Benjamin Spall: Yeah, so the main benefits, and we found, what was not surprising, when we spoke with people, especially kind of high level people that we could get for the book was that, basically, everyone we spoke with does have a morning routine. So many people, especially people who work out or who run, they mention that if they don’t do it in the morning, they’re unlikely to do it later on in the day. But I would also say that, I’m much more productive throughout the day, if I get the day started right. John Jantsch: Yeah I think there’s a lot of research about that idea of trying to start a new habit. They say it’s not the day you start, it’s the day you fail to do that new habit. I mean one of the things that, not everybody, but a lot of the people we spoke with do is working out. And that is one of the benefits of the morning routine, is you get these little things in. We don’t say anything in particular like 21 days. John Jantsch: So do you find yourself, because I think one of the things, to your point about, “I’m going to go run for an hour.” Do you, you see all these routines, and you collect these routines. John Jantsch: So Benjamin, MyMorningRoutine.com, is where people can find your routines on the website.
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John Jantsch: There’s a lot of people that believe how you start your day is how your day is going to pretty much unfold. Your morning routine dictates how inspired you’ll be for the day. In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I speak with Benjamin Spall, he’s the author of My Morning Routine and also MyMorningRoutine.com, where they have collected all the morning routines of hundreds of successful folks, and it’s definitely something you’re going to want to check out.
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Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Benjamin Spall. He is one of the founders of My Morning Routine, and also a co-author of My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. So Benjamin, thanks for joining us.
Benjamin Spall: Thanks for having me, John.
John Jantsch: So some people collect bugs, and some people collect coins, and you collect morning routines.
Benjamin Spall: I guess that’s true, yeah. We’ve, since buying the website about five and a half years ago, I think we’re just coming up on 300 routines on the website. And then, for the book, about 30 or 40 more. So yeah, it’s quite a collection now.
John Jantsch: So what, and this is a really hot topic, but, so I know there’s a lot of content out there around this. But I’m just curious what, in your research has shown, what are some of the known benefits of having a morning routine?
Benjamin Spall: Yeah, so the main benefits, and we found, what was not surprising, when we spoke with people, especially kind of high level people that we could get for the book was that, basically, everyone we spoke with does have a morning routine. And of course you could say that’s somewhat self-selective. But we found that when people have this productive kind of healthy morning in which they can meditate, they can do some working out, or they can just spend time calmly in a calm environment with their family. When they have that time in the morning, they can take the benefits of that with them for the rest of the day. So many people, especially people who work out or who run, they mention that if they don’t do it in the morning, they’re unlikely to do it later on in the day. And that’s another benefit. Just actually kind of getting the things in that, they’re not your main task of the day. It’s not like a project you’re working on. Just something that you want to do every single day, regardless of how your morning goes.
John Jantsch: And it’s funny, you mentioned, we all have routines. And, I mean, we can call them habits, too, I suppose, in a lot of cases. And some of them aren’t necessarily healthy. So I think what you’re talking about are really, ideally, the subtitle is, Start Every Day Inspired. You’re talking about actually developing healthy routines. I remember when my kids were little, a lot of the routine was about getting them fed and out the door, and it was not necessarily about me meditating.
Benjamin Spall: Right. That’s exactly right. And we do actually have a chapter on parents, specifically focusing on parents with young children, in the book. Because we wanted to point out that even though having a morning routine obviously isn’t going to be as easy for parents of young children, we wanted to point out, for example, through some of the interviews we’ve got in there, that it is still possible. You just, for the most part, have to get up a little bit earlier and kind of figure out what your kid’s own routine is. But that’s your point about healthy verses on healthy habits. We do mention the book, kind of the importance of changing some of these habits.
So many of the people that we spoke with, both on the website and for the book, mentioned kind of a phenomenon of waking up, and the first thing they do is pick up their phone and kind of hold it a couple of inches from their face, while they scroll through Twitter, they scroll through Instagram. And that, for the most part, is an unhealthy habit. So we kind of give ideas to how you can stop doing that, and kind of replace it with something that’s a little bit better for your morning.
