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How to Create Your Best Morning Routine for Success

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How to Create Your Best Morning Routine for Success

The alarm sounds and you begrudgingly turn around in your bed, hitting the alarm clock with everything you got just to shut it down.

Another morning, another drag. You take yourself out of the bed and immediately curse the day starting this early, no matter how much time it actually is.

The rest of your day follows your morning and you feel out of energy, out of motivation and out of luck. You simply start to hate your days.

But what if I told you that your day doesn’t have to start like this? Your mornings can start out amazing and you can create energy where there was only fatigue before.

You can start and end your day in a much better way, feeling energized and actually enjoying it while getting things done. It all depends on your morning routine and here is how to create the best morning routine:

Sleep Cycles

Sleep cycles are the first thing I always focus on when someone needs help with theirs. Because you can do everything right when you wake up, but if your sleep itself was horrible and bad, there is almost nothing which can help you out the next day.

We are not a sum of parts, we are a holistic being where neglecting or damaging one part of the system will in turn damage the other part. And sleep is just a crucial part of the system, especially when it comes to motivating yourself and feeling energetic throughout the day.

Sleep cycles last for 1.5 hours and they mark the beginning and the ending of our sleep. We usually have a couple of them through the night and the best way to feel energized in the morning is to wake up when a sleep cycle ends.

So try to plan out 7.5 or even 9 hours a sleep every single night. 

And here is an example of the energy you get from waking up right when a sleep cycle ends:

Throughout the years, you must have had periods in your life where you fell asleep and woke up after an hour and a half, feeling like you just drank 5 cans of Red Bull and feel so energetic.

On the other hand, there are times when you sleep for 13 hours straight and still waking up so tired, feeling like you never ever slept.

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This is what sleep cycles do to us and the first thing is hitting them right.

You will probably miss out on sleep cycles at the beginning of creating a perfect morning routine and that is completely fine.

What you need to do to start hitting them is to go to bed every single night at the same time. Your body will get used to the time and will naturally start waking you up after enough sleep cycles have passed (some need more cycles, some less).

So it will happen to you that you start waking up before the alarm even goes off, feeling refreshed and actually wanting to get up from your bed, feeling already energized.

Find out more about the importance of your sleep cycles here: The Importance of Sleep Cycles on Productivity (+ Tips to Improve Yours)

But sleep cycles aren’t the only thing that constitutes the best morning routine for success.

“Me” Time Before “You” Time in the Morning

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

If you are like most people, you take your phone and start scrolling through your emails or messages that you received from people while you were asleep.

And that immediately saps your creative energy because as soon as you take your phone and start looking at emails and messages, you are putting your mind in a reactive mode for other people’s agendas.

Think about it — 99% of the things that you receive via email are other people’s agendas. It’s the tasks they want you to do for them, problems they need you to solve and obligations which make their lives easier and yours harder.

There is nothing inherently wrong with that but you need the right time slot for “You” activities and the right time slot for “Me” activities. “Me” activities are the ones which use your creativity to create things that you actually want to create.

So if you have a passion project which you said you will start working on years ago, now is the right time to put that project’s dedicated working time the first thing in the morning.

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As soon as you wake up, dedicate 30 minutes to just working on your passion project.

Why the first thing in the morning you ask? Because as soon as you exit REM phase and wake up, your mind is still working in the states of high creativity an low vibrations called the Delta state. This state is deeply connected with your unconscious mind which helps with creative tasks because you are still connected with the base of your creativity.

But the more time it passes in the day, the less we are able to connect to our Delta state. So to use the best of this state, you need to do your creative work as soon as you wake up.

I thought this was ridiculous. I was simply not a morning person and I hated writing in the morning. But as soon as I tried it, I noticed that my writing simply flows and that the best work I do, I do in the morning. So I continued reaping the benefits of that.

Dedicate the time in the morning for yourself first and afterward, you can start doing other people’s tasks. I have a rule that when I wake up, I don’t touch my phone and I don’t turn on WiFi until I did my morning writings.

Most of the time, it takes me around 40 minutes to write down everything and then I am allowed to check my email and see what else I need to do.

