ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

Why Your Morning Routine Isn’t Helping You

What you should do instead.

Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

I must confess that I had a much messier life when I started my first company. I look back today, and I can see how much I have changed.

Recently I found myself questioning how I managed to achieve everything I achieved with the bad habits I had at that time. I built a profitable company with employees all over Brazil and the world. I used to work with distractions and often hurting my body by demanding too much from myself.

How did I do?

You probably already saw a lot of articles about the importance of the morning routine. Maybe you already read something about waking up early, meditating, journaling, exercising, taking a cold shower. Perhaps you already tried some of them.

How did you feel?

The morning routine is something significant. I can’t disagree with that. But is it everything?

What are your goals?

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where — “ said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. — Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

First of all, it’s essential to understand the importance of goals. If you don’t know what you want, you won’t know what to do. You may spend thousands of hours working on things that won’t help you achieve anything.

That’s what I did when I started my first company. I spend two years working hard and accomplishing almost nothing. When my three partners that started the company with me left, I decided to do something different to get results.

The billionaire Warren Buffet said that he did a course during his twenties that changed his life. It was a public speaking course from Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People.

After reading the book, I decided to check if there was this course where I live. To my surprise, it did. I watched a free talk about how it would work, and after a few weeks, I was participating in the classes.

This course was one of the turning points I had in my life. One of the things I learned was about SMART goals. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one of them should be:

  • Specific: simple, sensible, significant;
  • Measurable: meaningful, motivating;
  • Achievable: agreed, attainable;
  • Relevant: reasonable, realistic, and resourced, results-based;
  • Time-bound: time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive.

During the course, I was instructed on how to set SMART goals for myself and my company. After six months of finishing it, I moved to Chile to go through my first accelerator program for startups.

Six months after that, I had a profitable company. I don’t believe I would have achieved those results if I haven’t set goals for myself and my company one year before.

Are you being effective or just efficient?

“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” — Russian proverb

Many people think that the morning routine alone will lead them to achieve their goals. It’s not because you are meditating and taking cold showers that you will have success.

You need to work on the things that matter. You need to work on the things that will help you achieve your goals. That’s why it’s essential to set goals before anything else.

It’s also essential to understand the difference between being effective and efficient. Efficiency is the ability to do things right, while effectiveness is the ability to do the right things.

That may look silly, but what is the point of working for long hours to finish something in a perfect way that won’t help you achieve your goals? That is what most people do. As I said before, I was one of them.

You should be careful not to set too many goals for yourself. According to my experience, three is a good number.

You can’t try to catch every “opportunity” you see around. If you try to do that, you will achieve nothing. I already tried that, and it doesn't work. The times I achieved more results were the times where I was working focused on one thing.

While living in Chile, setting goals and prioritizing work helped me finish the things that matter. I knew how to say NO to the things that didn’t matter. And I knew how to focus on the ones that did matter. I was looking for ways to be effective.

My morning routine was terrible, but I was doing meaningful work, which led me to great results.

Morning routine as an enhancer

“When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.” — Jame Clear, Atomic Habits

As I said in the beginning, the morning routine is something significant. As the years passed by, I studied how to improve my habits. I wanted to achieve more, and for that, I needed to be more organized. You can always improve in yourself, and I believed it was time for me to improve that.

Nowadays, I have a much better morning routine. I wake up at 6 AM, go for a walk, take a cold shower, read, then start working. I also understand when I am more productive during the day, and I organized my tasks around that. Doing all that helped me grow professionally and personally.

That’s what works for me, by the way. You need to find what is best for you. Don’t have things on your morning routine that make little sense to you. I already tried meditating, for example, and that is something that doesn’t work for me.

A good morning routine can help you achieve much more if you have goals for yourself and work on the things that matter.

If I had to start again, I would start focusing on setting my goals and working on achieving them. Later, I would create a routine that would help me potentially with everything I do.

The morning routine is powerful, but it alone won’t make you achieve your goals. The morning routine is an enhancer related to everything else you do.

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