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I Tried To Upgrade My Morning Routine Based On Successful People's Morning Routines And It Didn’t Go As Well As I Hoped

Getting up and getting dressed is hard enough, add in other people's routines, and it's a whole new ball game.

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Hi, I'm Lauren, and I usually spend my mornings snoozing my alarm at least five times before dragging myself out of bed. Why? Because at the beginning of this year, I decided to dive into the world of freelancing. And let me tell you, working from home has as many downfalls as it does perks.

You could say that I'm stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to improving my productivity. But a new book caught my eye. Entitled My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, it details how a number of successful people start their days. Surely their teachings could help, I thought to myself, so I decided to try out a different person’s routine for an entire week.

Lauren Sharkey

Here are some things I struggle with:

* Waking up early when I don't have an actual office to go to.

* Taking myself off of the sofa and onto a work-appropriate chair.

* Not taking at least two hours to get into the swing of things.

* Not giving into the temptation of turning the TV on at regular intervals.

And here are the rules I had to stick to for the entire week:

* Wake up at the exact time that the successful person does.

* Eat, drink and exercise the same way that they do.

* Start working immediately after the morning routine is complete.

From almost throwing up to writing 1000 words before 9 a.m., here’s how I got on. (And yes, I did work a seven day week. Don’t judge me.)

Day one: Tyler Cowen aka the man with a very interesting diet.

I probably shouldn’t have started the week with one of the most disgusting meals I have ever had to consume. Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at Virginia’s George Mason University, is one of those people who clearly has no gag reflex (either that, or he’s just very very brave).His morning routine consists of waking up at 6:30 a.m., drinking some sparkling mineral water (a beverage I absolutely detest), and then rustling up a meal of cheese, smoked trout, and a green pepper. (Sorry Tyler, but this sounds vile.) Oh, and let's not forget the side of dark chocolate.
Lauren Sharkey

I probably shouldn’t have started the week with one of the most disgusting meals I have ever had to consume. Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at Virginia’s George Mason University, is one of those people who clearly has no gag reflex (either that, or he’s just very very brave).

His morning routine consists of waking up at 6:30 a.m., drinking some sparkling mineral water (a beverage I absolutely detest), and then rustling up a meal of cheese, smoked trout, and a green pepper. (Sorry Tyler, but this sounds vile.) Oh, and let's not forget the side of dark chocolate.

It’s safe to say that I sucked at this. Although I have a huge sweet tooth, trying to swallow chocolate first thing in the morning was too much for my teeny tiny stomach. When it came to the triple whammy of cheese, pepper and trout, I just couldn’t do it. I’m sorry. I love me some fish but the smell of the trout meant I couldn’t even put it anywhere near my mouth.

NBC / Via giphy.com

I did munch on some cheddar and a small portion of green pepper but had to rush to the bathroom to clean my teeth almost immediately afterwards. Eating weird food in the morning is not for me.

Lauren Sharkey

Day two: Gregg Carey and his musical wake-up call.

The next person to inspire my messy morning self was Gregg Carey. Seeing as he’s a former Survivor contestant, he surely must know his stuff when it comes to making the most of your day. And as soon as I read “my morning routine is holistic”, I knew Carey was the man for me. Who wouldn’t prefer a gentle wake-up?Just like Cowen, he wakes up at 6:30 a.m., which is around an hour before I usually spring to life so not too big of a deal. His routine focuses on four things: energy, body, mind and soul.The energy component means eating and drinking something. Carey didn’t specify so I went with my usual tea and cereal scenario. Next came a high-intensity workout. This made me groan out loud but I’m proud to say that I successfully completed 10 minutes of a HIIT workout I found online. Yes, I was sweating like a pig and could barely catch my breath but next up was my favorite part: a focus on the mind.
Lauren Sharkey

The next person to inspire my messy morning self was Gregg Carey. Seeing as he’s a former Survivor contestant, he surely must know his stuff when it comes to making the most of your day. And as soon as I read “my morning routine is holistic”, I knew Carey was the man for me. Who wouldn’t prefer a gentle wake-up?

