Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

My Morning Routine in 10 Simple Steps

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People often ask what my writing schedule looks like. This is always a hard question to answer, because I’m not much of a structure guy. But I see the value in establishing routines, especially in the morning.

Morning Routine

Photo credit: Roger Price (Creative Commons)

This can be a challenge, because routines are all about you and your personality. So they should vary from person to person.

I like what Seth Godin said when Brian Clark asked him how he wrote every day. Seth refused to answer, and then he said:

There is this feeling that if we ate the same breakfast cereal Stephen King ate, then we’d be able to write like Stephen King writes.

So true. Routines are important, but only if you make them your own. Simply copying someone else’s routine probably won’t work.

Why we need routines

Routines are not fun. They’re not creative or imaginative. And frankly, I hate doing them. But routines can do a lot of good, if we can get into the regular discipline of practicing them.

Why is this? Because they help make room in our lives for other things. Having an established routine in the morning is a great way to start the day, because it gets you going in the right direction. Plus, it allows you focus on other things throughout the day.

In our busy lives, sometimes we need to do a few things by rote simply to ensure they get done. Otherwise, you spend the rest of the day playing “catch up.”

This feeling of being left behind is stressful. A morning routine can bring you peace and give the rest of your day purpose.

This is not law

The reality of routines is they’re usually so quirky and idiosyncratic that they really only work for the person practicing them.

And that’s the point: Find a system that helps you get the work done, and then use it.

What’s important is not what your routine looks like, but that you have one. Everyone’s is different, but creating your own process for starting the day is a helpful discipline.

So I thought it might be helpful to share my routine — not because it’s the only way to start a day, but rather because it may help you consider what your could look like.

My routine

Every day doesn’t look exactly the same for me, but this is the routine I’ve been using and it seems to be working:

  1. Wake up. Usually around 5 or 6 am (whenever our son gets up). The first thing I do is make a bottle and feed the baby, letting my hard-working wife sleep in a little.
  2. Make breakfast. Usually eggs (I try to start the day with protein, not carbs). Start boiling water for French press coffee.
  3. Write something, anything. This can be a blog post, book chapter, article, or just some random notes to myself. For me, it’s not about what I write as much as it is important just to write. Usually, I wrote around 1000 words; sometimes less, sometimes more. As I do this, I drink coffee and listen to music while my son plays.
  4. Check email. Reply to the most important items. Delete everything I don’t need from the previous day.
  5. Check in on social media. If I’ve written a post for the day, this is when I would share it.
  6. Finish coffee. At this point, it’s usually cold, because I forgot to drink in my haste to begin writing.
  7. Read something. This may be a novel, the Bible, or one of many nonfiction books I am in the middle of. Whatever it is, it must be analog. I find holding a book activates a different part of my brain than reading on a screen. I also enjoy audiobooks but listen to those throughout the day.
  8. Go for a walk. I often use taking the dog for a walk as an excuse to get some exercise. I use this time to think, pray, and collect my thoughts for the day.
  9. Take a shower. Then get dressed and get ready to begin the day.
  10. Drink a large glass of water (at least a liter). Then sit at my “desk” (i.e. the kitchen table, couch, or actual desk) and start working.

Every day is unique and different, but that’s what my routine has looked like lately. As our son gets older, I’m sure this will change. But for now, this is what works.

Having a routine is not something that comes natural to me, but it’s nonetheless important. I discipline myself to have this structure, because it helps me be creative in other parts of my life.

Other people’s routines

To see other morning routines, check out the following:

What does your morning routine look like? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Check out my new book, The In-Between. To get exclusive updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://dreamjobprogram.com/ Drew Tewell

    I like to get up early (4:30) in the morning. It gives me chance to get things done before my two year old son wakes up. I personally also feel good when I get up early. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. Thanks for the post.

    ps: I just shared your site with my list as a resource for writers and bloggers. You’ve really created a great resource!

  • http://www.katiemackwriting.com/ Katie Mack

    Morning routines are such an important tool for productivity. It allows me to discourage writer’s block. By the time I get to the part of my morning routine where it is time to write, I usually have tons of ideas of what I’m going to write about and how I’m going to write it! Performing the same routine morning after morning allows my brain to wander and think about things other than the activities I’m performing. The only downside to that is when I occasionally pour orange juice into my morning coffee instead of creamer!

  • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

    I get up at 5:00, put the coffee on, turn on the computer and briefly look at email just so I am not thinking about as I’m trying to do my reading, then read my Youversion Bible for day, write…sometimes only a few words and other times a whole post, check blogs I follow and twitter.  By this time my son is usually awake and it’s time to make breakfast and start the day with him.  

  • mandythompson

    My morning routine is currently in flux. Ideally, I’d like I wake up before the short ones, with a long run way of coffee and journaling. But that doesn’t seem to happen often, and yes this means the rest of my day feels like catch-up. Ugh no bueno

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I can relate!

