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- Tim Ferriss is a bestselling author and star podcast host.
- Over the past 10 years, he’s asked hundreds of high performers about their morning routines.
- His incorporates meditation and journaling.
Over the past 10 years, Tim Ferriss has interviewed hundreds of professionals at the tops of their fields.
He’s learned their best practices, tried them himself, and then passed on his favorites to his audience.
One of the questions he’s asked each of his podcast interview subjects is “What does your morning routine look like?” Along the way, he’s found habits that he’s incorporated into his own mornings, adjusting them as needed.
We recently spoke to Ferriss about his new book “Tribe of Mentors,” and he told us how his morning routine has changed a bit over the past year since he wrote about it in his previous book, “Tools of Titans.” We’ve drawn from both to showcase his routine.
Like his friend Jocko Willink, a retired Navy SEAL commander, Ferriss believes that morning routines should be strictly followed, to avoid wasting time thinking. He told us that, “in the morning and elsewhere, the more constraints I can create where I fly on autopilot and get a result I need or enjoy, the more horsepower, the more calories I have to allocate to being creative, and to doing things where thinking should actually be applied.”
He makes his bed.
Ferriss wrote that in 2011 he was at a difficult point in his life and felt like his “energy was traveling a millimeter outward in a million directions.” He met a Hindu priest and speaker named Dandapani who told him that a way to help bring grounding into his life was to start off his day by making his bed.
It’s the same advice Naval Admiral William McRaven gave in his 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin. As McRaven said, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”
He meditates for 20 minutes.
Ferriss said that the vast majority of the people he’s interviewed have some form of a daily mindfulness practice.
He meditates every morning for 20 minutes, followed by a two-minute decompression period, using one of the styles he’s learned: Transcendental Meditation (TM), Vipassana Meditation, or a guided meditation from the app Headspace. [Headspace sponsors Ferriss’ podcast, but we can vouch for its effectiveness.]
“So meditation, or mindfulness practice, it’s really about, to me, decreasing emotional reactivity so you can proactively create your day and create your life; versus, just being a walking reflex that sometimes screws up,” Ferriss said.
He drinks some strong tea.
Ferriss developed a tea combo he jokingly named “Titanium Tea” for its ability to wake him up and get his metabolism fired up, and the name stuck.
He uses loose-leaf tea in a glass teapot (which allows you to see when it’s ready) but he said a French press also works.
He takes a flat teaspoon each of pu-erh aged black tea, green tea, and turmeric and ginger shavings, adds hot water, and lets it steep for one to two minutes. Then, in his mug, he’ll add one to two tablespoons of coconut oil or Quest MCT Oil Powder for a dose of medium-chain triglycerides, which some studies have shown to be linked to promoting fat burning.
He journals for five to 10 minutes.
Ferriss will then spend some time focusing on clearing thoughts from his head and putting them onto a page, including things he is grateful for and things he is anxious about.
He alternates between a 5-Minute Journal and Morning Pages exercise, which you can read about in detail here.
“It’s easy to become obsessed with pushing the ball forward as a Type-A personality and end up a perfectionist who is always future-focused,” Ferriss said in a podcast episode. “The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention, for me at least, because I am that person. That allows me to not only get more done during the day but to also feel better throughout the entire day, to be a happier person, to be a more content person — which is not something that comes naturally to me.”
He has a small breakfast.
Ferriss likes to keep his breakfast small, and he’ll often have half a can of Amy’s black bean chili, a low fat chili that’s high in fiber and protein that he said he orders “by the dozen.”
He exercises for 20-90 minutes.
Ferriss has recently revamped his morning workout schedule.
“That exercise could be riding on a Peloton bike and doing a 20-minute HIIT workout [high-intensity interval training], or it could be acroyoga, or it could be weight training or working on a Concept 2 rower,” he said.
This is an updated version of a story that originally ran on January 19, 2017.