When I was a kid growing up in Illinois, my parents instilled a very dialed morning routine for us that included waking us up, making us make our lunches, making breakfast, packing our schoolbags, showering, getting dressed, doing our hair (which my mom gave up on when I was in 6th grade) and then being hauled to school by dad. It was regimented and it worked. We were like a well-oiled family machine. Then I got to college and everything went to sh*t. I basically scheduled my courses later in the day so I wouldn’t have to wake up early. My nutrition went south as well. I lost my routines and frankly a lot of my wellness.
Fortunately, now that I’m a self employed doctor and technologist living in San Francisco, I’ve steadily been building my morning routine over the last few years into something that really works — for me. It has made a huge impact on my mental and physical health and has helped me reach my goals more systematically. It’s grown significantly over the last few months and come a long way from using this 7 minute morning app. I’ve learned from a few friends about their routines and found a way to track my progress over time using a *paper* notebook (more on that later). I have modified mine to include different subjects and sections so that it feels organized. So since this is what you came here to learn about, here is my daily routine.
DESIGNING MY DAILY ROUTINE
- MINDFULNESS: Around 6:00 AM, I wake up and grab my notebook and journal my dreams. I’ve found it’s really hard to remember your dreams if you don’t journal them right when you wake up. I go over this checklist which includes reading a spiritual text, journaling for 5 minutes, practicing some self-compassion mantras. Then, I meditate for 20 minutes either sitting up in bed or on my meditation pillow.
- TRACKING: I use the restroom and weigh myself using a Withings scale. Then I drink some water. I log my weight in my Metpro app so my nutritionist and trainer can see it. I usually get back in bed and go through my other checklists. About once a month I use the Skulpt to track my body composition.
- VISUALIZATION: This is envisioning a strong body, mind and immune system. I also visualize my reality after meeting my goals.
- MOTIVATION: This includes what I am grateful for, what today’s superpower is, and reviewing good things that have happened over the last week while reframing anything negative that has happened over the last seven days.
- HABITS: I make my bed, go clean something (e.g. empty the dishwasher, swiffer the floor). This is going to sound sort of weird, but I like to dry brush my body while I visualize my immune system being strong. Dry brushing is helpful for distributing your lymph, exfoliating your skin and improving circulation.
- NUTRITION: I make breakfast next which these days is a smoothie bowl with bone broth protein powder and frozen berries with a spoonful of almond butter, grain free granola, or homemade coconut yogurt for healthy fat. I like to read the Wall Street Journal while eating breakfast along with a cup of matcha from Breakaway Matcha. I make it with this frother, and I don’t use milk or sugar because it’s so good on its own. I’m crazy about their organic cold brew matcha and their hyperpremium matcha (Blend 98 is superb). Use the code DRMOLLY for 10% off! I log my meals in my Metpro app so my coaches know I’m being compliant. I try to drink a half gallon of water a day, which makes a big difference in my mental function and the quality of my skin. I use a Berkee water filter and fill up a gallon jug half way every morning. After breakfast and matcha I take my supplements. I’m feeling like coffee, I wait till 9:30 a.m. just when my morning cortisol is waning. At the end of the day I track if I stopped eating before 7pm. I do this so I can optimize my fasting glucose in the morning.
- SUPPLEMENTS: I include in my routine a checklist for all the supplements I am taking throughout the day and evening so I can keep track of how many I am taking and why I am taking them. I keep my supplements in this case for easy access. I use a dry erase marker to mark on the inside of the lid what is in each section. This saves me a bunch of time opening and closing bottles.
- FINANCE: After reading the Wall Street Journal I’m usually pretty motivated to check my finances. So I look at my cryptocurrency holdings, and I check on my other investments if I have time. At the end of the day, I track if I have made any impulse buys. I have an amazon.com addiction so it helps me be more mindful of my spending.
- FITNESS: When I exercise is dependent on the day. Sometimes it’s in the morning and sometimes it’s in the evening. I shower after working out and if it’s the morning it ends with a 1 minute cold shower. This is super exhilarating and becomes easier over time. I also exercise my face using some exercises I’ve learned reading this book.
- WORK: I set an intention to check my email twice a day, once in the morning and once after work. I make four goals to focus on daily and if I get through three I feel successful. I try to do something every day that scares me — making that call, sending that request, etc. I also check my Asana and instagant to make sure my projects are all coming along.
- EXTRAS: I have an extras section for any other to “do list” things that need to get done every day. I track the prioritization of each work task using the typical urgent / not urgent and important / not important scheme. I also have a space to track the status of each task, whether it has been done, I am not doing it, or if I’ll be doing it tomorrow.
- RELATIONSHIPS: If I don’t make a conscious effort to connect with my family and friends, sometimes it falls between the cracks. So, I make it a habit of contacting someone in my family. I also check my follow up list (which I keep in Asana) to make sure I’m not forgetting any business contacts and am keeping up with friends. I also make a daily effort to do something kind for someone else.
- SLEEP: Before I go to bed I wash my face, floss and brush my teeth. These are non-negotiables. I do not go to bed with my makeup on — ever. I use flossers instead of floss since I think they make me more likely to floss. I also use a Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Toothbrush, which has made my teeth whiter than ever. It’s seriously amazing. I like to read before bed and try to get through at least one book per week. Before I go to bed I reflect on an intention I’ve set for my subconscious so that my dreams are steered in the right direction. Sometimes I use this Cosmos supplement to help me dream more vividly.
Please don’t use the supplements I’ve listed here for yourself as you are not me and you do not have the same issues I have. I was healing my gut over the last month due to having to take antibiotics last summer (first time in a long time) and realizing it did some serious damage to my gut health. So this is a fairly intense regimen. Furthermore, I don’t take the tyrosine or mucuna daily. Just when I want a boost in my dopamine systems. I do take Huperzine A and CDP choline daily as I notice a difference in my memory when I don’t use these.
PUBLISH YOUR DAILY ROUTINE NOTEBOOK
But, wait, it gets better. I make this routine list into a notebook at Fedex by first taking the two lists and copying them 30 times with 2 page spaces in between. This allows me for space to journal since I do that for 5 minutes every day. Having an analog notebook to track my progress has made a huge difference. I know what the day will look like and it feels good checking things off my list. It costs me around $30 bucks every 3 months or so. Not too shabby. Once your word document is saved as a pdf you can go to this Fedex page to print and pay online and then just go pick up.
Let me know in the comments below if you think this was a useful post! My routine may look insane but it isn’t all done in the morning. If it’s intimidating for you, start with the 7 minute morning app and keep adding different things over time that suit your goals. Think about the outcomes you want to achieve in your life and let your routine set you up for success. Once things become habitual they actually feel like less work and you become more efficient at getting everything done.