The importance of a morning routine and why I get up at 3:45 a.m. most days of the week

sunrise

I get up early so I can see things like this.

I usually get a look of disgust followed immediately by a “but why?” when I tell people what time I wake up in the morning.

Even when I’m tired or get to sleep late, I roll out of bed around 3:45 a.m. Very rarely does my comfy bed compel me to stay tucked in for another two or three hours. As soon as I open my eyes, I’m actually excited to be awake — maybe because I get to eat my favourite meal of the day, or maybe because the early morning hours are peaceful and give me the space I need to focus on things I enjoy. Whatever the reason for my excitement, here’s what my morning routine has evolved into over the past three years:

3:45 a.m. – Wake up a minute before my alarm goes off.

3:50 a.m. – Do a few sun salutations and inversions will my oatmeal cooks and the coffee is made.

4:00-4:30 a.m. – Eat breakfast while catching up on email and surfing Facebook (a multitasking habit in which I’m trying to break).

4:30-4:45 a.m. – Meditate.

4:45-5:50 a.m. – Write a blog post at Run.Lift.Yoga. and set up social shares for the day, plus read/comment on other blogs and find things to post on my Koru Personal Training social accounts.

5:50-6:45 a.m. – Strength training workout at home (where I prep my lunch in between sets) or a 45-minute run alongside the ocean.

6:45-7:50 a.m. – Shower and get ready for work while listening to either the Rich Roll or Audio Dharma podcasts.

7:50 a.m. – Walk to work.

I didn’t always get up this early. There was a time when I’d hit snooze three or four times before even thinking about getting out of bed. But after working the early morning shift in a coffee shop for several years in my early twenties, I began to enjoy getting up before the sun. (I suppose the gallons of free coffee I consumed daily during this time helped develop my affinity for early mornings, too, but I digress.)

There are a few things I discovered about myself in the early morning hours over the years. My brain and creativity tends to function at it’s peak in the hours before the sun comes up, so I try to spend about 45 minutes either writing blog posts or working on whatever side projects I have on the go, such as writing pitches for freelance articles or writing programs for clients. I’m also much more motivated to work out in the morning than I am after work, and I also discovered that I need about 40 minutes to make breakfast, do some yoga and sit down to eat and enjoy my coffee. Before I open up my lap top to write or read blog posts, I try to spend about 5 – 10 minutes meditating. That leaves me with about 30-40 minutes to workout and 45 minutes to get ready for work. Now you can see why I get up so early.

Still think I’m crazy? According to Laura Vanderkam, author of “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast”, mornings are a great time to get things done. I love her tips for starting the perfect morning routine in this article.

“You’re less likely to be interrupted than you are later in the day. Your supply of willpower is fresh after a good night’s sleep. That makes it possible to turn personal priorities like exercise or strategic thinking into reality.”

That said, I don’t think you don’t have to be an early riser to be successful — some people find they function at their best during the late-night hours. Check out this interesting infographic about the daily routines of famous creative people. While many of them do get up in the early morning hours (Benjamin Franklin, Haruki Murakami, and Voltaire — *high fives!*), some, like Sigmund Freud and Pablo Picasso, do their best creative work at night.

Are you a morning or night person? If you’re a morning person, do you have a routine? What is it? If not, what would be your ideal morning routine?

– B