This creates an amazing feeling of productivity and pride that you did something meaningful for that day and it doesn’t fall off through the day. You feel that sense of achievement and carry it around yourself the entire day.

Other will people will start noticing this because your eyes will have a deeper gaze in them, you will be more focused and have this sense of gratitude for the day. As soon as you start doing it, you will exactly know what I am talking about.

But we are still not done. There is one more thing that you need to implement to start having amazing mornings and even better days.

And that concerns the fuel for your body and mind – the food you eat and the information you consume.

The Fuel for the Body and Mind

So we covered the sleep, the creative work and all that is left for our perfect morning routine is the fuel we use for everyday activities.

This fuel that we take is divided into categories – fuel for the body and fuel for the mind. They are both connected and one influences another and vice-versa because they are the like the two sides of the same coins.

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We can’t only focus on one and ignore the other one because it will have no effect whatsoever. As the Romans would say “Mens sana in corpore sano” which means “A healthy mind in a healthy body” so let’s start with that:

Fuel for the Body

One of the most discussed topics today is diet – the nutrients we take in which helps us function for the day. There is so much contradictory advice out there, different diets, ways of living, ways of lifting or ways of blending.

Some have a combination of different nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins, some completely cut out carbs like Atkins, some tell you to remove only fat from the diet while others tell you to eat only 8 hours a day and spend the rest of the time ignoring food (intermittent fasting).

Some diets function as vegetarian, some as vegan and some are only eating meat, while some only count calories, completely ignoring everything else.

If all of this serves as a confusing factor, then welcome to the club.

So instead of me telling you what to eat here, which “school” to follow and which guru to listen, I will simply tell you what not to eat.

Most of the dietary people are wrong in many different things but also right in many others. Where the consensus happens is when it comes to the things that shouldn’t be in the diet.

Refined sugar is the number one culprit for killing your creativity and energy throughout the day. If you just remove this from your diet, you will have twice as more energy as you do right now.

Refined sugar is not only bad for your health but deeply affects your energy levels. You can find refined sugar in fizzy drinks and sweets which you should cut out from your diet.

The next thing is fast food – our favorite cheat meal. If you enjoy hamburgers and pizzas (I know, I know, I kill all the fun), it’s time to cut it out from your diet. Especially from the fast food joints whose only benefit of the food is that it tastes good – everything else in that meal is designed to kill you and to kill you fast.

And the last and the hardest thing is to cut out “3 white deaths” – sugar, salt and flour from your diet. These three in combination cause the biggest amount of harm to your body and if you can, you should try to minimize their intake in your body.

This is half the equation. The other one is the mind.

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Fuel for the Mind

The news are fighting to keep your attention on them and we have an attention span of 6 seconds right now, which is 2 seconds less than that of a goldfish.

To get your attention, the media needs to find extremes and put it out there so that you will notice that. Because there is no drama in normal, everyday activities. So they only report the news from the two ends of the bell curve – the extreme positives and extreme negatives and most of it falls in the extreme negatives.

With that, you get a negative picture of the world we live in today even though by all parameters, the world is getting better than ever before.

As a saying would go “The world is not getting worse. The information is getting better.”

I’m not going to spend more time talking about the negative sides of the news. Instead, I will urge you to read more- but not yellow pages.

Read books which stand the test of time, read in-depth articles which have been written by a serious journalist, not some hacks spending six minutes on the article and then crafting a compelling click-bait title to lure you in.

You will notice how your perception of the world changes and how you seem to view the world differently. It’s no longer that grim place, it’s a place of endless opportunity and infinite options.

All of this will make you more energetic and cheerful because you will start noticing opportunities where other people see problems.

You become what you consume so choose really carefully what you will put in your mind because you will create your output in life from those inputs.

Final Thoughts

I could have written a huge list of 30 things which would create the best morning routine. Instead of that, I created a list of only 3 things you need to focus on and the rest will follow.

A list of 30 things is non-applicable, but a list of 3 is.

When you follow the Pareto principle, you will notice that 80% of your results will only come from 20% of your actions.

