On habits: Know when you do your best work

In every interview Tim Ferriss asks about morning routines and habits, and there are probably eighty places where you could find him talking about his own. He’s gathering best practices from the people making some moves in this world, the people who seem to defy the one finite resource we all battle: time. How do youstart your day? What’s the tone you want to set? What’s your brain doing at six, seven, or ten in the morning?

A few people will pause and, SHOCKER, reveal that they have no real “routine” in the morning. What?! But how do you function as a highly efficient being?! Some of us may think, “B.S., dude” but I’m sure there are plenty of listeners thinking,”These are my people!”

Whether it’s your uber-efficient attempts at productivity, the millions you’ve invested, or the simple “healthy” habits you’re trying to maintain, you need to consider only one thing: when are YOU are at your best?

Not everyone needs to jump out of bed first thing in the morning and run ten miles, or even one. Not everyone needs to get to work early in order to get their shit done. Not everyone has, or wants to dedicate, a few hours every weekend to cook in bulk for the week ahead. It’s alllll good, you guys. That’s totally fine. As long as you’ve found a “better” way that works for you.

When I realized I wanted to start writing again, I knew it had to be a morning thing. This is tricky because I also like to run in the morning and I like to be at work relatively early (i.e. before everyone is there, i.e. introverts — hey!). But there’s no question about it: I easily access my “zone” in the morning, with the help of caffeine in the form of coffee, or meditation in the form of yoga or running, or BOTH. I feel like I’m just sitting down to chat with you, but TBH wouldn’t actually want to do that because see above. So instead, we can chat like this and I can type away to share with you what’s on my mind or whatever I deem relevant today.

I ran with my friend Anne and new-friend Sokphal this morning, and was asked about this writing + full-time working routine. “How/when do you find time to write?” I would guess it’s one of the most common questions bloggers get asked, because let’s be real, this little creative outlet has the potential to take quite a bit of time. Years ago I felt more (completely self-imposed) pressure to write consistently every week, and that can be draining. But I’ve heard so many great writers say that the best thing they ever did for themselves was carve out time to write and do it every day, no matter what. And when you hit that tipping point between wanting to and finally doing, you have to consider how it’s going to work FOR YOU. When do I know I can carve out a little bit of time to write every day? In the morning. When do I feel like I’m able to write relatively well? In the morning. How can I build a habit around writing consistently that I’ll enjoy? You’re with me, right? In the morning! Whoop!

So, for me this is about writing, which is a habit and outlet that makes me happy (10% happier every day, you might say). For you, it might be about something entirely different. Cooking, exercising, meditating, yoga, reading, calling friends/family, house projects, {insert what you want do more of here}.

Don’t try to squeeze it in when “they” say you should.

Think about something you wish you did more often, and why you don’t just do it. Then think about when you do “it” best, or are more motivated to do it, and build your day around that.

Originally published on heathercaplan.com