  • http://profiles.google.com/susanwbailey Susan Bailey

    I get up between 5:30 and 6, brew the coffee, feed the cats, clean out the dishwasher and make my lunch. I then retreat someplace (won’t say where!) where I quickly check email, and then write or read for 45 minutes to an hour. I rarely finish which is frustrating but with a full time job away from home, I have to do things in bits and pieces. My commute is an hour one way and this is where I pray and brainstorm. If my brain is really exploding with ideas that day, I leave messages on my free phone message service that sends emails of my audio messages.

    At least 3 times a week I take a 45 minute lunch and walk, often listening to audio books.

    It works for now but as I write more and more, I will have to schedule more time for it.

  • Les Norman

    How similar we are, tea not coffee though but dog and emails, babies grown but they phone instead. I need my mornings to be orchestrated as well, right up to lunch at 1 o’clock, after that I more relaxed about it. That is an interesting comment about reading a book not a screen, is this bye-bye Kindle ? Best wishes Jeff, Les @ http://www.dci.org.uk

  • Ralph Rickenbach

    This has been most helpful. By October this year I will have much more freedom to manage my time, leaving me in the position to self organize my day.

    I will for sure drink espresso – just to never be in a spot of having to drink cold coffee. And frankly, can anything else be called coffee in the first place?

    Rather than writing first, I start with reading and praying. This is where my inspiration comes from, and it helps me to start the day with the proper focus of being wrecked.

    Still working a 7-to-5 day job (it would be nice if it were 9-to-5) my morning routine is short and so far only included little writing, something I want to change. Let October come!

  • http://www.abidingingrace.com/ A. Gonzales

    Right now it’s…hit the snooze button, then hit the snooze button again, force myself out of bed without throwing up, pray, lay back down, wake my oldest up, lay back down, get lunches together, lay back down, get dressed, lay back down, get little ones dressed and head out the door to work.  Unfortunately, I haven’t written in about two weeks.  Fighting off morning (all day sickness) and just making it through a work day and then dealing with the kids takes ALL the energy I can muster.  It seems my brain has literally turned to mush!   I must get out of this rut!lol

  • Holly

    Up at 5:00, pour a large cup of coffee, cream, no sugar, and just write.  No looking at Facebook or email first.  Just writing.  Oh, and I do the ambient music thing, too…most often First Gymnopodie on repeat.  This single routine has changed my life. Although I always fancied myself a morning person, this ritual no longer has me bemoaning how little sleep I got the night before or how hard it is to make it through the forever long day…This writing…it has given me new life.

  • Katharine Trauger

    Hi, Jeff!

    My husband makes the coffee at our house, too, and brings me a cup at 6 every morning, to wake me. I first read (real book, as you do) a chapter in the Bible. I write then, briefly, (real pen and paper) if I need to.
    Next comes emails and blog comments for 3 sites (two are mine, one for a friend.) Once the coffee is gone, I enjoy a couple of eggs with a small amount of low-carb juice, or else a protein smoothie.
    After than, it’s houshold chores (my day-job at home.) Each day of the week brings its own routine for those chores. Monday it’s laundry; Tuesday, church bulletin prep and tutoring; Wednesday, shopping; Thursday, larger projects such as sewing or baking; Friday, routine house cleaning.
    I finish the morning with lunch at the computer, checking again for blog comments.

    Thanks for this exercise. It really helps!

    K

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      love this routine… especially our husband brining you coffee. (hint, hint)

  • Mirelba

    I generally “work” afternoons or freelance, which is a good thing as I am definitely NOT a morning person.  It is easier for me to stay up till the wee hours of the morning with a deadline, than go to sleep early and wake up in the wee hours.  Having said that, wake-up is whenever I wake up, usually sometime between 6:30 and 8:30.  I used to spend another half-hour or so in bed just till I get the strength to actually get up, but since I’ve begun writing every morning, I basically jump out of bed, morning wash-up and prayers, get dressed and head to the computer where I catch-up on email and posts, and do some writing.  I never skip breakfast, I simply eat it really late, anywhere between 10 and 12 (depending on when I get up).  Once I’ve had breakfast, it’s some housework and out the door.  And that’s my morning.

  • Annmarieftworth

    Love this post. I’ve been obsessed with other’s morning routines ever since I read that Martha Stewart starts her day with yoga and a green smoothie.

  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    I’m glad you find reading on a screen to be different too. I once made the comment that I felt like I didn’t really read the books I read on Kindle. I know that’s the way the world is going and someday I’ll have to go along with it but I still prefer a physical book.

    I also like that your routine starts with, “Whenever our son wakes up. Hand him to my wife” because all of your women readers went, “Awe! What a sweet dad!” Followed immediately by “I knew that was too good to be true.”Katie

    • Meg R

      Hey Katie, they will never eliminate books completely.  Also, recently I’ve heard that they (scientists) are discovering that we use different parts of our brains to read a book than to use an e-reader/computer.  That must be why it feels like a vacation, we are using a fresh part of the brain for this activity.   

      • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

        Woah! I’ve never heard that. I don’t think eReaders will ever completely eliminate books either but I do know there will be a point in life when it’ll be hard not to have an eReader (just like computers, cell phones, etc.)

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I think an important part was what you said about your routine changing as your son grows. Too often, people try to set a routine and end up stressing out because the routine might not fit every stage of their life. When you come up with a routine, you’re just using it for a season – not committing to a pattern that you’re obligated to use all your life. So make your routine work for you now. Then change when your situations changes. And relax about it.

  • http://twitter.com/CharlieCarroll Charlie Carroll

    Thanks Jeff. This is helpful.

  • http://www.sonyamacdesigns.com/ single mom creative

    I love it when some one shares clips from their day. I just created a crazy … single parent voice mail for our home phone to help establish more AM boundaries for me and my children … YAY to the really first day of school!

  • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

    Thanks for sharing your system. I believe that having a good morning routine is one of the most important things you can do to be more productive and happy with your life.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      well said, Jeremy.

  • http://www.patwashington.blogspot.com Pat Washington

    “I find holding a book activates a different part of my brain than reading on a screen.”

    I find this true.  I don’t have an e-reader, but I read a ton on my laptop. But a real book…ahhhh…it’s like a forced vacation. I am forced to follow the stream of thought by one author.  Whereas on my laptop, my mind is a hypoglycemic in a candy shop — it wants to gorge on everything.  Whether it actually “activates” a different part of the brain, I don’t know. But I do know it’s good for my intellectual digestion — like sitting down to a table with a linen tablecloth and ice and lemon in your water, rather than hitting the drive-thru between errands.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      love that. sometimes, you have to go analog.

  • http://twitter.com/kevin_white Kevin White

    Thanks, Jeff.  Good stuff! 
    How have you seen your routine affected by the baby? Have you found yourself having to adjust or been thrown off altogether?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      With lots of grace. Some days (like today), it just doesn’t happen. And that’s okay.
      To be clear, this is my new routine — with baby. I am sure it will change as he gets older.

  • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

    Thanks for sharing your routine.  It helps to see how others spend their day.  You’re right:  there’s no ‘silver bullet’ here.  A routine has to work for you and fit your lifestyle.  There’s no one-size-fits-all routine, for sure.

    I’ve gotten lazy this summer and that will all change tomorrow when the boys go back to school.  I’m HOPEFUL that I can get up early enough to get some writing done.   Trying to be creative and trying to write late at night just doesn’t work for me.  I’m drained by the end of the day.  Ugh!

    I agree with your thoughts on more protein than carbs.  I feel SO much better when I cut out the ‘bad’ carbs.

    Hope you have a super-productive day!

    • Hangell531

       Oh Michael, I know the feeling! I hate trying to work during the summer with my boys home from school. How do you tell them no, you have to work when they look at you with those big sad eyes begging to go to the pool. (Especially when I really want to go out and enjoy the sunshine too!) We are trying to get back into the back-to-school routine a week before school starts, and I am finding how much I missed that routine!

  • http://thepaperskies.com David Helms

    In his book Quitter Jon Acuff shares about how he went on a diet, and suddenly he became more productive at work and at home.  Why?
    “…because discipline begets discipline.”

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      yep.

    • Amanda Morad

       “discipline begets discipline”–that’s soo good! and a revelation into why I’m so much more productive in my personal life, fitness goals, and at work when I’m also taking grad classes. It would make sense that those things would fall apart for sheer lack of time with so much on my plate, but I’ve been dreadfully unproductive and uncreative this summer without the structure of classes and assignments to keep me disciplined. Methinks I need to check out Acuff’s book. :)

  • http://colebradburn.com/ Cole Bradburn

    Routines not only set the stage for productivity, they free up the brain to be more creative.  When you put your brain to work on a task involving focus but not problem-solving skills, it opens up the mind to work without you getting in the way.  It’s called creative pause.  

    It worked for Albert Einstein – finishing Relativity while working in a patent office.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      love that.

  • http://darlene-freeniebelle.blogspot.com/ Darlenekcampbell

    I’ve just begun a morning routine because I used to do the wee hours with the werewolves and moon bit. It’s been two months since I flipped my shedule around to be productive in the mornings before I go to the day job at 2pm. I like being up with the birds again (instead of the bats and the owls). I jump right into writing in a Moleskine notebook that I carry everywhere. This allows me to get the junk out of my head, write down some dreams I may remember, or plot out some art/writing ideas. I usually just write crap here…but it is a good release. (Putting pen to paper keeps me sane and off street drugs.) I like to paint or draw before I work on the writing projects. Amazing how putting color on paper, while listening to Italian music, fuels ideas. I usually have the Moleskine next to me so I can jot down ideas that come while I’m painting. This is where I’d love for Modogliani to show up and give me a tip or two…or share a glass of wine. It’s a lovely transition to move from painting to writing. My work is less “forced” when I get to the computer. I like to write short pieces on the typewriter or by longhand with a wonderful Lamy studio pen. (The kind you have to fill the barrel with ink.) Hopefully, I have time to write before the day job. I like it quiet when I write…I think this is how I got started writing in the quiet nighttime hours….that and I got off work at 10pm.  I love the word “routine”……and enjoy reading about other’s routines and seeing their studio-workspaces.