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These 3 above are your “20%” – use them.

More Useful Routines You Can’t Miss

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Bruno Boksic

An expert in habit building

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

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20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

Living a life of perpetual travel is pretty exciting – new destinations, new cultures and new incredible people to meet and hang out with! However, working on the road can get pretty hectic at times. As a digital nomad I have found myself in rather awkward situations a lot – from missed deadlines due to incorrect time zone conversion to a nearly missed plane when I forgot to print out my booking and confused the time (I did catch that plane though!).

Being your own boss is equally awesome and hellish. Juggling numerous tasks at once and getting things done super-fast with a terrible wi-fi connection requirea killer organizational skills and zen-like concentration. Try using the next 20 websites and apps to make your life as a digital nomad easier, less stressful and even more exciting!

1. Trello

Trello is your go-to website to stay organized and work super-efficiently on the road. It’s a free service that allows you to create numerous boards for your ongoing projects and plans. Tired of having numerous notes scattered around different apps and lengthy email threads with your clients or team? Just drag and drop them all to Trello, where you can easily collaborate, quickly exchange ideas and notes in the form of cards, leave comments and track the overall progress of the project. You can create numerous boards and organize them the way you like, upload files to each, set deadlines and notifications, plus easily share everything with one click.

My Trello contains two sets of boards – personal and business. I use the first to keep all my travel plans neat and make sure I won’t confuse the flight time or overstay my visa; the second to keep a visual account of my personal goals and various arrangements. The business board is where I have a list of ongoing projects composed into simple to-dos with their current statuses –  along with all the comments from my clients and a separate column for follow-ups.

Trello is an incredible free alternative to similar project management softwares I used before and it can be used for tackling any job – from house renovation to multi-stage marketing campaign! Also available as an app for iOS and Android devices to get updates on the go.

2. f.lux

As a digital nomad you often find yourself working late at night or early morning to keep up with your clients’ time zones. Love checking your email or reading a few articles from your iPad before going to bed? (I do!). Even if you don’t feel it yet, your eyes are seriously suffering from those habits and you can end up having troubles with sleeping as the blue light from your devices negatively impacts your sleeping patterns. Use f.lux – a handy software that will automatically adjust the color of your computer’s display to the time of day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day. F.lux allowed me to be more productive in the mornings and made it easier to slow down my activity in the evenings. As a digital nomad it is essential to stay refreshed as your income depends solely on your productivity. Besides, haven’t we escaped the cubicle to have a better work/life balance and more rest in the first place?

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3. Focus@Will

As we often find ourselves working at various places around the globe – from a crowded bus station to a jam-packed bar (the only place that has decent wi-fi in the area) – concentrating on your work gets extremely difficult. That’s where Focus@Will comes to rescue. The service offers a wide selection of white noise and simple tunes selected according to a neuroscience-based approach. It seems to work pretty great as I stayed way more concentrated on my work compared to the times when I just blasted my favorite tunes and murmured along. A 30-day free trial has a limited selection of tracks and will stop playing them in an hour (although it could be restarted immediately). The paid service will cost you around $10 for three months. Also available as a free app for iOS and Android devices.

4. Shopify

Let’s admit it, being a digital nomad and working solo gets challenging at times. There are days when you feel like a Renaissance man trying to tackle all things at once and getting expertise in numerous areas. That’s especially true when you are just about to launch your business website, blog or an online store. If you are a creative, you have only basic knowledge (if any) in CSS, HTML or integrated payment systems, so you spend endless hours figuring out how things work instead of doing what you are really good at and earning money.

Try Shopify – a service providing custom no-hassle ecommerce solutions. They offer everything from secure hosting and mobile-optimized websites to secure check-outs with some 70 payment getaways to choose from and assistance with running your online marketing campaign. The rates are incredibly affordable and start from just $29 per month for unlimited access to all their services and features or opt for a 14 day free trial to test them out first!

