If you have known me for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of habits and routines. Until November last year, I had a 1152 day long streak in doing daily Japanese reviews in Anki. (I had to stop because of a 10-day meditation retreat with no access to any devices, and it took me almost half a year until I picked it up again, oops.) And my close friends know that I’m fairly protective of my mornings and evenings. So today, I would like to talk about my morning routine.

First of all, I have to admit that my wake-up time is very flexible, and that I’m still struggling with sleeping well even though everything should be in place for a good night of sleep. But that’s a topic for another time. I usually get up between 6:30 and 7:00. The order of my morning routine items has been in flux, but the actual content has stayed basically the same for a while now.

Currently, I start with meditation. Some people would argue that they will just fall asleep again. Those people should probably not start right off with meditation, but for myself it works well. While I don’t plan how long I’ll meditate, it usually ends up being somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes, occasionally longer. Right now, I’m doing silent meditations, but every now and then I switch it up with some guided meditations.

After meditation, I usually go for some exercise. This is also not super consistent because sometimes I exercise after all the other things in my routine, sometimes in the afternoon after work. Recently, my exercise consists of one of three things:

  • Yoga
  • Running
  • or simply taking a walk (which in my opinion is “good enough”) After exercise, I take a quick hot shower (I want to go back to cold showers, but it’s hard!).

The central part of my morning routine is my reading session. I love to read, mostly non-fiction, and taking some time in the morning to consistently read has been really important to me. I make a hot chocolate (I don’t drink coffee) and sit down at my little meditation/reading spot where my current books have their fixed place. While I sip the hot chocolate, I read the book and usually take notes as well. The note-taking is something I only added this year and it has really helped me to get more out of those books. I remember the content better and it’s much easier to get an overview about a book I’ve read if I have my own notes to look at. I usually read for about 15 to 30 minutes (mostly depending on how late it is at that point).

The last thing in my morning routine is Anki. Since April, it’s a part of my daily routine again, but it usually takes me only 5 to 10 minutes in total to review all my vocab and kanji. However, I want to go a bit deeper into Japanese again and learn more kanji, vocab, und grammar, so this might go up again. My current setup is having my iPad with an external keyboard where I’m running Anki, controlling Anki with my left hand on the keyboard, and writing in my notebook with my right hand. I still physically write every single review which is why I can pretty confidently say that I can not only recognize, but also write, almost all the kanji in my Anki deck. (Of course, it also takes probably double the amount of time.)

After reading all of this, you might think: “How much time does this guy have? This must take forever!” Well, I guess you’re not wrong. Depending on the exercise especially, my morning routine can take anywhere between 1 1/2 and 3 hours of my day. I can afford this because my working hours are flexible and I don’t work full time, so it’s not a big deal if I start a little bit later. But somehow this morning routine has become such an integral part of my day that spending all this time feels like it’s totally worth it. I’m training my body (physical exercise) and my mind (meditation), and I’m making sure that I’m learning something every day (reading, Anki). In fact, I would like to put more things into my morning routine (just so that I can make sure I do those things every day), but I also don’t want to start with work too late, so my current routine is kind of the compromise.

I originally wanted to write about both my morning and my evening routine, but this got so long that I’m making a separate post out of the evening routine. (Spoiler: My evening routine is less interesting and usually shorter.)

How about you? Do you have a morning routine, or are you taking each day as it comes? Have you figured out what works for you, or are you still experimenting? Please let me know in the fresh comment section down below!