5 Items That Snap You Out of Your Morning Routine [Win an Amazon Kindle]

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 8, 2011 · 1,992 comments

in Blog

This post is brought to you by Hyundai. Click here to learn more about the new 2011 Elantra. What’s this?

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be running a series about things you can use to snap yourself out of your usual routines. And with each post, the kind folks at Hyundai will be giving away one of the items to a reader. I’m excited–this should be fun.

A solid morning routine can help a man start the day off right. But many men don’t really put much thought into what goes into their routine and instead rush around the house like a chicken with its head cut off, doing everything they can to make it to work on time. For a morning routine to be beneficial, you need to, as Old Blue Eyes sang, “take it nice and easy.” Give yourself time to completely wake up, contemplate your day, and enjoy your family in the morning. The morning is your chance to get charged up and ready to meet whatever challenges and opportunities you’ll encounter before you’re back in bed once more. When you establish a morning routine that helps you feel energetic, relaxed, and confident, the whole rest of the day will go smoother and more successfully.

To help you snap out of your usual, rushed and humdrum morning routine, we suggest giving these five items a try. And we’re giving one of them–an Amazon Kindle–away, so check below for details!

Dovo Straight Razor

For many men, their morning routine starts off with a unique daily ritual practiced by men for millenia. Shaving.

Hopefully by now you’ve made the switch from shaving with the Mach 32 (or whatever number of blades they’re on) to shaving with a classic safety razor. You’ve probably been enjoying the better shaves and affordability that safety razor shaving provides. But if you’re ready to really level up your shaving routine, it’s time to add in the classic straight razor shave. You’ll get the closest shave you’ve ever had, and you’ll reduce your costs substantially over the long haul because you’ll never have to buy another razor again.

But the biggest way straight razor shaving snaps you out of your morning routine is that it’s a craft that requires you to slow down and really focus on what you’re doing. Instead of running around in the morning on auto-pilot, straight razor shaving can help you feel more present as a man. Putting razor sharp steel next to your throat every morning reminds you that you’re alive.

French Press Coffee Maker

Ahhhh….. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning to enliven the senses and wake a man up. But for many men, the typical coffee routine consists of either a) dumping scoops of stale, mass produced, coffee grounds into their coffeemaker or b) driving by a coffee shop and dropping five bones for a frapa-doodle-hold-the-I-don’t-even-know-how-to-order-coffee-anymore-it’s-so-complicated.

Might we suggest you snap out of your morning routine by brewing your own cup of perfect joe with the assistance of the humble French press? The French press is normally a glass cylinder with a “plunger” like device that fits tightly into the circumference of the cylinder.  The plunger features a handle with some sort of wire or nylon mesh that pushes the coffee grounds to the bottom, trapping them there after a few minutes of brewing.

There are two big benefits to brewing coffee with the French press as opposed to your fancy Hal-90000 auto coffeemaker. First, the coffee grounds are fully steeped and saturated at the beginning of brewing, and second, this method of brewing retains the natural oils of the coffee that are normally absorbed by the paper filter. And like many of the items on this list, the French press forces you to slow down and really enjoy your mornings instead of running out the front door like Dagwood Bumstead.

Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device

You wake up at 6AM, stumble to the bathroom, and flip the switch to the bright compact fluorescent lights in the bathroom. You move from the bathroom and into the kitchen, and turn on the yellow glowing incandescent lights. A few hours later you’re sitting at your office desk underneath more fluorescent lights and in front of a bright computer screen for eight hours.

Modern man spends most of his time basking in artificial light and soaking in fluorescent rays instead of the real light of the sun, and that does a doozy on our minds and bodies. Insomnia, lack of energy, and depression are just a few of the symptoms of inadequate sunlight.  The best remedy for these issues would be spending 30 minutes a day sunbathing. But for some men, that’s not possible because a) they live in the Northeast where the sun hibernates for much of the year or b) the sun is already going down by the time they emerge from the coal mines.

If you’re one of the millions of men suffering from inadequate sunlight, it’s time to snap out of your routine with the Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device. Set this little device up next to your laptop and turn it on while you check your email. The goLITE emits a low intensity blue light that simulates the kind of blue light given off by the sun. That blue light helps regulate the hormones in your body that affect mood, energy, and even how you sleep at night. Clinical studies at the Mayo Clinic back up the benefits of blue light therapy. Incorporate it into your morning routine for more energy during the day and better sleep at night.

