#028: Become More Productive by Reengineering Your Morning Ritual [Podcast]

In this episode, I talk about early morning rituals and how they can set you up to be more productive, more successful, and more healthy. They might even enable you to make more money!

Someone on an Early Morning Run - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/warrengoldswain, Image #20364208

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/warrengoldswain

According to a 2007 poll conducted by Gallup:

  • 55 percent of U.S. adults consider themselves “morning people.”
  • 15 percent consider themselves “afternoon people.”
  • 20 percent consider themselves “evening people.”
  • 6 percent consider themselves “late night people.”

Click to Listen

Interestingly, “Morning people” tend to:

The good news is that if you aren’t a morning person, you can become one. (See, for example, “10 Benefits of Rising Early and How to Do It.”)

But what about the “ritual” part of the equation? If you are like some people, the word ritual may have a negative connotation.

If you look it up on Dictionary.com, the first definition is this: “an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.”

The problem is that we typically think of it in a religious sense. I am not using it in this sense, though for me, even there, it has a positive connotation.

I define ritual as “a prescribed procedure for achieving a specific result.” In other words, it’s kind of like a recipe.

For example, as a golfer, I have a ritual for hitting drives that are long and straight (most of the time). Does my ritual always produce the intended result? No. But it increases the probability of achieving the intended result.

An early morning ritual can do the same thing for your productivity and the effectiveness. It won’t guarantee your results, but it will set you up for the possibility of success.

By the way, the truth is that you ALREADY have a ritual. Rituals are inescapable. The only question is whether or not you are intentional about your early morning ritual and whether or not your ritual is producing the results you want in your life.

Anyone can design a more effective early morning ritual by following these seven steps.

  1. Acknowledge that you already have a ritual.
  2. Document your existing ritual.
  3. Evaluate whether or not it is producing the results you want.
  4. Determine the results you want (and don’t want).
  5. Reengineer your current ritual.
  6. Implement your ritual.
  7. Tweak your ritual as necessary.

Reengineering your morning ritual can be a simple way to become more productive and set yourself up for success.

Listener Questions

  1. Andrew Mason asked, “What do you do when your morning gets derailed?”
  2. Hank Osborne asked, “What if you are a night owl?”
  3. Leslie Samuel asked, “How do I keep from getting side-tracked by e-mail first thing in the morning?”
  4. Matt McWilliams asked, “How do you adjust your routine when you travel?”
  5. Tor Constantino asked, “What do you need to do the night before?”
  6. Travis Dommert asked, “How have you maintained your early morning rituals?”

Special Announcements

  1. I am excited to announce the publication of my brand new audio course entitled, “Everything You Need to Know to Get Published.” If you have ever thought about writing a book (or even if you have written a book) this course is for you.

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    I am offering a special $100 discount to my blog readers and podcast listeners. If you order now, I’ll also throw in four FREE bonus products worth more than $150.00.

    Click here to find out more.

  2. I will be in Vail, Colorado next week, speaking at the Launch and SCORRE Conferences:
    • October 14–17: The Launch Conference is a conference that my partner Ken Davis and I put on about the BUSINESS of public speaking. This year we will also be joined by New York Times bestselling authors, Lysa TerKeurst and Dan Miller. It’s too late to get tickets, but we are recording it on video and hope to be offering an online course soon.
    • October 17–20: We will roll from Launch right into the SCORRE Conference. This is about the ART of public speaking. This is one of the most powerful—and useful—conferences I have ever attended. Ken Davis, Curtis Fletcher, Michele Cushatt, and I (along with a team of certified coaches) teach you how to have greater impact with your speaking.

      This conference is sold out, but make plans NOW to attend the next conference April 7–11, 2013 in Rome, George at the beautiful WinShape Retreat Center. We will be opening that conference for registration in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

    If you want to explore the possibility of having me speak at your event, visit my speaking page.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Questions: What is your new, reengineered morning ritual? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    My morning ritual is to change into my pajamas and go to bed.  Personally, I am convinced that God designed the time from sunrise to noon for sleep. Otherwise, why did He give us electric light to illuminate our nights? 

    I have a T-shirt that says “I am the 99%.” 

    But yes, I am also the 6%.

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Michael, as a new early riser (I eased into it about 4 months ago and currently get up at 5:30…and will hit my goal of 4:30 with Daylight Savings in November), this is a much anticipated podcast. I cannot wait to listen!

    • http://twitter.com/LMarni Marni Gallerneault

      Good for you! 5:30! I’m aiming at 6:30 and am not convinced yet, haha.

      • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

        Took me 3 months to be cool with 5:30. Now I just wake up then. 

        What I did isn’t best for everyone, but I woke up 3 minutes earlier every business day for 4 weeks. That’s an hour. Then 2 minutes earlier every day for 6 weeks. 10 weeks and I was up 2 hours earlier (started at 7:30). I’ve lost about 20 lbs, ran a 10k, and started a blog among other things…all in those ~2 hours.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

           Wow. Matt, that’s seriously impressive. Way to go!

          • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

            Thanks Michele for the encouragement!

  • http://joannamuses.com/ Joanna

    My new addition to my morning ritual is to stop a few minutes drive away from work to pray. I found if I prayed as soon as I got up I was still too tired to focus and if I left it till I arrived at the office I would sometimes have someone wanting my attention as soon as I got in. Changing to praying mid commute means there is no-one to interrupt me and having faced peak hour traffic I’m usually wide awake. I sometimes listen to audiobooks about prayer or other bible topics in the portion of the commute before I stop to pray so that I am in the right headspace. 

    • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

      That is a really cool idea Joanna. I admire Michael for being able to get up and be quiet and read first thing. I cannot do that. I fall right asleep.

      So I get up and immediately workout then write or work right away. Then I eat, pray, and do my devotions. I am fully alert.

    • http://twitter.com/LMarni Marni Gallerneault

      I really like how you found a practical solution to your morning routine. It motivates me to want to do the same! And praying earlier in the day definitely helps set the right mindset for the rest of the day.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      I love this idea! Do you stop somewhere specific? like a coffeehouse? or just of the side of the road?

      • http://joannamuses.com/ Joanna

        I’m rather fortunate that for a few miles nearly at the end of my trip my route runs alongside a rather pretty river so I usually park somewhere beside the river. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I commend you for knowing yourself and working with that. We are each different. I prayed for years on my commute and it worked great for me.

  • ScottBritton

    Excellent reminder here Michael that has definitely resonated in my own life.

    My mornings used to be a rush to get up and get out the door as fast as possible. Getting out of bed was really hard to do. Once I inserted a ritual, my mornings became bliss. I now jump out of bed each morning because the activity that follows that decision is something that I enjoy and makes me feel productive. 

  • http://twitter.com/Wade_Thorson Wade Thorson

    How early is too early?  Currently I get up at 5:00 to start work at 6, but as Matt said below I have been thinking more and more that I need to move it to 4:30.  This Podcast will hopefully give me some good suggestions, thanks for the  help.

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

       Wade, as a person who sometimes get’s up too early, I’d say that too early isn’t measured by a time, but how how it affects your energy and ability to engage with the important people in our lives. So, if 4:30 makes you more alert and engaged, then go for it. If it makes you groggy and distant, then stay with 5 :)

      • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

        Agreed. Listen to Eric Thomas sometime. He’s up at 3:00/3:30. I’m not trying to be like him or anyone else. I just know that I do best when I get up early. In the summer, I was loving making that turn to mile 2 in my run and seeing the sun rise.

        This time of year, by the time the sun rises, I’ve already written a blog post, answered all emails from post-6:00 the day before, and probably gotten another project done. Something about it just feels right.

        • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

          Well said, Matt.  BTW, I just checked out and subscribed to your blog … it looks great!!

          • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

            Wow John. I am honored.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

           Matt, I agree and wish I could get up at 3:00. I am up every day by 6:00 but would like to move it to 5:00—the problem is, as Michael talks about, going to bed early enough! I wonder what time you have to go to bed in order to wake up at 3:00 and not feel like a zombie?

          • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

            Naps! I never took naps after the age of 10 until @mhyatt:disqus started talking about them.

            I now take a 25 minute nap around 1:30 each day that keeps me going until about 11:00. I get 6:45-7:00 of total sleep, down from 7:30-8:00. I get an extra 5-7 hours a week of productivity and actually work more efficiently.

            You could always go to bed at 9:30 (still not that early), get up at 4:00 and take a nice nap. Still get almost 7 hours.

            Or try polyphastic sleep…~5 hours at night with two 20-25 minute naps.

            I am sleeping less and never felt LESS like a zombie.

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            It always seems to come back to naps…. :)

          • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

            Life is that way Barry. Naps, juice, and cookies man.

          • Michelle White

             Barry, it would probably be best to go to bed at 8pm to get up by 3, but who can truly get to bed at 8pm?  I’m in bed by 9pm and try to get up at 3am, but it’s usually more like 3:30 or 4am and out the door by 4:30am.  I am still trying to perfect this schedule after a year.  But the benefit is this:  I get out of work by 2pm and on the weekends, I get to “sleep in” until 5am, giving me plenty of quiet time before the family wakes up. 

  • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

    This podcast is a great a way to apply some of the things that John Maxwell talked about in your interview with him and the post on personal growth from earlier this week. I’m the most morning person I know, but I think that I let my routine get thrown off by the demands of the day.

     Reflecting on the podcast this morning, I’ve realized that I need to put the things that are throwing me off into my calendar; that way, they aren’t haunting me all week and dictating my mornings. Thanks for helping us think through these important moments of the day.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      That’s a huge takeaway, Aaron!

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    I talked about my morning routine in the guest post I wrote for your blog earlier this year (thank you) :) I really enjoyed the prodcast and wrote some things down in Evernote that will help my routine even further.

    I have to say you’re killing me with the two speaking conference being sold out! I was told they would help :)

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Hey Kimanzi,  
      Don’t worry, you’ll catch the Launch video and the next SCORRE conference.  You should be speaking at them, too!  Be sure to mark next April’s SCORRE conference on your calendar!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Ha! You can check with Joy and see if there have been any last minute cancelations. You can reach her at joy at michaelhyatt dot com. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Biketoworkblog Biketoworkblog

    I recently tried incorporating “stillness” into my morning ritual, but started to snore! Good idea/bad execution.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt


  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great podcast Michael. It’s interesting to see how you start your day. I am definitely a morning person, usually getting up around 4am. Currently I’m re-engineering my morning ritual to see what works the best for me. What I find is it is easy to plan things on paper, but my natural rhythms can really sabotage my best laid plans. I have to do the things that energize me ( like exercise) early so that I can stay in the flow.

    One thing that can kill a day is opening e-mail or social media first thing in the morning. I’m trying to find a good place for this in my day, and keep my prime time for important activities. For writing or other important activities, I use a timer and my 48 minute solution. The actual action of pushing the button on the timer is key. I’m currently going through the book, the Willpower Instinct which has really opened my eyes to how I sabotage my day with moral licensing and the halo effect. I will post some articles on this later this week on my blog with some possible solutions. This book has really helped me see some of the dreaded triggers that lead to bad habits.

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

       John, could you briefly describe the terms “moral licensing” and “the halo effect.” You’ve got me interested :)

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Hi Aaron, I put a post up yesterday about the “Halo Effect” on my blog at http://goals4u.us/PliOYj 

        Moral licensing  can be construed as allowing yourself a sinful treat if you’ve done something morally right. Example… you had a salad for lunch, so you can have a hot fudge sundae at dinner. The book goes into many examples which I’ll cover in the next few posts. Fascinating research, especially for Christians.

        • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

           Thanks John. Great post.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      I’m looking forward to the blog posts, John!  I just subscribed… 

  • http://twitter.com/davidtraugott David Traugott

    Great post!  I was just thinking this morning that I need to rework my morning routine due to some things not working smoothly, then I saw this!!

    One question: do you recommend keeping the same morning ritual even on weekends or days off during the week?  For me, I have allowed myself to deviate on those days, but I feel like it ends up keeping me from feeling like a rhythm is maintained.  Thoughts?

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

       David, I hear you on this! My rituals do well 5 days a week but fall apart  on the weekend. I’ve had to go easy with myself though. I figure once I establish a beachhead during my work-week, I can then go out and work on conquering the weekend.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      David, I agree with Aaron.  My weekends are structured differently than my weekdays.  However, I don’t go without any plan.  It’s just a different, more relaxed plan.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great question. I use the same routine on the weekends.

  • http://andrew-meyers.com Andrew

    Michael, you’ve recommended a daily Bible from Thomas Nelson that you use, but I can’t remember which one it is. Could you post a link to that? Thanks!

  • http://www.applicationtalk.com/ Jason


    Thanks for your podcasts and the great content you bring to us.

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Wow Michael. So I finally listened to it and thank you for answering my question!

    My morning routine will probably not change much other than to tighten it up a little bit. The one thing I need to do big time is make sure I spend time with God and read His word. I usually do, but that seems to be the one thing that loses out if I have an early meeting.

    The big change for me will be after daylight savings. My routine will look like:

    4:30 Wake up, get dressed and get tea.
    4:45 Workout or run (factor in time for commute if running)
    6:15 Write and think. My family is not up for another 1:15 so this is my quiet time to do this.
    7:30 Greet family, make daughter’s breakfast, etc.
    7:45 Breakfast and reading
    8:15 Devotion
    9:00 Shower, dress, and leave.
    10:00 Office

    Thanks Michael!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Excellent plan, Matt!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       looks good, Matt!

