Bookend Your Day: The Power of Morning and Evening Routines

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 5, 2011 · 88 comments

in A Man's Life, Personal Development

You’re a college student.

It’s midnight. You’re brushing your teeth and reviewing how the day went. And you’re disappointed.

You had planned to work out, study for an upcoming history exam, clean up your apartment, and find time to meditate.

But none of those things happened.

You woke up late. As soon as you sat down to study in the afternoon you saw some friends who invited you out to eat. And that night you got sucked into aimlessly surfing the internet while the dirty dishes sat for another day in the sink.

You spit out your toothpaste and vow to do better tomorrow–tomorrow you’re going to turn it all around. But the next day brings more of the same.

Does this sound familiar? Do you feel like you’re stuck in a cycle of good intentions but disappointing follow-through?

There are several things you can do to get unstuck from this rut and start progressing as a man again. Today we’re going to talk about one of the very best: “bookending” your day with a morning and evening routine.

Bookend Your Day: Why a Man Needs a Morning and Evening Routine

Darren Hardy, editor-in-chief of Success Magazine and author of The Compound Effect argues that a person’s morning and evening routines are the “bookends” of a successful life. Why is this?

Imagine a string with a series of beads on it. The beads represent your goals, relationships, and priorities. Tip the string this way or that way, and the beads easily slide off and onto the floor. But tie a knot on each end of the string, and the beads stay put. Those knots are your morning and evening routines. They keep the priorities of your life from falling apart and thus help you progress and become a better man.

Having an evening and morning routine:

Ensures the really important things get done.  While we generally can’t control what goes on in the middle of a day, we usually can control how we begin and end the day. Take advantage of this fact by incorporating your most important tasks, actions, and behaviors into your morning and evening routines. For example, I know many businessmen who refuse to check email first thing in the morning. Instead, their morning routine consists of waking up, getting dressed, and spending an hour working on their most important task of the day, even before they go into the office. This ensures they accomplish their task before the chaos and interruptions of the workday get in the way.

For me, if I don’t exercise first thing in the morning, I won’t exercise that day. I just don’t have time for it. So, daily exercise is part of my morning routine. Journal writing is another important thing for me. If I don’t have a specific time set aside for journaling, it doesn’t get done. Thus, journal writing is part of my evening routine.

Gives you time to moonlight. I get a lot of emails from men along the lines of, “I’m unhappy in my career and really dream of doing _______ instead. What should I do?” My answer is almost always the same. Don’t quit your job yet–moonlight (or sunlight!) and hustle in your spare time until your dream job becomes a truly viable option. The best time to do that is in the mornings and evenings before and after your current job.

Reduces decision fatigue. The New York Times recently highlighted psychologist Roy Baumeister’s work on decision fatigue. According to Baumeister, we all have a finite amount of willpower that we can expend during the day, mental energy that is depleted by every decision–big or small–we have to make. In our crazy, hectic, modern life, we’re inundated with choices. Should I check email or work on this memo? Do I surf Art of Manliness or The Economist? Should I lift weights or run today? Should I have Sonic or Arby’s for lunch? If I go to Sonic, should I get a coney or a burger? You get the idea.

By the end of the day, our willpower reserve is running on empty which results in us being irritable boors, making poor decisions, and taking the path of least resistance. When given a choice between going to the gym or playing video games, we’ll choose video games. Write 500 words for our important work memo or surf the web? Mindless surfing here we come!

While it’s possible to increase the amount of willpower we have at our disposal, Baumeister suggests an additional tactic in the fight against decision fatigue is to manage our mental energy more efficiently throughout the day. One way we can do this is by making positive behaviors or important tasks routine parts of our day. When something becomes routine, we no longer have to think about it–it’s set on autopilot. Instead of having to use willpower to decide whether or not you’ll work out that day, you simply work out because that’s part of your morning routine. The less you have to think about doing something, the more likely you’ll actually do it. That’s the power of routines.

Keeps you grounded. For me the biggest benefit of morning and evening routines is that they keep me grounded and sane. It doesn’t matter how crazy things get during the day, it’s comforting to know exactly what will happen at the day’s beginning and end. My routines give me a sense of control over my life and help me re-calibrate my psyche so I can be a more effective man.

How to Create Your Morning and Evening Routines

Review your life plan. Remember that life plan we crafted a few months ago? Dust it off. We’re going to use it to help craft our morning and evening routines. (If you haven’t created your manly life plan, take some time this week to do so.) Look at your most important goals. Are there any habits or behaviors you need to instill in yourself to achieve those goals? Make those behaviors or habits part of your morning and evening routines.

Maybe your goal is to write a novel this year. Make writing for 30 minutes uninterrupted the first thing you do every morning. If your goal is to learn Spanish, make studying a Spanish grammar book part of your evening routine. Perhaps your goal is to read the entire library of the Great Books of the Western World. Set aside an hour to read before bed. If dropping 30 pounds is your goal, make exercise the first thing you do in the morning.

While the tasks you decide to include in your morning and evening routines will vary depending on your goals, may I suggest a habit to include in yours? Every evening, review the day’s work and plan your day for tomorrow. In the morning, review your schedule and your long and short term goals. I promise that if you do these two things, you’ll find yourself more focused and will accomplish more during the day.

Make your routine firm. Evening and morning routines lose all their power if they are kept vague. You cannot say, “I’ll get up whenever and do such and such a thing for awhile or so, and go to bed when I start feeling tired and read for a bit.” These indefinite bookends are loose knots that are bound to come undone. Your routine must be firmly set in place. Wake up at the same time every day. If you’ve been getting up at a time that only allows you to shower and get dressed before heading out the door, then start waking up earlier. Set a fixed time that your evening routine will begin, and go to bed at the same time each night during the week. Know exactly what activities you’re going to do during your routines, what order you will do them, and how much time you will spend on each thing.

Adapt your routine as your life changes. While your current routines must be firm, they will probably change as you pass through different seasons of your life. For example, my morning and evening routines today are much different from my routines when I was in law school. And they’re different now that I have a baby, and they will change as Gus gets older. By the way, when you have a kid, your evening and morning routines will become even more vital.

While reading a book before bed remained a constant, the morning routines of Theodore Roosevelt changed through the different seasons of his life. When he was overworked and stressed as a state legislator, he hired a prizefighter to come to his room in the morning for a half hour of sparring to make sure he got in a bout of exercise each day and to blow off some steam. While serving as governor of New York, he also tackled the task of writing a biography of Oliver Cromwell, and the first thing he did each morning was to carry a stack of notes into his study and dictate the book for an hour or more to a stenographer.