Cast Iron Skillet

A man can’t start the day off on an empty stomach. He needs bellytimber to fuel his daily adventures and corporate conquests. But many men miss out on the benefits of a hearty breakfast simply because they don’t think they have time. And no, four jelly filled donuts do not constitute a hearty meal. It’s time to snap out of your daily donut routine and embrace the pleasures of a hot breakfast with a little help from the humble cast iron skillet.

Cast iron skillets are, hands down, the best thing to cook breakfast, or most anything, in. A well seasoned cast iron skillet is almost as non-stick as those fancy teflon non-stick pans, without any of the chemicals that can kill your pet bird. Moreover, cast iron skillets distribute heat better and consequently cook your food more evenly than other types of skillets. They’re also built to last; a cast iron skillet can easily provide 40 years of fantastic cooking.

Amazon Kindle


After brewing coffee and cooking breakfast, a man has to have something to read to shake off the brain rust that developed overnight. For over a century, men across America would typically read the good old morning paper. But subscriptions to newspapers have been steadily declining for the past twenty years as more people consume their news digitally or even opt out from keeping up with current events altogether.

You’re a busy man. You’ve got places to go and bears to wrestle and you’re probably running out the front door without even kissing your wife goodbye just so you can make it to work on time. Snap out of this routine by bringing back the leisurely morning newspaper read with the assistance of the Amazon Kindle.

You can subscribe to your favorite newspapers and even The Art of Manliness on your Kindle. Read it while you sip your hot coffee and eat your delicious skillet fried eggs. If you don’t finish your article before you need to head out the door for work, take your Kindle with you to read in the carpool or on the subway. As a new dad I speak from experience when I say they’re also indispensable for reading while feeding/holding a baby.

The Kindle  has a one month battery life and thanks to the magic of e-ink, it’s almost like reading a paper newspaper. It’s like holding the future in your hand. Now if they could only invent a machine that showers you like on the Jetsons…

Win an Amazon Kindle from Hyundai

Hyundai will be giving away a wifi enabled Amazon Kindle to one lucky AoM reader, so he can start snapping himself out of his morning routine. Here’s how to enter the sweepstakes:

Leave a comment telling us something you use or do to change up your morning routine.

Deadline to enter is February 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm CST.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older.  Ends 3/27/11.  To enter and for Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions, visit here.  Void where prohibited.
1901 daniel hester February 14, 2011 at 12:12 am

i was recently given a flannel robe for christmas. i honestly have to say that i am not a robe wearing type of guy but something about wearing it from my bed to the shower and then post shower that forces me to take my time and puts me in a “take my time” type of mood. but this is preliminary to my morning to routine of prayer. let me first say that it could be substituted for meditation or whatever. (my point is not to offend or be un-P.C.) Still i should explain why; every day i read a few bible verses and pray. praying forces me to confront my issues and struggles. i am forced to be at peace to ignore my need to race at 100mph. this makes my day more relaxed, less stressful, and seem less urgent. nothing is more manly than prayer. Men spend time in nature, climbing mountains, kayaking rivers, camping. no one goes to the grand canyon to feel good about themselves. it is a profound, calming, and rejuvenating experience. experiencing something so massive, epic, powerful, unconquerable is just like prayer and it is quintessential old school manliness.
J.S. Bach, William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr., Jonathan Edwards, AbrahamLincoln. Manly

1902 Laura Garmendia February 14, 2011 at 12:39 am

This year I started using Byetta for my Diabetes 2….makes me commit to eating within a certain time frame.

1903 Dan February 14, 2011 at 1:39 am

A quick exercise routine of mixed core exercises, mostly variations on pushups and crunches. Helps the blood move quicker and gets you psyched for 8 hours of sitting at a desk

1904 Kyle February 14, 2011 at 1:47 am

I read a different news source each day of the week.

1905 Hussein February 14, 2011 at 3:23 am

When I wake up, I have a fresh cup of coffee from the Gevalia coffee maker in my room. Then I take a shower, shave with a straight razor, and then have breakfast with diet coke. Scrambled eggs and diet coke is the breakfast of champions!

1906 Duane February 14, 2011 at 5:23 am

This article (or series) is brilliant. All of the good intentions for changing one’s life come to naught if the day doesn’t start well.
My morning ritual starts the night before. I like to wake up early so that I have time to coax the day into a friendly rythym. The trouble is- 4:30AM comes pretty early and it’s much easier (in spite of all the good intentions) to hit snooze and sleep away those precious hours of preperation.
I set myself up for success by placing my cell phone/alarm clock outside my bedroom. This gets me up and moving. Beside my phone I lay the book I’m going to read and a coffee cup- anticipation of that first sip of coffee (My name is Duane and I’m an addict) usually overpowers any desire to return to bed.