  • Rosie Kay

    I love this idea, and I used to do it…. but I feel as though I was sabatoged by my definitely-not-a-morning-person spouse…. any advice on how to implement a morning routine when your significant other is so different??

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Rosie, I personally had the same issue, except I was the night person while my wife was the morning person.   

      When that happened, we just had to be intentional about scheduling together time that worked for both of us.  It wasn’t prime time for either of us, but it worked.  

      BTW, I have now been converted after understanding that every successful person that I have studied gets up early!

      • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

         John, what  did you find to be most helpful during your conversion to being a morning person?

        I ask because I often find myself in conversations about this with friends who are trying. It comes so naturally to me that I have very little to say.

        • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

          I wish I could provide something ground-breaking here, but I can’t.  For me, it just came down to my desire to be a productive leader.  You do what’s important to you.  Between hearing/reading that EVERY great leader that I studied rose early, and enjoying the accomplishment of having a half day’s work done before breakfast, I just decided that it was important.  

          I still need 7-8 hours sleep.  So to maintain the regimen, I must go to bed earlier that I used to.  If my schedule requires late nights I have no problem taking a mid-day nap (which we’ve talked about much here :)). 

          BTW, Aaron, thanks for your continued contribution to the MH community.  You have added lots of value in this forum!

    • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

      That’s me Rosie. I just keep getting up. The alarm goes off, I get out of the room quick, and quietly go down the stairs to my home office get dressed, then go about my day.

      Wish I had a magic answer but that is it.

    • http://www.wevival.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      My wife and I are opposites. She hits the snooze multiple times before waking up. However, I’ve found this to be an advantage. I wake up, on average, at least an hour before my wife. This gives me the time I need to hit the ground running. 

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    Thanks for answering my question! I used to work in early morning radio and had to get up at 4:30am – while I got used to it I felt tired for the years I did. Now, I get up every day (even weekends) between 6-6:30 am and I feel great.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      You have a radio voice!

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

         Yes, he does!

  • http://twitter.com/LMarni Marni Gallerneault

    Thanks for this eye-opener. My morning routine sucks and I waste a lot of time, and it most certainly is not creating results that I want. Helpful and honest advice! Now time to create a new routine …

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       What’s going to be your first change?

  • Isaac

    Love learning from you Michael. I too listen to audiobooks, teachings or sermons while exercising in the morning. When I listen through iTunes, there is a 2x button I like to press to make it read faster. I can then read twice as fast, grow twice as much.

    • Jim Martin

      Isaac, I have also found that 2x button helpful.  

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    Thank you Michael.  I recently starting waking up at 5am with this system http://www.takepermission.com/family/earlytorise/ and I have noticed that I have a harder time that last few days.  After listening to this I thought about not just waking up and reading in bed, but getting up maybe doing a few things to wake up my body.  Drink a bunch of water and maybe do a few pushups to wake the system up.

    K, bye

    • http://www.wevival.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      I have experimented with 5AM and 4AM recently. Drinking loads of water and doing some pushups and airsquats helps me to get the blood flowing. 

      • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

        Thanks for the input. I got to start switching it up so as to not turn over and sleep/zone out.

        K, bye

  • Ken

    Michael, this is a remarkably helpful post.  Rather than winging it, I am going to establish a routine.  Thank you. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Ken. I appreciate that.

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com/ steveborgman

    I liked what you said about seasons of life as they relate to our morning and evening routines.  I had a fairly detailed morning and evening routine going, but I’m going to adapt my ritual.  I especially like the idea of the 3 15 minute segments in the morning for meditation, prayer, Bible Study/journaling.  I’m going to give it a try tomorrow morning :)

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    This is a great example of why it’s important to know yourself and set your rituals accordingly. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://mnhometown.com/ Jake Olson

    I’m curious Michael, (and other commenters,)  how do you fend off sleep during your “be still” time.  There’s nothing I want more than unhurried time with God first thing in the morning, but I find I’m dozing off whenever I try to enact that discipline.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Me, too. When I do still time (which isn’t often!), I usually have to do it later in the day, like a mid-day retreat. If it’s nice out, I usually sit in a chair in the sun, eyes closed.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t get sleepy during this time. Maybe because I am having a cup of coffee.
      It might be worth asking, “What is contributing to me being sleepy?” For example, getting to bed too late, diet, lack of exercise, stress at work, etc. I found it is best to attack something like this at a system level. Look at everything.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I am a morning person.  I have rituals, but often tweak them for variety.  I try to read, write, exercise, blog, and do social networking all within a short period of time in the morning.  I can’t do it all.  Especially when I also have to cook and clean up for myself and my daughter, then get her to school and go to work.  Oh, how I’m missing summer right now.  So, I trade off on what I do in the mornings.  I try to always keep exercise and some sort of writing in the mix.  And then there’s the dog.  I stay very busy.  