When it comes to your morning and evening routines, be flexible and adapt, but try to keep a steady routine going in your life like TR did. Remember, morning and evening routines lay the groundwork for your success as a man.

Get inspired by the morning and evening routines of great men. When I read the biographies of great men, I’m always on the lookout for insights into their morning and evening routines. I figure if they’ve done something repeatedly every morning and night, it might be worth incorporating that behavior into my personal routines.

William Blake had this to say about morning and evening routines: “Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night.” It’s not bad advice. When I was in law school, I actually set aside time in the morning just to think about a legal issue I was trying to untangle for my law review article. My mind seemed more nimble first thing in the morning.

As secretary of state and president, John Quincy Adams skinny dipped in the Potomac River in the morning, always trying to see how long he could swim without touching the bottom (he got up to 80 minutes before his wife told him to stop). After putting his kids to bed, President Obama goes over briefing papers and does paperwork, and then reads a book for pleasure for a half hour before turning in.

As you read the biographies of famous men, take note of their morning and evening routines, and if you like something they did, incorporate their behaviors into your own routines. One place you can find the routines of some famous men–particularly famous artists and writers–is the blog Daily Routines.

My Current Morning and Evening Routines

Here’s what my morning and evening routines look like right now. Maybe it will be useful to some of you. Maybe not.

Morning Routine

5:30 AM: Arise
Put on gym clothes, contacts, and stumble to kitchen
Drink a glass of ice cold water and protein shake
5:40 AM: Out the door for workout (Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Weights; Tuesday/Thursday: Interval Cardio; Saturday/Sunday: Walk)
6:40 AM: Return home and shower, brush teeth, etc.
6:55 AM: 20 minutes of meditation, prayer, and scripture study
7:15-ish AM: Review my goals and day’s schedule

Evening Routine

My goal is to have lights out at 11PM. With that as my deadline, here’s what I like to get done before then:

9:30 PM: Review day’s work, review goals (long term and short term), plan tomorrow’s schedule
10:00 PM: Get ready for bed; take vitamins.
10:15 PM: Write in journal
10:30 PM: Read a book
11:00 PM: Lights out.

Do you have a morning and evening routine? Share it with us in the comments!

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joshua September 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Yes, all those things stated in the beginning of the article…the vowing to do better and the disappointing results are all too common in my life…

i look forward to trying the advice in this article, and getting to the places I want to be in my life. Great article, thanks!

2 Mark September 5, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I started making my morning/evening routine a habit about a year ago and it’s been great.

morning:
5:30 wake up (I’m moving it to 5:00 soon, my workouts are getting longer)
5:40 workout
6:20 shower
6:30 eat breakfast
6:45 Make list of top three things to accomplish today
7:00 out to door

evening:
8:00 get home / put things away (long day, right?)
8:10 eat small dinner and chat with the lady
9:00 read / internet
10:00 in bed / read some more
10:30 lights out

I totally agree about routines being bookends of our day. My life has improved exponentially since I started making my routines in habits.

3 Tyler September 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm

A habit worth mentioning for evening practice is thinking of everything you enjoyed or were thankful for that day. As a matter or repetition, this trains the brain to think optimistically and to be happier in general. A common pitfall for men when we review or day is to dwell on our shortcomings or areas of improvement, and although this is helpful, it can lead to anxiety and depression if it is not supplemented with intentional positive thinking. Good article!

4 Jason September 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Great article! I agree with everything you say. I know my morning starts off by waking up at 0415 and then getting that cup of coffee in me while I read the news. Then I get my stuff together and head for the gym about 0530.

At night I get the kids in bed around 9ish and lay next to my son’s bed until he falls asleep (usually before 10) and then I get in bed myself.

5 Mike Haydon September 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Wow I was literally just telling my wife about the new morning routine I’ve adopted for the last few days! Guess I better work out an evening one too. Thanks!

6 Andrew September 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I’ve all but given up on a successful morning routine. I have to leave the home by six, and I just can’t get myself up before five. By the time I shower and dress, I have roughly 20 minutes to organize what I need for the day. That includes preparing the day’s lunch.

I need to work on Evening routines and getting to bed at a decent time. That would improve everything.

7 Jonathan September 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm

A morning routine is so critical to establish when you’re young and single–it shows decisiveness and purpose to your wife when you marry, and it helps you immeasurably when you become a father and are in the routine of getting the kids to school. My wife leaves the house before I do every day (she’s a teacher) and so it’s my job to get the kids to school. Same thing every morning, but if it isn’t well scheduled and dealt with then we’re cranky, late, rushed, upset, inevitably fighting, and off to a bad start. They’re so used to the routine that now they’re taking the initiative themselves to do certain parts (to show off to a proud dad), and that gives me extra time to add a few more morning chores in before we leave. Glad I got my routine down before we had the kids, but there’s always room for improvement.

8 james September 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm

6-6.15 Wake
6.15 Cats/Coffee/Comics
7am DemocracyNow/Bagua
Shower
Breakfast
8.30-8.45 Off to work

I find myself slacking on the weekends, possibly because of no regular evening routine. Tonight…(no jinx, no jinx)

9 Jeff Smzyd September 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm

That is not enough sleep!

10 Harry September 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm

What’s up with everything so early? I’m lucky if I can fall asleep before midnight, and getting up at 7 is tough enough as it is. It runs in the family – there are 0 morning people on my father’s side.

11 Bert September 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm

This article was an inspiration to me to make some positive changes in my own life and priorities. Looking at your own schedule though, I have to say that you do not give your body enough recovery time! My line of work encompasses the study of sleep and it’s effects on your overall health and well being, as well as the direct results of “sleep debt” and the many chronic health problems that it can cause. For your own well being, try to work in a solid eight hours of sleep a night!

12 Andrew K September 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Many Catholic religious communities (both men and women) have a prayer schedule that include a Morning, Evening, and even a Nighttime prayer. Something like this or Brett’s concept would be good. I would emphasize that you do take time at the end of the day to review your day, find out where you faltered and where you succeeded.

I also think it would be good to take more time in your beginning and ending of your day if you know a particular day or period is critical. The Protestant Reformer Luther commented how when he had so much to do he’d spend an extra hour in prayer at the beginning. I believe taking more time at the beginning or end of the day on those critical days also helps.

13 Brett McKay September 5, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I figured people would comment about my sleep. I’ve learned that I function best on a biphasic sleep schedule. I’ll get my core 6.5 hours at night and then take an hour or longer nap in the afternoon. Feel great! But that works for me. Your routine will and should be different.

