There was a time when a well-balanced breakfast, newspaper and coffee were enough to kickstart the day, but modern gentlemen need more inspiration. The secret is a consistent morning routine and setting the tone for tomorrow 9 to 10 hours before your morning alarm.
Gentlemen, if we sound like your mother, good. Sometimes momma knows best and she would tell you to get more sleep. Optimally, 7 to 8 hours is enough to recharge you - although some need more or less than others. The key is maintaining a consistent bedtime and wake-time to train your body-clock and prime you to conquer the day. Of course, easier said than done. Old habits always die hard and your iPhone isn't helping.
We are the Netflix generation; our attention is under constant assault. We are streaming, texting, instagraming and snapchating ourselves to insomnia. Detaching is getting harder, but it’s achievable with a few tweaks and better understanding the source of the problem.
It goes against your natural impulse, but replacing pre-bed time spent on your smartphone is the first step to besting your addiction. Experts call the push and pull between reality (the now) and the digital world, Digiphrenia. It is the tension that arises from simultaneously juggling multiple digital existences (Facebook, Twitter, G-mail, etc.), while also attempting to live in the present moment. We are fighting technology's influence on every aspect of our lives. But it's possible to break the spell at the time you need separation most by focusing your energies on more productive pre-bed activities:
- Prepare your meal plan of the week: This saves you time now, money in the long run, and promotes good nutrition by helping you monitor more closely what you eat each day.
- Prepare your work bag/briefcase: The things a gentleman carriers is essential to streamlining this day, including: a grooming kit, business cards, pens, reading material, water bottle, healthy snacks, phone charger, Moleskine notebook, and signature sunglasses. Let us know your daily carry in the comments.
- Fill up a glass of water for your nightstand: After 6+ hours in the horizontal, you’ll be dehydrated. Additionally, studies show a glass of water in the morning jumpstarts your metabolism.
After you’ve finished with your to-do list, channel Bob Marley, ‘turn your lights down low’, and try some seated meditation to tap into your inner calm (we suggest the headspace app). Alternatively, you can pick up a classic wind down tool: a good book. But, a productive evening and restful sleep is only half the battle.
It's equally important to structure some “me time” into the morning (not that me-time) to energize your body and mind, using your mood as a guide:
- A little lethargic? Get active with an early morning run, spin class, or yoga practice to release those natural endorphins.
- Too early to exercise? Get informed/entertained with an episode of your favorite podcast or late night show.
- Feeling creative? Cultivate some brainpower by blogging or journaling.
- Need to tackle your to-do list? Plan a getaway by researching flights for your next vacation or prepare a handwritten note to a friend, family member or business acquaintance (a lost art that the modern gentleman needs to rediscover).
- Having trouble concentrating? Get focused with a challenging puzzle or adult coloring book over coffee.
- Dragging a bit? Five your groove with your favorite artist/playlist on Spotify or Pandora.
Any combination of these will do, just remember to be consistent.
Lastly, getting dressed should be fun, not a mad dash. A carefully curated closet allows your style to tell your story, from your eyeglasses down to your socks. A well-dressed gentleman is a confident man who knows his place in the world, is in control, and steps out the door as such.
Whatever you fancy, start adding new routines one at a time, we suggest at most one-two a week. After a month each will become second-nature. Your nightly routine will train your internal clock, while your morning routine will build momentum for your work day.
Trust that, in time, more deliberate routines will give meaning and energy to your morning, and disrupt the clutter and stressful thinking that bring us down. A purposely driven life is a happy one.