What I get in return is a nice slow morning sipping joe and reading- the rest of the day generally falls into place nicely.

1907 John February 14, 2011 at 7:27 am

An intense workout like P90x every morning, first thing really gets the blood flowing and ramps up your metabolism and energy levels for the rest of the day. Then a nice cool/cold shower and shave to relax before heading out the door.

1908 Chris February 14, 2011 at 7:55 am

I normally wake up about 15 minutes before everyone else in the house. No alarm clock, which I think is a horrible invention. I have used an alarm clock maybe 10 times over the past 20 years and I hate it. I always feel rushed when something wakes me up, in stark contrast to just waking up myself. That starts my day at an easy pace.

I give a few minutes to thinking about what I need to do today. I plan this out first thing before I even get out of bed. I tried to plan out my day the night before but I realized I don’t sleep as well when I do that. I think there is some anxiety the night before and your brain keeps working to schedule your day instead of working on getting to sleep. By planning in the morning it puts my brain in the proper gear to start my day.

Two cups of coffee and a short trip to “the reading room” and I am ready to handle my day. If I feel like it I exercise, if not I do that later in the day. I listen to my body, it lets me know when I should do that. If I am hungry, I eat.

1909 Will February 14, 2011 at 8:17 am

Going for a morning walk is something I do in the warmer months. About a mile and a half takes 30 minutes for me and helps shake my mind from sleep.

“A little walk of half an hour in the morning when you first rise is adviseable also. It shakes off sleep, and produces other good effects in the animal oeconomy”
-Thomas Jefferson

1910 Randall February 14, 2011 at 8:34 am

I am not a morning, so I really need to mix up my morning sometimes. I do this by REMOVING things from my morning and doing them the night before. I still set my alarm for the same time. This way, I don’t even notice that I’m far ahead of schedule till I hit the point where I did something the night before! The key is that I don’t remember that I have a short morning, so I get ready with the same speed as usual.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a shower the night before and I just wash my face in the morning, but sometimes I have breakfast ready to heat up, coffee put on a timer (it’s not as fresh, but it’s good enough!), and clothes picked out. I get up, wash my face, shave, dress, and then I’m free to read a book or the morning news.

1911 James February 14, 2011 at 10:06 am

I like to get up early and sneak out to exercise before my wife and kids are up. To keep my routine from getting stale, I include a variety of workouts on different days including running 6 to 8 miles, spin classes, aerobic weight training (AWESOME for getting ripped fast), and mat pilates (yes, I am man enough to do pilates). I go home and enjoy a high protien breakfast (favorite is smoked salmon) and coffee. Then I wake up my wife by bringing her a cup of coffee in bed and hop in the shower to get ready for work. This always leaves me energized and ready to greet my family and then my co-workers with a smile.

1912 Nolan February 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

I like Duane put my phone/alarm outside the door. The short walk to the alarm helps keep me from hitting snooze. Most mornings I try to get out and exercise from 5 am to 6 am. this consists of a 2-3 mile run or a trip to the gym. A cool shower, kiss the wife and baby, and out the door. I would definately like to add some light reading to my morning to help get my brain working before I hit work.

1913 William February 14, 2011 at 10:32 am

The GF has an e-reader her self and I have my Iphone but she always harrasess me about reading on my phone. Any way yea once I’m out of college and have a routine like this it will be nice otherwise its usually wake up about an hour before class. I do love the advice AOM gives me.

1914 RB February 14, 2011 at 11:07 am

Keeping my curtains or blinds open and waking up to sunlight has really changed how I wake up. I think it really helps regulate my sleep-wake cycles. (Especially if you travel a lot!)

1915 Michael M February 14, 2011 at 11:49 am

I started doing a basic Yoga routine every morning, working up to more advanced positions. It wakes me up, get’s the blood flowing and insures there’s at least a good half-hour of my day spent moving around.

1916 Matt February 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I encourage reading about the risks of blue light before using one in this manner, as blue light poses a threat to eyesight, especially for people with macular problems (due to age, genetics, etc.). Read more about it before purchasing the product here: http://www.mdsupport.org/library/hazard.html#blue

1917 John Bates February 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm

There are 31 chapters of Proverbs in the bible. I read one a day, on the corresponding day of the month. Great thoughts in there about how to live as a real man in all areas of life.

1918 Carter February 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I’ve taken the advice of using a straight razor. it takes some getting used to, but it is definitely a nice change.

1919 Five February 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm

For mornings, upset the routine with a vacuum or siphon coffee maker, like Phillip Marlow (and likely Raymond Chandler) used. A little bit of a longer wait than the French press. And a hell of a lot better coffee. Plus it’s enjoyable to watch.