John Jantsch: Well and I know we talked about, or I know a lot of people talk about the mental health benefits of having that kind of time where you focus, you collect your thoughts, maybe you journal, that kind of stuff. Certainly, a lot of the routines involve physical activity. And I know from my standpoint, I think running your own business, like many of my listeners do, is physically demanding. And I think exercise pays off in spades from that standpoint. But I would also say that, I’m much more productive throughout the day, if I get the day started right. Do many of the folks that you talk about or talk to list that as, really, a benefit?
Benjamin Spall: Oh totally, yeah. We actually, at the end of every single interview, almost every interview, we ask the person we’re speaking with what they’d do if they fail to follow their morning routine. And so many people told us, if they fail, there could be a certain element, they could do the X amount say, for example, and not have time. Or it could be the whole thing. They could just wake up a couple of hours late, and in that case, you probably just need to get to work, whether you’re employed, or whether you have your own business, you probably just want to get down to it. And so many people told us that if they failed a part of their routine, if kind of messes up their whole day. And they really struggle to complete the work they would be getting on with, because they kind of have this spark of not working out, not meditating.
So although in that situation, we do encourage people to get back on at the next thing. You know, don’t see one mistake as failure. It does affect your day if you don’t kind of have that morning time in which you can settle into the rest f the day.
John Jantsch: Yeah I think there’s a lot of research about that idea of trying to start a new habit. They say it’s not the day you start, it’s the day you fail to do that new habit. That getting back up and doing it again the next day is actually the key to success.
Benjamin Spall: Yeah. We mentioned, in the book we mentioned, Jerry Seinfeld has this idea of, I can’t remember what he calls it, but he puts a, he has a calendar. And then every day, he writes a joke, he puts a cross on that day on the wall calendar. And the idea is to no break the chain. So every single day, he wants to do it. And he doesn’t want to break that chain. But we mentioned in the book, even though that’s a great idea, and it’s very motivating, if you do that, and then one day you do forget to do your thing, whether it’s writing, whether it’s something to do with business, you can feel pretty unmotivated the next day. You can think, “I’ve just broken a 60, 90 day chain. And that can make you feel like you don’t want to get back to it.
So we mentioned in the book, and it’s kind of mixed in with our failure question. If that happens, just don’t worry about it. Just start again. And just don’t see one missed day, or even two missed days, as a setback. Because the ultimate setback is giving up on the thing you want to do overall.
John Jantsch: I’m sure some of the folks that you … And we’re going to get into some of the specific routines. But I’m sure some of the folks that you talked to also expressed this. I know for me, in many cases, my morning routines sometimes starts the night before. Depending upon getting to bed at the right time, did I drink too much wine? You know, have I given some thoughts and sort of unpacked the day, and put that away? For me, that, sometimes, is going to dictate how I’m going to start the next day.
Benjamin Spall: Yeah, no, evening routines, whether kind of after you’ve finished work, the way that you finished your workday and actually before you go to bed, they’re incredibly important. And someone actually said to us for the book, something along the lines of her evening routine and her morning routine is just like one continual routine with sleep in the middle. But yeah, evening routines are very important. First to get you in the frame of mind to actually fall asleep, and that’s especially hard, as many of us nowadays, we check our phone, we have all that blue light kind of streaming in, keeping us awake. But also to kind of help you calm down and get ready for the day ahead.
So one thing we mentioned, and we steal this from Cal Newport, who we also spoke with for the book, he’s the author of Deep Work, among others. And he said something along the lines of, you have this shut down ritual. This is more at the end of your workday than just before going to bed. So he has this idea of, you kind of want to have all your chickens in a row, as they say. So you kind of shut down your computer, you kind of check to make sure that everything on your calendar is…