Just like Cowen, he wakes up at 6:30 a.m., which is around an hour before I usually spring to life so not too big of a deal. His routine focuses on four things: energy, body, mind and soul.

The energy component means eating and drinking something. Carey didn’t specify so I went with my usual tea and cereal scenario. Next came a high-intensity workout. This made me groan out loud but I’m proud to say that I successfully completed 10 minutes of a HIIT workout I found online. Yes, I was sweating like a pig and could barely catch my breath but next up was my favorite part: a focus on the mind.

While Carey sometimes meditates, I was more interested in his decision to play piano first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, I am not wealthy enough to own an actual piano so I went for the next best thing —The Piano Tiles game, duh. I’m pretty sure I irritated my still-sleeping partner with my incessant tapping and out-of-tune notes but 15 minutes of classical music did leave me feeling calmer.

Piano Tiles

Day three: General Stanley McChrystal and his horrendously intense morning workout routine.

Since day two had gone so well and I’d actually managed to finish all of my work at a decent time, I was raring to go for day three. Until I remembered what it was. I had stupidly decided to follow the advice of General Stanley McChrystal. (You can already tell where this is going.)He wakes up at 4 a.m. and plunges straight into a 90 minute workout that alternates between running and weight training. When my alarm went off at that ungodly hour, I was ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat. I’m really not the exercising type so the thought of having to leave the house while everyone else was still asleep really didn’t excite me.
Lauren Sharkey

Since day two had gone so well and I’d actually managed to finish all of my work at a decent time, I was raring to go for day three. Until I remembered what it was. I had stupidly decided to follow the advice of General Stanley McChrystal. (You can already tell where this is going.)

He wakes up at 4 a.m. and plunges straight into a 90 minute workout that alternates between running and weight training. When my alarm went off at that ungodly hour, I was ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat. I’m really not the exercising type so the thought of having to leave the house while everyone else was still asleep really didn’t excite me.

But alas, I don’t own any weights so I was forced to do the run. If you’re wondering whether I managed to run/jog/crawl for a full 90 minutes, I did not. The running side lasted for a good 20 minutes after which my chest hurt so much that I could not go on. But I decided to go for an extra long walk after to boost my time a little. That counts, right?

NBC / Via giphy.com

When I finally made it back home, I had a quick shower, some ice cold water as instructed by General McChrystal, and settled in for a day of productive writing. But by 4 p.m., I was absolutely knackered and had to swap work for a good old boxset.

Lauren Sharkey

Day four: Susan Piver and a morning full of mindfulness.

Today, I followed the wisdom of meditation teacher Susan Piver. And boy, did I need some relaxation after the horrendous morning from the day before. When you’re a serious meditator, you’re required to wake up at the crack of dawn.I opted for 5:30 a.m., following Piver’s advice to make a huge mug of tea (no problem there), and step into a cold shower (never again) before creating some kind of shrine which featured a candle and said tea.
Lauren Sharkey

Today, I followed the wisdom of meditation teacher Susan Piver. And boy, did I need some relaxation after the horrendous morning from the day before. When you’re a serious meditator, you’re required to wake up at the crack of dawn.

I opted for 5:30 a.m., following Piver’s advice to make a huge mug of tea (no problem there), and step into a cold shower (never again) before creating some kind of shrine which featured a candle and said tea.

Then, it was time to write down three instructions in a journal. According to Piver, this trio of sentences reminds you of the important things in life. They read as follows: Take no shortcuts. Shame is the enemy. Protect and nourish your body.

Immediately after that, I played a meditation video on YouTube and prepared to settle in for 20 minutes of sweet, sweet silence. Once that was all over, I cracked on with my work and wrote a decent article quicker than I’ve ever done before. So yep, it’s safe to say that worked.

Susan Piver / Via Facebook: video.php

Day five: Arianna Huffington's surprisingly relaxing routine.

Now, it was time to bring out the big guns in the form of power woman Arianna Huffington. Her morning routine, however, was way more relaxed than I thought and perfect for a lazy individual like me.She doesn’t use alarms, instead ensuring she has eight hours of sleep each night and waking up when her body feels ready. She also doesn’t look at her phone first thing — which is something I am 100% guilty of doing every single day — and refuses to answer emails until she has done a minimal yoga routine.
Lauren Sharkey

Now, it was time to bring out the big guns in the form of power woman Arianna Huffington. Her morning routine, however, was way more relaxed than I thought and perfect for a lazy individual like me.

