Much has been written on the value of starting the day on a strong foundation. Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and Steve Jobs all had a particular way of getting going in the morning to set them up for a productive day.
At it’s simplest, the Morning Routine is a structured sequence of actions you follow from the moment your eyes wake to the moment you go out the door to tackle the world outside. For example, Franklin’s “Scheme” spent the first 3 hours of every day starting at 5am answering the question “What good shall I do this day?”
Having tested and seen the effect of similar routines we have developed the OHP Morning Routine – as with all frameworks it is meant to be flexible, some days you just don’t have time for the Yoga set but don’t stress – go to bed a bit earlier the next day and try to make up, But these are what we currently see as the Core as they address mental and physical elements. It is not uncommon to add Meditation or Mindfulness into a Morning Routine but we’ll leave that up to you.
OHP Morning Routine
- Smile – as soon as your eyes open, or even before, smile to yourself and be grateful to have the opportunity to tackle the day ahead and maybe think of someone else who you would want to have a good day ahead.
- Positive Visualistion – if you have done the Positive Visualisation exercise you will have already identified the most important images that motivate and inspire you. If not simply think of the faces of the people that matter the most to you and incite positive thoughts about them in your mind.
- Breath – there are so many breathing protocols for different situations but the one we find works well first thing is Square Breathing. 10 sets of 5 seconds breathing in as deep as you can (let your stomach go right out), 5 seconds hold, 5 seconds out (sucking your stomach right in and emptying your lungs), then 5 seconds pause before repeating.
- Stomach stimulation – place your palms on your stomach, overlapping so they cover your abdomen. Gently rock them, gently pressing around the outer edge of your abdomen in a circular, clockwise motion – this stimulates the bodies natural, internal movement.
- HRV Test (see Heart Rate Variability) – we suggest using a proper chest Heart Rate Monitor together with an app like iThlete to take an HRV reading to understand your recovery state. HRV measurement is an excellent, fast and cheap way to understand your Total Stress Score and adjust your training appropriately. Make sure you do this lying down and before you get out of bed and get too active as this will affect the result.
- Mobilisation – choose your method but anything from gentle stretching to a robust yoga session are great ways to release any tension in the muscles and joints and to increase blood and lymph flow without stressing the body.
- Vagus Stimulation – possibly not what the name might suggest but this important nerve is a key part of the Autonomous Nervous System. It can be stimulated and activated by thermic shock – exposing your body (ideally the neck and shoulders) to a blast of cold water. So once you’ve had your nice warm shower turn the dial to get as cold a flow as you can and hang on for 1-3 minutes. The shock stimulates the nervous system and results in not just feeling fresher but helps the body maintain higher metabolic rates throughout the remainder of the day.
- Hydration – now its time to really get going. Whilst coffee might have a role to play and we fully support the use of Bulletproof, plenty of cool water is the best way to kick-start your day.
It won’t take you long to start feeling the benefits of applying a structured Morning Routine. It forms a critical part in being productive throughout the day and other exercises & tools like the Day Planner and HVT’s (High-Value Tasks) can be put on the end to create a high impact flow.