If you had to decide on mental energy or physical energy, which would you prefer? Did you realize, that by honestly answering this question, you just lost mental energy in the process? Most of us don’t realize that mental energy is a real thing, especially in terms of decision making. Our ability to make rationally sound decisions slowly deteriorates with each decision made throughout the day. Logically speaking, that would suggest that all our best decisions are made in the early morning. Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Impossible, I hate mornings. I’m a total night owl.” That may be right, but you would be wrong. Research was conducted with specific chronotypes to determine if their decisions were affected by the time of day they were made. Long study short ⏤ Yes. Every single chronotype, whether they be a morning person, night owl, or in between, made slower and more tactical decisions in the morning and faster and more risky decisions in the evening (see the study here). Now, I can show you study after study that discusses the effects of mental fatigue. That’s the real take away here. Regardless of how you feel about mornings or nights, or when your best ideas may come about, the fact that your brain gets tired after decision making remains true. This fatigue increases with the severity or complexity of each decision, as well as the volume of decisions made.
This is just one of the reasons why some of the most successful people today are adamant about their morning routine. A routine is just that… a routine. It becomes repetitive in nature and requires minimal decisions to be made. Wake up at the same time, do the same things, eat the same food, exercise the same way, prime your mind in the same manner. Take it a step further, like a Zuckerberg or a Jobs, and wear the same clothes everyday (the same style, you dont have to actually wear the exact same shirt). Many successful people limit the decisions they have to make in the mornings to preserve that mental energy. When you’re making multimillion dollar decisions at 9:00am the last thing you want to do is spend extra time and brain power deciding on which tie to wear today. Your mother actually knew what she was doing when she told you to lay your clothes out the night before… Brain Power!
So, what’s the best morning routine for you? Well, that’s going to be based on a lot of personal preferences but I would approach it with this question in mind. How do you want your life to look? I want my morning to be a direct reflection of how I want to live my life – The Example. I wake every morning with a 3X Mindset: Exercise – Experience – Excitement. The first thing I do every morning is some form of exercise. This doesn’t have to be long, 5-10 minutes to really get the blood flowing. This will get you moving and prime your day for a more fit and healthy lifestyle. The next is an experience. I like to say that you should use this time for things you say, “I wish I had more time for…” I spend time with my daughter when she first wakes up, just laughs and smiles with zero distractions. For you that may be a morning with your spouse where you really connect with each other. Not about your upcoming meetings or schedules for the day, but with each other. No phones, no emails, no morning news, just experience each other. That may not even involve talking, just coffee and each other. It could be making breakfast with your children, and savoring the moments that you have when they are young. It may just be a quiet time to reflect on your own, with just you, and none of the chaos of the outside world. Whatever it is, it should be a moment that you long for, that you savor. Lastly is the excitement. The excitement for the day that lies ahead. This is where I take a more ritual and spiritual approach to envisioning certain things I want to accomplish and embracing those moments and how they will make me and those around me feel. A time where I can be grateful for the things in my life, and really connect with an understanding of gratitude. It’s a matter of priming the mind for clarity and success, and it’s hard not to get excited about that! Whatever you decide, just think about the time and mental energy it will take to do so… Wouldn’t it be nice to only have to do that once?