Why do you still not have a morning routine? You know it makes you more productive. You know it's a habit a lot of successful people share. So, why not you? For one simple reason: You think it's a lot of work.
But, it's not. It's just a matter of making it easy to get started. Technically, that's up to you, but since I really want to help you create a morning routine, I've taken care of that part.
It doesn't matter whether you're in a rush the second you wake up, or if it seems like you have zero time in the morning. You will have time for this.
Some of these things are tasks you have to do anyway, and some you will just want to do once you give them a try. Here's a 10-minute morning routine that will set you up on your path to success, based on "The Miracle Morning," by Hal Elrod:
Minute 1: Drink a glass of water.
I know the snooze button is terribly tempting, but you must resist it (if even just for a few seconds). The difference between grabbing your phone and pressing snooze, and waking up and grabbing a glass of water has the power to transform a slow, groggy, chaotic day into a productivity party.
Pour yourself a glass of fresh water the night before. Put it on your nightstand so you don't have to get out of bed in order to drink it. Then, drink it as fast as you can comfortably manage. Let the elixir of life fill your body, and slowly feel your energy levels rise.
Minute 2: Brush your teeth.
OK, I think you're ready now. Get up.
The first thing you have to do is brush your teeth. Why? Because 1) it makes your mouth feel fresh and tingly, which will energize you, and 2) you have to do it anyway, so you might as well get it over with.
Since we're trying to save time, don't be shy and go to the bathroom while you're at it. One minute saved every day is six extra hours per year. Not bad, huh?
Minute 3: Get dressed.
Wonderful. You're up, and you're moving. Don't go back to bed, no matter what. Getting dressed will take care of the urge to crawl back under your covers.
Shower the night before, so when you wake up, all you have to do is wash your face (or your hair. Or, you could wear a hat.) Pick your clothes the night before. Obama does it, so why don't you? You can store your outfits in a weird place if you have to, but remember that making it easy to get your day started is the key.
Once you have some clothes on, there's no way you'll sneak back under the covers.
Minute 4: Practice silence.
This is where the rubber hits the road. You're doing an actual morning routine.
Sit upright and cross-legged, if you can. Close your eyes. Breathe like you normally would, but pay really close attention to it.
Notice your chest rising and falling. Feel the air leaving and entering your nostrils. In, and out. In, and out.
Sixty seconds of focused attention on your breath will instantly mute your overactive, buzzing mind and replace it with a sense of calmness and peace. Today, this sense of calm is more important than ever, especially when charging into a day in the very noisy, crowded, loud and attention-grabbing Western world.
Minute 5: Give yourself a pep talk.
Grab your mirror, or flip the camera on your phone to selfie mode. It's time for a pep talk.
What you expect is what you get, so telling yourself you'll get something great out of the day will actually help you reach your goals. Tell yourself what goal you're going to reach, how you're going to get there and what you're committed to doing that day, and this will motivate you forward.
You can also motivate yourself by reminding yourself of what reaching this goal would mean to you, how it will help you lead a better life and why you believe in your goal.
Minute 6: Visualize your day.
This is as simple as it is powerful. Simply imagining yourself doing something will make you more likely to actually do it and follow through on your intention. I usually close my eyes for one minute and go through my day.
I imagine myself walking out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, making tea, finishing my routine and then starting my work. Are you a writer? Then think of yourself typing away productively on your laptop's keyboard. Delivering packages? Imagine yourself handing them out to recipients with a smile.
Whatever tasks you see ahead, infuse them with joy and take pleasure in the activity now, and you will do the same later. Plus, odds are, you'll actually do it.
Minute 7: Do one set of an exercise.
Do you go to the gym? Cool! Do you go to the gym regularly? I might have caught you there.
I know it's hard to hit the gym after a long work day. Your 5 pm meeting runs long, and instead of doing benchpresses, you find yourself inside the next best burger joint, ordering a huge burger and fries. But guess what? Nobody can take away the 20 pushups you did right after you woke up.
The longer your day goes, the less likely it becomes that you'll exercise. But, you can always do one set of any exercise first thing in the morning.
You can do jumping jacks, dips, pushups, planks, sit ups, crunches, squats or pull ups, just to name a few. And don't forget to stretch a little bit afterward.
Minute 8: Read a page in a book.
Confucius said, "You cannot open a book without learning something." Do you think Confucius was wrong? Neither do I.
There's a reason he didn't specify how much, where in the book or what you have to read. It doesn't matter. Just open the next book you find, and read a random page.
I'm currently sitting in a library as I'm writing this. (I like to change up my studying environments.)
For fun, I opened a random book about slavism, and I learned that Slavic pilgrims in the 9th century mostly settled wherever they could dig up the most gold coins. Random fact? Sure. Will I need it again? Probably not. But did I learn something? Hell yeah.
Learning even one single fact every day will make your neurons wire together in entirely new ways, and your creativity will soar to new heights.
Minute 9: Write down how you feel.
This is something I call the one-sentence journal. You simply write down the answer to the question, "How do you feel right now?" It'll show you whether you're ready for the day, and if not, you can adjust.
By now, you should find yourself excited for the day, so hopefully your answer will be something along the lines of, "I'm excited for the day that's ahead. Let's get the party started!"
Sure, this will fill your journal with completely out of context sentences, but it works.
Minute 10: Set three priorities for your day.
Now that you've written down how you feel, jot down three priorities for your day and slip the paper into your purse. Ask yourself, "Which three things most deserve my attention today?" I know it's hard to pinpoint three of the seemingly endless amount of things you have to do on any given day, but it's important to prioritize.
A lot of things are urgent, but only some are important. This will help you figure out what's important and keep them in your mind (and also in your pocket, unless you forget the note).
This last minute is crucial, as it's probably the single biggest factor that defines success. Ruthlessly prioritizing your work, and then focusing your attention on the 20 percent of things that'll get you 80 percent of the results makes a huge difference.
Ten minutes is all it takes. Ten minutes every day in order to be successful for the rest of your life sounds like a good deal, doesn't it?
Yeah, sure, a lot of successful people have even longer morning routines, but you can always level up later. Whenever you're ready for that, I have your back.
For now, the most important thing is that you get started. Make tomorrow the first day of the rest of your life as a successful human being.
And the next time someone asks you why you still don't have a morning routine, you can simply tell him or her, "I do, just like all successful people." Ready, set, go.