@Harry- I guess another tip I should have included is “Schedule Your Routines So They Work For You.” If you’re not an early-riser, no need to start waking up a 4AM to workout. So long as you bookend your days, it doesn’t matter what time you get up or go to bed.

14 Laurinda September 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Thanks for the clarification on the sleep, Brett.

I would like to add I have a 15 minute routine when I first get to work and just before I leave. It really helps to not bring work home (much):
Arrive at work: Coffee, look at calendar, read materials for all meetings.
Just before leaving work: Mind dump of things I need to get done, schedule those on calendar, check for meetings the next day and pull out necessary materials for those meetings.

15 jamie September 5, 2011 at 10:30 pm

AOM should be required learning

16 Angel September 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Morning:
6:30- breakfast
7:00- workout
8:00- review my plan for the day and hygiene
9:00- classes

Evening:
10:30- Prepare for the next day (clothing, to do list, checking calender)
11:00- Unwind (read, meditate)
12:00- Sleep

i follow this every day of the week. it keeps my mind free from worrying about ‘whats next’ during the day.

17 Angel September 5, 2011 at 10:44 pm

also the sleep thing is relative to the person. studies have shown that we only really need 2-4 hours of REM sleep in order to feel rested. dont take my word for it, give it a try.

18 Clay September 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

A very interesting idea. Right now I don’t have a fixed morning routine. It’s usually wake up, take a bath, eat then head to work. During my off days it’s wake up, eat, relax (read or watch) then hit the gym. Every evening I just make it a point to write in my journal. Surprised you only spend 6.5hours on sleep, I think maybe less because of Gus. Just want to share this link for a bit of humor.
http://www.damnlol.com/the-irony-6501.html

19 Adam Waz September 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Perfect timing on this article! We’re a week into school now and I’m finding the adjustment from work to school really hard. This seems like a really good way to incorporate some new* good habits into my daily routines as well. I really appreciate this article and how many articles have been posted lately-

20 Jon September 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm

@ Angel: I have found that to be true. I work 2nd shift in a restaurant with a double every Sunday. Being that during the week I get off around 11 P.M. while not having to be back at work until 2 P.M. the next day that I over sleep and sluggish and tired while at work the next day, but when I get off at 11 P.M. and have to be back at work at 9 A.M. running on about 4 hours of sleep I am more alert and energetic for most of the day.

21 Steven Carpenter September 5, 2011 at 11:35 pm

600: wake up and drink a glass of water with a vitamen.
615: Workout
700: Breakfast
Yes, yes, yes!!! This is just what I need. And if I get caught in in a slump I will ask myself a question the D. Levine fromBettermen poses: “If I were the man I wanted to be RIGHT NOW, what would I do?” This quote has helped my so much since I started using it anytime I am in a rut.

730: Shower, brush teeth, get dressed
800: Study for LSAT for 3hrs.

EVENING
2130: clean dishes/ apartment
2200: Study Spanish
2230: Read book
2300: Lights out

22 Steven Carpenter September 5, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Correction: Wayne Levine, from Bettermen.

23 Erik September 6, 2011 at 12:25 am

Just curious, do people adopt a different routine for weekends – say, Friday and Saturday nights and the following mornings?

A morning and evening routine is something I have lacked and sorely needed, and this article has been spot on for me. However, I am a young, single guy, and would like to allow perhaps an extra hour or so during weekend evenings for social plans. Would this be counter-productive to a stable routine? What are your thoughts? Thanks!

24 Frank September 6, 2011 at 2:08 am

I’ve struggled with setting a morning and evening routine for myself for longer than I care to admit. Currently its SUPPOSED to be:

5am wake up
go for a walk/jog
shower
breakfast

Evening:

off screens by 8
brush teeth/mouthwash/etc
read in bed
asleep by 9

My morning and evening routines both have kind of rotted away of late however. I’m in the midst of the job hunt, and have hit a major wall. I find in the mornings I crawl out of bed only to turn my alarm off and crawl under the covers, and in the evenings, I’m up till all hours like I was when I was in college. I feel cruddy, by can’t seem to pull myself out of it.

25 Dave September 6, 2011 at 2:38 am

I wake at 6.30am, because I’ve found that early is the most practical time to do the stuff which is important, not urgent. If we don’t, the weeds encroach on those parts of our lives and they become very urgent (eg our health). Even so, I’m not a morning person, so I’ve allowed space in my morning schedule to “reanimate”, which usually means I hit the snooze button once, stagger out of bed and stare bleary-eyed into the mirror for a few minutes.
Then I’m out the door and onto the running trail by 7, weekday mornings. On weekends, there is no routine at all, save for church on Sunday morning. It’s the only fixed item on my family’s weekend schedule. I’ve found if I try and regiment my weekends the same way I do for weekdays, they get annoying and I end up abandoning the whole concept for awhile. Routine is great, but too much of it sucks.

Thanks for the article, Brett.

26 jas September 6, 2011 at 3:45 am

Its probably better to take your vitamins immediately after a meal as the absorption is better.

27 Victor September 6, 2011 at 5:06 am

@Frank (and everybody else having trouble getting started)

As a Dutch university-student every part of the year is completely different, and the times of activity completely change. This has lead me to become quite experienced in not only getting ínto routines, but also breaking and changing them every couple of months (mostly the actual times though).

It is my experience that to snap out or into a routine, it is best to get your internal clock completely confused (jet-lag style). It is way more effective to get yourself into bed early when you are absolutely exhausted, then when you are trying to do it on willpower.

The easiest way to do this is to not sleep for a night. I usually get into a movie marathon (a big one, like watching the complete band of brothers series), and do some light sporting the next day. This usually leaves me to be absolutely exhausted at an absurdly early hour. Go with it. If you fall asleep at 7 P.M: Great. This will allow you to recharge for a long night and still allows you to get up at an early hour (earlier than you would like your routine to start!!) Bear in mind that if you don’t go to sleep when your body urges you to, you will ‘get over it’ and everything will be futile. (also, no getting drunk during your marathon-night, it messes everything up.)

Now, after this long night of sleep you will get up pretty early. Put in a normal day, and find yourself exhausted at the end of it. Congratulations: you’ve totally confused your biological clock. After this, it should be pretty easy to get up at your preferred hour.

