A few months ago, I did a webinar about how I journal. Since then, several folks have asked for copies of some of my templates. The first one I want to share is my Morning Routine template. I look at, and fill in, this one nearly every day.
My Morning Routine Template
- Daily Priority
- Morning Gratitude
- Daily Meditation
- What’s on My Mind
- How will my actions today show my character?
- Morning Checklist
– AM Meds
– Blog Post Up
– Weigh In
I’m a big fan of the idea of a daily priority so the first thing I write down is the one thing I want to get done during the day … my daily priority. You’ll be tempted on occasion to write down two things here, but don’t do that. It’s “priority”, not “priorities.” Forcing myself to pick just one thing is a great way to inspire some focus. I usually pick the one thing the night before, but if I didn’t do it the night before, this prompt forces me to do it first thing. Very rarely do I fail to get the one thing done. I think it is this process of writing it down is where the commitment becomes real for me.
Getting caught in a negative loop any more is so easy. I try to avoid that trap with gratitude. I find taking a few minutes to think about something I’m grateful for every day really helps me start the day right. For bonus points, try to never repeat a gratitude entry. Find something new each day. You’ll surprise yourself.
Every day I find something inspiring to mull over. For everyone this is different. I have friends that will use a bible verse. For me, the daily meditation usually arises from my morning review in Readwise, my spaced repetition system.
I don’t just block and copy, though. Instead, I’ll take a passage and try to summarize it in my own words. I’ll also go back and read it throughout the day. I try to get it to stick for me. I also will journal on it for a few sentences (or paragraphs) on why it is important to me.
What’s on My Mind
This is the actual journaling part of this template. If I’ve got a problem or concern or something I’m particularly happy about or something special planned for the day, I’ll take this time to brain dump it onto the page. This is the section I’m most likely to dictate in this particular template.
I find the process of emptying my brain into the journal gives me a way to examine my thoughts from a different angle. It also helps me let go of anything I’m obsessing on so I can get focused back on the daily priority.
If you wake up with worries or concerns, use this journal entry to work through them. Then when you set down the pen (or keyboard), they have much less of a hold on you.
Some days this section is just a few sentences. Other days it is a lot more.
How will my actions today show my character?
This is in my morning template for a few reasons. First, it’s a reminder that my character will come out in all of my actions. It is too easy to forget that. Second, it gives me an opportunity to keep myself honest. The older I get, the more I realize that moral ambiguity is bullshit. There is a right and a wrong. The more I can be clear about that in my own head, the more I can make a difference everywhere else.
I used to keep a morning checklist in OmniFocus but about a year ago I sent it into my morning routine template. These are a few items that I want to make sure to get done every morning. I don’t keep a database or track streaks with any of this stuff. This list is just a gentle reminder to brush my teeth, take my pills, meditate a bit, and get rolling.
We are all different and this Morning Routine list has evolved (and continues to evolve) for me. I hope it gives you a nice place to get started building your own Morning Routine list.