I never really considered myself a morning person. During high school and college, my morning routine was almost none existent. I was the typical night owl, always tinkering away into the late hours of the night.
When it came to working full time, getting up early in the morning was hard for me to do. A late one the night before would often mean I overslept.
Unfortunately, after a while, this type of habit (you can’t even call it a routine) leaves you feeling like you’re playing a catch-up game that you will never win.
Yes, it’s easy to look back and say that’s what being young is all about. But even when you’re young, fit and silly, it will eventually take its toll on your energy levels.
Thankfully I started to realise this and over the years my morning routine gradually became more disciplined and dare I say it, become slightly more productive.
My Morning Routine
My morning is the starting point that sets the tone for the day ahead.
Getting it right means there’s plenty of time to either work remotely or see travel stuff later in the day.
What’s more, my morning routine on the road is the same morning routine used while I’m home. It doesn’t require any extra effort on my behalf just because I’m travelling – only some occasional flexibility.
Apart from recently adding writing and changing breakfast, I’ve been following the below morning routine for the past few years.
It is as follows:
6 – 6.30 AM
I wake up every day at 6 AM.
I’ve experimented with both waking up at earlier and later times of the morning. 6 AM seems to be a good compromise because it leaves enough time to get things done while not being so early that the amount of sleep suffers.
Some folks like to hit the snooze button once the alarm goes off, but I get up straight away to avoid falling back to sleep.
After heading for a bathroom pit stop, I sit down with a glass of water and allow myself to wake up and hydrate slowly. The next five minutes or so will be spent acclimatising to whatever planet I’ve found myself on.
Then it’s time to prepare a black coffee.
An Aeropress coffee maker accompanies me on my travels as it’s lightweight, compact and makes excellent coffee.
Most shops or supermarkets sell bags of ground coffee, so the Aeropress is a convenient tool to take travelling. It’s not just a fancy gadget purchased just for travel either as it’s used precisely the same way to make coffee when I’m at home.
One notable mention is that while drinking my morning water and coffee, I avoid looking at social media and emails.
My personal preference is to have a clear head to start the day with, so I try at all costs not to bombard my brain with floods of information at this early hour.
I also eat no breakfast.
6.30 – 8 AM
From 6.30 until around 8 AM is the time to do something physical.
Training is part of my morning routine because I find my energy levels are high early on and there are fewer distractions in the early hours to pull you off track. Plus, when in sunny or humid countries, training in the morning can be one of the best times to avoid the midday heat.
My workout clothes are laid out the night before. No big decisions are involved so all I need to do is put them on…
And yes, once they are on, there’s no turning back!
Typically I will alternate between resistance training and something cardio based like running, skipping or swimming. However, the training can depend on the facilities in the area around where I’m staying so sometimes you have to get creative.
I love the outdoors, so one of my favourite morning routine exercises is running barefoot on the beach.
A close second would a callisthenics circuit in the park, or even by the beach like in Da Nang below.
If there’s no park or beach nearby, then a local gym will do.
Smaller independent gyms can be a great place to chat with locals and are generally less busy in the morning compared to the after-work rush.
But if there’s no beach, park or gym nearby, then the hotel or guesthouse will have to do. If all else fails, it’s still possible to get a decent bodyweight or yoga workout in most hotel rooms.
8 – 9 AM
Between 8 and 9 AM is the time to prepare for the day ahead.
After training, I go back to the hotel, guesthouse, Airbnb or wherever is I’m staying. Walking back could take a few minutes, or as long as 30 depending on how far it is.
No one want’s to be wearing sweaty workout clothes all day, so I take a shower once back and do the usuals such as cleaning teeth.
If I’m training at a gym that does have a shower, then it can save time to bring along my lightweight travel towel and shower there.
In the past, between 8 – 9 AM was the time to sit down and eat breakfast. However, I’m currently experimenting with eating only between noon to 8 pm between Monday and Friday. It’s working well at the moment as eating breakfast was always a rushed affair for me and the freedom of not having to worry about preparing or finding food until later in the day is quite relieving.
So far haven’t noticed any adverse side effects of skipping breakfast only the odd hunger pain coming up to around 11 AM.
I’m sure I will go over my findings not eating breakfast in more detail in a future blog post.
9 – 10 AM
9 – 10 AM is the time for writing.
Writing has always been one of those things that got put off until later in the day. The only problem with later in the day is by the time it comes around there’s always something else to interfere with plans.
Writing between 9 and 10 AM works for me because I’m fresh and full of ideas. Providing there are no distractions; it’s a great time to capture as many of them as I can.
The writing I do is not technical, or anything work related and consists of mainly jotting down random ideas I’ve had during the morning, or maybe a topic for a new blog post.
The requirements set out for this time of the morning are small: only write a minimum of 750 words and don’t get distracted by anything repetitive or work-related.
I make it a priority to leave other tasks that require less thought, like website editing or responding to none urgent emails until later in the day.
They are simple yes, but can also be time-consuming if you let them take over.
So that’s my morning routine while travelling and while not travelling.
wake up – hydrate – coffee – train – shower – write
Sometimes there will be early morning flights or other travel plans which force me to skip a day here and there, but that’s life.
How does it differ from your morning routine? Let me know in the comments below.