She doesn’t use alarms, instead ensuring she has eight hours of sleep each night and waking up when her body feels ready. She also doesn’t look at her phone first thing — which is something I am 100% guilty of doing every single day — and refuses to answer emails until she has done a minimal yoga routine.

I love yoga so this part was pretty easy for me. But keeping my hands off of my phone was hard. How else was I supposed to see what nonsense celebrities had spouted the night before? What could replace the fun of having to tiptoe round Twitter to avoid Westworld spoilers? But ultimately leaving my phone in another room helped, and by the time I’d finished my 10 minutes of yoga, I’d forgotten about checking social media and began to get on with my work.

Giphy / Via giphy.com

Day six: Marie Kondo's inspirational start to the day.

Marie Kondo inspired us all to declutter our lives. So I was eager to copy her morning routine and begin my new life as an organized young woman.Kondo wakes up at the decent time of 6:30 a.m. (this seems to be a recurring theme in successful people’s lives), throws open the windows and burns some incense in order to purify the house. This was my first problem. It’s hay fever season and my allergies are killing me so sitting in a smoke-filled room wasn’t the most appealing thing. I went for the next best alternative and lit a candle, soaking up its glorious scent before making myself a nice cup of herbal tea.
Lauren Sharkey

Marie Kondo inspired us all to declutter our lives. So I was eager to copy her morning routine and begin my new life as an organized young woman.

Kondo wakes up at the decent time of 6:30 a.m. (this seems to be a recurring theme in successful people’s lives), throws open the windows and burns some incense in order to purify the house. This was my first problem. It’s hay fever season and my allergies are killing me so sitting in a smoke-filled room wasn’t the most appealing thing. I went for the next best alternative and lit a candle, soaking up its glorious scent before making myself a nice cup of herbal tea.

I didn’t eat until around an hour later like Kondo, sticking to a simple breakfast of toast and jam. I can’t say this really boosted my productivity levels. It made me feel a little too relaxed. Like I had no cares in the world when, in fact, I had three deadlines.

TLC / Via giphy.com

Day seven: Cameron Russell's get straight to it regime.

I was a little sad to reach the end of my experimental week. But it was onto model and activist Cameron Russell's morning routine which can be a little all over the place due to her frequent travels.However, I was intrigued by how she managed to write immediately after waking up. Seeing as this is my literal job and I struggle to get the creative juices flowing until after I’ve been awake for a while, it couldn’t hurt to try it out. I set my alarm to its usual 7:30 a.m. time and hoisted my laptop onto my bed as soon as it went off. While I admittedly did not feel very awake, I got to work on a proposal that I had been putting off for some time. The writing may not have been my best work but I managed to bang out around 1000 words in an hour. Success!
Lauren Sharkey

I was a little sad to reach the end of my experimental week. But it was onto model and activist Cameron Russell's morning routine which can be a little all over the place due to her frequent travels.

However, I was intrigued by how she managed to write immediately after waking up. Seeing as this is my literal job and I struggle to get the creative juices flowing until after I’ve been awake for a while, it couldn’t hurt to try it out. I set my alarm to its usual 7:30 a.m. time and hoisted my laptop onto my bed as soon as it went off. While I admittedly did not feel very awake, I got to work on a proposal that I had been putting off for some time. The writing may not have been my best work but I managed to bang out around 1000 words in an hour. Success!

So here's what I learned from seven sometimes hellish days of following successful people's morning routines:

#1. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't apply to morning routines. Some people like waking up seriously early and pumping some iron. Others just don't.

#2. I am not a workout kind of girl. Big surprise there. My gentle soul requires relaxation rather than hardcore exercise.

#3. Focusing on my mental health is more important than I thought. Spending even just a few minutes thinking positive thoughts can really have an effect.

#4. I will never be eating pepper, cheese, and chocolate together ever again.

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