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Episode #15

Audit Your Morning Habits

Show Notes:

Your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. Are you being intentional about how you're spending every morning? In this episode, I'm sharing two steps to auditing your morning habits, along with highlighting my own routine!

Our habits and patterns make up our reality—make sure they’re creating the reality that you want to live in.

Morning Routine Activity (1:57)
1. Write down everything you did within the first hour of waking up.
2. What were your thoughts within the first hour of waking up?

Consider Your Mornings as the Tone for the Day (3:57)

Jess’s Morning Routine (5:22)
1. Go on airplane mode for 30-60minutes first thing. Create before you consume.
2. Drink water before you drink coffee.
3. Write down everything that’s in your head.
4. Look at each person you’re meeting with and send them good vibes.
5. Figure out how you can make things fun.

One Liner: Our habits and patterns make up our reality—make sure they’re creating the reality that you want to live in. (13:07)

The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron

Review the Transcript:

So if you're a snow bunny, you're about to be super jealous because I am sitting here in Minnesota right now, looking outside with a warm cup of coffee in hand, watching snowfall. I'm not a cold person, but Jake loves it, and apparently so does my dog. We went and played outside in the snow today and it was super fun, but my happy place is warm inside with a cup of coffee. And speaking of coffee, this episode, we're going to be talking about morning routines. Now, one of my pet peeves is when there's these articles in like Forbes or Inc. or whatever and it's like, this is what millionaires do before you wake up. There's no one size fits all to morning routines, but I do think there are habits that we can put in place that can help us, just kind of give us that push in the right direction.

And I'll talk about this more in the episode, but if you want a little push in the right direction in the mornings, head to Go ahead, pause this podcast. I won't be offended. Head to Bright Pages and start your daily journaling habit in the morning. Bright Pages is my guided online journal made specifically for doers. And so how it works is you sign up, totally free. You don't even need to put in your credit card and you'll get five guided prompts to clarity. And as a special listener to Business on the Bright Side, you will get a discount. So use the code POD, P-O-D at And now without further ado, let's talk about morning habits.

What's up, everybody. It is Jess Ekstrom, and welcome to Business on the Bright Side, the podcast where you can learn how to make a living and make a difference at the same time. Life is short and so is my attention span. So let's get started.

Let's start this episode with an activity. So take out a piece of paper or open the Notes tab on your phone, and let's look at the first hour of you waking up. So whether you have just gotten up, or this is later in the day, think about the first hour after you woke up. First, write down what did you do in that hour? Did you go for a walk? Did you brush your teeth? Did you eat breakfast? Did you make coffee? What were the things that you actually did within that first hour of waking up? Then, I want you to write down, what did you think in that first hour? This one is a little bit harder, but what were the thoughts that were going through your head within the first hour of waking up? Did you think about what you had to do that day? Were you nervous? Were you excited? Were you still carrying over some thoughts and feelings from the day before? Write down what did you think within that first hour of waking up.

For me, I would like to think when I woke up, I immediately popped out of bed, brushed my teeth, made breakfast, made coffee, walked the dog, meditated, had all these healthy habits. But when I actually looked at it, when I thought about it, I realized that when I would actually wake up, I would turn the alarm off on my phone and then immediately hit the Instagram button. So before I even got to decide or think my own thoughts, I was scrolling E! News or watching people's stories or just mindlessly scrolling on Instagram before I even had a moment to myself.

And so when I actually looked at that first hour, it started by consuming other people's content, and then of course that creates this flurry of doubt and things in my head, like maybe I should create these reels like this person is doing, or why haven't I amounted to the success that this person has. And I was immediately consumed with thoughts and feelings that weren't my own. And we want to consider our mornings like our tone for the day. It really sets the music for how we want to approach the rest of our day. Sometimes it's pump up music or sometimes it's Avril Lavigne, like why you got to go make things so complicated. That was like my middle school theme song, for sure. And sometimes it's a slow song and sometimes it's two times hyperspeed, but how we treat ourselves and how we talk to ourselves in the morning is really setting that pattern for how it's going to be the rest of the day.

And those routines that we set make up our reality. Our patterns, our habits, and our routines make up our reality as we know it. When we look at marathon runners, no one's pushing them to go run. That's just the pattern and the habit that they've created. That's the identity they formed for themselves. So that's their reality. When I was writing Chasing the Bright Side, my morning routine was writing. And so every time when I would get up and I'd start writing, that was my reality. That was my identity that I was forming for myself as a writer. But as I said earlier, there's not one size fits all for morning routines. And trust me, if I see one more article that tells me to drink a raw egg before I get up, that is just not something that I want to do. And we shouldn't have to be forced to do what other people think is right. It's about finding what's right for you.