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

       Dan, I find the season change to a short Colorado autumn difficult. With the days getting colder and shorter, I’ve found that I have to tweak my routine a bit – or at least my willingness to step out into the uncomfortable morning air.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        I like the cool air, but as a college instructor took the summer off for the first time in six years.  Now I’m having a hard time readjusting.  

        • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

           That’s a BIG season change. And don’t you wish the kitchen would somehow just take care of itself.

    • Jim Martin

      Dan, I found that when our children were home, that greatly impacted what I was able to do in my early morning time.  It was hard, if not impossible, to do this as I would have liked.  Sounds like a busy time of life.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        It is busy.  My daughter is seven and I’m a single parent.  I’m surprised I can do as much as I do and still be a very involved parent.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    I’m ALL about routine, especially a morning ritual. Without it, I’d never be able to keep up. I’m usually up between 5:45 and 6. I used to have a quiet, slow morning ritual, including coffee, quiet, reading, a long run, breakfast, etc. However, it’s now more complicated, with four kids to get ready for school. Now my morning ritual is the 30-45 minutes before they all get up. I drink a cup of coffee (or twelve), read my Bible, and savor the last few minutes of quiet before chaos ensues! Usually even that 30-45 minutes is enough to center me before the day starts.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      If you can do that every day with four kids you are a rock star! (Don’t let your Achiever strength tempt you to do more. That’s enough!)

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  • Jim Martin

    I found this post very helpful.  I have had a morning routine for years.  However, it helps to hear exactly what you do each morning.  You gave me a few ideas to incorporate in my early morning time.  Specifically, I like the idea of dealing with today’s to do list then.  (I have been waiting until I get to the office later.)  Thanks.

  • Krista O’Brien

    Thanks for this podcast, Michael. I’ve been looking for ways to create lasting change in my morning routine, too often succumbing to the snooze button. I have drafted a new morning routine after listening, and am looking forward to trying it out! I’m hoping that having a routine written down will help me to stay on schedule in the morning. Thanks for your positivity and encouraging attitude! It’s inspiring. 

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  • http://www.betterhealthtoday.co Kay Wilson

    This is so timely for me, Michael, I have a schedule on my calendar but some days I have been ignoring it.  This post is a Quickstart Reminder to get my rear in gear & do it.  Thx

  • Cory Bielski

    Michael, I know that you mentioned that you love your morning cup of coffee. I too love the taste of coffee but have switched to loose leaf tea a year ago and it has drastically increased my energy levels. By nature coffee is a dehydrator and tea is a hydrator. This is also a great precursor to a morning workout as you are very hydrated and alert. My preferences are either china green tips or a white tea. I am trying to scale way back on caffeine and am now on white tea.

    My morning ritual involves waking at 6:00 and building towards 5:30. Immediately I fill my stainless steel tea kettle and put it on the burner at medium heat. Then I load my cast iron tea kettle screen with the right amount of loose leaf tea. Next I quickly pour the boiling water over the tea into the kettle and allow it to brew according to instructed time as tea varies drastically. While the tea is brewing I start to read the One Year Bible on my Nook Easy Touch reader. This is the only reading device that I find myself completely focused and free of distractions. On a side note, I have my font set to large, not because I have sight problems, but to better focus on each Word. I then follow up my daily Bible reading with 2 pages of Matthew Henry’s Method for Prayer. It is a free Nook and Kindle Book in their respective marketplaces. I KNOW that you and your readers would love this timeless and essential classic. It helps to prepare heart and mind before approaching God in prayer. Next, I pray but at this point I feel rushed and need to work on setting aside the proper time like you. Next I eat a very light breakfast which includes 1 slice of Ezekiel 4:9 bread topped with Smart Balance peanut butter. This combination provides a great amount of protein, omega 3, and finally a very low glycemic index.  Then off to the gym for a brisk 30-40 minute workout. I start with 5 minutes on the bike, then stretch, then 20-30 minutes of dumbbell only lifting. Focusing on very controlled reps. I run a lot in the summer and find that I need to put on more lean muscle mass. All said and done this routine takes 2 hours and I am at work by 8:00.

