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Get Yourself A Morning Ritual

Filed Under Efficiency Tips

A few blogs such as FreelanceSwitch and Zen Habits have written about ways to improve morning productivity. These posts intrigued me to analyze my morning ritual as a blogging developer.

First off, I am a night owl by nature and very slow to start in the morning. At least 30 minutes of mindless shuffling in the kitchen must occur before my brain turns on. Consequently, my old morning ritual was:

  • 7:00 AM – Wake up
  • 7:15 AM – Feed the dog and then myself
  • 7:30 AM – Clean up and commute
  • 8:00 AM – Start Outlook
  • 8:30 AM – Start Google Reader
  • 10:15 AM – Break time from reading RSS
  • 10:30 AM – Start working

My flawed morning ritual produced unproductive mornings followed by very sluggish moving afternoons. Promising myself a change, I laid down 3 rules: learn how to wake up earlier, blog before work, and no RSS before my Most Important Task (MIT) was completed. My morning ritual slowly evolved to:

  • 5:00 AM – Wake up, grab a banana, head to my home office
  • 5:05 AM – Quickly check blog stats
  • 5:10 AM – Write blog posts using Dark Room
  • 7:15 AM – Feed the dog and then myself
  • 7:30 AM – Clean up and commute
  • 8:00 AM – Start Outlook and respond to only urgent messages
  • 8:05 AM – Shutdown Outlook
  • 8:10 AM – Start working by tackling my MIT
  • 10:15 AM – Reward myself with a 15 minute Google Reader break
  • 10:30 AM – Clean out my email inbox

This schedule is very rewarding due to the increase in productivity. I have accomplished my largest personal online MIT (blogging) and my professional MIT all before lunch.

You do not have to be an early bird in order to have a morning ritual. Anyone can benefit from a ritual regardless of when your day starts. Try the 3 rules of getting some sleep, stay away from email and RSS, and tackle your MIT. Hopefully, you will find your days much more efficient.

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7 Responses to “Get Yourself A Morning Ritual”

  1. Leo on July 16th, 2007 11:43 pm

    This is an excellent morning routine! I’m glad you’ve found Zen Habits useful, and I wish you continued success with your routine.

  2. Dave on July 17th, 2007 8:23 am

    This could take care of my existing morning ritual of convincing myself to go to work?

  3. ProjectX Blog » Blog Archive » Links... on July 19th, 2007 6:21 pm

    […] Get yourself a morning ritual […]

  4. Laura on July 31st, 2007 8:46 am

    As a natural morning person I have different challenges than most. I have a hard time pacing myself in the morning and have to concentrate on not working too fast first thing – otherwise I’ll get so engrossed I might forget to use the bathroom. That could get messy.
    I have to force myself to take time to read my RSS feeds and email. That usually lasts about 10 minutes before my brain starts obsessing about deadlines again.

  5. Max Pool on August 1st, 2007 4:27 am

    Laura – Don’t feel guilty about using your morning ritual for meditation! Read your RSS, enjoy the silence, or watch a sunrise, these are all great uses of your time.

    I enjoy writing, and when I write in Dark Room, I find it a good application of single point meditation.

    My morning ritual isn’t about being super productive. It is about not laying in bed all day, and then complaining that I don’t have time to exercise, write, or meditate.

    If anyone is in it for productivity then here is a link about Polyphasic Sleep. You only need 2 hours a night…

    Good luck!

  6. Bert on July 6th, 2009 3:15 am


    Nice routine indeed. I too find it very important to get to work focused and remove the distractions.

    However, this is a nice theory, but I find the real challenge is to persevere this and continue doing it the right way.

    Also, what happens if you don’t manage to wake up at 5am? Do you rearrange the day, to still get things done?

  7. Daily Links for Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 on July 7th, 2009 5:21 am

    […] Get Yourself A Morning Ritual […]

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