Waking Up Routinely

I’d like to share a couple of things with y’all that I have been trying out, in order to help increase my productivity and get my life moving in the right direction.

On July 31, 2012, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus hosted a guest essayist on their website, TheMinimalists.com. I’m a subscriber to their blog, and consider both to be personal friends (whether they agree or not is up to them!). In any case, you’ll probably notice me talking about them a lot, here and elsewhere. Their work is a big influence right now.

The guest essayist on July 31 was a fellow named Maneesh Sethi, and though we’ve not met, I fully intend to claim him as a friend, as well. I’ll be doing that a lot. The essay is titled, “On Living in Caves and Fighting Distractions.”

I liked his work so much that I subscribed to his blog, and on August 8, 2012, about eleven days ago, I watched a short video by Maneesh called “The Morning Ritual—Injecting Routine In Your Day To Boost Productivity.”

I really liked this piece of advice because it was really simple, and it seemed likely to be helpful. I know Joshua Fields Millburn has talked about his own routines, and I also have met Leo Babauta, and both are highly productive individuals that I love and respect. I’d like to be more like them, but am struggling to make changes stick.

So, here is a snippet of the email I sent to Maneesh over a week ago:


Starting tomorrow, I’m going to adopt the morning routine:

1) make and drink some hot herbal tea
2) write in 750words.com until I hit my daily 750
3) update my private facebook support group with tomorrow’s goals

#3 deserves brief explanation. About 2 weeks ago, I started a closed FB group with only my two IRL best friends and a tiny handful of very supportive online girlfriends (people I knew would provide cheerleading/emotional support). Each day I post my goals, and AS I accomplish them, I take photos and upload them, update my group, and vent about any challenges I run into, all in safety.


Also, here is a fairly ridiculous sample of how this went in practice the first day I tried it (also cut from an email to Maneesh- for your information, he really does read his own mail, and I might be a bit of a trial to his patience 🙂


So far, it’s gone more like this:

Wake up groggily at 7:30AM after a mid night bout w/insomnia. Find my six year old son and four year old daughter trying to put cat food and cat water on top of fridge, cat food [all over] couch and floor, water all over refrigerator, floor, and kids. Feed kids corn flakes and sweep up all cat food in subsequent 5 mins of calm. Heat water for tea. Realize son is playing Minecraft on computer & I can’t sit down to 750 words yet.

Just then, parental controls boots my son off the computer (he’s hit his daily max computer time). I realize I am a brilliant mom, and my morning is saved. Of course, he’s now having a minor tantrum…

Ok, so morning routine could use some tweaking 🙂


The routine has, indeed undergone some tweaking. I’ve swapped out the herbal tea for real coffee, which is a little embarrassing, but works much better for me. I also have had to stop calling it my “morning” routine, since occasionally I don’t get the steps completed until quite late in the day.

But, I have completed all three steps daily, without fail, for eleven days running. This is pretty extraordinary for me, and I see the benefits all around me. My life is running more smoothly, and I’m checking in with my support crew first thing every day, which helps keep me focused on what I want to accomplish.

The opening graphic is a screenshot of my stats page from 750words.com. You can view the full shared stats page here, if you so desire. Big plug for this site. I love Buster Benson’s work.

I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who could benefit from adopting a good, solid waking routine. I hope that at least one person will read this post and try it out. I’d be interested to see if it works as well for you as it has for me, so far. I also can’t wait to post a follow-up to this in a couple of months, and see if the change has stuck. I hope it has!

Or, tell me something special now:

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