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This is my morning routine, including the use of nootropics, image-streaming, and soundwave meditation.

by Jerry “Doctor Spin” Silver // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Senior Digital Strategist // Spin Factory

I hate mornings, but I love morning routines.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that the first 1-2 hours of one’s day should be completely routine to avoid decision fatigue, simply by saving your energy for more important decisions that might come up during the day.

So I make sure to follow a pretty strict morning routine. Some days I fail to follow each step, especially when I’m traveling, but when I get everything right, then I feel great for the rest of the day!

Therefore, I thought that it would be useful to check out my personal morning routine. And please make sure to add your best tips and tricks in the comments.

Here goes:

Phase I: Getting Up

I get up around 6:30 am. I have a sensor mat underneath my mattress which determines my sleep rhythm, pulse, and movements, information that is then used by the connected alarm clock1 which then wakes me up with a subtle light when my sleep is at its lightest. Our bedroom can be made pitch black with heavy-duty blinders for all windows, so the wake-up light helps keep my circadian rhythm2 in check.

In the kitchen, I drink a big glass of filtered tap water3 with the following supplements4:

  • A pinch of Himalayan salt.
  • Vitamins (B6/B12 and D3).
  • CILTEP5 by Natural Stacks (for better mental functions).
  • 5-HTP capsules (for increased levels of serotonin).
  • PQQ + CoQ106 (to increase mitochondrial energy levels).
  • Krill oil (Omega 3 oils).
  • Minerals (Zink, Chrome, and Magnesium).

I also make Bulletproof Coffee by using a French press and blending7  the coffee with unsalted high-quality butter and taste-free coconut oil. It’s not exactly optimal to make blender noise so early in the morning, but I always try to be quick about it, hoping no-one will wake up.

I make one thermos with regular coffee for my wife and one thermos with Bulletproof Coffee for myself.

Phase II: Getting Ready

Before I “get to work” (I work from home), I give myself three options:

Option 1: Meditate For 20 Minutes

I use noise-cancelling headphones8 while listening to brain.fm which helps me to get into the “zone” much faster. My style of meditation includes two parts:

  1. Relaxing all parts of the body, one by one.
  2. Practice Image Streaming9.

Option 2: Gym Routine For 20 Minutes

I go to the neighborhood gym (literally 50 meters from our building) where I hit the gym mat for 20 minutes. I guess my routine resembles some sort of hybrid between stretching and qigong10. The idea is not to do any type of strength training, but rather to get the blood flowing throughout and get rid of any stiffness in the joints.

Option 3: Podcast Walk For 20 Minutes

Some mornings are just tough, and it’s difficult to motivate yourself to do anything. Those days I just dress like Rocky-in-training and go outside for a walk while listening to a podcast or some awesome playlists.

Phase III: Getting Started

On my computer lies a piece from the night before. On it, I’ve written down the biggest to-do of the day. If I do this it first thing in the morning, then the rest of the day will feel like “rolling downhill.”

Get the biggest task of the day done first thing.

Once I’ve completed this big task, then I’m allowed to literally crumple the piece of paper and throw it away (yes, I have a small basketball hoop for this purpose). A great feeling!

Sometimes, a light breakfast isn’t enough. For those days, I use the Vitamix to do this smoothie while finishing the first task of the day:

  • A handful of chopped up kale.
  • A small piece of ginger.
  • A scoop of frozen blueberries.

Update: Inspirations:

  • Tim Ferriss — Yes, I’m a fanboy. I digest his podcasts, his books, and his blog posts. Lately also his tv show, The Tim Ferriss Experiment. It’s not just about “lifehacking”, it’s also about finding a stoic outlook on life, tackling the world’s challenges like Jason Bourne and doing content marketing like a bonafide genius.
  • Dave Asprey — This guy (who created Bulletproof Coffee) is someone who’s teachings I literally take with a “grain of salt”. He also has a podcast and a blog, but also a range of enhancing supplements. He does seem to have a crush on himself and his ‘science’ often tend to be too anecdotal for my taste — and he seems to buy into all that homeopathic nonsense, which is a big alarm clock in my book. Still, he’s an interesting guy.
  • Ludvig Sunström — a Swedish guy with an incredibly interesting blog, StartGainingMomentum (in English, of course), focusing not just only at physical improvements, but at cognitive enhancements as well. What makes Sunström so interesting is that he presents concepts that are his own. Looking forward to meeting this guy and hopefully, he can teach me where I go wrong in an area where I’m constantly failing — weight loss.
  • My Morning Routine — Nicely laid out blog, with a growing number of posts about interesting people and their morning routines.
  • Daily Rituals: How Artists Work — Audiobook with a great many examples of morning routines of famous and historic people. It reads a bit like a “staccato” with super-short chapters, but well worth the listen anyway.