28 Matt September 6, 2011 at 6:31 am

As a casually employed healthcare worker with two jobs, I have the best excuse of anyone for having lost my routine- I flip between days and midnights at 1-3 times a week! About a month ago, I decided to take what little control I can and start building some routines. When I get up from sleep, whether that be day, afternoon or night, I do the following:

15 mins – Mindfulness meditation
20-30 mins – Devotional, Scripture reading, prayer

I’m working on establishing a morning exercise routine and an evening routine as well, but even with these two activities starting my day, I’m amazed at how much more disciplined my mind is becoming. I also find I’m able to be more fully present as I’m training my mind to slow down and push the worries and hurries of the day aside, for at least a half an hour in the morning.

Thanks for the great article Brett. This will help me put the rest of my routine together.

29 Matt September 6, 2011 at 7:25 am

What about those of us whose daily life changes? I am in the military and my schedule switches from month to month. Sometimes I work nights, sometimes I work days, some times I work a middle shift that goes from afternoon to early morning. I’m not sure I can come up with a routine.

30 Roger September 6, 2011 at 7:38 am

@Matt: It seems you need not worry as the military sets your routine. :)

31 Roger September 6, 2011 at 7:40 am

AoM:

Is there a button that would allow commenters to receive new comments on the thread as they are posted?

32 Fazlee September 6, 2011 at 7:52 am

Thanks for this great article Brett! I’m sure you have read Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect. I’ve been following his blog since last year and learn a lot.

For the first time in my life, I conciously writing my goal after following Darren’s Design your best 10 years. Here’s the link for our fellow readers here. Maybe you guys can benefit from it. http://darrenhardy.success.com/category/design-best-10-years/

I like it the way you elaborate this topic in details. It gave me ideas to adjust my bookend day.

I’m currently in a job that I don’t like and hustling in my spare time (almost every day) to pursue other career.

33 yabai.youth September 6, 2011 at 8:32 am

Gosh, thank you for this post. It could not have come at a better time.

34 Daren Redekopp September 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

Morning:
6am Wakeup
Prostrate Lord’s Prayer
Make Breakfast for the fam

Evening:
Put the boys to bed, sing songs & pray
Read
Pray with wife
Sleep

35 Joseph R. September 6, 2011 at 9:13 am

I was just discussing this in the forum a few weeks ago, well a morning routine. I realy like the concept of adding an evening routine. I think that it will help me fall asleep faster.

The routine I am working on achieving now goes something like this:

5:00 – Wake up, stumble around bed room, put on work out clothes, walk dog, Drink glass of water, etc.

5:15-30: Dog does her business.

5:30 – 6:15: Either run (mon/wed/fri) or do a basic work out – with a perfect pull up bar and the ground (Tues/Thurs). On saturday mornings I would like to go to the national park near my apartment and do a long endurance run along the trails with my dog…however I have thus far been too lazy.

6:15 -30: Shower, get dressed, etc.

7:00: On Tues/Thursday I will leave for work. On the other days I don’t really have a set schedule.

Evening routine:

I think i would like my day to end around 10:00 pm.

9:00: Review days events and record in online journal and plan tomorrow.

9:30: Take dog out, brush teeth, get ready for bed etc.

10:00 – 10:30: Read a book for pleasure or enlightenment.

Here’s hoping I will stick to this schedule.

36 Matt September 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

Starting and ending your day the same way is very important regardless of your age. @Mr. McKay, how in the hell you manage on a little more than 6 hours of sleep a night is beyond me! I tip my hat to you sir.

37 Royce September 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

Great Article, it got me thinking about how my routine has changed since my daughter came along and I realized that I have created a bookend routine without even realizing. I’ve been challenged by your article to try and put a little extra into my AM routine so that i can realize some of my personal goal in the coming year.

AM:
6 – wake up
6-620 – shower and shave
620-640 – iron clothes and get dressed
640-650 – pack lunch and get ready to leave
7 – catch bus to work

PM
6 – get home from work
6-7 – have dinner with family
7-8 – spend time with the kids
8-9 – get kids to bed
9-1030 – spend time with wife
1030-11 – get ready for bed, read a little
11ish – sleep

Since this routine has started I find myself leaving work at work more and focusing on my family when I’m home. Granted the evening routine is NOT set in stone since we do have extra curricular actives we participant in, but buy and large it holds true more often than not.

I am going to start trying to get up a little earlier (530ish) periodically over the next couple weeks and see if i can start adding a morning workout. This will require me to adjust my weekend schedule to include a pre-iron on Sunday evenings. I’ve done this in the past and found it saves a lot of time in the mornings but have let this routine go as of late.

38 Andrew#2 September 6, 2011 at 11:14 am

I was a constant waking, aching zombie when I’d do trades work: leave for work at 5:30 a.m. and get home at 8 p.m., and work/commute between to our drywall jobs. I’d be sleep-drunk by 9 and in bed much of the time between 11-12 because I just couldn’t go to bed early. When I realized I had to make a change, one of my primary goals was simply sleeping enough, all night.

Reading about adrenal fatigue, the experts describe sleeping as long as you possibly need to and not much physical labour, if any. I went from 5 to 12 hours of sleep per night for probably two years, then back down to eight. Now the schedule:

Up at 8/30 after an hour’s planning/meditating in bed.

Brush teeth etc.

Coffee/email/newspapers/replies

9 breakfast

9:45 work until 5:30 and usually a break for a walk in the afternoon.

5:30-7:30 Supper etc.

7:30-9 Work (elective)

9 Wind down.

As you can see, I still get eight or nine hours a day for work. I don’t take breaks and only 15 minutes at lunch, but rather powerbomb through and maintain concentration. No naps because I don’t need them anymore.

I have never been more healthy in my life. Bit of booze, not much; as much outdoors as possible, and enough sleep. What a world of difference.

39 Danny September 6, 2011 at 11:30 am

Wow! That first description sounded like my day. I feel like there are a million things to get done that never get looked at during the day. I am definitely going to try incorporating a solid routine into my morning and evening

40 Byron September 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm

6am – drink cofee, eat banana, Bible study prayer, and journaling
7am exercise, (p90x and running)
8am- get ready for work
9am-work

no consistant evening routine

41 Anthony September 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Morning:
0500: Slap alarm, stumble out of bed and get ready.
0530ish: Make lunch, eat breakfast get ready to leave.
0545: Kiss the sleeping kids goodbye and kiss my wife goodbye.
0550: Out the door to catch the van to work.
0605: In the van headed to work.
0650: Get to work, put things away.
0700: Bible study until work starts at 0730.

