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IG#30: On Morning Routines

A broad look across the spectrum of morning routines, and where to find yours.

Dominik Nitsch
5 min read
IG#30: On Morning Routines

Happy Sunday!

Today, let’s talk to a topic close to my heart: morning routines.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wake up at 4am and have a 3h morning routine to be a high performer.

We’ll look at different styles of morning routines, and what we can learn from them.

Let’s dive in. 🤿

The Perfect Morning Routine Doesn’t Exist … Or Does It?

[1] Internet “Productivity” Coaches

If you listen to “the internet”, your morning routine should look somewhat like this:

  1. Wake up 3 to 4 hours before your workday begins.
  2. Drink plenty of water right away (typically between 1/2 liter and 1 liter).
  3. Meditate on gratitude, visualize your day, and/or spend a few moments in total silence.
  4. Exercise vigorously for a short time period.
  5. Eat a healthy breakfast, usually consisting of fruit, smoothies, and a little caffeine.
  6. Fill your mind with positive and inspiring ideas through great books.
  7. Plan your day on paper before you begin work.

Certainly all nice things to do. I used to be one of those guys (here’s proof on my very old blog).

Truth is: ain’t nobody got time for that.

We also need to sleep, work our full-time jobs, work out, work on our side hustles, have fun, spend time with friends, and mindlessly scroll through Linkedin.

So while in an ideal, non-time-constrained world, this routine would probably be ideal, it’s a bit too extensive.

A morning routine is supposed to make you more productive.

This is where Alex Hormozi comes in. ⬇️

[2] Alex Hormozi

“People think that in order to get more stuff done, they need to add more things to their day.” (Video Source)

Yeah, that doesn’t make sense.

He defines productivity as: “getting more done per unit of time”.

Adding to your morning routine won’t help you get more done.

Instead, the only thing that helps to get work done is actually doing the work.

So, Alex Hormozi’s perfect morning routine is:

  1. Wake up
  2. Start working on the highest leverage stuff

Anything else is just procrastination.

[3] Andrew Huberman

Andrew Huberman, the internet’s favorite Neuroscientist, studies this shit. This is his routine:

  1. Wake up at 06:30am.
  2. Go outside and get sunlight for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Purposely do not drink coffee; instead, have water with electrolytes and Athletic Greens.
  4. Fast until 11am.
  5. 90 minute bout of work. No phone.
  6. Physical exercise for 60 min.
  7. Deliberate cold exposure.

What’s notable:

  • Huberman takes about 30 minutes to start working.
  • He also gets his workout in during his first circadian peak.

Which is awesome! To me, 2 big components of a successful day are three hours of deep work and a good workout.

With this routine, you’ve already covered these two bases. Your day could literally go to shit afterwards and it still would’ve been a good day.

Cam from Goal Guys tried the Huberman routine for 30 days. All of his biomarkers improved, as did his perceived energy and mood.

So it seems that the scientist may actually be onto something.

But, as we’ll see with the last routine, you don’t have to have a morning routine in order to be successful. You can also have an anti-routine.

This is Ramit Sethi:

Real quick: morning routines are essentially just a stack of habits. It’s worth investing into them. If you’re enjoying this article, read this next:

Invest in good habits early. Then, watch them compound.
Compounding isn’t just for financial investors. Anyone can use the concept to live their best life.

[4] Ramit Sethi

Ramit is the author of a book humbly named “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”, the corresponding Netflix series “How to get RICH”, instructor of a gazillion different online courses and … a personality.

This is his routine:

“My perfect morning is rolling over while still bleary eyed in bed, grabbing my phone, and scrolling. Sometimes I watch random videos, answer DMs, or try to find new pizza spots to try.”

Ok, more like an anti-routine. 😂

Ramit is - by all objective means - hugely successful and an outstanding writer. Definitely gets more stuff done than most of us.

In fact, when I recently did my email cleanup, I deleted an astonishing 1.5k emails from him. I’ve seen few people produce quality content and copy this consistently.

But - is he successful because his lack of morning routine, or despite of it?

Look, I get it. I want to lay in bed and scroll through my DMs and watch Instagram Reels. In fact, I do the same on weekends.

The reason why it feels perfect because it’s a treat. It’s different from the usual zen, focused, healthy mornings. You don’t get this every day.

[5] Conclusion + my morning routine

I’ve tried everything. The super-detailed morning routine that includes meditation, journaling, yoga, and extensive breakfast etc etc, but also just sitting down to work right away.

Both sucked.

Now, I’ve converged on a routine similar to Huberman’s - with one exception: I actually have breakfast, and drink a protein-fruit-smoothie. Otherwise, I’m finding it difficult to get my calories and protein in.

You don’t need a morning routine to be successful, but it certainly won’t harm you on your way to success either.

As with many things in life, you need to find out whatever suits for you.

I just hope that with this newsletter, I’ve given you a few ideas across the spectrum to try.



PS: Feel free to share your morning routine and/or the adjustments you want to make in the comments.

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Dominik Nitsch

Proud generalist: Entrepreneur, Athlete, & Writer.

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