My Daily Routine and the Importance of Winning the Day
Author James Clear says “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems”.
I believe this is especially true for the owners of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and IT Solution Providers.
Your daily routines can determine whether you win the day, or experience overwhelm and burnout.
I was recently interviewed by our MSP Community Manager, Stephen McCormick for the 125th episode of TubbTalk – The Podcast for IT Consultants.
During our interview, I answered a question from a listener about my daily routines.
Therefore, in this article I thought I’d expand upon that answer and share what my daily routine (currently) looks like!
I hope that by sharing my routines, it gives you an opportunity to reflect on your own daily structure.
My Daily Morning Routine
Now, I tweak these routines a lot over time, but as of today, here is my typical morning routine:
- Wake up at 0630
- Drink 500ml of cold water with some lemon juice
- Consume a cocktail of vitamins and minerals
- Journal (I’m currently using The 6-Minute Diary)
- Wear my Re-Timer – Light Therapy Glasses for 40-50 mins
- Read a chapter of a book (you can check out what I’ve been reading over at Goodreads)
- On alternate days; either do 3-4 minutes in a cold plunge (I use the Explore Fitness Large Ice Bath) and then shower, or take a 2-3 minute cold shower.
- Meditate for 10-20 minutes using the Headspace app, while lying on my Shakti Mat
- Make my bed (Why You Should Make Your Bed Every Day)
- Work on creative content — writing this email, creating a Tubbservatory video, writing an article or blog post.
There’s a lot there, so I’ll say that if you’re intrigued on some of the routines then here are some further reading.
- How Journaling and Trying New Things can Improve Your Business and Your Life
- Why Successful Business Leaders Read Regularly
The above morning routine typically takes me up to around 1030-1100.
Why Blocking Distractions Is So Important for Productivity
In fact, I use tools such as AppBlock to restrict notifications or any distractions such as email, text messages and social media.
That’s because, as I wrote in my book The IT Business Owner’s Survival Guide, you need to focus on your own plans before opening yourself up to other people’s demands.
Your email inbox is effectively somebody else’s to-do list for the day.
I’ve found that if I concentrate on my own agenda in the morning, then I typically have a more productive day.
Later in the morning, I drink a small amount of apple cider vinegar diluted in water before eating my first meal.
There are a number of Benefits to Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar, and I’ve personally found it helps with my blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
After this, I eat my first meal, typically sometime between 1100-1230.
For a while now, I have practiced intermittent fasting (IF) — typically eating inside a 12-hour window.
I find that intermittent fasting works well for my physical and mental health.
On two days per week I also practice calorie restricted fasting, where I typically eat less than 800 calories during the day.
If you’re interested in finding out more about calorie restricted fasting, then I highly recommend Dr Michael Mosley’s book The Fast 800: How to combine rapid weight loss and intermittent fasting for long-term health.
Please note that I’m not a health professional and everybody is different, so I’d recommend you seek out professional advice before trying fasting.
Blocking Out Your Calendar
A typical workday for me includes video meetings, responding to emails and conducting podcast or video interviews.
The exception to this rule is Monday (no meetings day) and Friday.
I haven’t worked on a Friday in around ten years, and I’ve found the 4-day work week to be really beneficial for my life/work balance.
If you’re intrigued by the 4-day work week, here’s an interview I recorded on How to Take Fridays Off.
At the end of the work day, I typically close my day down — which includes getting down to Inbox Zero — between 1630-1700.
Now, Inbox Zero is a lot easier for me as a result of my wonderful Executive Assistant.
However, even before I had an assistant, I practiced Inbox Zero (see My Experiment in Reducing my Emails by a Quarter)
Once I’ve closed down work, I then do a short meditation of 3-5 minutes using Headspace.
I find that this meditation psychologically helps my brain with the transition between work life and home life.
Then, in the evening, I turn off my smartphone at around 8pm and leave it plugged in to charge in the living room.
How to Sleep Well
I’ve found that if I don’t get good quality sleep, my physical and mental health quickly suffer as a result.
Therefore, I’m usually early to bed — typically between 9-9.30pm.
The benefits of CBD Oil for relaxation and sleep are becoming more widely known.
My good friend Nigel Moore introduced me to organic Lion’s Mane capsules.
Nigel shared with me that Lion’s Mane has numerous health benefits.
Be aware, both CBD Oil and Lion’s Mane can produce some really vivid dreams (which, personally, I love!).
No Technology in the Bedroom!
I try to avoid technology in the bedroom, as I think it’s disrupts your wind-down routine.
However, if I’m reading from my iPad or Kindle, then I’ll use some Blue Light Blocking Glasses.
Blue light from technology devices has been linked to poor sleep, so blocking this light helps me with better rest.
For months (perhaps even years) prior to this, I had an excellent sleep routine but would regularly wake up feeling exhausted.
Then, in the Summer of 2022, I experienced burnout — with hindsight, as a result of sleep apnoea.
I now use an ResMed AirSense 10 CPAP machine which has virtually eliminated sleep apnoea for me.
As a result, I’m now shaking off my fatigue and living my life fully again!
Why I Have These Routines
As you can probably tell, my daily routines have been built up over many years.
The primary reason for this routines is to support my physical and mental health.
As somebody who has battled Clinical Depression since my early twenties, I find these routines can really help my mental health.
So, while my routine may not be a good fit for you, I’d encourage you to experiment with some of the habits I’ve built up over the years.
How Routines Benefit You
Now, I’m a huge believer in the quote “Win the morning, win the day”.
I think that the biggest reason that most IT businesses don’t grow rapidly is because the owner is stuck being reactive to business demands.
Instead, by focusing on your own goals, you can accelerate your business growth.
I know this is difficult when you have client demands, service desk tickets and perceived emergencies, but that’s why the top MSPs grow from being a technician into being a business owner.
I hope the above insight into my daily routine has given you some ideas.
I’m especially interested in hearing about your daily routines.
Please feel free to leave a comment below, or get in touch.
Likewise, if you have any questions about my routine, I’m always happy to answer them.
Wishing you success and happiness with your own daily routine, for better physical and mental health!