Evening:
1700: Get home and put things away.
1730: Dinner with the family.
1800 – 1930: Family time. (Sometimes some work around the house).
1930 – 2300ish: Watch TV until falling asleep. Need to work on this part. Less TV, more interaction with my wife and pursuit of hobbies.

Life looks different when you write it out on paper. Great motivator.

42 Henry Bloom September 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Seems like this is a pretty timely post for a lot of people. I guess with fall coming (or fall having arrived, depending on how you see it), a lot of people start feeling the need to make necessary changes.

I got my first full-time job a year and a half ago, and nearly every morning since then I’ve only given myself 20 to 30 minutes to shower, dress, eat (sometimes), and mentally prepare for the day. The only time this worked was in the beginning when I had an hour long commute, which allowed me a little meditation and talk radio. Now I live 5 minutes from work, and I’ve been at least a few minutes late much more often because I find myself trying to squeeze as much sleep as I can out of the morning. Last week, after sleeping in and going to work an embarrassing hour and a half late (my boss calling my cell finally woke me up) I knew I absolutely had to change my habits.

After reading this article, I sketched out a simple morning routine to try out this week. I believe one problem I have had is when I wake up, I have nothing to look forward to but work, which can be depressing even though I like my job. Now I plan to have some light exercise (which I used to do in the evening during college, but I’ve long since abandoned), a shower, an hour of coffee/reading/writing/general me time, then dressing and breakfast. I’m actually excited to get started, and I hate waking up. The structure of a planned routine may be the boost I need to start my day off properly.

43 pcoq September 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I also have a routine, which involves breakfasting and catching up on interesting science/news articles on the internet in the mornings before I head out the door, and winding down in the evening with exercise, the nightly television news and, finally, reading (and, sometimes, meditation) before lights out.

However, one concern I have that appears to be a common thread, not only in the article itself, but in a lot of the comments, is the lack of adequate time for sleep. This means actual time asleep, not the duration between when the light went out and when it came back on. Sleep is one of the most important regenerative and restorative functions of the body and studies show that 8-9 hours are essential. Quality sleep improves health and athletic fitness, maintains a youthful appearance and lengthens life.

44 Scott Wakefield September 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

If someone mentioned this, I apologize, but I’ve found http://www.simpleology.com to be a great thing to incorporate into your morning routine. They help remove all the clutter from your brain, and focus it into your goals – more than a “to-do” list.

101 is free, and they’ll try to sell you 102, etc. – which isn’t necessarily bad, as all of their products are top-notch. But I wanted to warn you.

45 Isaac September 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm

This is great and I definitely want to start applying it to my life and I will. I do have a situation though. I work full time, Mon-Fri 2:30pm until 11:30pm. I leave at 2 and get home at midnight. My wife on the other hand has to be at her job at 7 AM and gets home at 4. So we never see each other awake during the week. Also, getting up to see her is great, but after a few times takes a quick toll on me and affects my job (I work in news, have to be top notch all the time) If I could get up with my wife, help her with breakfast and a devotional, that would be great. But I’m stuck with waking up after she leaves.
Does any one have any idea how I could make this possible?

46 Moses September 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Excellent article! Critical subject matter!!
Having gone through a few years of personal upheaval, I found my morning routine of praying at church @ 6 am to be life saver. There aren’t many that attend, but if you have two or three, it completely sets your day straight.
Check with your pastor/priest to see what options exist … or start it up yourself.
BTW, 6 1/2 hours of sleep is ideal for me. I’ve tried everything else (longer, shorter), but keep coming back to 6.5 hours = optimal performance.

47 John Bohlig September 6, 2011 at 7:27 pm

As a lifelong martial artist, I still stretch my legs, hips and back every evening. I don’ t have a set time, but I don’t miss. Now, If I could only get a morning routine as well.

48 Dave B. September 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Excellent suggestions here for making a good life habit stick!

I have to say that morning/evening routines work wonders for getting things done. The meditative chores of the morning give you time to feel your way back into your waking self and consider the tasks you need to complete in the future.

What I’ve also found helps is a planned nap. If you arrange your day in such a fashion that you have a dedicated 40 minutes to sleep midday, you’ll get that back and more in productivity.

49 Ryan September 6, 2011 at 9:23 pm

As a college student I have a very odd schedule. Mon,Wed,Fri I have class starting at 1:00 pm. On Tues,Thursday 8:00 am. I get up every day at 6:30 and work out on MWF. It allows me to keep a sleep schedule and I journal and read my leisure book before I go to bed.
It is always good to be creatures of habit, to some extent.

50 Jeff September 6, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I’m truly amazed so many people have consistent schedules that allow them the luxury of a consistent morning routine. The only thing attempting to keep a morning or evening routine would do for me is add frustration at trying to balance one more part of my life. It’s all I can do to organize my morning around trying to see my daughter awake before I head out the door and even that doesn’t work many mornings.

51 Bill Hughes September 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I am really wanting to start an AM / PM routine. I would really love to be able to get up and work out in the mornings, but seeing as I do heavy lifting routines, it may not be feasable, unless I cut back on the volume. My preferred routine would be:

5:00 – Wake up, bathroom, water and stretch
5:30 – 6:30 Workout
6:30 – 6:45 Shower / shave
6:45 – 7:15 eat breakfast, get ready for work
7:30 out the door.

18:00 eat dinner / clean up
19:00 walk / bike ride
19:30 spend time with soon to be wife and kids when they are over
21:00 – 21:30 practice cello
21:30 – 22:00 pack lunch and get things ready for the next day
22:00 – 22:30 in bed and reading
22:30 lights out.

A few things make this routine hard to get into right now. For one, I only see my kids 1 night a week and every other weekend so on the mornings I have to get them up and out the door by 6:30, my morning routine is non-existant. I also spend an evening at my fiancee’s house during the week, she lives an hour from me so I get up at 5:00, but I have to get ready for work and maybe eat something and be out the door by 6:00 to make sure I get to work by 8:00. So there are at least 2 – 3 days per week right now that ruin the morning routine and somewhat the evening routine. Hopefully once I get married next summer it can become more routine.

52 Pavel.C September 7, 2011 at 12:33 am

@ Steven Carpenter nice quote, basically I share the same routines only in the evening is a bit different, I would have dinner, get clothes for next day ready, put stuff in the school bag (I’m in high school), get my room cleaned up. And usually, after I finished all the activities regarding past and future I would go for a small walk to think about the day, and meditate about thing strictly related to me, so as I do this, I come back and note in my journal the ideas and the day was. Then read a good book, when I say good, I mean classics, after that just turn myself off. In the morning, regarding the lecture, I would read after my breakfast or during, a book that would be more scientifically, non-fiction and make some notes or write an essay about what the lecture is about.

