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  • Writer's pictureJulien Haye

My 5 Morning Habits

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

4:30am; it is pitch black outside and most of the city is sound asleep. I am not.

I have never been a great sleeper. Since COVID started, I have taken this concept to a whole new level.

I don’t have any problem going to sleep. My daily “going to bed” routine is fairly stable and my mind is calm and relaxed most of the time. But waking up past 6am is an achievement.

I became a morning person by accident and I have decided to stop stressing over the lack of sleep – even though I am sleep deprived! – and make the most of the time. This decision has massively changed the quality of my days.

I recently listened to Hal Elrod’s podcast The Six Morning Habits of High Performers to get some tips. He explores the impact of meditation and silence on his creativity and energy levels, he talks about reading, as well as how all of that helps him to be a better version of himself.

I tried a lot of what he mentioned over the recent months. But it did not work for me; after much trial and error I came up with my own “recipe”.

As I start my workday, I now feel energised and focused! Highly caffeinated too…

Morning Habit #1 – The water and coffee stop

In her article 5 Morning Habits Of Highly Successful People, Caroline Castrillon explains that we need to hydrate first thing in the morning … with water, not with coffee.

There seems to be a lot of arguments and counter arguments online about the impact of coffee on our hydration level. I am no expert, but I am not ashamed of giving in to my morning addiction!

After I wake up, I usually go to the kitchen, I pour myself a glass of water as my first espresso of the day is getting ready. Then I settle in front of my PC to write and learn whilst sipping my little cup of heaven … which is exactly what I am doing right now as I am writing this article.

Morning Habit #2 – A good time for Andragogy

I am a fan of LinkedIn learnings, especially early in the morning where it seems my mind is most receptive. And I build on this over time listening to more and more podcasts.

For example, I subscribed to

· How to Be Awesome at Your Job Career development podcast hosted by Pete Mockaitis where I got to discover Hal Elrod’s advice.

· Coaching For Leaders podcast which has a massive list of speakers and insightful topics

· where I have been listening lately to Anna Wintour on leadership

I spend hours weekly listening to folks’ experience on leadership, risk management, diversity and inclusion, public speaking, writing, risk training and so many other topics I did not even know I would be interested in.

The more I listen, the more I learn, the more curious I get.

Morning Habit #3 – Unleashing the writer in me

My mind can get on fire during my morning “classes”. I find myself taking tons of notes when I listen to these courses or podcasts:

As I organise and write down my thoughts, the creative juices flow. And writing comes naturally.

I also found myself having increasingly more “aha” moments during my morning shower. The sensation of the water on my skin and the feeling of peace arising from it seem to be a catalyst for my thoughts and ideas to come together. This blog is a very good example of that.

Sunrise, Morning Photography by Julien Haye

Morning Habit #4 – Letting more creative juices flow

I thoroughly enjoy photography. But opportunities for photography in lockdown turned out to be fairly limited.

When the sky paints itself with vibrant and warm colours, the reds mixing with the oranges to overtake the dark blue of the night, I sit on the sofa and I admire the fantastic landscape as it opens up to me.

I took countless photos of sun rises over the past year, as my Instagram account would attest. The beauty of the early morning lights and the peacefulness of the environment is the perfect moment to take a break and immortalise the morning beauty.

Camera at hand, I brave the cold and jump on the terrace for my daily shot.

Morning Habit #5 – Reaching out to the world

My relationship with social media has been complicated for a very long time – I am not a fan of Facebook especially, but more of that in a later blog.

I never really made the time and, to be honest, I wasn’t super clear on where to start. I could go for very long stretches without doing anything. Which is ok I suppose.

I realised of late that I did enjoy the “social” components of social media. I started looking at it from a different lens, where the combined shared experiences represent a stunning learning opportunity and I really enjoy making contacts. And the added benefit: I no longer scroll endlessly.

Every morning, I read new stories, I comment on people’s latest news or shared experience, I congratulate them on their new job or I share some observations on the latest risk insight publication.

And finally, I take a stab at answering my personal and professional emails. My mailbox has become (mostly) very clean.

And My Non-Morning Habits …

For years, I have been exercising before going to work.

It started this habit mostly out of necessity. I would probably have opted for evening training, but I found it impossible to make my gym classes fit in my work calendar. As a result, I shifted to the morning before work.

But since the beginning of the year, I managed to have my 30/45min daily training exercise late afternoon or early evening and it has been working wonders for me. It has freed up my time in the morning and all the small pains or issues I used to have exercising with a “cold” body despite warming up have all but disappeared. This has turned into a “win-win” situation.

The other thing I tried and very quickly stopped is Reading. I don’t know why, I simply can’t pick up a book or a magazine early morning. I had to force myself and it was simply not enjoyable. But since I stopped doing this early morning, I have been reading a lot in the evening… so clearly, it works better this way.

Finally, meditation! I haven’t successfully cracked this one. I tried in the morning. I tried in the evening. But I somehow cannot get into it. And it probably connects to why I enjoyed my morning routine.

Feeling good

I would never have imagined a year ago I would enjoy writing, learning and doing all of these things early in the morning. I discovered that I thoroughly enjoy the early morning calm and quiet, which I cannot find during the day and in the evening.

As COVID19 forced us to stay at home and removed the need to commute, I found myself (re)enjoying this “me-time” where I can focus on myself without any distraction.

I did build a bit of structure around it all and created a bit of a plan. By the time the world rises and shines, I have already had my shot of small victories, which provide me with a sense of accomplishment and make me feel good about myself.

I would love to hear more about your morning routine! Feel free to share some of your tips in comment.

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