Coffeegeek has an article: http://coffeegeek.com/guides/siphoncoffee

1920 Matthew February 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Every morning when I leave my dorm as the sun is coming up and head to get breakfast I turn my iPod on and listen to a morning mix to get me ready and willing for the day ahead

1921 Mandy February 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm

would really love to win this for my art-of-manliness-lovin’ hubby. thanks for the giveaway

1922 BCoo February 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I usually just rush and eat a bowl of cereal, but I’m going to start making eggs for breakfast.

1923 Patrick February 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I like to choose one activity of my morning routine, and spend more time doing that one thing, while rushing the others. I might take a long time to sit on my east-facing porch and watch the sun rise while enjoying my breakfast, or stand in front of the closet for an unusually long amount of time picking out clothes, or go all-out with every step imaginable while shaving. By focusing on that one thing that particular morning, it makes it more special.

1924 Ryan February 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Doing a morning stretch routine is a good way to loosen up the body, and get the blood flowing. When I get the chance I do this, it helps.

1925 Marek Marasch February 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I’m a big fan of the classic safety razor, shaving brush, and shaving soap. Now I’m also using an old aftershave that smells like the barbershop.

Glad to have found this website.

1926 Anson Chappell February 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm

To change up my morning routine I canceled my satellite TV. No longer am I drawn into the relentless yammering of the morning news talking heads. Now I can read the news online, or just sit quietly and enjoy my breakfast.

1927 Seth Baxter February 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I like to take the time to check out a motivational quote of the day, I especially like the ones from good ol’ TR.
You can get them sent via text message or email, also visit one of any number of websites.

Enjoy

1928 Simeon Duong February 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

To change up the morning routine, I change my alarm from a buzzing sound to a favorite song from my IPod.

1929 John Johnson February 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I have started by changing from shaving cream to shaving soap with a shaving brush. This definitely provides a better shave. I’ll be moving onto the safety razor next. I leave the straight razor to my barber.

1930 Erick Thronson February 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

My morning routine varies during the week since I am a firefigher/EMT who often works overnight. Truly, one way to change up the morning routine is to be woken up by bright lights and loud noises, being summoned to respond to any number of emergencies. Whether a call comes in or not, the mornings when I work are spent reporting off to the relieving crew, replacing my gear to its spot on the rack, stripping the beds, conducting hygiene, and clocking out.

1931 Jamie Birkett February 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar to give me a jolt of vigor in the morning, then follow with french press coffee and some oatmeal.

1932 Nathan February 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm

A cold water shave is refreshing way I start my day.

1933 Brandon February 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I have been shaving with a straight for a few years now, but recently i started tha aom recommended “Scottish” shower, and it is amazing to help get me moving in the morning. I also recently acquired a cast iron griddle to cook my bacon and eggs in the morning.

1934 Joel M Reichenbach February 14, 2011 at 10:51 pm

After a snooze or two I make some coffee and then switch it up from there. I am currently doing some sit ups and push ups before i hop into the shower. I hope to start reading before work as well.

1935 David February 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I brush my teeth with my left (non-dominant) hand. It takes a little more focus and gets my brain sharp and ready for the day.

1936 Ty February 14, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I eat a different breakfast food every day of the week and often do things in different orders to keep myself on my toes.

1937 Ford Aldrich February 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

On days when I have time and am dressing formally, I’ve found a lot of joy in taking the time to hang and steam all of my clothes in the morning while getting dressed. It really makes me slow down and pay attention to what I’m wearing and how everything looks. Also, wearing such perfect-looking clothes really makes the start of the day feel a lot nicer.

1938 Buster February 15, 2011 at 3:01 am

Get up, brush my teeth, go downstairs and pack a lunch while the coffee’s brewing. Coffee with cereal or eggs while I watch the Top Ten Plays on SportsCenter. After that it’s out the door i go!

1939 Dave February 15, 2011 at 5:27 am

When my routine is off my whole day seems to be not quite right

1940 Pipp February 15, 2011 at 5:33 am

I also go for the oatmeal breakfast to mix it up from the egg on toast usual. But for coffee I go with an espresso made in a Moka (or macchinetta), with good beans, miles above the stuff that comes out of those cartrige machines (and without all the waste!). At this time of the year, some fresh squeezed blood orange juice.

1941 Spats February 15, 2011 at 6:29 am

I wake up with a gourd of yerba mate. It clears my head somewhat, and is a thing designed to be shared, leading to a pleasant morning interaction with the later wakers in the household.