Regards. Pavel

53 GT Powers September 7, 2011 at 7:57 am

Funny, I’m doing the AM book-end as I read this.
6:30ish: wake up
6:45-7:30: Coffee, toast and jam, and my small bowl pipe of Virginian.
7:30-8: Shower, change, get on bicycle for 6 mile commute.
In class by 9.

Lovely.

54 Matt September 7, 2011 at 9:57 am

It would be nice to have a morning routine that actually accomplished something more than getting out of bed, but I have to be at work so early I’d have to get up at three AM to do all the things the author outlines here. And since I don’t get home from work until nearly six (ten hour workday), I’m exhausted in the evenings. I guess if you’re working 9 to 5, sure this is great. If you are working earlier or later, or shift work, or longer than eight hours per day, I don’t see how a person would keep a regular routine involving journaling, reading, exercise, etc.

55 Mike September 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

Read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography – he talks extensively about daily routines (AM and PM, I believe), setting goals, etc.

Brett, this would be an excellent man to write an article about – Franklin accomplished amazing things in his lifetime!

56 Jason Lee September 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm

As a fat World of Warcraft nerd, my schedule looks like this:
Morning Routine
8 AM Wake up, read Battle.net updates and forums
9 AM Begin playing WoW
10:30 AM Run to the toaster to make pop-tarts
12 PM Break to read Reddit and Imgur
1 PM Masturbate
1:05 PM Watch a movie
2 PM Fall asleep watching movie

Evening Routine
4 PM Wake up, make mac’n'cheese
4:30 PM Questing and grinding
6:30 PM Masturbate
9 PM Raiding
1 AM PVP/Arena
3 AM Fall asleep in chair

57 Sam Spade September 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

As a private detective I know first hand how difficult it is to maintain a structured routine. My schedule varies from day to day, depending on the direction of my cases, but I usually have to be on the road by 4:30 a.m. Surveillance often runs into the late evening, and of course there is the never ending parade of paperwork, reports and court appearances. My territory spans all of Colorado and I run an entire team of investigators, so I frequently have to work late and stay in tiny one-horse towns on the outer edges of the state. Obviously this is not a job conducive to morning and evening routines. Nevertheless, I make it a point to get up in enough time to work out and shower before I start driving, and I take my toast and coffee to go. In the evening I always try to have dinner with my wife, read a (non-work-related) book for at least 30 minutes, and then finish whatever paperwork needs to be done. It isn’t easy, and I don’t get a lot of sleep, but I’ve found that these periods of structure help to define my day and serve as tranquil ports in the chaos of my chosen career. Excellent article, and as always the authors of AoM have my gratitude. I’ve been a lurking non-commenter for a long time (as befits a man of my profession) but I read AoM just about every day and thoroughly enjoy the content. —Sam

58 Matthew Johnson September 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I weighed around 240 lbs early on in high school and had mediocre grades. I then made it my routine to bicycle on my stationary bike one hour each night while watching a television series which I enjoyed every single night and then doing my homework for between 1-2 hours. I weighed 165 lbs at the end of senior year and my grades rose considerably. The endorphins from exercise made the TV shows more pleasurable, sharper. This routine helped me get a college scholarship and feel confident in me person and appearance. Routines work wonders Brett, you’re absolutely right. Another word for a good habit is a virtue.

59 Chris September 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

5:15am – Wake up
5:15-5:30 – Take medicine and get ready to go to workout.
5:30-5:45 – Drive to gym and eat small breakfast
5:45-7 – Workout
7-8 – Drive to work with coffee and/or protein shake.

4:30-5:30 – drive home
5:30 – dinner time
5:30-7:00 – chill and/or do some work from home
7PM – 7:30 – Give kids their baths
7:30-8:00 play with kids
8pm – 8:30 – Get kids to bed.
8:30-9:30 – chill out or just fall asleep at some point on the couch

60 craig @cdstern September 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm

This article is so rich with things to try right now. I’m amped after reading this.

61 Tom Sawyer September 8, 2011 at 1:14 am

Having recently begun a 9-5 job, I’ve really been struggling to get satisfaction and achievement out of my day. While I used to be relatively fit, I’ve found it increasingly hard to get to the gym during the week. I’m going to try and rise earlier and do some cardio in the morning over the next few weeks – I’m a particularly late riser so this will be a challenge for me, but hopefully I can turn it into a solid routine, especially coming in to summer.

62 Todd B September 8, 2011 at 4:52 am

Daily routines are critical to me. First off, I have ADD. It took me a long while to realize that having things organized and some sort of a standard routine was critical to working around the ADD. Then, as a single parent raising three children (ranging from toddler to teens) morning and evening routines were critical. I didn’t have time in the mornings to be rushing around trying to find clothes, school work, permission slips. Not that it didn’t happen, but having things somewhat organized helps a great deal.

63 Mark Niehus September 8, 2011 at 8:47 am

Great article Brett and thank you.

I used to just bookend 1/2 of my day- first few hours each morning. But as I get older and busier and more focused on goals and more focused on wasting less time- I realize that the only way I can move forward is do the same sort of thing in the evening. I used to view evenings as time to relax/ watch TV/ etc- but now I realize some time in the evening spent on reading/ goals/ work is needed.

Great advice and thanks for this site!

64 Jason Christensen September 8, 2011 at 9:17 am

I could not agree more! I was out of my routine for a couple of months and it lead me to a lack of motivation and focus. I recently got back into my morning routine and life is back on track – I am motivated and focused for the day!
I hope you don’t mind my sharing this post with tips that help me stay focused and accomplish more throughout the day: http://jasonchristensen.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/get-more-done-in-less-time/

65 Adam McCann September 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Brett,

I have a question regarding your typical daily routine. Do you ever find yourself missing out on sleep while getting up at 5:30am and going to bed at 11:00pm? Even with lights out at 11 you’re not likely asleep right away.

I ask because I usually have that same schedule, and I can never seem to get enough sleep. Of course I don’t really get a morning routine because, like Matt stated above, my schedule would look more like 3:30am-11pm if I wanted to try and accomplish anything other than dressing and driving to work. So I’m sure the commuting is taking its toll on my stress level and affecting how much sleep I actually need.

