, I water my plants, and I do some pull-ups. I’m trying to gradually
increase the number that I do in the morning, but right now I’m doing just about 10. This is a good way to actually
make sure I feel fully awake, but it’s also just another good way to make sure that I stay
in shape for rock climbing. And quick tip, if you’re gonna use one of
these door frame pull-up bars, when you get one take an old towel and wrap it around the contact points with either a rubber band or some tape. That way it doesn’t
damage your door frame. Because these things
can definitely do that if you don’t pad out those contact points. So, once I’ve done those
pull-ups I will go outside for about a 10 to 15-minute walk. And this is really casual,
I’m not power-walking. I’m not out there jogging. I’m just going to get a walk
because this was a habit that I used to do every single morning after I graduated from college and I was living back in Iowa. And I really just wanted
to add it back in. And while I’m walking, I’ll
usually listen to a podcast or an audiobook. Right now I’m listening
to Wondery’s excellent Business Wars podcasts,
specifically the biker wars series about Harley Davidson, along with Children of
Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky. And both of these I highly recommend. Though with Tchaikovsky, you’re
probably gonna wanna start with Children of Time, which is the first book in that series. Once I’m back from the walk
it is time for breakfast. But before I get to cooking, I first activate a little routine that I created on my Echo speaker. Alexa, start my morning. – [Alexa] Today, there
are two events remaining. At 2 PM, there’s podcast
interview with the Rock and at 3 PM, there’s call Matt to brag. – This lets me know what’s
on my calendar for the day, it tells me the weather, and then it starts a little
morning routine playlist that I created on Spotify, which I’ll share down
in the description below in case you’re interested. For breakfast, I will
sometimes make a smoothie, which I made a video all
about a couple of months ago and you can check that out
in case you’re interested. But recently, I’ve just been
sticking to a very simple wrap. Eggs, cheese, bacon, and salsa. And I’ll also slice up
an apple and, of course, make coffee. And funny little side
note about that coffee. A few months ago, I actually decided to do a blind taste test
pitting the craft-roasted, expensive beans in a local grocery store with regular, old Caribou
coffee dark roast beans. And when I did that, I
was surprised to find that I actually like the
Caribou beans better, which was interesting
because they were literally half the price. So, doing that test actually showed me that it’s a good idea to
do these kinds of tests on a regular basis to make sure that you’re making logical choices instead of just following
mere signifiers of quality, like price. After breakfast, it is
time to do some learning, which usually takes the form of reading though I don’t always just read books. Sometimes I do, but other times I’ll dig into a really long article. For example, one that I read recently was Ray Dalio’s article
on paradigm shifts, which I found pretty
difficult to read, personally. But it actually led to
me making some changes in the way that I’m investing my money. So, I’ll have that link in the
description below, as well, for anyone who’s interested. I do think it is a pretty good read. Anyway, once that’s done,
it is time to shower. And in my bathroom, I actually keep a small Bluetooth speaker
and I use my shower time as time for vocal practice. About a year ago, I started
actual vocal lessons and I found that singing in the shower is actually a great way to get
some real daily practice in. And in addition to that, I’ve also created several different playlists on Spotify that each target a specific
type of practice in singing, like high-range training,
low-range training, et cetera. So, it’s really easy to build up a queue and get about 20 minutes of
real, deliberate practice in. And this is a great compliment
to the more lengthy sessions I do when I have time and
the actual lessons, as well. And that’s it. When I’m done with all this,
I’ll usually start work at home or if I’m doing writing or
research I’ll usually head out to a coffee shop to do it there. Now, one thing that you
might have noticed is missing from this morning routine is working out or going to the gym. And that’s actually the big change that I alluded to earlier. After stubbornly telling myself that I needed to work out in the mornings for a really long time, I’ve
learned through experimentation that it’s actually better for me to work out in the afternoons. This is a pretty big
improvement to my routine for a few key reasons. Number one, I just get to work earlier because I’m not going to the gym for an hour or 90 minutes beforehand. Number two, and this is
actually more important. This neatly solves the problem
of the afternoon slump. Now, I don’t know if you get this, but personally when it gets
around three or four PM in the afternoon, I usually
get this wave of brain fog and it becomes hard to focus. And in the mornings, I
don’t have this problem. I’m alert, I’m easily able to do my work. But again, when it gets to late afternoon that ability really starts to diminish. So, by going to the gym in the afternoon, I’m able to use more of my morning on work and then going to the gym
is actually a great way to get rid of that brain fog because I’m getting some exercise. Finally, number three,
I’m much more consistent about putting in that
learning time in the mornings. When I was working out in the mornings, I would often feel pressure
to get right to work after I got back from the gym and I’ve learned from personal experience that I’m much less likely
to read during the evenings. And I mention this because
even though it’s easy to skip since it doesn’t seem urgent, I think having this habit
of reading or learning every single day is incredibly important. For me, doing this
keeps me from stagnating since I’m no longer in school, and no longer being
forced to learn new things by teachers and professors. But it also often leads
me to making connections and getting ideas that I
wouldn’t have otherwise had. And a lot of times this
improves the quality of my work and helps me grow my business. That’s why I think you
should be making time for this habit, as well. And one resource that I’d
recommend you check out during this time is Brilliant. Brilliant is a learning website that takes an incredibly
active, problem-centric approach to teaching math, science,
and computer science. And because they take this
active approach to designing all their courses and their challenges, when you’re going through the material, you’re actually stretching your brain’s problem-solving capabilities, becoming a more capable,
creative problem solver. Brilliant’s library includes
over 50 in-depth courses, and they also have a feature
called daily challenges where every single day you can log in and get a new problem in a different area which can expand your
horizons and your interests and again, build that daily learning habit and build your problem-solving skills. So, if you wanna get started for free, go over to brilliant.org/thomasfrank and you’re gonna get free access
to those daily challenges. And if you’d like to upgrade your account and get access to their
entire course library, be one of the first 200 people
to use that link and sign up and you’ll get 20% off your
annual premium subscription. Big thanks, as always, to Brilliant for sponsoring this video
and being a big supporter of my channel. And thank you for watching, as well. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so right
there to get new videos when they come out here. You can also click right
there to get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades, or check out a couple of
other videos on this channel right here and right here. Thanks again for watching and I will see you in the next video.

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