1942 Ken February 15, 2011 at 6:29 am

Use a manly scented body wash. It’s aroma therapy in the shower.

1943 Eric February 15, 2011 at 7:07 am

Mornings have become an exercise in will power recently. My apnea / insomnia is slowly but steadily geting worse. This morning, to get the blood pumping and get my mindset right, I got out of bed and stretched. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that and I could feel the blood beginning to flow better.

Other things I have done include: spill a pot of coffee, drop the toast butter side down, pour too much milk into my cereal, run out of shaving lotion while in the shower, grabbed the wrong keys and forgotten my security badge for the office.

All of those things really get the blood flowing ….. albeit not in the BEST of ways, but you’re still awake.

1944 John February 15, 2011 at 8:14 am

I don’t drink coffee but I do enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of tea.
Silver Needle white tea requires you to slow down and focus on the brewing process.
This tea is so delicate that you have to brew it at exactly the right temperature(170 degrees F), too hot and you’ll burn it, not hot enough and you don’t get the subtle but rich flavors of the young tea leaves.
You also have to brew it for an exact amount of time, with all these factors the perfect cup of tea evolves into a ritual exercise to help focus your mornings.

1945 Christian February 15, 2011 at 11:29 am

I read a daily devotional that offers something new to think about each day.

1946 Ryan Whitney February 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I have an old Grafonola that plays 78 RPM records. I like to put one on in the morning while I make my breakfast. Something about the low-fi recording and the scratchiness in the sound makes me really happy, and helps me start the day off right.

1947 Larry Frederick February 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I make bread in the morning – biscuits, muffins or scones on weekdays and yeast bread (rolls, cinnamon rolls, loaves) on the weekends. Once again…it requires slowing down and THINKING, plus I have a lot more control about what I put into my body.

1948 Gavin Edwards February 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm

My Morning Routine i use is loose leaf tea with crumpets and 100% butter both before 6 am then slowly wake up with Sky news

1949 Mark February 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Great site! Start your day BEFORE you get out of bed. When you shut off that alarm, take two minutes to acknowledge God. Thank Him for the day ahead, ask for specific help you’ll need, & promise to obey & honor Him. Best 2 minutes of the day!

1950 Jared February 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I never leave the house without kissing my wife (sometimes this takes longer than others).

1951 Nathan February 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm

As a college student, I get up well before my first class, and try to stick to the same wake up time everyday. I make eggs in a cast iron skillet and use a hand grinder and manual pourover to make my morning coffee.

1952 Montellace February 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

every morning I make my two year old son laugh and get him completely ready. This involves making sure he uses the big boy toilet, brushing his teeth, and helping him put his clothes on. he is loud and into everything requiring my full attention. I don’t need coffee anymore.

1953 Dustin Ruskell February 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

My routine has been greatly improved by using John Allan’s Hair care products. I Got them at my Barber shop about a month ago, and well… it is a vast improvement over AXE. The mint conditioner Tingles.. that took some getting used to, but now I enjoy it.

1954 Charles Martin February 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I’m working on breaking my usual routine because I tend to get absorbed in checking emails and twitter updates and so forth first thing in the morning. I plan to start going for a walk (or light run) for an hour each morning. This will do wonders to wake me up and start off my day right. I won’t have time for time wasters and can enjoy some much needed me time before it becomes work time.

I’ve also been shaving in the evening when I shower, but I may move that to the cold water shave in the morning as well.

1955 Joshua Luke February 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm

About a year ago, I made the switch to wet-shaving with a safety razor (it is literally my grandfather’s razor). For several years now, I have been in the habit of brewing my coffee in a French press, and I often make my breakfast on the stove (either oatmeal or an egg white scramble, depending on the day). However, I do not have a cast iron skillet, and now that I think about it, I can’t imagine why I don’t already own one! The Kindle would be a wonderful addition to the morning routine.

1956 Zack Roll February 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Make my bed every morning. This act may seem simple, but it’s symbolic: I start changing the world around me the second I wake up.

1957 Eli February 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I have started making smoothies for breakfast for my wife and I. It is a great tasting way to start the day and gets me going at least long enough to walk the dogs.

1958 Steve Oberg February 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I shake up, or otherwise slow my mornings down a bit by walking my trusty lab, Candy. She likes to take her time getting down to business, which causes me to relax a bit, shake off the cobwebs and enjoy the outdoors. While I must admit, this added “chore”i can be frustrating at times (particularly when I am running late), our little walks together have really helped to keep me grounded, and have caused me to savor and appreciate life a little more. Plus it gives me a little extra peacful time for prayer and reflection. All in all, it’s a great way to start the day!