66 Casey Miller September 9, 2011 at 2:14 am

I am interested in doing some bookend routines as well, however I have several majors obstacles. My problem is that my schedule is quite irregular, as is my wife’s. I start work in the morning anywhere between 5 and 10, although most days its between 5 and 8. I then work for 8.5 hours, except on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I teach a class from 2:15-3:30. Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, I work a third job in the evenings from 5:45 to 7:45 or 8. I also play the drums at my church, so on weeks that i am scheduled, Monday nights are the rehearsals, and then I play saturday night and sunday morning. I also play for the youth group, so weeks I am scheduled for that I play thursday nights. My wife also works full time, so I try to squeeze in chores (i.e. dishes, laundry, cleaning the house, playing with the cats, grocery shopping, scooping the litter box, etc) when I can. I also try to work on my sculptures, as that is my true passion but not currently my vocation. I try to read as much as I can as well, although generally I can only fit in a few hours a week. My wife and I also try to watch some movies or tv shows together on netflix when we can. With such a fluctuating schedule that changes day to day and week to week, how can I institute a regular morning and evening regimen?

67 Jan September 9, 2011 at 3:05 am

I think this is just what I need right now in my life. I am going to try– no, *do* this, and become a better person for me and my family. I’m also seriously considering doing the 30-days trial. Ok, nevermind considering. Let’s do it!

68 Jason Christensen September 12, 2011 at 9:20 am

Adam McCann-
Thomas Edison said, “I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night.” He was notorious for his sleep schedule. Check him out and maybe you will find your sleep answer.
As for keeping a routine with your schedule. I recommend audio books and podcasts to listen to in the car in place of reading, voice recording, not my favorite solution, in place of journaling and for exercise if you have the option, you could ride to work or drive part way and ride the rest of the way or join a gym near to work or just go for a run over your lunch hour. Maybe this will spark a few ideas for you. Hopefully it helps!

69 Shayle September 13, 2011 at 4:40 am

Well I’m fresh out of highschool, skipping college for a year (monetary reasons), work a pizza delivery job (3or5 til 7or10), and want to be an illustrator “when I grow up”.
I’m going to try this out for the next 30 days and see what happens.

8:00 AM -wake up, have breakfast, take medication, hang out with my dad
9:00 AM -have morning devo, do some figure studies
9:30 AM -shower, brush teeth, get dressed, make bed
10:00 AM -free time
12:00 PM -personal bible study/listen to message, have some prayer/meditation time
12:45 PM -NAP TIME (target: 90 minutes [for creativity, as says atm])
2:20 PM -get up, eat lunch, continue day

before 12:00 AM, have these done: -draw comic, write in journal, take medication
12:00 AM -edit and post comic online
12:30 AM -watch 1 episode of a cartoon or anime
1:00 AM -read comics
1:30 AM -wash face, brush teeth, read a psalm
2:00 AM -GO TO BED!!

I tend to work out mid-day because I have a lot of spare time.
Also, all the cartoon watching and comic reading is not only for pleasure, but it helps keep my imagination filled and ready to spew out new ideas!
Also I might sleep in tomorrow, lol…

70 Liane September 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I’m not a man, but let me say I completely and utterly agree with you on needing some routine. My life has changed rather drastically about two years ago and I’ve been struggling since to get much of a routine – having lost my centre a bit. Some of the things that I have been disciplining myself with is exercise (I like to cycle outdoors), getting to bed at 11pm (and reading a bit before lights out), having breakfast… I need even more structure – I know – but I’ve been struggling. I have at least set a goal for myself – wrote them down and stuck them up where I can see it every day – and I force myself to meet that deadline – I have 3 days left (then I’ll need another short term goal…

Your post gave me some good ideas of things that I can incorporate. Thanks for the food for thought. Just a note that I’ve read: if you can manage to do something for 21 days consecutively then you’ve formed a new habit.

71 matt September 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Wow. I have just found this site and hoping it is gonna be a life saver. I am suffering from action paralysis and guilt for not been able to do all my work functions, parentign functions and personal health activities. I read this articel and one other and think this a great place to start.
looking forward to reading more.

72 John Hooper September 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I notice no sex in there. I wonder why that is?

73 Bri September 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Any recommendations for implementation around a spouse that has no routine?

74 Hunter September 22, 2011 at 9:41 am

5: Wake up, diet coke, morning cigarette, small portion of lean protein
530-645: Gym – 45 mins spinning, 30 core training
705: On the way to work
615: Leave work and head to the grocery
7-8: Cook and eat something
830-945: Evening gym session
10-12: Reading/News consumption
12: Bedtime

75 Oisín September 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I’m seeing a few schedules here which only schedule in 5 to 6 hours of sleep every night. Are you kidding?
Apparently getting this much sleep every night for a week results in the same performance level as someone who has stayed up all night.

Hopefully these are just made-up fantasy schedules, but if not, do yourself a favour and get 7-7.5 hours a night. Being a zombie all day does nobody any good.

76 j'adoube September 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm

My preferred evening routine:

7pm Filet mignon, single malt scotch
8pm Make love with Megan Fox
9pm Make love with young Britt Eklund
10pm Make love with young Ursula Andress
11pm Glass of warm milk
Midnight Sweet dreams

77 ed September 25, 2011 at 2:53 am

routines are impossible for me, get called in at 3 am to work ,sometimes working up to 16 hour shifts

78 Greene October 4, 2011 at 10:07 am

Warning: This thing is long.

Clarification: Styx is a pet lizard.

Not enough sleep?
As for those that have expressed concern about not getting enough sleep in a lot of these schedules, yes, I only get five hours of sleep a night. A person is fully capable of functioning with that much sleep, besides in my case it’s a good way to get used to the the long work days I’ll be seeing in the Corps. I do currently off set this when I really need it with a nap on Tuesdays or Thursdays (no PT those days so I have time between work and the gym).

Feel free to comment if the fancy takes you. Now, for the schedule…

Week Days
Morning
4:00 Wake up, get out of bed and into the bathroom.
– Take Scotch (James Bond) Shower
– Cold water shave
– Brush Teeth
– Dress save for shoes and jacket.

4:30 Buff shoes and finish dressing.

4:45 Study General Orders, Leadership Traits and Principles while drinking coffee.

4:55 Study Philosophy (Stoic or Pythagorean) while finishing coffee.

5:25 Make breakfast and feed Styx.

5:35 Eat breakfast.

5:40 Religious Study.

5:50 Make bed, military style.

5:55 Load gym bag, brush teeth.

6:00 Head to work.

Night
8:30 Leave gym after a solid evening of conditioning and boxing.

