This post first appeared on my personal blog.
During the last couple of months, I slowly read through Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans. It is packed with "the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers".
One of the most interesting topics of the book are those routines and habits that people incorporate into their days, with the goal of living a better, healthier and more productive life. These routines are at least important enough for Tim Ferriss to spend an entire episode of his podcast on the topic. Many other websites also invested time in writing a post about Tim's specific morning routine, hoping to inspire people to start doing the same (or at least trying to get people to visit their website).
Well, Tim inspired me. While I was reading Tools of Titans, I started thinking about and experimenting with some of the morning routines that I found in the book (and elsewhere). And what better New Year's resolution than starting daily routines, right? So in that light, here are the morning- and evening routines that I live by in order to become a billionaire. Or well, at least to become that better, healthier and more productive person.
Make my bed
Making your bed is something you can always do, no matter how you feel or what today will bring. It's a very simple task and it even makes your bedroom look a bit nicer compared to how it was when you just got out of bed (which I try to do at either 5:00 or 6:00, depending on whether I have to give sports training in the evening). And when you go back to bed in the evening, the circle of the day is complete and you're reminded of at least one task that you completed successfully that day. It may sound stupid, but it works. For me.
Eating breakfast in the morning is very important. If I don't have breakfast, I feel like shit around 10:00. It's something I just always do, without exceptions or thoughts. What the breakfast is doesn't really matter, as long as it's somewhat healthy and lets your survive until lunchtime.
Well, this is something I never expected to be doing if you'd ask me about it five years ago. The word "meditating" is so loaded with spirituality that a down-to-earth Dutchman like myself tries to stay as far away from it as possible. But actually, meditating is nothing more than controlling your thoughts, becoming aware of how you feel and noticing how you breath. It's dead simple and actually very helpful during the rest of the day. You'll feel more relaxed throughout the day, reducing the feeling of stress. It works. For me.
There are a lot of ways to journal each day. Tim Ferriss uses the Five Minute Journal, which guides your through the process of journaling. I like a more simple way of just grabbing a notebook (A5 format) and writing down any thoughts I have, or writing about events that happened yesterday or will happen today. It literally lets you put your mind on paper, and that somehow feels good. As with more morning routines, there doesn't always have to be an explanation on why you do things. If you feel like something works for you, just do it. Also if you never look back at the stuff you wrote down.
After the first four steps, if there is time left, I read. The morning seems to be the time of day I can focus the best, so reading some non-fiction works well. If it's not a book I read, I check out Medium, The Practical Dev, DZone or I stumble upon stories on topics I like.
My evening routine is a lot simpler that my morning routine, in that it consists of just a single habit. 45 minutes or an hour before I go to bed, I turn off all screens (including the one on my phone). I also won't be disturbed by notifications on my phone, because I disabled them all. Instead of more screen time (as a developer I already get enough of that during the day), I read a book. Usually I choose fiction in the evening, because non-fiction will keep your mind in an active state, which is crappy when you're about to go to sleep. After about half an hour I feel sleepy enough to go to bed and sleep within 20 minutes or so.
Now, I used some "seems to be working", "somehow feels good" or "works for me" in the descriptions of my morning- and evening routines. That's actually on purpose. These routines might work well for me, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will work for you, too. It takes time to design routines that you benefit from — it makes no sense to keep up with routines if they don't work. Start out small (which you should always do with anything anyway) and build up towards routines and habits that will make YOUR life better. And of course, don't forget to have fun along the way!