The surprising way to start working on your morning routine

Your morning routine starts with the way you sleep. Waking up in a consistent manner won’t happen unless you structure your nights. There is no way we can function on a daily basis, in a hyper performance environment, without taking care of our sleep. I wanted to believe otherwise — but nop, it is impossible. 
Some people promise the wonders of 4 hours a night. I tend to give them the benefice of the doubt and find a few months later that it was their worst experience ever. I need a complete 8 hours night of sleep to make sure that I keep my energy high, be a nice person, and make sane decisions.

Therefore: follow through a morning routine = work on the night routine.

In what feels like a different life, I was in the habit of getting to bed at 2 or 3 am. I would be catching up with the latest youtube videos, sending a few messages, and binging on social media feeds. I felt like my day had not been productive, plus I was working in retail with crazy hours.

Goal number one: structuring my nights

Some would try to make rapid changes, hoping for a quick win. That results in dropping the ball after a couple of weeks. As I wrote before, I am not looking for short-term improvements but lasting impact. My goal was to make this entire thing a sustainable change rather than a sudden one. Instead of forcing me to get to bed early, I’d instead look for consistency. Can I go to bed at 2 am every night, never later?

Goal number two: finding a good time to sleep

After a few weeks, I could sense my body ready for the next challenge. By “sense,” I mean that it felt natural to drop everything I was doing at that time and head to bed, not feeling agitated. After getting used to it over several weeks, I would aim at going to bed a little earlier. I’d keep that goal for a few weeks, get comfortable, and try a bit earlier again. Settling to sleep at 10:30 pm would get me to wake up at 6:30 am. That is enough time to practice a morning routine before heading to work. 
Does it sound simple? The change happened over 18 months — picture the number of times I wanted to abandon it all!

Goal number three: falling asleep

Much later in the process, I tried to look at how I could be better at falling asleep. Same as you, I would keep rethinking the day, interactions, and freaking out about the next day. Reading about the topic, I found a simple trick that worked well for me. I would place my smart devices in a different room 40 minutes before falling asleep. I’d then go wash up and take a book/magazine/kindle. My mind would get carried away into the stories, and I’d get tired naturally.

This entire journey worked so well that a few things along the way were impacted. As I was having dinner with friends passed 10:30 pm, I started falling asleep on my chair. I believe there’s still a picture of that night somewhere…

It sounds terrible, but it was a great confirmation of my progress. I can now go to bed and be pretty sure that I’ll fall asleep. Having that consistency helped me be on strong grounds for the next stage.

Matthieu Bodin is an entrepreneur and community builder. As Regional Manager for Techstars in Greater China, he works with 200+ community leaders in 18 different cities to empower project creators across the region. Continuously experimenting with #Innovation led him to facilitate events with MTR, INFINITI, Apple, UNDP, Siemens, French Tech HK, InvestHK, RISE Conference, Techsauce, Echelon and more. As an entrepreneur, he co-founded Note-in, Anekdote.co, JookApp.com, and now Carnet.cc - a collection of thoughts and discoveries. He has spent 12+ years in Greater China: Beijing, Hong Kong, and now Shanghai. He is on Twitter and Instagram with @maboxiu.

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