9:00 Arrive at home
– Brush Teeth
– Take Scotch Shower
– Pull sleeping shorts on

9:15 Cook dinner and prepair lunch for tomorrow.

9:35 Eat dinner.

9:55 Study General Orders, Leadership Traits and Principles.

10:10 Mentally review the day.

10:25 Brush teeth and set out clothes for the following day.

10:28 Grind coffee for the next day’s brew.

10:30 Retire to bed with a book of war. (Art of War, On War, Caeser’s Gallic Wars, Book of Five Rings)

11:00 Rack out.

Weekends
Morning
4:00 Wake up, get out of bed and into the bathroom.
– Brush Teeth
– Toss cold water on face

4:10 Grab kettle bells and get to work

4:30 Do a set of weighted pull ups and get a core workout in to finish

5:00 Clean up
– Scotch Shower
– Cold water shave
– Dress save for shoes and jacket.

5:30 Polish and Shine shoes, finish dressing.

5:55 Study General Orders, Leadership Traits and Principles while drinking coffee.

6:10 Study Philosophy (Stoic or Pythagorean) while finishing coffee.

6:40 Make breakfast and feed Styx.

7:20 Eat breakfast.

7:35 Brush Teeth, then religious study.

7:55 Make bed, military style.

8:00 Begin with any plans for the day.

Night

No times are given here because this is the least structured part of my week, the following is just what I try to get done at the end of the day.

Arrive at home
– Brush Teeth
– Take Scotch Shower
– Pull sleeping shorts on

Prepair tobacco, Study General Orders, Leadership Traits and Principles.

Pack pipe and head out back to smoke and review the day.

Brush teeth and set out clothes for the following day.

Grind coffee for the next day’s brew.

Retire to bed with a book of war.

Rack out a half hour later.

79 Alan David Daniels October 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Wow this is inspiring. Sounds like exactly what I need. One thing that does boggle my mind though; I noticed a number of people posted their routines and all they do is lift heavy things, run around and work. With around 5 hours of sleep. Exactly how long can a human do this before expiring? Medically speaking, that is. Seriously.

80 Deann October 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Great post! Glad I found your site. I’m also writing a post for my blog on bookending one’s day–I will link to this post.

81 Brandon December 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I really feel like a slacker now. My alarm goes off at 7 (I snooze it), 7:10 (I snooze it), and I roll out of bed when it goes off at 7:20. Throw on my work shirt and jeans and try to be out the door by 7:40 to be at work 20 minutes away by 8.

When I get home I generally play around on the computer and/or TV until I’m tired enough to go to bed, which it usually around 11ish.

Feels more like a rut than a routine if I’m honest.

82 Jake July 21, 2013 at 3:27 am

I love this post, I am going to start a morning routine for waking up at 5am, but I’m 13 so I shall also start an evening routine so it’s lights out between 8:30pm and 9:30pm

83 Kelsey July 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Awesome post. loving the comments too.

My routine:
8- get up
8:30-feed dogs and workout
9:30-shower and dress, start working
(I work from home)
6- dinner, feed dogs
8:30- walk dogs

My ideal routine includes getting up 1-2 hours earlier and going to bed around 10:30 to read until 11. Hopefully soon I can get into that routine.

84 Adam July 31, 2013 at 9:17 pm

i echo the post by someone who stated how do we subscribe to threads???

that said some of these schedules are pure and total BS. the human body cannot function on 4-5 hours of sleep. it just simply cannot.

as a guy who is completely nocturnal and hates being up and about when the sun is out I have lived a lot of my life sleep deprived. the reason for this is because when the sun goes down i start waking up almost without fail(although if i am sleep deprived I remain groggy through the night but unable to sleep) however life often demands me during the daytime this resulted in many days of little to no sleep and often during my k-12 years binge sleeping of 16 hours on saturday. i often clocked in 0-5 hours of sleep and i assure you anything under 8 was pointless.

as a man that is now 29 i can tell you your body will sooner or later deliver one massive F-U and say “let me sleep or else….i dare you…”

i can now say i can sleep some nights only because i can no longer go more than 16 hours before crashing. sometimes i can hit 20 or 24 but not too often and i usually crash for 16 hours afterwards. the human body just cannot function on such little sleep. it just cannot be done.

I am also amazed at how peoples schedules are so structured….I can only imagine how impossible this is with kids or how nobody here is working a night shift or how there are no night owls posting. also nobody here is in school eh????

as a college kid who tries to shift most of his classes to late afternoon or evening my schedule doesnt seem to allow for such a strict morning routine. and by morning i mean wake up. i am constantly fighting to get 8 hours of solid sleep. yes my body absolutely craves and LOVES 9AM to 5 PM sleeping. That right there really rejuvenates me. but 9 PM to 5 AM? i am groggy the remaining day.

so for people who suck at sleeping at night how would you say to go about this??? I am in college so getting strict night classes and a night job isnt quite feasible just yet. I do need a routine and during times where I can sleep when my body naturally wants too I can wake up with a solid rhythm and end with a solid rhythm.

85 Chris September 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I only have two questions to ask:

1. What do you do when you go out at night/in the evening, and 11PM becomes 2AM? Clearly you’re addressing this advice to students and we all like to go out a lot when we’re 20 something, that means that many times this interferes with your bedtime and waking hours.

2. How does your wife feel about going to bed at 11PM? What if you have different schedules? What if she likes to go to bed later or she works in the evening or she’s simply not sleepy when you are? Because having a ‘bedmate’ for me meant I will wait until the other person is sleepy and we’re going to fall asleep together – I can’t go to bed while my girlfriend is watching a movie in the living room. Waking up is different, I guess, although my sleep is really light and if she wakes up early, it is impossible for me to fall back asleep.
These are my biggest problems.

86 Crezman January 12, 2014 at 12:44 am

I, personally, used to get up at 3:30 in the morning to practice my morning routine, but now that I have so much to do and I’m so important I’ve decided that to get everything done, I just don’t go to bed any more.

87 Jack February 4, 2014 at 8:54 am

Terrific advice and inspiration. After reading this I finally got going on an organized morning and evening routine and love it. It has even helped me keep a journal, something I have never been able to stick with before.

88 Brenan March 17, 2014 at 12:00 am

Brett, taking a look at your personal morning and evening routine, I am interested to learn how you deal with or accommodate unexpected changes to your routines? For example, what if there is an outing you have to attend with your family that would take place the same time as your evening routine? Or if there is a day task that takes longer and threatens cutting into your evening routine?

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