7 Common Elements I Must Have in My Morning Routine

By Todd Brison, Medium
Geber86 | Getty Images

Aw, MAN. I swore I would never be the guy who wrote about mornings.

But the more I see this magical thinking come up around the early hours — that you'll be able to pop up out of bed and suddenly make 7 figures — the more I am driven to put my stake in the ground.

I do not like mornings because they make me money.

I do not like mornings because they make me fit.

I do not like mornings because they make me smarter.

I do not like mornings because some guru told me I should.

I do not like mornings because I think they are necessary to success.

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I like mornings because they offer me margin.

In the two or so hours before I work in the morning, the last thing I want to do is deploy another life hack or career hack or growth hack or breakfast hack or whatever is trending for the week.

I use those hours to remind me there is more to life than progress. Sometimes it is silence. Sometimes it is reflection. Sometimes (wait for it) it is peace.

When I was waking up just in time to shower and commute, my job consumed me. Of course it did — that's what commanded my attention starting with the second I rolled out of bed.

You came to this post for routine tips, though, so I'll step off the soap box. Although most of my mornings have a plenty of variety, these elements are common:

1. I wake up at the same time every day

Not just Monday through Friday. Every day. When I kept my alarm standard across 7 days instead of five, not only was it easier to get up, I started getting the best sleep of my life.

2. I walk my dog

Because nothing says "remember to follow your heart" like watching an 11-month, 30-pound French Bulldog desperately hurling his body at a candy wrapper just out of reach.

3. I get my wife coffee

Kate likes a Dunkin' Donuts small iced coffee with extra almond milk. It's $2.73 and takes about 15 minutes to get around the drive thru and back to my house. Yeah, it'd be cheaper and quicker in bulk, but I don't mind. It's a good reminder of who I'm doing it all for anyway.

4. I make my own coffee

Not the store bought K-Cups because every one of those I've had tastes like lawnmower butt. I have a mini filter for our Keurig which I'll fill up and run through.

What's in the coffee Todd?

Generally coconut oil and butter tossed together in the blender. Sometimes it's black. Never sweetened.

Oh, and if you try butter, please use Kerrygold. Anything else will be a disappointment.

5. I write a note on my wife's coffee

After sticking her drink in the fridge but before walking out the door, I jot down something between a note and a novel about how Kate makes me feel. This usually goes on a post-it attached to her coffee. This sounds sweet, but really I'm just forcing her to think about me before she can grab the much-needed caffeine.

I want to remind her that I love her, even if I forget to mention it throughout the day.

There are a couple of other things I do every day which win their own section because a) I don't always do them before noon and b) I think I do them a little differently than most people.

6. I eat breakfast

On weekdays, I typically won't have a bite until at least 10:30 A.M. I just… I don't know, get busy early.

This started unintentionally, but has now become a habit. It was only later I read a little bit of research around intermittent fasting and realized it wasn't detrimental.

Oh, and this is an accident as well —I rarely eat meat before noon. If I'm working from home — it's eggs and some kind of green. If I'm in the office, it's oatmeal with a type of nut butter (usually peanut).

Saturdays, though, I eat enough to make up for it — pancakes and eggs and potatoes and greens and more pancakes.

7. I write something new

Even though this doesn't always occur in the morning, I do have one rule about it:

I will never do anything beginning with "re" before I write something new.

I will not REspond to email.

I will not REply to notifications.

I will not REview what I did the day before.

One time I read the prefix "re" literally meant "back" or "again."

Why on Earth would I want to start my day going backwards?

One of the things I have done in the past (and still do from time to time) is an exercise I created called "microjournaling." You may want to try it.

This commentary originally ran on

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