5. Rescue Time

Proper time management is another great struggle all digital workers face. How many times you have found yourself spending over 12 hours a day in front of your screen and not having all things done? Yeah, it happens to me quite in a while, so I’ve started using Rescue Time – to stay on top of my productivity while still having a normal work/life balance. Install it on your computer and all devices to have an accurate picture of how much time you spend doing certain activities or browsing certain sites (khm..cat videos on YouTube). At the end of each week you’ll receive an email with a fair statement on your (un)productivity.

Rescue Time enables you to give more accurate deadlines to your clients; create accurate hourly invoices as you know exactly how much time you’ve spent doing a certain task and adjusting your rates accordingly and eliminate random activity during your working hours. You can use Light Rescue Time version for free or opt for the premium plan at $6 per month.

6. Every Time Zone

As you probably work with people based anywhere from New Zealand to the West Coast keeping an eye on the deadline or updating them on your progress at 9 am each day may get tricky. Just as sending follow-ups, project proposals and invoices at the right time of the day. Every Time Zone is another great solution for keeping proper track of the time – your client’s time. Add all time zones you need, add your time in the marker at the top and see where this lands in everyone else’s day. No more crazy maths with figuring out when do you need to ring up Joe on Skype if he asked to do that at 11 am EST.

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7. XE Currency

How many currencies do you have in your wallet? My guess is more than two. As a digital nomad and perpetual traveler you have to keep track on the conversion rates and different currencies all the time. To make sure you are charging an equally fair price in USD/EU/GBP or any other currency out there use XE Currency. Get live conversion rates instantly or add up a list of your preferred and sync ahead of time to have instant offline access from any device. XE Currency is available as a web service, iOS, Android, Windows Phone apps and more.

8. Trail Wallet

My second essential money app for digital nomads is Trail Wallet (currently iOS only). It’s a beautifully crafted and easy-to-use app for tracking your expenses across multiple countries and currencies. You can organize your spendings by country or my month, set max daily budgets and add each dollar you’ve spent on the go. At the end of the month the app will tell you if you gone over your budget or where exactly did the cash flow. It’s perfect for analyzing the cost of living and working at different cities and countries, thus finding the optimal home-base for you when you get tired of being on the road and need to settle down for a while.

9. Xero

And to keep better track of your business-related expenses try Xero. Arguably, the best online bookkeeping and accounting service out there for all the non-accountants. It’s perfect for sending invoices, keeping track of the cash-flow and setting payment notifications on credit cards and recruiting payments. It neatly categorizes all your bank transactions and reconciles them with the transactions you have made in Xero to keep things even more simple. Available for numerous iOS and Android devices, so you can always have access to your data at no time.

10. Tripit

Tripit is one of the best travel planners out there! It’s free, fast and most importantly – works off-line. Just say no more to papers and lost emails. Forward all your booking confirmations – hotels, flights, car rental etc and let the app do all the magic for you by turning it into an easy-to-follow itinerary. You can set up notifications and get access to your data from any device without internet connection. Tripit reduced my frustration of arriving to the wrong terminal or roaming around the new city with my baggage as I haven’t written down the hotel address correctly. It’s a great app I seriously recommend using it to basically anyone who travels.

11. 1Password

Sharing sensitive data, especially passwords with your clients or team and keeping track of them can get challenging. That’s why I’ve started using 1Password – a super secure password-sharing service that allows you to create special vaults with a set of passwords to tools and services only accessible to the people you’ve shared it with. Available for numerous devices, the service gives you peace of mind when sharing anything sensitive via unprotected networks. Speaking of which…

12. Private Internet Access

Keep all your data and computer protected by opting for Private Internet Access. Often we need to make those last minute payments or credit card purchases and the only internet available is a suspicious unprotected network your device somehow found. By using an anonymous encrypted VPN and a private IP you can be 100% sure none of your payment data will be fished or passwords stolen.

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13. Workfrom

Find the best coffee shops and cafes in your area with this service. Workfrom has a great pool of venues in major US cities – New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle – and more destinations worldwide to be added soon! The service is free to join and you’ll get access to numerous cool spots with unbiased opinions of wi-fi connection and cappuccino quality from digital nomads just like you. Reviews also include price range, meals available, general atmosphere and noise range, along with some pro-tips on where to find sockets and which table is the most secluded. I have discovered some of my all time favorites this way like Mr Bean in Amsterdam.

