"My Morning Routine..."

Here at 12five, we think that a morning routine is crucial to the success of our days.  People often ask how we stay so productive during the day, so we thought we'd highlight our morning routines for you here on our blog!

First up is our CEO, Ryan's morning.  Check it out.  More to come over the next few days.

What is your morning routine?

Most mornings for me start with my alarm at 6am.  This is all dependent on the night before and whether I had a good night's sleep, at least 7.5 - 9 hours.  This, by far, dictates what my day looks like.  If I had a great night's sleep, then my ability to wake at 6am is enhanced.  I am pretty crazy when it comes to sleep.  Some people can get by with 6 hours of sleep, but if I get less than 7 hours, I feel physically ill.


The first thing I do when I wake up is a small gratitude routine of being thankful for being awake and alive, in my warm bed, under a roof.  I then drink about 24 oz of water out of the Nalgene that sits by my bed all night.  I find that hydrating myself first thing revs up my engine and gets me going.

I then grab my Five Minute Journal and doing some quick journaling.  The Five Minute Journal is a great journal for right after and right before you go to sleep.  It is almost like a form you fill out, asking you what you are grateful for, what would make your day great and some affirmations.  I like to do this right when I wake up, so I focus myself on gratitude.

Right after that, I hop out of bed and go directly to my meditation pad and begin to meditate.  I have been using the app Headspace to guide me through my meditations for over a year now.  I can’t stress enough what an impact meditation has made in my life.  I went into it for completely different reasons than what it has become.  I can’t imagine my routine without it and when I do miss a day, I certainly feel out of balance.

I typically finish my meditation and do a more long form journaling called my Mastermind Journal.  Sometimes this gets moved to my train ride or first thing at my office, but I really try to do it right after my meditation.  It involves visualizations through my vision board, reviewing my yearly goals, monthly goals and weekly goals.  It then focuses on an affirmation for the day and then I begin journaling about my intentions for the day.  Goal setting and journaling has been integral in my success.

I then get up and say good morning to my wife if she is awake, then go brush my teeth and shower.  We have a great shower, so this is also one of my favorite times of day.

By then it is about 7:00-7:15 and I either get one of my kids out of bed (usually they wake around then) or I meet them downstairs with my wife already caring for them.  I try to build in enough time to have breakfast with them, but this typically doesn't happen most days.  I’ll either make a smoothie or a couple of eggs and eat it as I am heading out the door.  I usually head to the office around 7:45-8:15.

My most important thing is giving everyone a hug, kiss and an I love you before I leave.  This is non-negotiable, unless I have to be downtown at some ungodly hour.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I am very much a routine person, so I have been doing some form of this routine for the past few years now.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

My routine has certainly changed since having children.  Prior to that, my wife and I would actually get up earlier than we do now.  We’d get ready for work together and make some breakfast and coffee.  I didn’t do any of the meditation or journaling back then.

What time do you go to sleep?

We are unlike our peers in this aspect because we are religious about our sleep in our family.  We are typically in bed and asleep by 10:00pm.  Typically, the process starts earlier and we cozy into bed at 9:45pm.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

I now use my handy, dandy Apple Watch, but before that, I was using my Jawbone Up.  I loved the way it quietly buzzed my wrist, versus a typical jarring alarm sound.  The Apple Watch taps your wrist when it is time to wake.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

I typically have breakfast about an hour and a half after waking.  Usually it involves some sort of eggs or oatmeal pancakes.  I try to do a green smoothie as well.  I’m all about fueling myself for my day.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I do not enjoy getting up to work out in the morning, I much more prefer doing it midday or after work. I am big runner and run most days with a running crew at lunch.

How about morning meditation?

See above.  Headspace is what I use and it is super important in my life.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning, or leave it until later in the day?

I have gotten much better at this.  I typically don’t look at me email until I get on the train or have arrived at the office.  Once I look at it, I get anxious, so I try to put it out of my morning routine.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

I use the Jawbone UP sleep app to track my sleeping.  I really like to see the trends in my sleep, as well as how much deep sleep v. light sleep I had the night before.  I use the Headspace app for my mediation.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

I have my phone in Do Not Disturb mode throughout the night, so I typically try not to check any alerts until after my meditation and journaling.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Meditation, then being sure that I tell my girls and my wife that I love them and give them a kiss.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Water, immediately after waking, then coffee about an hour later.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

On the weekends, I typically turn my alarm off and let my body sleep what it needs.  With all my running, I sometimes need 9 hours plus, so by going to bed early, I can sometimes get this on the weekend.  Usually, the kids get us up at the normal hour.  I still try and meditate before the kids wake up, but usually we get up together, make some coffee and then usually pancakes.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

This is actually a difficult one for me.  I am such a routine person, that when I am out of my element, I definitely feel out of balance.  I typically try to keep my routine as normal as possible.

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

As I said above, I typically feel out of balance.  I don’t feel like I’m in my rhythm and getting in the flow seems difficult.  That said, I am trying to be better about accepting when I am out of rhythm and being ok with letting my day come to me as it comes.