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Tim Ferriss Shares His Simple Daily Routine That Sets Him Up For Success

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What's your daily routine? Do you set goals or systems? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Tim Ferriss, author of three #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, his latest book Tools of Titans is available now, on Quora.

If you win the morning, you win the day.

I'm probably not the first person to say this, but it's how I frame the importance of the first 60 to 90 minutes of the day. They facilitate or handicap the next 12+ hours.

After asking more than a hundred interviewees for Tools of Titans about morning routines, I've tested a lot and figured out what works for me.

Here are five things that I attempt to do every morning. These will probably seem like small things, but just remember: The small things are the big things.

#1 -- Make Your Bed (less than three minutes)

In 2011 in Toronto, I chanced upon a former monk named Dandapani at an event called Mastermind Talks. I was going through a very scattered period in my life and felt like my energy was traveling a millimeter outward in a million directions. For grounding, he convinced me to start making my bed.

To quote Naval Admiral William McRaven, who has commanded at every level within the Special Operations community, including acting as head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during the Osama bin Laden raid:

"If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter."

#2 -- Meditate (ten to twenty minutes)

At least 80% of all guests profiled in Tools of Titans have a daily mindfulness practice of some type. Sometimes I will do "Happy Body" mobility exercises from Jerzy Gregorek in place of meditation.

When I'm done, I walk into the kitchen and flip a switch to near-boil water (about 85% of the full dial) using a cheap Adagio utiliTEA electric kettle. This is for tea (in step 4).

#3 -- Do Five to Ten Reps of Something (less than a minute)

I started doing this after numerous exchanges with the Jocko Willink. He trains before most people wake, and I train when most people are getting ready for bed.

The five to ten reps here are not a workout. They are intended to "state prime" and wake me up. Getting into my body, even for thirty seconds, has a dramatic effect on my mood and quiets mental chatter. My preferred exercise is push-ups with ring turn out (RTO), as it nicely lights up the nervous system. I'll often take a thirty to sixty second pure cold shower after this, à la Tony Robbins.

#4 -- Prepare "Titanium Tea" (this name was a joke, but it stuck) (two to three minutes)

I prepare loose-leaf tea in a Rishi glass teapot but you could use a French press. The below combo is excellent for cognition and fat loss, and I use about one flat teaspoon of each:

  • Pu-erh aged black tea.
  • Dragon well green tea (or other green tea).
  • Turmeric and ginger shavings (often also Rishi brand).
  • Add the hot water to your mixture and let it steep for one to two minutes.

Separately, add one of the following to your drinking mug: one to two tablespoons of coconut oil, which is about 60 to 70% MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) by weight or one scoop of Quest MCT Oil Powder, which will give the tea a creamy consistency.

Pour your tea into your mug, stir to mix, and enjoy. In my case, I grab my tea, a glass of cold water, and then take a seat at my comfy acacia wood kitchen table for the next step.

#5 -- Morning Pages or Five Minute Journal (five to ten minutes)

Next up is journaling, which is not a "Dear Diary" situation.

I use two types of journaling and alternate between them: Morning Pages and The Five Minute Journal (5MJ). The former I use primarily for getting unstuck or problem solving (what should I do?); the latter I use for prioritizing and gratitude (how should I focus and execute?).

The 5MJ is simplicity itself and hits a lot of birds with one stone: five minutes in the morning of answering a few prompts, and then five minutes in the evening doing the same. Each prompt has three lines for three answers.

To be answered in the morning:

I am grateful for . . . 1. __________ 2. __________ 3. __________

What would make today great? 1. __________ 2. __________ 3. __________

Daily affirmations. I am . . . 1. __________ 2. __________ 3. __________

To be filled in at night:

Three amazing things that happened today... 1. __________ 2. __________ 3. __________

How could I have made today better? 1. __________ 2. __________ 3. __________

And that's it! Think of it as my boot-up sequence for an optimal day. The rest varies wildly, but the first sixty to ninety minutes after waking are what I focus on most.

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