  • http://inhisloveministries.blogspot.com/ Pilar Arsenec

    How do I start my morning routine?  With a standoff… me and my dreaded alarm clock. argh!  Life was so much easier when I was single.  I was disciplined and had my routine.  Now…forgetaboutit.  It’s a disaster.  But… I am trying to get some semblance back into my life.  Maybe it’s the pervading guilt hounding me to get out of bed.  I don’t know.  But I’m no long a morning person, nor am I a night person.  Which means, I’m screwed. Ok, I’ll give myself a little bit of credit.  I’ve been getting up at 6:15-6:30am.  I start with making coffee to bring to the office.  Then I plop myself on the couch, stare into space as I try to wake up.  I think.  Then I try to read the bible… half the time, it doesn’t make any sense to me that early.  Then I took the advice of Andi Cumbo and read a chapter of a writing book.  Right now, I’m reading Wild Mind.  Goes perfectly for my state that early in the morning.  I then proceed to write freestyle in my journal.  I do this until I run out of gas, and then I get on my knees and pray for God’s mercy to get me through the day… then I’m off like a bullet racing against the clock.

  • http://holyhoosier.blogspot.com/ Ben Douglas

    For me it has been the same for years now: wake at 5:45 (AM), take a shower, make it to work by 6:30, drink coffee, work at a job I love while I dream about the one I want, and head home at 4:00 (PM) to be a husband, father, and servant in the community. Now, I will say that since discovering Jeff and Jon Acuff’s blogs, I have been allowing time in the morning – once at the office – to write a blog entry. One week down and I have accomplished this each and every day! It is a good way to get the mind going I find.

  • http://twitter.com/aarongoldfarb Aaron Goldfarb

    Wake up around 6:00/6:30, check email and Twitter on my iPhone from bed.  Respond to only the pressing stuff.

    Make coffee.

    Go onto my balcony away from all technology and hand-write 1000 words or so (usually for my book of the moment), drink nearly a whole pot of coffee during this time.

    Back inside to dick around on the internet for surely far too long.

    Jog in the park.  (I likewise jog without any technologies or music, so I can use the time as not just exercise, but brainstorming.)

    Return home, scribble down any ideas I had while jogging, as fast as I can, trying not to get sweat all over my notebook or laptop.

    Shower.  Lunch.  (In either order.)  I too try and stick to strictly protein during the daylight hours.

    Afternoon:  Do any sort of non-writing related work or freelance projects I’ve been hired to do.

    Book reading.

    Dinner.

    TV.

    Alcohol.

    Perhaps a little more writing or reading before bed.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I check my phone in bed, as well, but I’ve heard that can hinder productivity. Thoughts?

      • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

        I’ve noticed if I check my phone or send texts from bed I have a hard time sleeping. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even sit on the edge of my bed and respond to a text message or something. I’ve always heard that beds should be for sleeping (and sex) and those things only.

      • http://darlene-freeniebelle.blogspot.com/ Darlenekcampbell

        I don’t do any work in the bedroom. No TV, phone, or computer there. Sacred space to ensure reat and relaxation. The most I would do there other than sleep is read.

      • http://www.dianadenis.com/ Diana Denis

        I’m working on breaking that habit as a result of reading somewhere that we’re addicted to technology. I wake up now and try to ignore my phone at least until I’ve had a good morning conversation with God. Let’s face it, without His mercies I would’ve even be waking up. I’m using Michael Hyatts schedule to redefine my days. It’s been VERY helpful!

  • http://lifestoked.com Deacon Bradley

    I hear you on the routine. My wife and I have a six week old (our first) and anything that looks like a routine has flown right out the window. It definitely makes my days feel more chaotic and less productive.

    When you write 1K words in the morning is it ever just thrown away? I think I get myself into a creative block sometimes by trying to force something useful. I like how you make time to write for writing sake every day. 

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

       I relate with you, Deacon (on writing worthwhile words, not new baby :) )

      I try to come up with something worthwhile before the day ends..i feel dissatisfied when the day ends without a tidied-up a post, a decent ebook edit e.t.c.

      But am learning to be okay with writing for writing sake…just to get out the words out at the very least and clean them up later. :)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      yep. often throwaway. but here’s the thing: you don’t know it until you write, get a little distance from it, and then return to it. i wrote 2K words the other day and still haven’t reread them. the important part is that I wrote them.