    Thank you for being so inspiring and being a new listener after Beyond the To Do List I have gleaned great insight. Also, if you are by any chance a sports fan, I HIGHLY recommend the Sports Spectrum Podcast. Amazing interviews with Christian Athletes that goes well beyond the playing field.

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  • http://www.destiny2lead.com/ Jeremy May

    Michael, I believe you said the first thing you do in the morning is get quiet for about 15 minutes. I understand the importance of this, but my question is how do you stay awake for that period of silence. Do you find yourself battling fatigue during this time?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I honestly don’t. It may be because I am drinking a cup of coffee while I am doing this. Also, make sure you are getting adequate rest, eating nutritious food, and exercising. All of these impact your energy level.

  • Michelle White

    Currently, I am getting up at 3-3:30am and it’s not easy.  It is much easier to hit the snooze until 4am, rush through my morning, then rush out the door.  My current goal is to be able to wake up at 3am and be energetic during the day, which begins the night before.  Plus, I need to give up black tea and make some other dietary changes  for more energy.  I am learning a lot from the others posting here… perhaps I can get to work early and start my morning rituals after I leave the house by praying in the car, listening to a sermon or praise & worship music, then having my Bible time in the office before the day begins.  Exercise will need to wait until after work. 

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  • http://endlesslyrestless.wordpress.com/ Les Hutchinson


    Much of your thinking aligns with my current practice – although it’s a useful reminder that regularly reviewing routines can prevent them becoming stale.  I’m curious, though – do you keep the same (or similar) routine at weekends and on holidays?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Weekends? Yes. Holidays? It depends. Thanks.

  • toddstocker

    Mornings are very key.  Physically, emotionally and spiritually you are at your best.  (Unless the night before was “one of those nights”).  Dan Miller calls the first hour of your day the “rudder” because from that first hour, it sets your daily compass.  Thanks Michael!

  • http://b2binbound.com/blog Greg Elwell

    Thanks for another insightful and practical podcast!

    I too am a morning person getting up at 5 a.m. to focus, read and plan my day. I slept in the other day to 6 a.m. and felt cheated! My wife thinks I’m nuts :-)

    The first 3 hours in the morning are mine, and I love it that way. I use to check email first thing, but not anymore. After reading Leo Babauta’s book, “The Power of Less” I put boundaries on when and for how long I’d check email. His book also has great techniques for establishing a simple morning routine and also an evening routine. It’s also helped me FOCUS on doing just one thing at a time (single-tasking). And this I’ve found to be key to having a really great morning routine.

    Now I spend the first 45 minutes to an hour reading (with a cup of coffee) a business book. In fact, I’m now reading your book, “Platform” and it’s really inspiring and a great topic for where I’m at right now. I spend the next hour getting my bearings for the day ahead. It usually includes reviewing my projects and planning my 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs – a Power of Less habit) I want to accomplish for the day. I use  the Paperless app for iOS devices for this, and it’s great because it will sync up across your devices. Then, I spend about the next hour eating breakfast and at my desk working on my blog.

    Around 9 a.m. I check email and social media, then start to work on my first MIT.

    I want to re-engineer this ritual to include Bible reading and prayer. Which I use to do, but have been inconsistent of late. I normally would start with reading a passage or several chapters, and somewhere along the way I’d get that connection with God and the message he has for me. That leads me to a time of praise and prayer.

    In the future, I want to shift my running to the early morning routine. I have the luxury of scheduling it mid-morning as I’m a solopreneur working from a home office. But sometimes it gets hijacked by work and other commitments.

    Thanks again for all the great content! I’m a new listener and I love taking you with me on my runs!


    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I really like the look of the Paperless app. I am definitely a list-maker! Have you tired Workflowy?

      • http://b2binbound.com/blog Greg Elwell

         Have not tried Workflowy. So many apps!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          So many apps, so little time! (Wait a minute … there’s got to be an app for that, right?)

    • Mollie Bond

      I’ve started using the MIT just within the past two weeks, and it has been very helpful!  Even though I listened to this late, I’m glad it’s still relevant.  Thanks for passing along the suggestion!

  • http://twitter.com/mattsmart11 Matt Smart

    Since I’m not a morning person at all, I took your principles and applied them to an evening ritual. This is when I’m most alert because I’m one of the 20% Thanks for the idea!

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  • http://twitter.com/clairececil Claire Cecil

    I’m curious and I looked through the comments but no one has asked this yet: what written prayers do you use to “prime the pump”? What would you recommend I use? I ask because I struggle to stay focused while I’m praying and I think a written guideline would really help with that. 
    Great podcast! Very encouraging. 

