Based on the authors’ interviews with 64 of today’s most successful people, My Morning Routine (2018) is a practical guide for would-be early birds. Yes, it’s easy to live in fear of your alarm clock and worship at the altar of your phone’s slumber function, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Mornings don’t need to be traumatic at all. What’s more, finding the right routine for the early hours will change your whole day for the better.
This is a Blinkist staff pick
“Maybe it’s some kind of voyeurism, but I can’t get enough of learning about how other people – especially people I look up to – start their days. Plus, I loved Caitlin’s interview with Spall on the Simplify podcast!”
– Ben S., Head of Salad at Blinkist
You know the scene. The alarm starts ringing and you drowsily fumble in the dark to switch it off. All you want is a little more sleep. But mornings don’t have to be miserable moments of resentfully hauling yourself out of bed.
One way to make sure you start the day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed is to have an important task ahead of you.
Take MIT president Leo Rafael Reif. He sets his alarm for 6:00 a.m., but he’s usually already up a good 30 or even 60 minutes before it rings. Why does he forgo the extra sleep? Well, he wants to make sure he’s had a gander at his inbox before the day gets going.
That’s because MIT is a truly global institution. As its president, Reif needs to stay in the loop and make sure he’s up to speed on the latest developments. If he’s not up at the crack of dawn, he worries he’ll miss something important.
But you don’t have to be the head of a large organization to give yourself a good reason to jump out of bed each morning. Knowing that something you really care about awaits you is just as good of a boost once the proverbial rooster starts crowing.
Take a leaf out of author Caroline Paul’s book. She’s also an early riser. Like Reif, she’s usually up by 6:00 a.m. What gets her out of bed? It’s the chance to spend a couple of hours reading in peace before the rest of the world begins to make itself felt.
Reading isn’t just her bread and butter; it’s something she loves doing. Mornings are an oasis of calm in a hectic life, and it’s often the only chance she gets to engross herself in a good book.
New York-based street photographer Andre Wagner also uses mornings to pursue his passion. He’s usually out of the house no later than 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. It’s a great time to walk the city and capture the early morning light with his camera.
But there’s also a simple trick that’ll help you get a good start: don’t use the snooze button on your alarm.
The authors’ interviews with successful early risers showed that while 71 percent used an alarm, only 34 percent made use of the snooze function.
There’s a good reason for that. Grabbing a few extra minutes of sleep might feel like what your body needs, but in the end, you’ll feel more tired than if you’d just gotten up when your alarm first rang. Think of it this way. Lightly slumbering is akin to revving a car engine without putting it into gear; both activities are a waste of gas.
The most important tip, however, is to follow your own instincts. Experiment and see what works for you. Something that does the trick for other people might not work for you. If you realize it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to abandon it and try something else.