If you win the morning, you win the day
Tim Ferris, famous for his best seller “The 4-hour workweek” goes so far to say that if you win the morning, you win the day. With a statement like that you can bet he has a morning routine.
Tim Ferris’ morning routine consists of 5 parts, and I read that he only hits all 5 parts 30% of the time. Just hitting 3 is a win in his book.
Tim Ferris’ morning routine is made up of these 5 habits
- Make your bed
- Meditate for 10-20 minutes
- At least 30 seconds of light exercise
- Drink strong tea
- Journal for 5 – 10 minutes
My task was simple: follow Tim Ferris’ morning routine for 5 days, leaving out nothing.
The thought of an unmade bed makes me uncomfortable, so my bed is made within 10 minutes of me getting out of it every morning. I guess I have more in common with Tim Ferris than I thought.
Doing 30 seconds of light exercise confused me. Does a light morning stretch in bed count? Should I be using the time spent brushing my teeth to lightly squat in place? For someone who wrote a book about only working 4 hours per week, he doesn’t seem to have much free time.
After trying to do 30 seconds of light exercise and feeling ridiculous, I gave up and went to gym for an hour workout. Take that Tim Ferris.
I have to wait for Feige to finish her workout so I decide to get my meditation done in the car.
I set the timer for 5 minutes, close my eyes and count sheep breaths. I try to apply the tips on meditation I read in 10% Happier and followed the up and down of my breathing.
This is weird. There’s a bright light in front of me, maybe I’m becoming enlightened. Nope, no enlightenment, just a car trying to park.
The timer goes off and I’m quite proud I made it through. Until I realise he meditates for 10-20 minutes. Whoops.
I get home and make a rooibos tea. A previous trial of this experiment made me realise drinking tea first thing in the morning makes me feel sick. Drinking it after gym is more bearable. Tea in hand I settle down for some journaling. I usually write a to-do list in the morning, but I presume that’s not what he counts as journaling. In the spirit of all things Tim Ferris, I use his 5 minute journal exercise and get writing. I feel like I should burn the pages once I’m done.
By 7am I’ve accomplished the full morning routine, which means I’ve won the day already. Can I go back to sleep now?
Get up, make bed. Tick. This is way too easy.
It’s pouring rain so a run is out and gym is in. I do a 40 minute session and count it as my “30 seconds of light exercise”. It involved stretching which is light enough.
Back home I settle on my bed for meditation and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Meditating is harder than you think. Focusing on breathing makes the actual breathing more awkward. I’m getting sleepy. I wonder if I can meditate horizontally, under the covers. Breathe in, breathe out. The alarm sounds and I can move.
I make a strong berry tea and complete my journaling which doesn’t take me 5 minutes, but close enough.
Another morning, another success. Not sure how my actual day ranked though.
Up and Bed made. It’s still raining so it’s back to the gym for my version of 30 seconds of exercise which is a touch longer, sweatier and not so light.
Back home, on my bed the meditation goes by faster and easier. It’s like I’m actually getting the hang of it.
I make a black tea and settle in to journal. I end up taking 2 sips of the tea and forget about it. Still counts, right?
Got this bed thing down.
After non-stop rain, it’s only lightly drizzling. This seems fine enough for a run.
I sit by the door and close my eyes and try meditating while waiting for Feige (you might be picking up a theme here). I get through 3 minutes. I’m going to bank those for later.
I manage to run around the block. Tim Ferris would be proud, it was so slow and short that it’s the closest I’ve gotten to 30 seconds of light exercise. I console myself with my lack of morning exercise with the fact that I have a yoga class in the afternoon.
My body wants water, so water it gets. I decide to call it a water flavoured ice tea and count it as the tea of the day.
I sit on my bed and set my timer for the remaining 7 minutes. I’m falling asleep – light exercise is apparently more exhausting than hard exercise. Dan Harris said sometimes you just need to sleep, not meditate. So I sleep until my timer goes off. I feel oddly calm.
I journal while eating breakfast ,and having a coffee. Am I doing this right?
I remember little of the last day, other than that I managed to squeeze in all 5 routines again and made it through 10 minutes of meditation without falling asleep.
What I learnt from Tim Ferris’ morning routine
At the end of the 5 days, I appreciate what a morning routine can do for you, but realise adopting someone else’s routine is annoying at best and dysfunctional at worst. I also came to the realisation that days are more than the morning hours, and whilst starting the day right sets a great tone, it’s no guarantee the rest of the day will go well. It just means at the end of the day, you’ll feel like you got something done.
If you want to set a morning routine, think of the things you can do that’ll make you feel ready to grab the day, whether it’s meditation, exercise, eating a good breakfast and catching up on news.
Now if I can figure out how to do a weeks’ worth of tasks in just 4 hours…
Not getting our weekly newsletters? Sign up here to get them!
Main Image by Zissy Lewin