1959 Stephen Harris February 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

The best way to start my day… and everyone can tell if my day doesn’t start this way…I go to the gym. Even if I have an early morning meeting I, at the very least, hit the treadmill for half an hour.

1960 Geoff February 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Push-Ups! Doing a few sets of push-ups definitely seems to wake me up.

1961 Joe February 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Singing in the shower. Gets the day going good.

1962 Allen February 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I try to reorder my mornings occasionally. Usually I get up, take the dogs out, then the “men” of the house eat breakfast together (2 dogs + me). 2-3 times a week I instead get up and go to the gym first thing. As the weather gets warmer I’ll also pass on the gym and take the dogs for a morning walk. This helps to prevent me from completely spacing out and going through my mornings like a zombie.

1963 Daniel February 16, 2011 at 2:47 am

All right gents, here’s a few things I’ve done to break through the humdrum of the day’s beginnings. Never thought of a cast iron skillet as a left turn but I do use one. Make me and the kid and the wife eggs. But that’s not breaking routine, that’s, well routine. Some variations I’ve found help take the blinders off:
-Espresso drinkers: eschew the paper cup and opt for a ceramic…demitasse I think they’re called. Not only does the paper absorb some of the flavor (and vice versa) and allow greater heat loss, it also makes ya slow down and feel less like a junkie just shooting your daily fix.
-Also best done — or rather not done — in the coffee shop: put down the iphone and let your mail wait. Instead look around, really take in a few faces (not just the sharp angular one on that brunette who always wears those boots or the asian one you’re convinced you could get if you were single.) I’m talking regular everyday faces — the ugly, the plain and the sublime. When I’m feeling stuck the first thing I try is just to start looking around more.
-Drink root beer in the mornings for a week instead of coffee. Hey — It’s different.
-Take a different route to work or if you’re a city dweller, sit down in the subway station and deliberately let the first two trains pass as you read the paper (takes an earlier start out the door.)
-Here’s one (and this is the one that we get me disqualified by the good decent people at hyundai): Wear ridiculous underwear for a week. I’m talking nut cradling, crack stringing weird. It’ll make you feel different all day long. Come on, why not? You gonna die without wearing a male thong? Man up. One warning tho: when you break wind it’s kind of like your ass is playing the basoon.

Since I’m not sure I’ll be able to top that one, I’ll stop there. I’ve done all these things in one form or another. Except for the root beer — that’s just degenerate.

1964 Dave February 16, 2011 at 5:37 am

Sitting down an planning my day in the morning helps to keep my day running smooth

1965 Paul Shultz February 16, 2011 at 9:22 am

EXERCISE. I’ve started exercising first thing in the morning. It wakes me up, helps me think through the day, and I feel good about myself all day that I’ve done something positive.

1966 Zacharias February 16, 2011 at 9:38 am

Something I’ve been using in the morning – my pocket planner. I take a look at it and wonder what I could do today, instead of going into the office and wondering what I have to do today.

1967 Greg February 16, 2011 at 10:05 am

I’ve started to shave every morning with a blade. My amount of facial hair is laughable and I can get away with shaving every other day, but I enjoy the ritual of shaving anyway. Plus, I like cleaning up too. Most days in the past, I’d opt for my electric razor, but a) it doesn’t do as good a job and b) I can do it while I’m basically still asleep – that’s no way to try to wake up. Additionally, it’s worth noting that I asked my dad for his old Gillette safety razor and he said I could have it…I wouldn’t have thought to do so before reading your rave reviews of the older style razors.

1968 Brett February 16, 2011 at 11:31 am

Rocking out a quick set of pushups first thing out of bed seems to get the blood flowing. Albeit those pushups are done with my eyes closed and still rather groggy, but it does the trick quicker than coffee.

1969 Stuart Loria February 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I was leading sloppy teenager like mornings before following many of the advices this wonderful site provides to men all around the world. Here is how things run for me now:

First I wake up at 5:30am to the sound of jazz music in my iHome clock, I jump out of bed and do some push ups and chin ups with an iron bar I hung on my door, then comes shower and shave; I am not stingy there I use a merkur safety razor and blades, sandalwood cream, lucky tiger after shave lotion all packed and ready in my dopp kit.

Details like and Pinaud talc, nice cologne, adult ironed clothes, polished shoes and a leather jacket or blazer make me feel ready for business and in control without looking like a square. Then I change the water bowl of my bulldog; its drowsy face makes me laugh hard every morning.

