My New (Better) Morning Routine


– One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned about productivity is that the way you start
your day really matters. Waking up on time and
going through a sequence of healthy habits can
give you the momentum that you need to roll
right into your work. While waking up late or
waking up without a plan can easily lead to
procrastination and wasted time. So, today I wanna share
the morning routine that I’ve been using recently. It’s pretty simple, but it does involve one pretty big change from the
way that I used to do things. Though we’re gonna get to that later because well, first things first, I just have to get out of bed. And these days I’m waking up
at about 6:30 in the morning. And I do this using a pretty simple trick. So, if you saw my video that
I put out a few years ago about how I used to force
myself to get up early. I actually used to use
a social media scheduler to schedule a tweet that would go out and tell people that I was being lazy. So, to prevent this from going out, I would have to get up before
the tweet’s scheduled time, turn my computer on, and
either move it to the next day or delete it. And for a really long time this was an incredibly
effective way to get up at the time I wanted to get up and go through my morning routine. But when I tried to use
it again earlier this year I found that it no longer works for me because it led to me actually waking up in the middle of the night worrying that I had slept through my alarm or that something else had gone wrong and the tweet had gone out. So, this method was
literally giving me anxiety and negatively affecting
the quality of my sleep. So, what I’m doing now is a lot simpler, but it’s just as effective. I just have a second alarm
on an iPad downstairs. So, I have to actually go
downstairs from my room and turn it off. And that alarm is set
for about five minutes after my main one, which
virtually guarantees that I’m never going to hit snooze and I’m always going to go downstairs and get both alarms turned off
and then get into my routine. Next I feed my cat, I water my plants, and I do some pull-ups. I’m trying to gradually
increase the number that I do in the morning, but right now I’m doing just about 10. This is a good way to actually
make sure I feel fully awake, but it’s also just another good way to make sure that I stay
in shape for rock climbing. And quick tip, if you’re gonna use one of
these door frame pull-up bars, when you get one take an old towel and wrap it around the contact points with either a rubber band or some tape. That way it doesn’t
damage your door frame. Because these things
can definitely do that if you don’t pad out those contact points. So, once I’ve done those
pull-ups I will go outside for about a 10 to 15-minute walk. And this is really casual,
I’m not power-walking. I’m not out there jogging. I’m just going to get a walk
because this was a habit that I used to do every single morning after I graduated from college and I was living back in Iowa. And I really just wanted
to add it back in. And while I’m walking, I’ll
usually listen to a podcast or an audiobook. Right now I’m listening
to Wondery’s excellent Business Wars podcasts,
specifically the biker wars series about Harley Davidson, along with Children of
Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky. And both of these I highly recommend. Though with Tchaikovsky, you’re
probably gonna wanna start with Children of Time, which is the first book in that series. Once I’m back from the walk
it is time for breakfast. But before I get to cooking, I first activate a little routine that I created on my Echo speaker. Alexa, start my morning. – [Alexa] Today, there
are two events remaining. At 2 PM, there’s podcast
interview with the Rock and at 3 PM, there’s call Matt to brag. – This lets me know what’s
on my calendar for the day, it tells me the weather, and then it starts a little
morning routine playlist that I created on Spotify, which I’ll share down
in the description below in case you’re interested. For breakfast, I will
sometimes make a smoothie, which I made a video all
about a couple of months ago and you can check that out
in case you’re interested. But recently, I’ve just been
sticking to a very simple wrap. Eggs, cheese, bacon, and salsa. And I’ll also slice up
an apple and, of course, make coffee. And funny little side
note about that coffee. A few months ago, I actually decided to do a blind taste test
pitting the craft-roasted, expensive beans in a local grocery store with regular, old Caribou
coffee dark roast beans. And when I did that, I
was surprised to find that I actually like the
Caribou beans better, which was interesting
because they were literally half the price. So, doing that test actually showed me that it’s a good idea to
do these kinds of tests on a regular basis to make sure that you’re making logical choices instead of just following
mere signifiers of quality, like price. After breakfast, it is
