The Most Important Part Of My Morning Routine
Without a doubt the most important parts of my morning routine, which is something I attribute much of my success in business and in life to, is having a reading routine where I start my day by reading for 30 minutes immediately upon waking up. For those of you who read my How and Why I Wake Up at 5:29 am article you might start to think that I’m some sort of robot. I would not argue that. The way that I see it is that I’m a high performance personality robot that strives to live a life of fun and happiness.
Living a life of fun and happiness isn’t easy work. I know, early on in my career (right out of college) I worked as an inside sales rep at a 5/3rd bank call center slinging home equity loans for $10/hour. It was the absolute worst and was the complete opposite of the life of fun and happiness that I wanted. It is experiences like that which gives me the perspective and fire to become the goal-oriented creator that I am.
Like many of the life hacks I’ve create for myself, they have happened over time and they weren’t immediate. Back in 2009 I was working for CareerBuilder doing online ad sales as well as running Cress Media (which at the time was an online ad sales rep firm that I created on the side.) One of my Cress Media clients, Spark Studios (shout out to Joe & Chris), got me a Kindle as an end of the year present. At the time I was not an avid reader and I had no clue what it was. “OK, what do I do with this thing now? I guess you read on it or something.”
Read on it or something is exactly what I did. At first I would read sporadically, sometimes before bed, but I often found that I had a hard time consistently doing so. At this time I was just getting my entrepreneurial legs under me. Cress Media was something that was easy for me to do without much effort and brought in some nice cash to boot. I wasn’t hustlin’ everyday Rickie Ross style.
As often is the case with many of the routines I adopt, I continually saw in Fast Company and Inc that top performers made it a priority to include reading into their every day routine. You’ve always got to be learning and getting smarter if you want to get ahead and succeed. I wanted to be successful and be one of those people who chases and achieves their dreams so I made it a priority to create a set time to read every day.
I know how crazy and unpredictable the day can be as it goes on. Because of this I decided to make reading the very first thing that I do every day. That way there’s absolutely no excuse for it not getting done, and at the absolute worst if the rest of my day was a disaster at least I learned something that day. That’s a positive step forward and as one of my life mottos goes, “Make today better than yesterday.”
I know that it’s hard enough to wake up in the 5’s (and at the time I was probably waking up in the 7’s or late 6’s still) but reading first thing out of the gate probably sounds brutal if you aren’t already doing it. It’s all about how you position it. To start, I would choose books that I wanted to read. Topics that interested me like creativity, leadership, and motivation. When you wake up looking forward to something then it’s not that hard to do. Just think about the times you wake up early to go tailgating or to catch a flight to Vegas or for those that went to Miami (OH) start pregaming for Green Beer Day. You pop out of bed ready to crush life.
While reading a book about setting goals and effectively getting more done each day isn’t the same as shotgunning some Natty Lights, it’s all relative. When you make the decision to be a dreamer and doer you become addicted to learning and getting better. The problem quickly becomes not “how am I going to get up to read”, but instead “I can’t believe I have to put this book down after 30 minutes.” I wish Morpheus would hook me up to the chair that brain dumped Kung-Fu to Neo in 10 seconds so that I could get in on the action.
To make my transition to reading first thing in the morning even easier I used it as a way to wake me up. I drink my morning coffee while reading and after 30 minutes both the reading and coffee are done. I now associate my reading routine with coffee, which is something that I enjoy. Now that’s two positives right out of the gate, which helps remove the negative mental thoughts.
I know it’s not easy to change up your morning routine, but if you want to be more successful then creating a reading routine in the morning will unquestionably help. I’ve read 85 books since Joe & Chris gave me that Kindle by reading just 30 minutes a day. It has gone from the gift that I had no idea what it was to being the gift that has had one of the biggest impacts on my life. It’s worked for me and I know it’ll work for you too. Now go out and take action!
ACTION ITEM: Do you have a reading routine? If not then I challenge you to read for 15 minutes at some point in your morning. Do this for a week and see what you think. Hit me up on Twitter @RobCressy and let me know how it goes.
By the way, I’ll be dropping a post about my book recommendations plus more tips about how I life a life of fun, creativity, and happiness exclusively to my email community. If you aren’t part if it yet you can sign up here.