  • Susan Ekins

    This is a coincidence. I just wrote up my routine this morning. However, this is  my routine for the whole day. If truth be told, the only part I don’t actually get done yet is the “WRITE!” part. So my routine still needs tweaking: 
    Morning pages (750 words )

    Run or walk

    Spiritual time

    Dishes

    Dinner

    Laundry

    Volunteer work

    WRITE!

    Blog

    Social Media

    Household tasks/Errands

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      awesome

  • http://oneconfusedlady.blogspot.com/ Anokina Shahbaz

    Thanks for sharing your routine Jeff. I always find it helpful to hear about how others are spending their time effectively, and I always keep in mind that I have to tweak it to suit me. It’s also important to find the balance between pushing yourself to stay consistent while at the same time not being too hard on yourself when you aren’t. I loved the ‘Fast Company’ article, especially the part about using bribery to motivate yourself in creating new habits haha. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yep. I totally do that. :)

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    Routines are great – they create habits.

    I like mixing up my routine once in a while. It helps kick out the boredom that comes with tonnes of repetition.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Great point.

  • Rich Proctor

    I begin each and every day of my life with my Hour Of Power. It’s a strategy I picked up from Tony Robbins a number of years ago.

    It’s the very first hour of my day – every day – a sacred time I set aside
    and dedicate to personal growth physically, mentally and spiritually.
    Physical exercise, inspirational reading, vivid visualizations, loud and
    proud incantations, deep breathing exercises, and anything else I can
    find that works to set me up for a successful and powerful day ahead.

    I wouldn’t start my day any other way.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks for sharing, Rich!

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnjheldonjr John J Heldon Jr.

    Jeff, I try to keep a similar routine (green or black tea instead of coffee, however), and also try to keep Kipling in the back of my mind “… if you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, yours is the earth and all that’s in it…”  As always, thanks for your perspective.

  • http://twitter.com/lmccy La McCoy

    A Routine is essential for me if I am going to get anything completed! Anything!
    Jeff I love the part about the French press. My sons are too big to hand off so I get to skip that part now. As an allergic person mine includes vacuuming.
    I agree it does not matter what the routine is but that we have one and that we follow it.
    After thought: Healthy is good!
    Take good care all. Lmc

  • Chris Riddell

    As for me its: Get up at 8 and make a coffee. Drink said coffee while watching breakfast television, and reading The Star/The Grid/National Post/OpenFile and various other news sites. Check facebook and twitter feed. Check emails. On many days I will send a pitch before I’ve even had breakfast. I’ll also send out any updates or reminders to my editors. Breakfast at 10, followed by a shower. The rest of the day depends on what I have on my plate. I’m a journalist so everyday is a little different but that covers the gist of my routine. Working on the novel comes in the evening usually after 8, and I’ll try to get in a good 1200+ words. Somewhere In there I have to read magazines and research my novel which is about WW2. Sometimes I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day but it helps that I’m single and have no kids.

  • http://twitter.com/meganwillome Megan Willome

    When I get up depends on when my kids have to be at school. Currently, it’s 7:30. It will soon be 6:30. So I’m up around 4:30 for coffee & a protein bar, then walk the dogs and work out. I don’t start writing until I get home from morning drop-off. Then I read The Writer’s Almanac, get 2 quarts of tea ready, and write until lunch. I may go longer, depending on deadlines and inspiration. I try to keep errands, appointments and other things for the afternoon, and the evening is consumed with activities (my kids are in 8th & 11th). Weekends are the least restful parts of my week, so I take a break on Wednesdays.

  • Sher

    My husband wakes me with a cup of coffee and kisses every morning for the past 8 years at 5 a.m. he helps me sit up, then together we get me to stand while he assists dressing. Depending on how well I can move, he gets my walker or cane so I can make my way to the kitchen, take medicine and go sit with heat for 20 mins. During my 20 mins time I get to read morning news, events, check emails, and discuss any of this with my husband. Once I am a little more mobile, I help make his lunch, make sure he has all his things for the day and extra coffee, kiss and hug him goodbye as he leaves for work. I know by 7 a.m what kind of productive day I will have. Now that I wrote all this out, I am reminded what a wonderful man I have!

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    My routine is a little messed up Jeff because I wake up at 1 am to deliver bread! After I’m done is when my “morning” starts :)

  • Meg R

    I seem to be resistant to routines, no kids, no job, or guy, just a dog who sleeps till 10 AM.  It feels like I get up and waste most of the day with those ‘little nothings’ that pretty much add up to zero at the end of the day.  Yes, coffee is my main activity of any day.  Enforced retirement has left me less-than-motivated.  I used to have a routine, now I have a whole scrapbook of lists, routines/systems, goals.  Maybe one day they will become a best seller.  Recently, I have been bumping into a lot of reading that talks about ROUTINES and I’m a thinkin’ that its time I joined the ranks of the productive-creative crowd and get my routines together.  Thanks for the heads up, again. 