time to do some learning, which usually takes the form of reading though I don’t always just read books. Sometimes I do, but other times I’ll dig into a really long article. For example, one that I read recently was Ray Dalio’s article
on paradigm shifts, which I found pretty
difficult to read, personally. But it actually led to
me making some changes in the way that I’m investing my money. So, I’ll have that link in the
description below, as well, for anyone who’s interested. I do think it is a pretty good read. Anyway, once that’s done,
it is time to shower. And in my bathroom, I actually keep a small Bluetooth speaker
and I use my shower time as time for vocal practice. About a year ago, I started
actual vocal lessons and I found that singing in the shower is actually a great way to get
some real daily practice in. And in addition to that, I’ve also created several different playlists on Spotify that each target a specific
type of practice in singing, like high-range training,
low-range training, et cetera. So, it’s really easy to build up a queue and get about 20 minutes of
real, deliberate practice in. And this is a great compliment
to the more lengthy sessions I do when I have time and
the actual lessons, as well. And that’s it. When I’m done with all this,
I’ll usually start work at home or if I’m doing writing or
research I’ll usually head out to a coffee shop to do it there. Now, one thing that you
might have noticed is missing from this morning routine is working out or going to the gym. And that’s actually the big change that I alluded to earlier. After stubbornly telling myself that I needed to work out in the mornings for a really long time, I’ve
learned through experimentation that it’s actually better for me to work out in the afternoons. This is a pretty big
improvement to my routine for a few key reasons. Number one, I just get to work earlier because I’m not going to the gym for an hour or 90 minutes beforehand. Number two, and this is
actually more important. This neatly solves the problem
of the afternoon slump. Now, I don’t know if you get this, but personally when it gets
around three or four PM in the afternoon, I usually
get this wave of brain fog and it becomes hard to focus. And in the mornings, I
don’t have this problem. I’m alert, I’m easily able to do my work. But again, when it gets to late afternoon that ability really starts to diminish. So, by going to the gym in the afternoon, I’m able to use more of my morning on work and then going to the gym
is actually a great way to get rid of that brain fog because I’m getting some exercise. Finally, number three,
I’m much more consistent about putting in that
learning time in the mornings. When I was working out in the mornings, I would often feel pressure
to get right to work after I got back from the gym and I’ve learned from personal experience that I’m much less likely
to read during the evenings. And I mention this because
even though it’s easy to skip since it doesn’t seem urgent, I think having this habit
of reading or learning every single day is incredibly important. For me, doing this
keeps me from stagnating since I’m no longer in school, and no longer being
forced to learn new things by teachers and professors. But it also often leads
me to making connections and getting ideas that I
wouldn’t have otherwise had. And a lot of times this
improves the quality of my work and helps me grow my business. That’s why I think you
should be making time for this habit, as well. And one resource that I’d
recommend you check out during this time is Brilliant. Brilliant is a learning website that takes an incredibly
active, problem-centric approach to teaching math, science,
and computer science. And because they take this
active approach to designing all their courses and their challenges, when you’re going through the material, you’re actually stretching your brain’s problem-solving capabilities, becoming a more capable,
creative problem solver. Brilliant’s library includes
over 50 in-depth courses, and they also have a feature
called daily challenges where every single day you can log in and get a new problem in a different area which can expand your
horizons and your interests and again, build that daily learning habit and build your problem-solving skills. So, if you wanna get started for free, go over to and you’re gonna get free access
to those daily challenges. And if you’d like to upgrade your account and get access to their
entire course library, be one of the first 200 people
to use that link and sign up and you’ll get 20% off your
annual premium subscription. Big thanks, as always, to Brilliant for sponsoring this video
and being a big supporter of my channel. And thank you for watching, as well. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so right
there to get new videos when they come out here. You can also click right
there to get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades, or check out a couple of
other videos on this channel right here and right here. Thanks again for watching and I will see you in the next video.


