Transcription of the Morning Routines episode of the podcast Doers Shakers Makers with Sierra Bailey.
[00:12] Morning routines has been a buzzword for a while and the productivity scene. And I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, do I need one, what is one, what do I do in a morning routine? Well, today I’m going to answer some of these questions. My name is Sierra Bailey and this is Doers Shakers Makers, a podcast for go-getters to inspire you in your business and life. All right, morning routines. What is the big deal with them? Why do we need one? Why should we need one? What is all the fuss about? So I’ve read a lot about morning routines. I’ll admit I, quite enjoy reading productivity books and I’ve read many of them. So, I’ve also read a lot of the actual morning, those wake up really early in the morning things. So, I’ll admit that I naturally am the type of person who is doing the things routinely in their morning anyway, and you may also be one of these people that without even realizing it, you’re actually doing a morning routine every day.
[01:10] And that is because a lot of things in morning routines are simply, having your cup of coffee after you, let’s say get up, get dressed, and make the bed. That right there, that’s a morning routine. I think some of the things that we put so much pressure on ourselves to make this big elaborate theater of a morning routine and in reality it’s simply, having a few things that when you get up in the morning, you do A, B, and C, and then this triggers your brain to know that as soon as A, B, and C are done, it’s time to work. So, why should you have a morning routine? Well, as I just said, triggering your brain for time to work is fantastic for many of us, especially those that have their own businesses, so you’re creating your own schedule. You don’t necessarily have the walk into the office, then your brain knows it’s time to, to get to work.
[02:02] Also anybody that is creative, like a writer, when they’re sitting down to work, if their brain already kind of feels like, oh, I’ve done one, two, three, now it’s time to do four, which is writing. So that is a lot of why the people that are writing about this are very into it. Mostly they started doing more new routines when they want it to start writing more. That made them obsessed with it because they found their own productivity increasing. So, all right, maybe you have decided that there’s a great case for you to have a morning routine. Maybe you want to put your foot in there, figure it out. You know, like I said, I’m one of those people that kind of naturally falls into the routine of life. I like routine and I will say another why, is actually because I have been told in the past, in like therapy situations, That, if you feel if you have anxiety or if you’re prone, to maybe depression, having a routine is very helpful.
[03:02] Also, my sister lives with MS. I do a lot of work with the National MS Society and a lot of what people with MS are told is that you know, you need to have a low-stress life to help the symptoms. And one of those things is to have routines because a routine helps reduce stress. So, another factor besides getting your brain primed to do work is to actually make your brain not feel as erratic. The routines are soothing to your mind, shall we say. So that’s another reason to do it. And a reason why I have always enjoyed having a routine myself. So, I’ll run through quickly like what my routines, and I did not set out to necessarily do a morning routine. But I will say a very interesting thing happened when I transitioned businesses. Going from being a basically a maker/manufacturer who owned an online retail business, working from home to somebody that instead of producing a physical product was producing content and talking to people all day long, like between clients and networking I am talking to people all day long.
[04:10] And this is not something I had done for really, most of my career. So I, I don’t even think I intentionally really started, but I have become a morning person and I have been a very strong night owl my entire life. It’s crazy when I talk to people that I know that they’re like, what time are you getting up now? I mean I get up between five and six most days now and it’s bananas because I really, for my entire life would be the person up until three in the morning chatting away if f I had, you know, anybody near me. And if not just happily working in my studio until super late. I’m in my forties now it could be a little bit of age, who knows? But either way, I really cherish my mornings now and I have, um, I probably am having more of the early morning going.
[04:55] I guess I used to like, get up and feel a little bit rushed. Like I had to get right to work because I if I got up at let’s say at like nine or 10 even, I would feel like I had to like catch up and quickly jump in and get to where everybody else was going. So when I get up at like five or six it’s dark out, there’s a little bit of a luxury. I enjoy a little bit of having some time to myself and I, even now if I have, you know, I have a weekly breakfast at 6:50 AM I usually get there about 6:40. I get up at five so that I have time to do the basis of my routine and that is, I wake up, I wash my face and brush my teeth and I put on the same thing that I wear every single morning and that’s like a pair of joggers, a hoodie, a tee-shirt, and some house shoes.
[05:44] And I then go into the kitchen and I make my cup of coffee, I feed the dog, let the dog out, and then the dog and I go to work. I even say “Faye, let’s…”, well she can’t really hear anymore, but I will say “Faye, let’s go to work” and we go to my office, once I get to my office, I write three pages of morning pages, which I started I think three years ago now. So while I was still doing my other business, and I do basically two pages of just freehand brain dump, make the mind let go of all of the things that it’s stressing out about. I deal with anxiety. So it’s really helpful to kind of clear the cobwebs out in the morning for me. And then, um, I actually like write down like where I want to be so that my subconscious brain is holding on to what it should be working on.