    • http://www.trafficguygary.com/ Gary Thomas

      I have the same issue/problem as Claire.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        I am Orthodox, so I use Daily Prayers for Orthodox Christians. There are numerous versions available. You can find several online. Thanks.

  • http://www.trafficguygary.com/ Gary Thomas

    I started my newly re-engineered morning routine today.  I definitely underestimated the time between the “real” activities.  So I had to cut a few things short this morning in order to still make it to the office around the time I’m expected.  It also didn’t help that while I did set my timer for my meditation time, I didn’t actually start it.  So I went over time.  But I’ll go back to the drawing board and tweak my routine a little and try again tomorrow.  Thanks for the great podcast/post.

  • http://jessversteeg.ca/ Jess Versteeg

    Your posts are always so timely. It’s kinda creepy sometimes how I’ll be thinking about/planning something and not sure what’s the best thing and then you’ll post something that is bang on. Talk about God moments. I rated your podcast on iTunes since it’s the only one I want to keep listening to other than my Couch 2 5K program I’ve recently started. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jess. I appreciate the encouragement!

  • Isaac Whiting

    I think this might be the best episode yet.  wow.  excellent. 

    My morning ritual involves my three boys who are always up at seven.  I get up, stretch and exercise while listening to the bible on audio.  I like Max Mcleans esv reading.  Then I listen to a podcast while making tea and breakfast. My kids get up while I am making breakfast.  We eat oatmeal every day.  When breakfast is finishing up my wife gets up and has coffee.  then I make my lunch, get ready and head to work.  Takes about 2 hours, some of which is talking and playing with my kids.  Hard to set a timer on that.  It is a good ritual, as long as I get up on time and go to bed on time.  I had it down for over a year, but have been turning my alarm clock off lately. 

  • Pj

    What do you use to keep up with your daily to do’s? do you have a spreadsheet or how do you keep up with it?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Currently, I am using Workflowy.

  • Paul

    I love the morning.  Quiet, peaceful, a time for insight.  My alarm goes off at 5, I slip out from the covers and right onto my knees.  Then, I go to the bar in the kitchen and eat my hot cereal and toast while I read scriptures and a good book (New Testament and 7 Habits currently).  At about 5:35, my wife and son get back from their paper route so I glance at the paper and we all gather for our morning family devotional at 5:55.  We’ve done this since our 3 sons were young and we’ve got one son left at home now.  In our devotional, we each read from scriptures, we read an article from a church periodical, we recite scripture memorization passages and  we read a section from a wonderful pamphlet called “For the Strength of Youth”.  We then sing a hymn and pray then its off to our daily activities.  I work 3, 12-hour shifts a week so I go to work or exercise if its an off-work day (bicycling, hiking, swimming).  I always have a podcast,  talk or audiobook running on my iPod when I exercise.

    I am fairly religious about my morning routine and I value it greatly.I did add another element after listening to your podcast.  I now have a notebook to journal about my thoughts and special scriptures as I do my morning reading and listen to podcasts and other resources throughout the day.

    Thanks, Paul 
    Enjoy the Beauty that Surrounds Us!

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  • http://www.48dayrebel.com/ Jonathan Brown

    I was involved in the “Early to rise Challenge at Take Permission Media..
    It was  a non issue! I love getting up before others! It helps me get ready for the day but mainly quiet time for my reading/ spiritual life.
    For Those PC Users who need a diary type software : http://idaily-diary.en.softonic.com/

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  • Jodi Lea

    Of all of your wonderful podcasts, I found this the most helpful so far! I SO needed to hear this and it came at a perfect time when I’m refocusing my energy on productivity and effectiveness. I started my new routine the day after hearing the podcast and am feeling great. Thank you for all you do. It truly is a gift you’re giving the world. I hope more people find you and benefit from your wisdom and experience!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jodi. I so appreciate your encouragement!

  • chris_rainey

    Always great stuff. I thought I heard reference to an app ‘I Run..’ or something like that gamified creating habits but I can’t find it again on the podcast. Any ideas what it was? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think you are talking about IRunURun.com.

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  • Kran

    Thanks :) inspirational podcast.

    My morning ritual is at night. I finish my “day” the brush my teeth, put on tooth whitener. While that’s on, I tidy up the house quick and do yoga. Then I lay in bed and listen to podcasts that grab my attention. I finish it up by listening to one Bible chapter on podcast and try to fall asleep thinking about nothing. When I wake up, i quickly get ready for work and leave. I’m always first to the office, so I tidy it up and get my day in order. Then I start with most important tasks.

