The Working With… Podcast

The Working With… Podcast | Episode 22 | Morning And Evening Routines.

April 16, 2018

In this week’s episode of the Working With… Podcast, I answer a question about creating a morning and evening routine. 


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In this week’s episode of the Working With… Podcast, I answer a question about creating a morning and evening routine. 

Hello and welcome to episode 22 of my Working With Podcast. A podcast created to answer all your questions about productivity, GTD, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.

This week, I have a question about morning and evening routines. To me, these two things you do every day are the foundations of building a fantastic day. And when you string together fantastic individual days you very soon start building a fantastic life.

Before we get to the answer, don’t forget you can ask me anything about productivity, time management and goal planning, all you have to do is send your question either by email or by Dming me on Facebook or Twitter. All the links are in the show notes. And don’t forget, if you are serious about getting yourself better organised and more productive, then take a look at my latest online course, Your Digital Life 2.0 Online. A course that will give you the know-how and framework to build your very own, bullet proof productivity system. So go on and invest in yourself and get yourself enrolled.

Ok, now it’s time for me to hand you over to the mystery podcast voice for this week’s question. 

This week’s question comes from Laura. Laura asks: I really want to get myself organised and I think the best way would be to give myself a morning and evening routine. What do you suggest would be the best way to go about this? 

Thank you Laura for your great question. 

I would agree with you that setting up a couple of daily routines will help you to get yourself organised because it is the routines and the habits we do every day that takes us towards achieving the goals and plans we have set for ourselves. Most people drift through their lives and never really achieve anything. By having a plan in place and a set routine that takes you closer each day towards achieving those goals, you will start seeing some huge improvements in your life. 

The best way to get this mini-project started is to make a list of all the things you would like to do each day. Don’t worry at this stage when you will do them, just concentrate on listing out the things you would like to do each day. I would go for list of say ten to twelve things. This way you can divide the list up into what you would like to do in the morning and what you would like to do in the evening. One thing that should be on your list is “plan tomorrow” this is one thing that does need to go on your evening routine. Planning your day the night before allows you to have a better nights sleep because you know exactly what you will be focussing your energies on the next day. It also allows you to make sure you are getting the important things done each day. You do not want to be wasting your freshest hours of the day making plans and deciding what you want to do. 

Once you have made your list of ten to twelve things and have added “plan tomorrow” to your evening list, go through your list and add the different things to either the morning list of evening list. Try to keep things even. Have 5 or 6 things on your morning list and 5 or 6 things on your evening list. 

Let’s start with the morning routine. Now this depends on what kind of person you are. If you are naturally a morning person and enjoy the early mornings then you can start your routine off by making yourself a cup of your favourite tea of coffee. One of the things I have learnt over the years is if you start your day with a cup of your favourite drink, it lifts your mood immediately. I personally love Starbucks’s Breakfast blend coffee and I make that in a Braun coffee machine. It’s a simple coffee machine, but it brews a gorgeous cup of coffee. That starts my day off wonderfully. 

Now the next step depends on what you want to do. You could start off by meditating for ten minutes, or you could start by writing in your journal. Other things you can do is review your calendar for the day. Reviewing your calendar for the day is different from planning your day. Reviewing is essentially a quick check to see where you need to be and with whom and with what. It is not planning. 

Of course there is always the option to exercise in the morning if you want to build that in to your daily routine. The beauty of building your own morning routine is you can focus on the things you want to focus on before the stresses and strains of the day hit you. I like the Robin Sharma’s 5AM club routine. That is the 20/20/20 twenty minutes exercise, 20 minutes planning and 20 minutes learning. I would adapt the “planning” part to writing in my journal what my hopes and expectations for the day are, but you could also use it to review your goals and internalise your dreams. 

There’s a lot of advice about not checking your email first thing in the morning. I ignore that advice. I never get any ‘bad news’ or demanding emails in the morning, I usually only get news and questions from my students, which I love receiving. So for me, my morning emails are a source of good news and inspiration. But if you do get a lot of work emails in overnight then I would suggest not checking your email as part of your morning routine. 

For me a perfect morning routine would be something like:

  • Make coffee
  • Read through over night emails
  • Review calendar for today
  • Write my hopes and expectations for the day in my journal
  • 15 minutes reading

I am nota morning person as you can probably see.

Now on to the evening routine. This one for me is the most important one. This is where I do my Golden 10 and catch up with messages and admin. I am more of a night person, so sitting down at my desk for an hour to catch up on the day, plan the next day and get everything tidied up is one of my favourite times of the day. But this could easily be the other way round for you if you were a morning person. The key here is that whatever you do as part of your evening routine it makes you feel relaxed and contented. You do not want to be finishing the day feeling stressed. Try to make sure you evening routine leaves you feeling relaxed and ready for the next day. 

This year I began a 30 minutes study period between 10:30pm and 11:00pm Every evening between those times I study something. Usually it is a TED talk, or it could be something inspiring like a Jim Rohn or Tony Robbins talk. Either way I want to feel inspired and learn something new. This has become one of my favourite times of the day. That process of learning and writing what I have learnt into my journal just makes me feel so lucky that we live in such a resourceful world today. 

So for me my evening routine looks like:

  • do today’s admin
  • Reply to all messages
  • write up my thoughts for the day in my journal
  • Do my Golden 10
  • 30 minutes study.

This routine leaves me feeling relaxed and ready for the next day and, for me, is the perfect way to end the day. 

You, of course will be different and you need to build a routine around what you enjoy doing. Both your morning routine and evening routine needs to be something you look forward to. If you do don’t enjoy doing them you will not stick with it. After a few weeks these routines begin to stick and after three months they have become a habit. Once they have become a habit, you will feel very uncomfortable when you do not do them. That is a great sign. 

The thing about morning and evening routines is they have to be what you want to do. You will never get much success if you just copy other peoples. If you don’t journal, that’s okay. Don’t try and start unless you really want to start. Journalling is not for everyone. Likewise if you are not in to exercise, then don’t force yourself to exercise. This is your life, your choices and your goals. They are not anyone elses and you should be proud of what you do. Just build a set of routines that involve you doing what you want to do. 

The only thing I would add to this is that when you do get your morning and evening routines set up and working for you, you start to feel a lot happier. You start to make progress on your goals, if you make sure you do something related to your goals every day, and you start of many more good days than you had before. These routines set you up for a great life and this probably why almost all the successful people in the world have some form of daily routine they follow. Tim Cook wakes up around 3:30am and goes to the gym. Satiya Nadella goes for a run every morning and Tony Robbins has an elaborate breathing and meditation ritual he does every morning. 

So there you go, Laura. Go for it. Create you daily routines and make them a fundamental part of your life. You will never regret it and you will soon find yourself moving a lot closer to achieving the things you want to achieve. 

Thank you very much for listing to this podcast. I hope you got a lot out of it. It just remain for me now to wish you all a very very productive week.