[06:32] That’s a podcast for another time. And I finish with three things that I’m thankful for. So for me, the most important really part of my morning is probably the no thought of the thinking what I’m wearing, coffee. And then the morning pages and I sometimes start doing things in the middle of the morning pages. Like, I’ll get online. I try not to, but I get distracted and I’m doing things, but I finished them and they’re always done. And then that journal goes away. And side note, I did not journal for many years because I didn’t ever want people to read the brain dumps that I was having. So when I’m done with the journal now I just throw it out. And it really allows me to just, without judgment, get rid of it because I know nobody will ever read it. I’ll never read it. Who cares, never will be seen again whenever I need to talk about.
[07:15] I can talk about. Very helpful and kind of clearing out the brain for the day. Then I will make a list on my desk of like, you know, the top few things that I need to make sure that I get done that day. And usually, that includes like three things that will help me bring in income and that I am definitely going to do a podcast on later. So pin in that. Some people like to put meditation into their morning routine. They exercise. They will do more of the self-grooming. I know there are some, that men and women that I’ve heard that do elaborate skincare things or like Tony Robbins and a lot of the big productivity coach Gurus do the cold shower or the ice dunk or something like that. That’s a really big thing in the morning routines.
[08:05] I don’t like to get wet in the morning. Coffee, tea, food, very specific, same thing. Every single day is part of everybody’s routine really. I mean all of us that drink coffee ritualize it a little bit and, again the morning pages come up a lot for people. So I’m going to say I’ve tried a few things and I’m going to kind of give you what has worked for me and what hasn’t. Really, it’s morning routines, the length of it and all of that are completely, it’s up to you. It’s really what works for your schedule. Like I said, it depends on what you’re trying to do. For me, I am trying to like set my brain into the, okay, it’s time to work in time to get things done mode. So the things that I’m doing are quick and getting me ready to start. Usually writing.
[08:51] I have tried meditating in the morning, I just don’t enjoy it. I am an, I am a nighttime meditator, just like how I read right before bed, before I read, I meditate, I don’t fall asleep during it. That works for me. I have been enjoying meditating. I use the Headspace app. I’ve been doing that for a little over a year and I really enjoy that. But not in the morning. I have tried to exercise in the morning, which I actually love. I’m not coordinated. For a brief week. I was walking around the neighborhood and I did this at the new year, mainly because the gym was closed for like a week. I was going to a small gym and I needed to get a little more exercise in. So I figured, well this will kind of jump start me. And I liked it, but I was, I then came back and did a bunch of burpees and some pushups and all this stuff and I was sweaty and then I’m like, well I don’t want to shower and then my hair is frizzy.
[09:41] It was just an issue. So, I opted not to exercise anymore and have read that actually if you are somebody who is doing a creative output first thing in the morning, don’t exercise, let your brain do the creativity first and then exercise after that. So, you know there’s a case for both. Some people love to get up and exercise. If you’re one of those people do it, it means it’s done for the day. The self-grooming…I finish my morning routine. Then at some point in there, I eat a hard-boiled egg. And then, if I’m leaving the house I then go put on makeup and get dressed. That takes about half an hour. So I really am trying to do the things in my routine before that because it’s such a block, being a person who’s putting makeup on, that takes up some time.
[10:24] I would rather be getting things done before I get to that. Mind you, I try very hard. You notice that I have not said pick up my phone, open my email or correspond with anybody. Sometimes when I get up and I first get into the bathroom and I turn the light on, the first thing I do is sometimes to check emails. It’s a habit I have not broken from e-commerce where you just want to make sure that something bad has not happened in the middle of the night with like your, you know, web stores or orders or something. But really I don’t read any emails when I first get up in the morning. I do not look at social media. I do believe a lot in the having control of your time and it being your schedule and to not let somebody else be in charge of what your time is first thing in the morning.
[11:04] So, by putting off the email and the social media, there are other people that may want things from me, but quite honestly at five in the morning, nobody is usually trying to email me yet that early. So even when I look at my email, I’m lucky if Morning Brew has come in; there are a lot of things with morning in this conversation, I keep forgetting which one I’m about to say. So anyway, morning routines is also something that if you’re really overwhelmed can kind of help you because it does reign it in a little bit. So, if you’re somebody that gets really distracted in the morning and has a hard time like getting out the door, you might think about having a morning routine or it might overwhelm you more. I don’t know. I’m not really one of those people. But do you need to do morning routines? That’s the big question.
[11:46] No, absolutely not. I know people that the thought of a morning routine makes them cringe and not able to even think about what they would do. The whole thing makes them uncomfortable and you know, have hives. Me? I’m somebody who loves a good routine so I am a dead ringer to have a morning routine because quite honestly in my life I put these things in there anyway. If you were somebody who absolutely shutters at the thought of having a routine then, you should never have a morning routine. But, I will say, especially when I was changing over in careers like having very specifics that I kind of knew what I should be doing because otherwise, I wasn’t 100% sure what I should be doing with myself was helpful. So if you are like freelance, if you work from home, creative. I’m repeating myself a little bit because I do find it’s important to keep all this in mind but if you are somebody that gets into like, your day is going to be really chaotic and you will get into the weeds like, from the beginning, a morning routine might help.
