Morning Routines Are Useless Until They Aren’t
Morning routines and night routines are trendy topics regarding personal growth and entrepreneurship in general.
Some claim that a solid morning routine is a reason why they can be productive for the entire day. Some even wrote books about it, like The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, who explains that you need to wake up hours before everyone else if you want to get anything done during the day.
I’ve been working from home for more than two years now, and I’ve been reading about routines for a while as they seem to help with getting things done and getting the structure you need when you work remotely.
Naturally, I’ve read hundreds of morning routines, from famous entrepreneurs, personal development coaches, YouTubers, lifestyle gurus, and people here on Medium.
They’re pretty much all similar. They all involve waking up fairly early, some sort of hot beverage, journaling, meditating, planning out your day, work out. Only the order of these tasks seems to differ.
I started experimenting, finding the right order and the right activities for me. But then I got confronted with another issue: how can I tell if the routine is helping me at all?
How To Tell If a Routine Is Working for You or Not?
Every time you’ll try something new, it will seem great and miraculous at first. When you try something new, you get excited and wonder how you could even live without doing these things.
After a few days, the excitement goes away, the results are less visible, and the motivation to keep going drops.
Did that mean that this new task or habit wasn’t right for you? Not necessarily.
Let’s say you tried journaling in the morning. It made you feel great for the first three mornings. But now, you’re running out of things to say. You’re kind of not seeing the point, and emptying your brain on paper is now a struggle. That doesn’t mean that journaling is terrible for you. That just means that journaling is tough, and it’s an exhausting mental exercise, which is actually why it is worth doing.
The best way to test habits is when you’re dealing with a high level of stress or if your morning is unpredictable. In such cases, are you still doing your morning routine? Is it helping you in any way? Are there activities that you’re skipping? If you’re doing your morning routine and it helps you get more grounded, congratulations, you have the right morning routine for you. If you’re skipping some activities, that probably mean that they don’t serve a huge role in your mornings. If you’re skipping the entire routine, try a different one.
Let’s say you were supposed to wake up at 7:30, but you forgot to program your alarm before going to bed, and you woke up at 9:45. You have tons of missed calls, lots of emails to respond to, and you’re feeling very guilty. How would you handle your morning? Would you go through your morning routine? Would it help you?
Sticking to a routine when everything goes well is easy, and that’s not what routines are for. Routines are here to make you feel grounded and prepared to go through your day. If you skip your routine because you’re stressed, you’re skipping the exercise that’s supposed to ease your pain. It would be like skipping a workout because you’re not feeling in shape, or skipping a meal because you’re too hungry to eat.
There’s No “Perfect Routine”
I know it’s tempting to copy the routines of the people we admire, but that doesn’t make sense because these routines might not be suited for us.
If your mentor drinks coffee first thing in the morning because it makes them feel good, you wouldn’t do it if it was making you feel jittery, would you? Same with waking up. Some people like to wake up crazy early like 4 or 5 am. But that might be very counter-productive for you, especially if you don’t have an optimized night routine that puts you to sleep early.
What I’m trying to say is that you have to figure out what works for you and what makes you feel good.
Reading about popular morning routines to get ideas and inspiration for your own is excellent. Copying them won’t help you find the right routine for you, though.
Don’t be scared to change and adapt your routines. An activity that used to work for you for a while might not be useful for you anymore. Maybe that’s a sign it’s the right time to experiment with something new. That’s also why copying won’t help you. This person’s routine likely has changed by the time you read about it.
Of course, your routine won’t dramatically change, but it will. Some things that used to help you won’t be efficient anymore and some things that didn’t seem to be useful will start being more attractive and productive.
It’s essential to stay open and to truly analyze what is helping you in your routine and what is not.
I recommend not making massive changes out of the blue. You should decide that during a crisis, when you’re stressed out, late, when your morning is unpredictable. When that happens, stay critical and try to analyze what’s helpful and what’s not, what you would rather do, and what you would rather skip. Because, again, this is when routines are useful.
Do you feel like you tried everything to grow on social media and especially Instagram? Hopefully, what follows will be the last thing you will have to do to reach your goals.
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