Notes:

  1. I use the Withings Aura wake-up lamp.
  2. “A circadian rhythm is any biological process that displays an endogenous, entrainable oscillation of about 24 hours. These 24-hour rhythms are driven by a circadian clock, and they have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria.” Source: Wikipedia.
  3. I use a Brita to filter my tap water. If I can get rid of some antibiotics residue this way, then that’s a plus.
  4. I’m not a physician (despite this blog’s name) and you should always consult your doctor before following any recommendations yourself. Please also note that I take these supplements on a cyclical schedule and therefore not every day.
  5. If you’re in Sweden looking for this supplement, I can recommend Succeeder, an import company run by Swedish Memory Champion Mattias Ribbing.
  6. Check out Unfair Advantage by Bulletproof, a company founded by Dave Asprey, the inventor of Bulletproof Coffee.
  7. For blending, I use my beloved Vitamix. It’s an expensive piece of kitchen equipment, but at 2 horsepowers, it’s a beast!
  8. I use Bose QuietComfort 25, over-ear headphones which I also use when listening to music in my home office and when traveling.
  9. Image Streaming is a technique developed by Win Wenger during Project Renaissance. The idea is to activate our brain by allowing ourselves to “see” visual streams of images while recording them into a recorder or onto a piece of paper.
  10. “Qigong is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health, spirituality, and martial arts training.” Source: Wikipedia.

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.


Doctor Spin’s comment policy:
“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

Reader reactions:

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Deeped Strandh

Interesting. My morning routine is, just as yours different depending on if out of office-work, work in Uppsala or at the office. This autumn I have started to try to be more planned with the things to be done and trying out a mix of Trello and Wunderlist-routine. But I always start with checking the feeds before start working :)

Reply
Doctor Spin

I’ve really gone through some to-do-systems myself over the years, but I’m back using two separate Moleskines. But don’t tell anyone I’ve gone analog! ;)

Thanks for sharing and commenting, man.

Jakob Rydberg

Impressive! I live by one morning routine: eat that frog (for those who haven’t heard about it –> it’s about handling the most important task, one you are most likely to procrastinate). I’ve found that my head is clearest in the morning, well after that not-so-healthy-breakfast, when it comes to mental power and concentration. Bulletproof coffee? Maybe that will do the trick for me to stay super focused the entire day. Sounds almost dangerous, Doc! Need to check it out.

Reply
Doctor Spin

I love my Bulletproof Coffee, partly because I’ve always found it difficult to eat breakfast (I’m just not hungry in the morning). It doesn’t taste butter at all, more like a creamy latte. It will taste of coconut though if you don’t use the unflavoured kind! :)

Doctor Spin

You don’t have to use the branded stuff if you try it, but the label can be found here in Stockholm these days: http://succeeder.se/bulletproof/

Jakob Rydberg

Awesome! Thx!

Joakim Nyström

Great setup. My morning routine is more of an evening routine.
Plan next day (your 3 items) and write down 3 things that made this day great.
When my daughter came into my life most of my routines got messed up, but she’s starting kindergarten this semester so I hope I’ll set up some new ones.

Reply
Doctor Spin

Cool — we probably became dads around the same time. Lots of changes for sure!

I love the idea of focusing on gratitude. I’ve used the app “5 Minute Journal” (inspired by Tim Ferriss) in the past for that. I should really try to pick that habit up again, it’s so easy to forget to count one’s blessings in life. Great tip, thanks!

Ludvig Sunström

Hey Jerry,

Interesting tips. I do many of these things too (meditation, bulletproof coffee).

And thanks for the mention.

Reply
Doctor Spin

Love your blog. And looking forward to grab a coffee (with or without added fats) this fall.

Fredrik Larsson

It is truly inspiring to learn how to practically handle your day and work (like in this post: http://doctorspinpr.wpengine.com/2013/11/19/how-i-optimise-my-mac/ ) .

I use the Philips Wake -up lamp. I really appreciate waking up to the light. Just like with your Aurora. Same breakfust every morning : porridge, two sandwiches and a glass of milk.

I travel by bus about 30 minutes each morning ( have chosen to settle me far out in the country outside Linköping) . There I check the feeds and listen to podcast. When I arrive at the office I run the same tricks that you : a to do list with the most important things to do tody, that I feel is one of the things that definitely increased my productivity the most.

Reply
Doctor Spin

Thanks for sharing your routine, Fredrik. Very inspiring.