My Morning Routine in Apps

My mornings used to suck, it was super hard to get out of bed and when I finally managed to do that, it took another 2 hours of pissing away time before I could begin to focus and start being productive. If I could manage that at all!

Something had to change, but in my teens I had decided that I was not a morning person. So how to fix this?
Tim Ferris, in his podcast, always asks his guests about their morning routines. Mostly all of the succesful people he interviewed had some sort of routine and that mostly included mediation. This got me intrigued and I decided to look into morning routines. After discovering that the key to waking up earlier is to go to sleep earlier, things started to click into place and I now have a nice and productive morning routine which I am really happy with. And since I am a very digital minded person I present to you: My Morning Routine in Apps!

1. Waking up with Sleep Cycle
Sleep Cycle is an app that tracks your sleep patterns through how much you move during the night (of course my phone is in Airplane modus while I sleep). One cycle of going in and out of REM sleep takes about 1,5 hours. So in a normal night, I go through about 4-5 cycles. Before I go to sleep I put my iPhone into airplane mode and set the alarm at 6:30.
Sleep Cycle now wakes me up at that time, or 30 before, depending on where I am in my sleep cycle. Waking up during deep sleep, makes you really groggy, so Sleep Cycle makes sure to wake me up when I am out of REM and in a lighter sleep.

2. Tracking my weight with FitBit
First thing I do each morning after I relieved myself is stand on the scales. I have a Fitbit Aria scale at home that syncs my weight and fat percentage to their website. I can track and analyse it thought the Fitbit app on my iPhone.

3. Meditating with Headspace
All successful people seem to meditate nowadays, so I decided to also implement that in my routine. But I never meditated before, so where to start? Luckily the Headspace app helped me ease into it gradually, by doing the guided meditations I am now able to easily do 20 minute meditations and they are one of the highlights of my day. I make sure to do them in the morning, because if I don’t, life gets in the way and I tend not to do it anymore.

4. Exercising with Clock and RunKeeper
Exercising in the morning helps me pump up my body for an energetic day. I do either some body weight exercises which I time with the stopwatch in the default Clock app or I go for a run and track it withRunKeeper.

5. Reading with Blinkist
After exercising I make breakfast; either a protein shake or eggs and beans. And while I eat, I read. Reading is important because it expands the mind, I learn new things and it gives me inspiration and new ideas. In the morning I like to read business or self-improvement books, but most of those books are more fluff then insights. That’s why I read most of them through Blinkist. Blinkist distills the insights out of a business book and gives you a very well written summary. This way I “read” about 4 or 5 books a week. If I really like a book, or feel that the summary is not enough I buy it on Amazon and read the complete book on my Kindle.

6. Keeping in contact with Contactually
The last addition to my morning routine is Contactually, Contactually helps me stay in touch with people. During your life, you meet a lot of interesting people, but most times you loose contact, because life happens and you just forget about them. Contactually helps me remember to contact those people when I haven’t been in contact in a while. I have different settings, some people I want to contact every week, while for others every three months is fine. Every morning I login to Contactually and see a list of people I have “neglected” for too long and I write a couple personal e-mails to them. This has already helped me stay in contact with a couple people that dropped of my rader and enlivened our relationship again. Awesomeness!
I love my morning routine, it feels great to have all these things done before I actually start working on my business. It helps me become a better, healthier and more rounded person. And I notice that when I do it, I also get more and better work done on my business. It’s a win-win!

Do you use apps to improve yourself?