What if there was a surefire way to reach your goals without all the fancy bells and whistles? Believe it or not, research suggests you can actually improve your performance, health, productivity, and overall success just by developing a consistent daily routine. Understanding your own biological clock and how to preserve your brain’s energy is essential to ensure you get the most out of your day! (1)
Your brain makes an average of 35,000 decisions every single day and the more decisions we have to make, the more susceptible we are to decision fatigue. Making too many decisions within a single day can lead to low self-control and decreased willpower. We’ve all been there before; you get home after a long day at the office and you have to decide whether or not you want to go to the gym. If you’ve spent the entire day debating every little action you should or should not take, the easier option, the one that takes less willpower, will triumph during that split second of hesitation. One important reason for planning out your day is to ensure you won’t fall victim to decision fatigue when it matters most!
To help support your ability to “think less” and save your willpower for important decisions, we recommend planning out your day the evening before or that morning; from what you will be wearing to what you will be eating at each meal. This will lead to healthier and more productive actions and decrease the chances of consuming fast food, skipping a workout, or even making poor decisions at the office.
Although a routine that spans throughout an entire day is ideal, starting with a morning routine will set you up for success by maximizing productivity. Highly successful individuals such as Warren Buffet and Barbara Corcoran tribute a lot of their success to their daily morning routines! Understanding your biological clock, which we will discuss later, will allow you to get the most out of your morning routine in a way that best suits you. Four habits that many people incorporate into their morning routine include:
- Wake up early, ready to attack the day! Hitting the snooze button on your alarm will only create stress and chaos as you rush out the door in the morning.
- Get moving! Many successful individuals like Bob Iger and Sheryl Sandberg make sure to invest in their health by incorporating some level of movement into their morning routine, whether that be hitting the gym or going for a walk.
- Recharge your motivation! This can be personalized to you but a few examples include reading, meditation, listening to a podcast, journaling, etc.
- Eat your frog! A quote by Mark Twain suggests doing your most difficult task first thing in the morning when your mental energy is at its peak.
Another way to enhance your success is to sync your daily schedule to your biological clock. This is true not only for mental productivity but for athletic performance as well, and it supports the importance of creating a specific routine each day. Our body loves routine and has many cyclical rhythms that regulate bodily functions ranging from when you sleep to when you reproduce. The circadian rhythm is our body’s 24-hour cycle that manages daily biological processes such as alertness, hormone production, energy levels, and even sleep and wake cycles. Understanding when you are more alert, which is usually in the mid-morning for most individuals, is important in planning your day. It would be productive to plan tasks that require the most mental bandwidth during that time.
The same goes for training. There are periods throughout the day, based on hormone production, where you will perform best in regards to strength training, cardiovascular training, and even specific styles of training which involve more coordination such as double unders and gymnastics movements. In the morning, testosterone levels are their highest and in the evening people tend to have the greatest cardiovascular efficiency. Again, this is generalized so understanding your own biological clock is also important to ensure you get the most out of your work, your training, and your health. (1)
Putting it All Together
The goal for creating daily routines is to limit poor choices and enhance productivity by decreasing decision fatigue caused by a lack of planning. Setting a routine is a start, but syncing your daily tasks to your biological clock is the ideal way to get the most out of your day and even your training. For some, it may be unrealistic to train at the specific times of day when your strength and coordination are at its peak, but, by sticking to a schedule that is consistent, your body will learn to adapt. Our body loves routine and when we wake, eat, train, work, and sleep at the same time every day we not only decrease the stress from continuous decision making but our regulatory systems no longer have to play the guessing game. This is important for digestion, improving sleep quality, and even performance!
Creating an effective routine that supports your biggest priorities, ensures your goals will be met, and syncs with your biological clock may not happen overnight, but if you struggling to understand where to start or how to implement a routine that works for you, it may be time to look into a fitness plan that supports more than your just training. If you’re interested in learning more, schedule a free strategy session with a Central athlete coach today! Fitness is just one small piece to the puzzle of success and at Central Athlete, we are here to ensure you are supported in all the areas that matter most!
- National Institute of Health. Circadian rhythms. Updated March 4, 2020.
- Kline CE. The bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep: Implications for exercise adherence and sleep improvement. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2014;8(6):375–379. doi:10.1177/1559827614544437