    I might want to add a more firm prayer routine :)

  • Nate


    For the past few weeks, I have been implementing my early-morning routine of waking up at 5:30. I really enjoy waking up early and enjoying those early-morning hours, however, my wife is a night owl.

    Do you have any suggestions for maintaining unity and a sense of “doing life together” in a marriage like mine, where our optimal schedules don’t align?



    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This may not be possible, but the best solution, I think, is to synchronize your schedules. Go to bed at the same time if possible. Perhaps you could discuss the value of getting up early with her and see if she is willing to adjust. Thanks.

  • http://www.neilkearney.com/ Neil Kearney

    Thank you Michael! I listened to your podcast on
    a overnight cross-country drive and it flipped a switch in my head.
    Traditionally, I have not been a morning person but for the past 30 days
    straight I have awoken 1:15 minutes earlier than my “normal” and made good use
    of the time.

    The extra time has let me do the spiritual
    reading, business and motivation reading, journaling and exercise that I never quite got around
    to.  I feel great and have been inspired
    to start another blog at http://www.positivetrajectory.com 

    I just wanted to say thanks for waking me up!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You’re welcome. I’m glad it is proving helpful to you.

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  • Nithin

    Hi Michael, I recently  this past year got myself to wake up at 6.  I still can’t do all that I would like, but I was wondering if you had suggestions on how to wake up better?  I hate waking up and I average waking between 6-6:30am.  I’m groggy, disoriented and I have a battle trying to get out of bed and have the energy I need to do all that I desire.  Any suggestions?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I have a couple of thoughts:

      1. Get to bed early. Figure out how much sleep you need and make sure you get it. 2. When you get up, turn on as many lights as you can. Your body responds to light. 3. Exercise immediately or get a shower—something that gets you going physically. 4. Drink a cup of coffee.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alisha-Sullivan-Hickey/100000509026770 Alisha Sullivan-Hickey

    Thank you for sharing this. I am a busy mom and I like that you specifically stated that we are all in different seasons of life therefore we all will have different morning routines. I am inspired by your podcast to take charge of my morning instead of letting my morning happen to me…I am going to write out a morning ritual that works for me. Thank you so much…I really enjoy your posts..please keep sharing :) thanks Alisha

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  • http://www.hedua.com/blog Jenny H

    Thank you for mentioning “season of life” and moms of young children. As a mom of two young boys, one with special needs, I constantly need to remind myself of that, or I quickly get depressed at what I don’t get accomplished. I appreciate your balanced approach and hope to meet you in January at BEECH Retreat

  • http://www.chipdizard.com/ Chip Dizard

    I am bit late listening to this, but it is about 4 a.m. when I am listening to this podcast. I find that I get so much more done when I am up early. It helps that I have to be at work by 7:00 a.m. and it is the best thing ever.  I am not going back to being up late at night. Having my clothes out, breakfast and not rushing gives me the balance and confidence to start my day. 

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  • Isaac Whiting

    I really liked this podcast.  Morning ritual is super important.  I have had one for years, but my new years resolution involves doing this more consistently and shifting  my mornings earlier.  So far on track with no fails.  I agree with those who talked about night time rituals.  For me this is super important to make sure I even get up on time and start my morning ritual right. I have cut out almost all light and all screens after 8 and have been waking up to a light alarm for the past month.  Huge difference for me.

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  • http://chrismorton.info Chris Morton

    I’ve been working on reengineering my morning routine all year.  This has had the unexpected result of forcing me to rearrange my night time routine.   I blogged about what I’ve learned about how to go to sleep here: http://www.chrismorton.info/2013/02/28/how-to-go-to-sleep-at-night/.

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  • Raylee

    How do you handle the weekends? Do you keep the same work schedule?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep, the same exact schedule and ritual for me—unless I stay up late for a special event, then I might start an hour or so later.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.gillott.12 Carol Gillott

    I’m a morning person from day-one. I was born at 3 am – maybe that’s why I get up around 3-4:30 no matter what time I go to bed.
    What you eat last thing the night before can have an effect how sluggish you feel next morning. There are other kinds of hang-overs and eating sugar last will make it tougher to get up than something protein.
    Well that’s my experience.
    Whatever is by my bedside is what I look at and think about first.
    I do believe in larks and owls theory. I’m rotten late at night…

  • Guest

    How to learn

  • http://serstkov.com/ Justas Serstkovas

    Brilliant episode! Enjoyed it a lot. I have actually wrote a post few weeks ago about my experience and what worked for me best at http://kamilegreen.com/getting-up-early/