100 Responses

  1. Joseph Couteau

    September 3, 2019 6:24 am

    Love the 2 alarm 5 minute method(will try to implement with 2 minute difference)
    Feed the cat/plants and sport is also a good idea(especially going outside to walk while podcast/audiobook )
    I meditate after
    Before having breakfast, and taking a shower(will try that singing!)
    Then I do read and get tasks

  2. Kj_mast_er

    September 3, 2019 7:07 am

    I get the afternoon slump at 12pm and its rather more powerful than a brain fog, my body just shuts down and force me into an awkward sleep in awkward places.

  3. Cabal Paxiarch

    September 3, 2019 7:45 am

    Is this supposed to be inspiring? Because all I see is a control freak trying to quantify how to live a rich, full life which, if you actually bothered to understand any of the amazing books you read, you'd realize that's absurd. You have to allow space for life to be unpredictable or you're in for a world of hurt and nervous breakdowns.

  4. Sam Boermans

    September 3, 2019 8:07 am

    Is everybody so busy with the rock and matt, that nobody saw the fake singing playlist?😂 Periphery and tesseract, hell no that he's a metal screamer

  5. Kaylee Miller

    September 3, 2019 10:21 am

    I completely agree on the working out in the afternoon to help fight the slump. I work from 8:20–1:30 then 2 days a week I have a break before going to class until 9. I definitely think the gym time I spend in between has helped me to be more alert in class and keep my energy up. I still walk my dog in the mornings for a little wake up 🙂

  6. Chuka Nwobodo

    September 3, 2019 11:09 am

    On behalf of everyone who gained something from watching this video, I think we would love you to make an evening/night routine video.

  7. Nathan Miller

    September 3, 2019 12:33 pm

    I use an alarm clock with a bar code scanner. I scan a barcode of something in my bathroom so I have to go to my bathroom to scan a bar code that turns my alarm off.

  8. Paul Anthony Jayme

    September 3, 2019 2:28 pm

    Thomas: I created a spotify morning playlist so you can check it out!
    Me while strolling the playlist saw the Yuri on Ice soundtrack!
    And from there: didn't finished the video and binge watched the anime series 😭
    Deym 😭

  9. Skyler Shuman

    September 3, 2019 2:35 pm

    Ik it's not reading, but would watching YouTube tutorials about my work count as learning? If I did them in a more targeted way?

  10. OrangeJeepDad

    September 3, 2019 2:53 pm

    The problem with this alarm method in a distant location is it completely disturbs your partner's sleep. And if that's not enough, I'm sure the singing in the shower helps.

  11. yanuar rizky

    September 3, 2019 3:13 pm

    interesting to seeing your playlist. to close to touch, periphery and teseract? wow, we have the same taste of music

  12. Zapy

    September 3, 2019 3:32 pm

    I personally try to exercise in the morning , my energy level goes down throughout the day. So exercise is easier in the morning.

  13. Chaunice Figueiredo

    September 3, 2019 3:47 pm

    That sailor moon mug makes me love you even more! 🤩🤩 And I can't wait to hear how the interview with the Rock went. I love that guy. 🥰

  14. GtrMmorpg

    September 3, 2019 5:12 pm

    The way I solved the afternoon slump was to take a 15~20 minute nap. When I first tried I couldnt do it with a timer because I would get stressed trying to fall asleep as soon as possible. But then I found out that just taking the time to close your eyes and rest for 15~20 minutes is enough to make me feel refreshed. So now I just relax knowing I don't need to fall asleep and I usually do. Then I can continue being productive for the rest of the day. I know this might not work for everyone since not everyone works from home but still.

  15. Jennie - BeautyGeek

    September 3, 2019 6:53 pm

    I low key loved seeing your Sailor Moon cup. New to your channel, had to subscribe. I gotta say that for me, working out during my lunch break has really helped me stick to the habit of working out more consistently. I think I'm gonna try the learning approach in the mornings! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Mason 美生

    September 3, 2019 8:13 pm

    A good routine when you don't have to factor in getting kids ready (dressed, breakfast, bathroom, school) and then heading to the office.

  17. Анастасия Сергеева

    September 3, 2019 8:38 pm

    Hello, I simple speak "thank you"! I don't have skills speak how I love you, but your video in Russia channel is fantastic! Sorry my English, but I study

  18. Eli Nat

    September 3, 2019 8:46 pm

    Not like you'll read this, but I'll throw a wrench in your coffee choice.

    Buy coffee from a roaster with an ethical buying plan. No not fair trade, I mean direct trade. Do the research, pay a little more and save coffees future. In 40 years we probably will not have many farmers, due to climate change, but largely do to the disgusting economics of coffee at the moment. The price per pound of coffee is below the cost of production. So paying more for beans might actually mean you are helping a farmer not live in poverty/ give them money to invest into their business. Sure taste is one thing, but most coffee is produced on the backs of poor farmers.

