The First Hour

What do you do with the first hour you wake up?

For many, this question begets an immediate sigh of disappointment in themselves, spikes a cortisol stress response and/or has the person being held back by their wife while they’re trying to attack me for being a “pretentious little asshole that doesn’t know what it’s like to have children”. (I really don’t… not trying for the moment to either, sorry)

So, what does your morning look like?

Do you wake up immediately into chaos because you stayed up late, drank a couple glasses of wine, had shit sleep and tried to cling on to every second of rest you could? Resulting in waking up 15 minutes before you have to leave the house for work where you couldn’t shower, make coffee or iron your shirt? Or did you wake up to the kids losing their shit, while having to force them to get dressed, eat, brush their teeth, and not kill their sister? Now you’re off to work with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crush cut off stuck to the back of the same shirt you’ve been wearing all week just to be yelled at by your boss for always being late.
These options sound fucking miserable, but also are super common for lots of folks. In today’s world, sleep and rest is so sought after, but never prioritized. The constant echoing of, “I just want to sleep” rings in my ears and scrolls in my feeds all day. Then you get home, watch tv, scroll your phone, drink those glasses of wine to cope with the long ass day and before you know it, it’s 12:30 am and you have to be at work at 7:00. For something so desired, it doesn’t seem that important does it?

To be able to have a productive first hour, you must have a preemptive productive prior evening.

In order to be able to wake up before the rest of the family, or with enough time before work to focus on yourself, you need to start the routine the evening before. Here’s my evening routine solely to prepare myself for the morning and set my day, you create your own – based on what takes the most time away from you in the morning;

  • No Alcohol (if any, then at least 3 hours before bed) – the disruption in sleep is incredible. A lot of people say it helps them sleep. It may help them get to sleep but you will not get restful sleep, I promise. This is a 100% undeniable, fact. I spent two weeks logging my sleep with my oura ring with one glass of wine versus none and my recovery dropped 10-20% everytime I drank. There is also tons of research and data to back this if you’re inclined. If you don’t notice the difference, it’s probably because you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a long time. Give it a go.
  • TV, Computer, Phones off with the sunset – this one is constantly screamed by every health professional in the world nowadays. Let your cortisol drop, let the melatonin creep back up. Those devices will slow that process and fuck your sleep.
  • Set Coffee Timer, Lay Out Clothes, Shower – These were my game changers, stupid and obvious, but these three things took 20-25 minutes from my morning. That’s a lot of wasted me time when I could knock them out the night before instead of watching that one episode of the golden girls where Rose hooks up with a man who dies in her bed. Classic and amazing. But, not worth it.
  • Read – Reading is obviously good for the mind and whatever, but it’s also amazing for sleep. Reading takes energy, thought takes energy. Reading by a dim light in bed is the perfect way to initiate restful sleep.
  • Create a Space for Deep Sleep – First is a cold and dark environment. I do 71 degrees, but this is subjective to your house and AC. My place is so cold at night that my dog has to get in bed with me to warm up. Again, I logged the difference with the Oura ring and saw huge discrepancies within a 4 degree temperature change. Miserable sleep. Make sure all the lights are off, even LEDs, alarm clock (if your 200 years old and still use one), fire alarm, etc. These disrupt sleep more than you know. Bonus: Make sure your WiFi router is as far from your room as possible, phone not right by your head, and any other EMF device is out of the room that could disrupt sleep.

You’re Prepared for the Morning, Now Create the Ritual

The first part and most difficult in the beginning, is setting your waking time. If you have family, you have to try to be up an hour before them and if that isn’t possible, you need to communicate that the next hour is your time and you’ll be back with them at whatever set time you communicate. If you live alone, you need to be up an hour before you need to do anything that isn’t self-focused – like getting dressed, brushing your teeth, or eating breakfast.
Personally, my first client is at 7:00am and I am up at 4:30 or 5:00am everyday. I don’t even take clients earlier than 7:00 because this process is so important to me and has created so much productivity in my life. I could wake up earlier, but there is a balance to be found. 3:00am wake up time doesn’t seem productive to me as I’d be in my bed at 6:00pm.
You will need to create your own routine, based on your lifestyle, work and family. This is an example of my first hour;

5:00 – Wake Up (no phone until 6:00)

  • Walk the Mut
  • Drink water, take vitamins and minerals (roidz)
  • Meditate/Breath Work 10-15 minutes
  • Movement Goal – I am working on doing a split, I do 5 minutes of split work.
  • Grab already prepared Coffee
  • Journal/Outline every step of my day, even if it’s in my phone’s calendar I re-write it and include:
  • Schedule – all important meeting, sessions, workout and color code importance
  • Tasks – All chores, errands, and goals of the day
  • Gratitude – Everything that makes me happy
  • Weekly Goals/Tomorrow’s Tasks/Reminders
  • Write content, play with dog, high five myself, get ready to go in

Commit to 7 days of this, workweek and weekend as well. One week of over commitment, then relax into 5 days a week and sleep in an extra hour on the weekends or whatever works for you. Personally, I committed to a 4 am wake up each day for the first week. The second week at 5 am felt like I was sleeping in.Over commit, adjust, develop the discipline.
For some, any practice to better themselves can seem selfish. But just like they say on an airplane, you have to take care of yourself first or you won’t be able to be there for your friends and family or anyone who counts on you.
Try this, tag me on instagram and use the hashtag #thefirsthour


  • Neil Swanson

    July 12, 2020 @ 3:10 am

    Great post, lots of wisdom here. A welcome kick in the butt. Working towards such a routine. Btw, love your IG. Peace.

  • Leslie Schrack

    August 5, 2020 @ 1:12 am

    I’m changing my life up! These are key factors I need to put into place. Thanks and I’m passing this along.

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