After that comes breakfast while I read a newspaper, when that is done I find it relaxing to think about stuff that happened the day before, things that will happen that day and I also just let my mind loose for a few moments. I aide this ritual by writing down and reading up from my moleskine, I found that the PDA moleskine recommendation with color tabs, saddleback leather cover and retractable pen makes things easier.

Finally I got myself a leather black shoulder bag for my laptop to replace the flashy one I had, and is out to work for me.

My life has changed because of these manly mornings, as one of the many men that grew up with an absent father I can testify that nobody teaches the basics anymore; I cannot thank you enough for the website Brett and Kate.
I bid you all to “Stay Manly”.

1970 Jason February 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I find a good breakfast is a huge boost to my morning, but I don’t want to pay McDonald’s or a coffeeshop to make breakfast for me when I can do it myself. Using some imagination and the internet you can create ANY breakfast that can be sold to you, breakfast burritos, oatmeal, Egg McMuffins, biscuts and gravy, yogurt parfaits, granola, you name you can make it. I will usually plan a week at a time, and usually eat the same thing for a week, go buy the groceries and prep the meals in the fridge or freezer, leaving only minor prep for each morning. When I make my own breakfasts I keep my money in my wallet, have a boost of energy for the day and I love the thought of waking up to a hot breakfast! Also, for my entire High School life my father made me hot breakfasts, so I can’t touch cold cereal. I love my dad!

1971 Ichabod Crane February 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I highly recommend the artifical sun light lamp! They make shaking off the last of the sandman’s dust an easier task. In the morning I turn on the local news radio for traffic and the day’s weather. Knowing the weather forcast helps in planning the day’s wordrobe. I will do a quick set of sit-ups followed by a round of Tai chi. Then I throw on my yard clothes and go out and feed and provide water to my chickens. Having live stock that depends on you is a great motivator for starting your day off right. Back inside I shower and shave with a portable electric razor (sorry, I like to move around while shaving) then I will cook two fresh eggs (chickens remmember?) in a small cast iron skillet. It just feels good using heavy iron and flame to cook. My coffee is from a Mellita single server coffee maker. The single server makes is eaiser to control your coffee intake. After breakfast a quick check of myself in the mirror then I’m out the door grabing my old leather breifcase, a paperback book to read in the carpool and my full size umbrella from the stand by the door (radio news said strong chance of rain)

P.S. that last bit about “grabing a paperback book” was a subtle hint.

1972 Adam February 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I wake up and begin thinking about the positive things I am going to do today. I think about the work I’m going to get done and the good things I am going to say and do for my friends. I meditate on the smile I am going to give to everyone I meet and the kind words I have for them. It has been a hard year for me and I’m sure a lot of other people so by focusing on the positive I am able to be a better man everyday and hopefully spark someone else to be positive as well. God knows we all could use a little more positivity right now. I then grab a satisfying breakfast (because positive thinking needs a lot of energy) and make the long drive to work all while listening to the high energy music creating the soundtrack of my day.

1973 Josef February 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I recently changed up my morning routine by focusing on getting my wife’s day off to a great start. I prepare the coffee and pack her a lunch while she’s getting ready. Not only does she leave the house in a great mood, but I get to relax and gather my thoughts with a book and coffee for a few minutes after she leaves.

1974 Matt February 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm

A James Bond shower and a Mountain Dew is all I need.

1975 Don F February 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I get all my stuff I’ll need for the next day (gym bag, clothes, etc) ready the night before. Then it’s up at 4:15, a drive, train ride, another drive, and my day starts at the gym. If I weren’t going to the gym, I’d still have to leave for work before my family is up and I wouldn’t get a workout in. Exercise is a perfect substitute for coffee and/or donuts.

1976 Steven February 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I jump out of bed in the morning. I mean, I literally jump. I used to sloth my way out of bed, which took over an hour. Time to grow, get up and be on my way, making the most of every minute.

1977 Matthew February 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I make sure that I spend time in my Bible. I hug and chat with my 7 year old daughter and steal a few hugs from my 14 month old son. I always kiss my wife and tell her I love her. I enjoy reading the random notes of encouragement she leaves in random places for me.

1978 Justin P February 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I make sure that I smile for five minutes at least because I have found if you fake being happy and lively for five minutes, the next few hours are spent actually happy and lively

1979 Bode February 17, 2011 at 12:16 am

I used to sleep until noon or later any opportunity i was given. If I had work, I’d wake up at the last second and rush to work in a frenzy, frustrated in traffic, jaded by the time i would arrive. All that changed when I fell in love with paragliding. Now, I wake up everyday at 6:30, check the weather, Make some kind of a kick-ass manly bacon and green chile themed breakfast (I’m in new mexico, everything has green chile), and then go out and play with my wing before work. Now I see breath-taking vistas and incredible epic mountains. The only downside? Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. Some mornings, I’ve no choice but to sit inside. It sure would be handy to have a kindle to occupy the time when I’m grounded.

