Morning Routines Rock - Mike T Nelson

Mike T Nelson
Posted by: Mike T Nelson December 11, 2018

Meet Dr. Mike T Nelson.


He's a movement specialist and sought after speaker. I'm pretty sure he lives at conferences more than he lives in his house!

Morning routines are one of the key defining attributes of high performers. Everyone has their own unique routine based on years of refinement.

Check out Dr. Mike's for inspiration on creating your own routine.

Dr. Mike’s AM Routine

by Dr. Mike T. Nelson

One of the best tips I got was from Craig Ballantyne about scripting your day which is from a perfect day formula book. The next day starts the night before by setting up everything as much as you possibly can so that your next morning is as productive and stress-free as possible. One thing that I also got from Tim Ferris in The Four Hour Workweek years ago was not checking email first thing in the morning.  I found that that will scramble my brain if I am checking email first thing. And then, I'm making other people's priority my priority.

So what I do now is to get as much stuff ready the night before as possible. I have a separate notebook where I script out the entire first six hours of the day is much as possible.

In the picture below, you can see what this past Monday looked like. I tend to work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at a coworking place off-site so that I'm not distracted by things at home and other things in the home environment that may need to my attention. This also forces me to have a routine. I'm spending money to be somewhere else; and although it is a nice place, I would much rather be at home. This also allows me to bring prepped nutritious food, so my nutrition must be made up ahead of time.

You can see in all the gory details what I have written out.  My first step is to get up in the morning floss and brush my teeth.  Then I take my heart rate variability measurement (HRV), after which I also do an Omega wave, my trainer, Aaron Davis recommended.  I grab some water, gargle, hum for a little vocal training for any speaking I do that day; using that time to listen to some type of podcast.  Of course, had selected the podcast the night before and already had it ready to go on my phone.

I then pack my food and have any supplements (which were sitting on the counter from prep the night before), and then write out what time I'm going to leave.  Next, I drive to the coworking place, drop my stuff off before doing a walk first thing for about 20 minutes as I'm listening to the same podcast. The next step is to take step one of Qualia which is a nootropic I really like. They have a room in the coworking place that I will reserve to lie on the couch and to do some meditation, review my notes below on what exactly I do for that day.  After the RPR/ meditation mashup, I will do some mobility drills for about 10 minutes and any type of I drills that I'm working on from my functional neurologist. And then I will get to work while having the step two Qualia, a small cup of coffee and my morning super smoothie that I've already made.

You'll notice that I've already written down a list of the main items or projects for which I’ll need my computer.  For example, this day the PowerPoint slides that I need to edit are pulled up so that when I go into my computer I don't have to look for anything, and I don't have to be distracted.  Everything is there and open; I’m ready to begin.

Many times, I will listen to binaural beats with some very specific music.  Currently, it is some tunes from Frontline Assembly.

I also use electronic egg timer which is an excellent tip that I got from Max Shank.  Since they're not electronic, you can also use old-school timers with sand that goes through them.  This will give you a visual representation.  Another bonus is that they don't beep, so if you're in the flow getting stuff done they won't interrupt you. 

I'll then have a note of when I need to leave; this gives me a deadline.  And finally, I leave by 2:30 PM at the latest, otherwise traffic gets to be absolutely bonkers.  I've also found that training and working out in the afternoons the best time for me, so I will set my schedule around that.

Upon returning home, my wonderful wife will help me with some hands-on tissue work.  Next, I'll walk over to the gym or go to my garage gym.   After returning from training, I'll finish up a few more random items that are usually high email based and other things that came up during the day.

Notice that I have a separate column there for emails and a separate column for notes.  As things come up during the day, there may be people that I need to contact.  I will put a note in each one of those columns.  I'm not able to get to it on that day, but I may script those in for the next day. 

In this case, the next day is Tuesday and Thursday where I reserve for a little bit more random things like a bit more client work, in person RPR sessions and doing podcasts.  These days are reserved for tasks that are less content creation but more interruptive.

Above describes a perfect day, but not every day works so smoothly.  They key I've found is to set up everything as much as you can for success ahead of time and then deal with things that come in the afternoon. That tip is from Craig Ballantyne.

Shout out to David Allen of Getting Things Done for many of the systems I use.  Also, in the toolbox is Evernote which I use a lot to track all different projects and open action items. Each project that I'm working on whether it's content creation for the Carrick Institute, podcasts, teaching at Rocky Mount University etc. ... each one has their own folder in Evernote. To add to the organizing effort, my assistant (also wife) will send me one email of items completed at a high level so I know what's been accomplished, any questions and updates from the day.  I will respond to her email so that way she has everything that she needs for the next day.

This is what I found that works the best for me, and I found the quote from Jocko "Discipline equals freedom" is very true.  If I can discipline myself to get all my necessary items done in the AM, it allows my brain to have more freedom then in the afternoon.

Another important thing that I realized this year was trying to put fewer items on the list than what I believe I can get done.  That tip I got from Dr. John Berardi.  And then once I finish those items giving myself the win and rewarding myself by reading or doing something else that is more enjoyable.  Continually adding more tasks to the day since I now feel I have more time unconsciously trains my brain to be less productive. Why would I want to be efficient with getting everything done when I'm just going to only add more work to the picture?

So, in summary, the key points would be to write out even the most mundane the task to start off your day that way you get to cross items off and give yourself a win. Invest in productivity by incorporating habits during the first 30 to 90 minutes of your day to set everything up so that you are in the most productive state... Possibly in a better state of flow.

It should be mentioned that this is primarily a eustress situation.  You also must be ready for the opposite . . .for times when you just literally roll out of bed and still have the capability to get work done without 90 minutes of prep.

This is what I found to be useful for my AM routines hopefully you can take a couple items from here to apply yourself. 

Thank you!

About the Author

Mike T Nelson

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