Why Are Morning Routines so Difficult?

Arlo Sanchez
3 min readJul 23, 2023
Photo by dominik hofbauer on Unsplash

Mark Manson (author of Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) has a weird morning routine:

It goes against conventional advice.

He waits for the impulse to start writing (Twitter gurus would be mad)

But when you read his books, they’re amazing!

He gets results.

But how Arlo? Does this mean I should do this routine as well?

Not necessarily.

Mark is an impulsive and unpredictable person.

His mind works in sparks. He loves learning about random topics and connecting them together. That’s probably why he reads first thing in the morning.

The thing is… he knows that.

And so he uses that to his advantage.

We aren’t 100% like Mark, which is why this routine probably won’t work for me.

But it works for him.

Let’s try another example.

This time, someone the complete opposite — Dan Koe:

His routine is very structured. Highly focused on priorities. Simple.

And yet his writing is just as high-quality as Mark’s.

So find what works for you by understanding who you are.

Through self-consciousness be aware of your thoughts, emotions and desires throughout the day.

Here are some things I’ve noticed myself thinking:

  • “I’m more focused in the morning” — so I choose to do it first thing in the morning
  • “I like going about the day feeling proud of myself and free to do what I find fun” — therefore I should do difficult and important tasks as early as possible
  • “I have less willpower at nights” — so I use evenings to relax and mornings to work hard

“I believe productivity is a deeply personal thing. We all have different brains and, therefore, different preferences, perspectives, and situations where we feel most effective.” — Mark Manson

I’m sharing my morning routine because it works for me. It might not work for you, but it’s worth testing it out.

Test.
Measure.
Experiment.
Refine.

Once you’ve experimented, it’s time to find out who you are.

One way is through personality tests like the MBTI, the Big 5.

The Most ‘Annoying’ Task

Start your day eating a frog.

It’s the most annoying task but it has to be done anyway.

You know that the sooner you get it done, the less you need to worry about it.

Imagine spending 20 hours in your day worrying about eating a frog.

Now compare it to only spend 10 minutes worrying about eating it.

Which would you rather do?

The first one of course.

So what counts as an ‘annoying task’?

Something that should be done as soon as possible due to its high importance and/or urgency.

My annoying task is writing. My newsletter is the backbone of my content. It affects the tweets, threads and Medium articles that I publish. So if I get to write for 30 minutes a day, then I can go on with the rest of the day feeling a sense of relief — knowing I did something that would get me closer to my goals.

Our bodies are designed to be focused

Think of the caveman days. When they woke up, it was either due to being attacked by predators, enemy tribes or they were hungry and had to hunt.

Our bodies aren’t so different.

We are designed to get moving when we wake up.

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