1980 Daniel February 17, 2011 at 1:03 am

Always start the day with a tall glass of lukewarm water and some Essential Greens capsules. Instantly feel better.

1981 Konrad Sjoblom February 17, 2011 at 7:44 am

My morning usually starts off by keeping the dogs on their routine. I put out the little ones (Yorkies) and get them fed and then take care of the big one (half Ger Shephard half Beagle – my wife calls him Big Gross). Once they are fed and settled down I’ll start the morning grog (we don’t have the Hal-90000 but if my wife could, we would). From there I’ll usually check up on a few site in the interwebz. Tops on my list, Facebook to check in on friends to see if I need to get a hold of anyone personally based on posts, then TAoM for interesting and manly posts that I can glean what I can from, then maybe a bit of news. Once the grog is complete, I’ll grab a fresh cup, sit down on my couch and pick up the good book. I’m working my way through the entire Bible. I read the New Testament while deployed and now am working through the Old Testament. Talk about some manly stuff, there is more about war, sex, violence, manly character, unmanly character and much much more than I believe most people realize. Once done, I hit the shower and get cleaned up and ready for the day. Just before I head out the door, I say good morning and goodbye to the most important people of my life (my beautiful bride and daughters) and then head off to work.

1982 Dave T February 17, 2011 at 8:50 am

Some light stretching immediately after getting out of bed is a great way to shake up your morning.

1983 Brandon February 17, 2011 at 9:30 am

I ride my scooter to work most mornings even when it is cold. Nothing like a brisk breeze to get you going. I also ride my pedal bike to work when it is warmer. Almost 10 miles one way sure gets the blood pumping.

1984 Mark Koschwitz February 17, 2011 at 9:34 am

Morning routine:
-Wake up at 5:30am
-Push-ups… the number depends on when I went to bed
-Cold Shower: no real justification for this one
-Lengthy and pampering shaving routine with a DE safety. Used to hate this step and I finally made it where I look forward to it
-Bacon and eggs
-Newspaper… usually the WSJ
-Occasionally I have a shot of whiskey. No joke. Don’t tell my girl that though…
-Leave

1985 Rudy Hernandez February 17, 2011 at 10:08 am

Lately, I’ve been starting the morning by reading a chapter from Ian Fleming’s Bond novels.

1986 T. Webb February 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

We still get a daily newspaper delivered outside. The first thing I do ever day is go out the front door to pick it up. Stepping out into nature, seeing the natural light or dark depending on the time of year, feeling the temperature of the air outside, really helps to get me going, no matter what. I recommend it. For those that don’t get a paper, maybe step outside and sip your coffee for a few minutes to get the same effect.

1987 Nick February 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

I go on a three mile run each morning, then shower, shave (with a DE safety razor of course), put on a pot of oatmeal and coffee, iron, and dress for the day.

1988 Michael Fisher February 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

I start my day off with a nice safety razor shave followed by a hot shower. Then it is off to get the kids to school. Once I come back, I have four hours before I have to leave for work so I get to have a nice relaxing morning with fresh brewed coffee and breakfast then it is off to run any errands before work.

If only more men could have four hours before work to take care of everything. Of course, I also work until 9 or 10 PM, so there are drawbacks.

1989 Matt Bunn February 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Rock on with the kindle….the font sizer allows me to read with out my contacts. Huge bonus since it about only time I am awake with them out of my eye.

1990 Joe V February 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm

For those of you that strictly stick to exercise in the afternoon and not the morning… try another morning option – get to work early! It may sound crazy, but I’ve found that I get a lot more done when no one is in the office to bother me and I’m ahead of my daily tasks the rest of the day so I end up being much less stressed. On top of that it helps to get out of work on time and get to the gym on time.

1991 Aaron February 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I work out first thing in the morning to get alert. Quite possibly the best way to get the blood flowing in the morning. Then a shower and straight razor shave. If I drink any coffee I’ll use a french press.

1992 Jordan Dwelle February 17, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Right here in Austin Texas is the incredible Barton Springs pool. Absolutely nothing starts the day better than a brief jog around Town Lake followed by a dip in the year-round 72 degree water of Barton Springs and an outdoor shower in the bath-house just as the sky is lightening. No man should let his life expire without experiencing this at least once.

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