14. Spotted by Locals

Another awesome service to discover good meals and thrilling events at your current base. Spotted by Locals is not that typical city guide with boring touristy routes, but an amazing resources with awesome recommendations from the locals on things to do and places to check out. After all, you’ve chosen a location independent lifestyle to explore the world more, not just spend hours tapping on the keywords in a different environment.

Currently, the website has numerous recommendations for all major European cities – Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Warsaw and many more, plus it gradually expands into North America with Boston, LA, Toronto and Montreal guides recently added. You can browse around the free categorized selection of activities at the website or pay$ 2.99 for a PDF guide with all tips and places neatly listed on the map. Or opt for iOS or Android app ($3.99 each) to gain offline access to one of the city guides along with a detailed map.

15. Jawbone UP

Now when you know where to go and what to see, here’s a handy app that will help you get unstuck from your laptop. Jawbone UP will gently nag you when it’s time to get up and unwind a bit. Install the app and connect it to all your hardware, than let the Up Activity Tracker (a lovely bracelet) analyze your sleeping and activity patterns to help you creating a better lifestyle. The app will monitor and analyze all your actions and suggest you a healthier schedule, help you sleep better and keep up with the exercise routine (which gets erratic when you are on the move). Why do we need more time if we don’t spend it wise, right? The app is free for iOS and Android, however you’ll have to pay 129$ for the bracelet tracker or 49.99$ for the clip.

16. SugarSync

Some like DropBox, others opt for Google Drive, yet my go-to cloud storage service is SugarSync. It’s simpler, more powerful and has a really slick design. After you install it, you just need to right-click the file/folder to instantly back them up at the cloud. Besides, any further change you make to that data will be automatically synchronized. Large files get uploaded extra fast and you can get 250 GB storage space for just $99.99 per year. Also you can access, share and edit all your files via free iOS or Android app supported on numerous devices. Now, I’ve finally stopped worrying what should I do if my laptop gets broken/stolen.

17. Contactually

If you don’t like to get broke and return home, you have to invest a fair share of your time in building ongoing relationships with your clients, vendors or customers depending on what do you do for a living. To avoid this whole thing becoming a huge pain try using Contactually – a simple, yet powerful service that will tell you when and whom you should keep in touch with and how you could maximize your ROI by connecting with the right people at the right time. It will send you notifications when you’ve fallen out of touch with certain contacts (which can mean missed opportunities in the perspective) and prompt when you should reconnect with the most important contacts from your network by providing helpful context clues like social updates and recent conversations to make the whole thing look more genuine. The service boasts that their users get up to 40% more referrals after using their service (backed by case studies) which is kind of essential for you if you’d like to live the nomadic life and work for yourself!

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18. Schedule Once

If you are working on multiple projects with multiple clients at a time – Schedule Once is your kick-ass service to schedule online meetings and conferences. Create a sleek pre-set calendar when you are available and send people a unique link that allows them to select a suitable time for both of you to connect. The service is fantastic for anyone offering consulting services or coaching sessions and costs just 5$ per month!

19. Spaxtel

Sometimes the internet gets so crappy that calling by Skype is impossible. Or you have a very-very important conversation scheduled and you don’t want any possible glitches to interrupt you. That’s when it’s worth using Spaxtel – a cool service that enables you to make land-line quality phone calls via callback. You don’t need to install any software or have internet access. The rates depends on the quality of call you choose (the lowest discount is pretty great) and the countries from/to you are calling. So far, the price proved to be nearly Skype-affordable for a better overall quality of connection.

20. Earth Class Mail

Snail mail isn’t that popular these days, but you still get some important stuff via it. Say bills and some paychecks. If you don’t want to bug your parents or friends’ to deal with your mail while you are out, try using Earth Mail Class – an affordable mail forwarding service that scans and forwards your mail to the e-mail address of your choice, deposits your checks (for a fee), saves PDFs of your postal mail online and offers in-person pickup and package signing.

Featured photo credit: Avi Richards via unsplash.com

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