My 8-Minute Morning Routine for Energy
I’ve taken all the guesswork out of doing a morning routine that’s guaranteed to get you off to a great start
It’s worth doing a little vision work about your idea of a perfect morning, even if that feels wu-wu.
The essential difference between good morning routines and bad morning routines is emotion.
In a bad morning routine, you resist every step. You resent your alarm and hit the snooze button. You don’t want to get out of bed, so you get on social media. You drag your feet until the last possible moment.
In a good morning routine, you embrace the morning. The first time your eyes open is a good moment because you are actually looking forward to starting your day.
The first problem that gets in the way of a good morning routine is that most morning routine advice starts with decision making: you have to decide what you’ll do for your routine.
What got me out of the rut of bad mornings was changing my focus away from optimizing the steps for productivity and efficiency, and instead optimizing the key parts of my morning for joy.
Again, this sounds wu-wu. But it’s also common sense. If you wake up and aren’t excited for your morning, then change your morning to have things you are excited about.
How It Works: The Details
The first thing to improve your morning is to get rid of any decision making. If you wake up groggy, then you don’t want to paralyze yourself with choices.
Below, I’m going to give you a guided morning routine that you can just turn on and follow along with my directions. Don’t worry, it’s quick — just eight minutes.
Like almost everything I publish here, this routine is both tested on myself and other people. Here’s what I can say about how other people use it: It does dramatically improve your mood and increase your energy, and it also fits into the rest of the things you might be trying to cram into your morning.
You can follow this routine in two ways. One way is to set a timer for two minutes. Review the steps below; you’ll do each of these things for two minutes. When the timer goes off, move to the next step.
Or, you can just follow along with the video that has audio prompts every two minutes. (Don’t bother to watch it now; it’s not that exciting, as it’s designed to simply do the timing for you during those eight minutes.)
This morning routine is comprised of four parts:
- Setting priorities
These are the core habits that I find, over and over again, among the world’s most successful people.
To start, you just need to do them for two minutes each.
What Kind of Movement?
I would strongly encourage you to dance. I’m actually being serious.
The overachiever in me thinks having morning exercise is an opportunity to work on fitness goals. But that goal-oriented mindset ends up undercutting the main goal of this routine, which is to put you in a happy, focused mindset.
So the guided video has music and I do think you should at least experience what dancing does to your mood in the morning.
If it’s not necessary, then just do a plank and pushups.
But What if I Already Have a Morning Routine?
If you’ve already got a powerful morning routine, keep most of it. You can still try this as a way of adding new habits or trying a new sequence to start your day.
Most people try to fit this eight-minute routine at the beginning of their morning. But there’s no perfect way — so if it’s the end of your morning, that’s good, too.
Setting Up for Success
These four core elements — meditation, journaling, setting priorities, and physical activity — form the basis for getting your day off to a good start. You move into your work already having a few wins under your belt.
There are two more things you should do to set yourself up for success:
- Decide on a wake-up time, set an alarm, and get out of bed when it goes off.
- Make your bed.
These are pretty straightforward. If you have trouble waking up on time, set your alarm away from the bed so you have to get up to turn it off. Try to go to bed on time to make this easier on yourself.
Making your bed is a subtle but powerful signal to yourself that you are now ready to start your day and have already accomplished something. (If you sleep with someone who wakes later, try to do some sort of replacement for this — tidy up your bedside table or your side of the bed, whisper an expression of affection or gratitude in their slumbering ear.)
Go empty your bladder, get a drink of water, start your coffee — but don’t dawdle too long, and don’t check email or social media.
We’re using a tactic called habit chaining to ritualize the steps you take between opening your eyes and starting your eight-minute routine. You definitely don’t want to do all of this from the bed. That’s why making your bed is an important step — it kicks off a chain of habits that takes you from your bed to this routine.
Your Guided Morning Routine
Here’s the video you’ll use as a guide each morning:
You don’t need to play it until tomorrow morning, but have it queued up and ready. Also, have a piece of paper (or your regular morning journal) and a pen or pencil handy.
Put those in place tonight.
In the morning, get comfortable with your writing tools and press play. There’s a super-quick introduction and then you’ll go right into your eight-minute morning routine.
I’d love to hear in the comments below how it went.
Those steps again:
- Set an alarm for your wake-up time.
- Get up when the alarm goes off.
- Make your bed.
- With writing tools ready, play the video, and follow along.
It’s going to be a great day!