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.
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.
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.
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.
Day two: Gregg Carey and his musical wake-up call.
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.
Day three: General Stanley McChrystal and his horrendously intense morning workout routine.
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?
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.
Day four: Susan Piver and a morning full of mindfulness.
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.
Day five: Arianna Huffington's surprisingly relaxing 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.
Day six: Marie Kondo's inspirational start to the day.
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.
Day seven: Cameron Russell's get straight to it regime.
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.