    That being said, I dont know what cha bought before, I dont know how caribou sources their beans, but I would do the research or ask Caribou directly about their buying. If they arent transparent, go somewhere else, there are plently of roasters that will be transparent about how they source their beans.

    Buy ethically sourced coffee, and you may save coffee for the future.

  19. Spencer Stephens

    September 3, 2019 9:27 pm

    YouTube: suggest 500th morning routine video

  20. ayesha sharma

    September 4, 2019 2:47 am

    I used to do that too… That alarm thing… Putting in some other room… But now that I have shifted in a rented flat with a flatmate… That idea is no more working… Need to find new

  21. Rebecca Sperring

    September 4, 2019 7:59 am

    I agree about exercise in the afternoon. My brain is bad at 5pm, May as well exercise, my brain is amazing at 7am, so that’s better for work and creativity.
    Also, if you have issues with pain the afternoon could work for exercise if you are the type of person who wakes up stiff and sore!

  22. Julius Air Kull

    September 4, 2019 9:31 am

    I also use the long distance alarm thing. Problem is, it is too nice to cuddle with my wife. It is the best thing ever. I don't go to sleep, I wake up at 6 to cuddle for at least 30 minutes. Anyone else have this problem?

  23. Quang-Linh Nguyen

    September 4, 2019 11:01 am

    Hi Thomas. Great video as usual.
    Could you recommend me the vocal training that you are using?
    I have never thought of training my voice during shower. How brilliant!


    September 4, 2019 11:54 am

    You think your life is awesome now wait till you figure out to add a daily half hour meditation. You are going to be blown away when your quality of life and productivity skyrockets. Took me a few months of daily practice but I wouldn’t miss it for the world now. Good books: “Mindfulness in Plain English” and “Peace is Every Step”

  25. terili terila

    September 4, 2019 1:29 pm

    Thomas, great video. haven't you thought of making a video about keystone habits? u seem very knowledgable in habits formation. I would love to learn this part of habit formation from you.

  26. Matt Prior

    September 4, 2019 2:23 pm

    You should cut caffeine out of your routine and change it to a glass of water . After a week I found that the glass of water was more effective

  27. Stuart Carter

    September 4, 2019 2:58 pm

    Oh Snap brother! I just uploaded my morning routine video too haha! Would absolutely LOVE someone like yourself to check it out and give me some feedback 🙂

  28. abanoub waheep

    September 4, 2019 4:40 pm

    Medium app is a great app for learning and read about new stuff but it has a steep price, can you recommend another free source or app to replace it ?

  29. zipyproductions

    September 4, 2019 10:52 pm

    I tryied for 3 day not going to gym in the morning but didn't work. I would sleep more in the morning so I need to go at 9h to gym so I enjoy the day more. Personal experience. Thanks for the video

  30. Channing Scott

    September 5, 2019 12:46 am

    I have almost the exact same routine and it took 8 months to get it down.
    0430 Wake up, water,
    Hot /cold shower, brush & shave

    0445 sloooow Jog 1.5 miles to gym where i parked my car the night prior so I can't go to work unless I go to the gym where I do various warm up routines and yoga before work. Part of routine now consists of 100 burpees (10 each minute for 10 minutes) and 25 chin ups (5 chin ups for 5 mins)

    0600 Drive home to grab beakfast and make my lunch for the day.
    0615 Drive to work and reflect on God
    0700 Work
    1600 Drive to gym(Tue, Thur, Sat & Sun ) or plasma donation (Mon & Fri)
    I leave my car in the 10gym parking lot each night and walk 1.5 miles home so I must go the gym the next morning.
    1800 Home, cold shower and dinner
    1900 Free time
    2100 Channing Used REST

    Btw tried your smoothie and I am a big fan of it! Add a 1/4 of turmeric for inflammation!

  31. BrightCore Studio

    September 5, 2019 1:03 am

    Hello Thomas, 

    can you please do a video about soundproofing a (rented) room in the most visually subtle and effective way? I am a student, I live with parents and they have rented the house so we're not owners, we can't damage or significantly change anything, and I would like to make my room quiet. I want the implementation to be subtle/less noticeable (like I don't want to put blankets on the wall or something like that)…

    Thank you!


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