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Nothing fancy on my end. Two days a week I wake up at 5am and go for a run, then it’s shower time. Followed by bible reading and catching up on blogs.

    Three days a week it is up at 6, bible reading, and reading and commenting on blogs.  Then comes blog promotion on days that see a blog post.

  • Craig Dahlberg

    So…spill the beans, Jeff. What’s your day job that you do from home? Or am I the only one who doesn’t know?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      read the bio. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/tdhurst Tyler Hurst

    I WAKE UP AND READ JEFF GOINS’ BLOG.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      hah! riiiiight. ;)

      • http://twitter.com/tdhurst Tyler Hurst

        It’s in Reeder, it’s not usually the FIRST post I read, but it’s up there.

  • http://aloneonthemoon.com/ Adam Duckworth

    Not that I will copy it, but I like how your routine seems to flow… and I’ll probably borrow a few things from it for myself. Hope that’s OK. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thanks. go for it, dude!

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

    One thing I know for sure, I need to write before I read or go online. I’m experimenting with different things. Your schedule was very helpful. I like the fact that you get a number of words in before anything else. That’s why you produce so much.

    Once I open Facebook or twitter it’s all over…

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      excellent, John. great to know yourself.

    • Nirav Patel

      Totally agree with John. Once you open Facebook or twitter it’s all over in terms of creativity and thoughts… 

  • Kriztalladen

    I used to be a night person so I do a lot of my blogging and writing and reading at night. But right now, I’m beginning to practice that early morning routine because I believe, healthwise, it is better. Thank you for this post, Jeff. Your tips are really helpful. :)

  • http://manishad.wordpress.com/ Manisha

    Wow, I’ve never tried writing early in the morning, but this post has
    inspired me to try that out since I don’t have any routine for writing
    my blog posts at all! Thanks! :)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Oh, it’s the best!

  • Brenda

    1. Play possum while the dogs wake up husband at 4am.
    2. At 4:30am, husband delivers cup of coffee to bedside (I.V. drip not available), kiss him goodbye, and tell him to “drive carefully” as he leaves for work. I know, it seems ordinary, but it’s a lot of work for me at that hour.
    3. Sip coffee slowly, awaiting jolt that never hits. 
    4. When I can recall what day it is, I read Bible (Professor Horner’s Daily Reading Plan.) Pause. Meditate. Pray. 
    5. More coffee is needed by 6am, so I stumble down to the kitchen for another hit. Wonder which teenager set off a bomb in the kitchen overnight.
    6. Smile when the sunrise breaks through the window–there will be mercies for another day! I will need them.  
    7. Read. Write. Check out the rest of the world via Twitter, news feeds, and blogs. Review daily calendar. 
    7a. At least three days a week, take phone call from sister on east coast who has been waiting for the left coast to wake up.
    8. Panic that I’ve read too long and will be late for 9:00 appointment.
    9. Shower. Change three times before settling on very unimpressive fashion effort. 
    10. Eat breakfast to the echo of Aragon’s words, “We do not stop ’til nightfall!” Shucks, no second breakfast for me.   

    Great post, Jeff. I too have found that the discipline of a routine nourishes my creativity…and sanity. 

    • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

      This is great! 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      i avidly consume second breakfast. ;)

  • http://timschurrer.com/ Tim Schurrer

    Ambient music? This is what I listen to on repeat some days … http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/felt/id467058195

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      here’s mine: http://www.pandora.com/explosions-in-sky

  • http://www.thereligionteacher.com/ Jared Dees

    Thanks Jeff, it is always good to read about what other people do in the morning. When we had our second kid, I had to totally revamp my routine. Then I focused on explicitly adding prayer to my routine: 
    http://prayerhabits.com/dailymorning-prayer-routine/. Now that baby #3 is here, who knows what I’ll be able to accomplish in the morning! 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      you’re welcome, Jared.

  • http://twitter.com/nancy_bouwens nancy bouwens

    I find there is a rhythm to  having a routine that brings me focus and peace – when I engage in it… which is not often enough. Thanks for the reminder to reengage in the routine.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      you’re welcome!

  • Andi Minion

    1 Wake up at 7:30
    2 Spend the rest of the day trying to really wake up lol

    Great post thanks, I try and write at least 1000 words a day for something, blog post, newsletter etc. Main thing is I write and write some more.
    Cheers
    Andi

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      :)

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    So far in my routine:
    -Verbally say – “Thank you Lord for this day.”
    - Pray putting on the armor of God and then pray the Lord’s prayer(just added this the other day)
    - Drink a lot of water
    - Bible reading

    Nothing beyond that in routine, but I need to work on it.  Some sort of exercise and stay strict to times and when to get online.

    Thank you for sharing your routine.  I like how you mentioned that your routine will change as your son grows.

    K, bye

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      k. bye.