[12:51] It might be something that balances you and starts you out with good intentions. Of course, it’s not magic. Just having a good routine in the morning and having something set up in order to help your day go well doesn’t mean it’s going to do anything. So don’t beat yourself up if the outcome is not what you are exactly thinking. It’s not going to all of a sudden make you a better person or make you a different person. We all know from productivity: 1. you get out of it when you get into it. And 2. it’s not a magic pill. It varies from person to person and it really is like, how often you’re doing it, the duration you’re doing it. It’s like a habit. The longer that you do it, the more the effects will kick in. So speaking of habits, how should one start a morning routine?
[13:36] How do you start this habit of doing a morning routine? Well, like with anything, I’d start small. I would start with perhaps just first, take a look at what you do when you get up tomorrow morning. Are you doing something that you realize that every single morning you’re doing the same thing? Cause if so, hey you’re halfway there. You already have a little bit of a routine established. Now, a very interesting thing in habit creation is that if you are trying to start a new habit and you attach it to something that you already do, for example, a great one would be if every night before you go to bed, you brush your teeth. Let’s say you’re trying to add, meditating into your daily habit. Okay, so the brushing the teeth happens, then you start to say, oh, I’m going to attach this new habit onto the existing habit.
[14:23] I will meditate immediately after I brush my teeth. That’s a great way to introduce a new habit into something like you’re already doing. So morning routines can be built on in this way. And it’s another kind of habit lingo of stacking your habits or building on your habits. A morning routine is essentially a stack of habits. It is just, think about it as a bunch of little teeny tasks added up. So if you, let’s say, start off with, oh, I get up in the morning, I brush my teeth, I drink my coffee. Great. Add one more in there for the next couple of weeks. Then add another thing. You know, so many of the problems that people have with habits and morning routines is that they try to start, I always say like don’t start at Z. Start at A. You don’t start at the end result.
[15:09] You really have to work up to it and again, I’m just throwing all of these little slogan things out there, but it really is proven that we underestimate what we can do in the long term and overestimate what we can do in the short term. So a lot of it is that we’re so hard on ourselves, that if we are immediately, right out of the gate, not doing things at the top level, we get discouraged and don’t want to try. But you really should be thinking of morning routines as like, okay, I don’t need to set out tomorrow as having 15 things that take me an hour and a half. Which ps, your morning routine should probably not be an hour and a half or you’re not going to get anything done. You should maybe start with like three things, brushing your teeth, having your coffee or tea and making the bed, let’s say and then you can add on from there.
[15:55] I am in a lovely situation these days where I always have been a bed maker when I first wake up. That used to come in right after the brushing of the teeth and the getting dressed and I, in this weird flip of my time getting up, now get up before Adam and he makes the bed. It’s rather lovely. If I am somewhere around the bedroom when he’s getting up I’ll try and do it for him cause I feel bad that it’s all on him now and he would not make the bed if he didn’t want to, but he’s kind enough to indulge my peculiar habits. Anyway. You want to start a morning routine? That’s fabulous. Pick a couple of things to start out with and by a couple of things, I mean like the things you’re probably already doing and then add one other on there or for the first week really just track what you’re actually doing.
[16:45] I am not, I am definitely a to-do list person and I am a check-off things person but I am not at a phase in my life where I want to check off all of the little things. Except for like, cleaning the house, so I actually remember. But I have been there, I’ve been there where I have had a spreadsheet that has, you know, had all of the little tiny habits that I wanted to accomplish in a day. Really it’s exhausting and I couldn’t handle it. If you are in the phase where you really want to have that, oh, it can be fun and addictive and it’s awesome. But I am at the moment, not into tracking things. So if I don’t accomplish something in my morning routine, meh, it’s okay. I also have to say sometimes you need to really know when you’re adding more pressure onto yourself than necessary and actually causing anxiety.
[17:30] Please don’t cause anxiety with your morning routine. Pick a couple of things. Maybe just pay attention to the things that you’re already doing and see if that helps you get a little bit of a better boost to your productivity for the day. See if that helps in the morning. You’re not feeling so rushed. Note that if you do add a few tasks on and you actually have work to get to you or a specific time you have to be, make sure you get up a few minutes earlier so that you are adding time onto that so it’s not adding stress to your life. Morning routines should not be adding stress to your life, but they can alleviate a little bit of stress and make your day a little bit easier if done right. So give it a try. Let me know how it goes. firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever want to update me on how you are doing it in your morning routine or anything you’ve heard on the podcast, but for today that’s it. So thank you for joining me. My name is Sierra Bailey. This is Doers Shakers Makers, a podcast for go-getters. Please subscribe if you like what you’re hearing and if you’re using iTunes, please review it. Throw me little stars. Always useful to have those stars. It helps it get found. I’ll be back next week to keep you inspired and doing shaking, making.
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