  • Loretta Soto

    My morning routine,
    Is getting up getting dressed and go out for my one hour walk.
    Come home and do my 30 minutes exercise, take my doggie out for her walk.
    Come back make coffee, and pray for an hour, read my bible, listen to worship
    music. And have my Special K.  Then go on with my day with a good free will.
    To do what ever it may be…God Bless!

  • Sisdr

    Thanks, Jeff. I’m sharing this post with students when classes resume in a couple of weeks. Thanks as well for sending the email with how success came about for you after years of putting in the time and the challenge to call myself a writer. Gauntlet accepted.

  • http://twitter.com/TiceWrites Carol Tice – Writer

    I need to get “write something” up above “check email” as once I do the latter, I’m off to fix whatever’s broken on my blog or Freelance Writers Den or wherever and when I look up it’s noon…and I like writing in the morning!

    I start the day with black tea with a tablespoon of molasses in it…I need the iron. And it helps me feel refreshed and awake and centered and ready to begin.

    Right now I then get ready to catch an 8 am bus to my coworking spot where I’m hanging this summer. Gotta post about that…loving the productivity.

    Gotta kick that breakfast cereal habit, too. When I’m being good I have a small handful of raw almonds and raisins (No prep time!)…while I walk mostly uphill for an hour around my house. But that’s more like when kids are back in school ;-) Right now I just get off the bus early so I can walk partway to my summer office.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You are such a Northwesterner.

  • Darcy Flynn

    Jeff, 
    Thanks for sharing your routine with us! I start with eggs and French press coffee, too. :) Routines aren’t natural for me either. I find I can waste a lot of time if I don’t follow one.Btw, I live in Franklin, Tn. we’re probably neighbors and don’t know it! lol
    Best,
    Joy/Darcy

  • Rushlow

    Ah, the life of a writer. if only i could either wake up at 4 am to start my day or not have to leave at 6:45 am to make it to work. 

    But point well taken…get a routine that works for the life you live. Even if only a 60-minute routine, with 15-20 minutes of reading, it’s important to prioritize what matters most.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      That’s right. Everyone’s schedules are different with their own demands, so I never want to impose my own standard on someone else. And to be clear, I work a day job; it doesn’t start at 6:45, but it has its own demands. I am not a full-time writer.

      I also know people who work corporate jobs that they begin at 6am, and somehow they get up at 4:30 to write and get their day started before going to work, coming home, taking care of kids, and going to bed. Crazy.

  • http://www.turningthepage.info/ Barry Pearman

    Morning has broken ….

    1. Wake up around 6
    2. Disturb wife, so cuddle needed
    3. Find cell phone and use light to find Kindle
    4. Dress, don’t want to shock the dog or neighbours!
    5. Let Dog off leash and trail him bounding down the deck waking up the rest of the family.
    6. Coffee, seriously Jeff, do you really have a coffee like the one in the picture!
    7. Read Bible from Kindle. I have a couple of reading plans that I have converted to be used on Kindle. Happy to share them with any one
    8. As I read I note down on a pad any items I need to do for the day. I really find having a clear mind at the start of day helps me to write da list. Also reading scripture stills my mind and is like breakfast for my creativity. 
    9. Have another cuddle with wife
    10. Breakfast, get kids off to school
    11. Cuddle with you know who …

  • http://www.pauljolicoeur.com/ Paul Jolicoeur

    Thanks for the glace into your world! My morning differs depending on the day, but the elements stay the same, that include: Coffee, shower, reading, watching my daughter and breakfast.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Simple but effective, I’m sure. Thanks, Paul!

      • http://www.pauljolicoeur.com/ Paul Jolicoeur

        Even since this post my morning routine has changed. I now need to get up earlier!

  • http://somewiseguy.com/ ThatGuyKC

    My ideal morning routine looks like this (today being the exception because I slept in).
    3:00/3:30am – alarm goes off. I stumble downstairs and get my butt to the gym.
    4:00am – workout. shower, shave, etc
    5:40am – catch the bus to work. write or sleep while I’m on the bus.
    7:00am – coffee
    7:30am – desk job begins

    • Geoffrey

      Crazy schedule and hard to maintain. Any body can do anyting at any time as long as the person feels fresh. After over 13 years of trial and error, I have come to learn that freshness has nothing to do with number of hours in bed but the quality of sleep you get matters. Being an engineer by profession, and having most of my evenings occupied normaly up to 8:00pm, I usually wake up at 4:15am on normal days including weekends. The rest of the days schedule are similar to any other parent.

      Geoffrey

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Cra. Zy.

      • http://KCProcter.com/ ThatGuyKC

        Haha! I’m gonna need to write a book or manifesto about being crazy.

  • http://twitter.com/MattMcWilliams2 Matt McWilliams

    I never thought of it as routine Jeff, but now that you mention it…man my morning is perfectly scripted.

    5:30 – Wake, rub eyes, make old man sounds, and make way to bathroom where I can turn the light on.
    5:40 – Dress and head downstairs, stretch, drink tea, and listen to loud music on iPod
    6:00 – Leave for park to run or go outside (when warm enough) or to basement (when cold) to workout.
    7:15 – Return home/inside/upstairs, prepare food
    7:20 – Eat and read Bible
    7:40 – Read devotional book of choice
    8:00 – Greet family, take out dog, mutter about how long the grass is and how I wish we had less land
    8:10 – Get ready
    8:45 – Leave for work
    9:00 – Get to work. Work.

    Crazy, but most days are within 15 minutes of being accurate day in and day out. Only thing that really changes it by much is if I take an entire day off from workout/running if sick or in the case of this morning, had a 12 hour drive the day before.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You eat the Bible?! ;)

      • http://twitter.com/MattMcWilliams2 Matt McWilliams

        Mmmmmm. I prefer it in scroll format with a tad of fresh Stevia. You know, like John and Ezekiel ate it.

        • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

          Nice.

        • http://twitter.com/DebbieBBurns Debbie Baker Burns

          That’s pretty funny.

  • http://www.bluemarblegod.com/ Melanie Gillgrist

    My morning routine- step 1- go bed at 10pm.
    No matter how hard I have tried, I could not get up before the rest of the house. Then this past spring I had a revelation while journaling:  Can you go to bed at 10?
    As I’ve started that discipline my rhythm has been;
    2.  wake up around 6am
    3.  journal, pray 6-6:45
    4. walk 6:45-7:30
    5.  back to the house as everyone is getting up.
    It has helped me start the day with a clearer head and a more alive heart.

    With school starting soon I’m planning on keeping that morning routine.  And writing/blogging during afternoon kindergarten time.

    I’m new to this and love hearing everyone’s responses!

    • http://www.bluemarblegod.com/ Melanie Gillgrist

       oh and chai.  first thing!

  • http://twitter.com/BrazenCW Stacey Herbert

    At the moment there is no particular morning routine to share, but it is something I have been thinking about ( and missing) alot lately. I like how simple your morning routine is, though those early starts can´t be easy.  

  • http://wishyouwereawriter.blogspot.com/ Bree

     I’m still working on a routine that sticks. Thanks for sharing!

  • davidsbucket

    I have made it a habit of waking up at the same time every single day… 5 am every day. I also made a commitment to never hit snooze. I still argue with myself about going back to bed the first two minutes of everyday but the rhythm is powerful. I hop in the shower and by the time I’m done with that, I’m fresh and ready to go.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ Daniel Decker

    Haha…. #7 I can relate too for sure.

    For me:

    1. Wake up usually around 5:30-6am
    2. Now that school is back in I make my girls (12 and 9) lunches
    3. Eat breakfast
    4. Help my wife with any morning needs to get the girls off to school
    5. Bible time (read, reflect, etc) – (30 minutes)
    6. Check email (30 minutes or so initial limit in case of anything urgent)
    7. Round of social updates on properties I manage (15 minutes)
    8. Knock out the most important tasks of the day first (2 hours, etc)
    9. Move on to other tasks, etc throughout the day…

    I rarely set morning meetings or phone calls. Most mornings I don’t even turn the ringer on, on my phone (office phone). I try to make morning proactive so that I can spend more of the later part of the day being reactive. If I left it up to others I would constantly be in reactive mode vs proactive / creation mode. Being intentional with that morning time helps.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      love it.

  • http://thetruelifetrek.com/ Alyssa Rodriguez

    You know, your morning looks an awful lot like mine! Although my son is two, so lately I’ve been getting MUCH more sleep and have to wake myself a little earier. He’s no longer my little alarm clock. :) My coffee gets cold too and I have to reheat it 2-3 times per cup. How sad is that? Nice post. It’s good to have a reliable flow to the day and not so much a strict schedule, at least for me.

  • http://thetruelifetrek.com/ Alyssa Rodriguez

    My mornings look a lot like yours! Although my son is two now so I get a lot more sleep and have to wake myself a little earlier on my own (he’s no longer my little alarm clock). I do the coffee thing too, only I usually have to reheat it 2-3 times per cup. How sad is that? :) I like the idea of having a reliable flow to my day, not so much a strict schedule. Good post.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I’m a chronic reheater myself. :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/stevenleconte Steven Leconte

    I like this routine as well. I usually change my routine around once in a while to avoid getting bored with it. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Good idea, Steven.

  • Penelope Silvers

    1) Wake up – no alarm for me
    2) Must have coffee
    3) Bible reading – prayer
    4) Reheat coffee
    5) Writing or editing
    6) Clear out e-mails quickly
    7) Reheat coffee
    8) Respond to twitter followers, mentions, etc.
    9) Reheat coffee
    10) Lunch
    Add in exercise somewhere in there. Rinse, repeat, change up the next day.

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