But here are some habits that I've found helpful for my morning routine. And if they work for you, great. If not, find what does. The first one is go on airplane mode. Now, depending on what time you get up and depending what your life looks like when you get up, if you have to be on a computer or whatever it is, if you can get up a little bit earlier and have 30 minutes or an hour or whatever it is uninterrupted on airplane mode, no notifications, no texts coming through, no emails. And that way you just have a moment to gather your own thoughts before you look at someone else's. I've heard this called create before you consume. Now, even if you're not a writer, if you're not creating something in the morning, just having a moment before all of this other information gets thrown in your head can be really helpful for you to figure out how you feel, what you want to do, what your priorities are for that day instead of constantly being fed someone else's. So try before you go to bed, setting your phone to airplane mode, and then not turning it off until 30 minutes or an hour after you wake up. So you're not immediately the moment you wake up looking through text messages or emails, you get a moment to just have time with yourself.

Number two, I'm really bad at this, but drink water before you drink coffee. I mean the first thing that I want in the mornings is coffee. I'm not like, let me go chug some ice water, but it really does help kind of set the tone for how much water I drink the rest of the day. I don't know why. Maybe someone who's listening to this can explain this to me. But if I start before I drink coffee by drinking water, I want to drink more water throughout the day. And I can be so bad at drinking water. I've tried all these different water bottles and notifications on my phone, but for some reason, if I start my day by drinking water, I don't know, I feel like drinking water more for the rest of the day. So start by drinking water instead of drinking coffee first, then you can drink coffee after that. And if you're one of those people who likes tea over coffee, teach me your ways. I want to be a tea drinker, but I haven't found that tea that I like. So let me know if there's a certain tea I should be drinking.

Step three in the morning is write down everything that's in your head. There's a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. And she started something called Morning Pages, where you literally just have three pages of your stream of consciousness. This was really, really helpful for me and I still do this all the time. But something that I wanted to do was add another layer to our journaling in the mornings with Bright Pages. So Bright Pages is my guided online journal that I created for doers. And it helps you get that spark of creativity in the day. So maybe it's a prompt that you choose, or we have something called prompt pathways where you can actually pick a goal and you'll get specific prompts for seven days based on that goal. But whatever it is that you want to do, write it down in the mornings. Write down all of those little demons that sometimes seem bigger than they actually are, that are sitting in our heads that need to just be released. Because the crazy thing is study shows that our minds can only hold up to six or seven pieces of information at a time.

Now, I don't know about you, but my mind is definitely trying to hold more than six or seven pieces of information. I'll be checking my email or scrolling Twitter or petting my dog and thinking about something that I said five years ago and thinking about what I'm going to have for lunch that day, all at the same time. And when we try to do that, we get that feeling of overwhelm or like we're forgetting something or we're doing everything wrong. So if we can just write it down and make sense of our day, then maybe that will help us do the things that we actually care about instead of just getting swept up in all of these tasks that maybe we don't even need to be doing.

So if you want to give Bright Pages, a shot, head to and we're doing something fun for the holidays. If you want to gift Bright Pages to a doer in your life, you can actually gift them an annual subscription to Bright Pages. And we'll include the super cute coffee mug that says, "The future is bright." So head to and grab your gift today.

The fourth morning habit is something that I was taught by someone. I can't remember who it was. I was having a meeting with someone and they said that before they start their day, and they're looking at their calendar, besides just looking at your calendar to figure out what you need to do that day, they look at each person that they're supposed to be meeting with that day and they take a moment and they just send that person good vibes. Now I know this sounds maybe a little woo woo or Hakuna Matata, but for some reason, when she told me she did that, whether it was like a big meeting, a small meeting, an acquaintance, a friend, someone you worked with for the first time or someone you've been working with for years, just going through your calendar and as you're looking at where you need to be and what you need to do, look at the names of who you're going to be interacting with that day and just wish them well, wish them the best.

And I just thought that was beautiful. It kind of gives you a moment where you can just stop thinking about yourself and all of your needs for that day and recognize the people that you're going to come in contact with and realize that they have lives too, that they're dealing with problems just like you are. This actually comes in handy too with meetings that I'm dreading or people that I'm like not super excited to talk to, to still have a moment at the beginning of the day where I'm like, "Look, they're going through life as well. They have struggles just like I do. And let me just take a moment and wish them the best."

The fifth morning habit that I want you to take from me is figure out how you can make things fun. The things that you have to do or the things that maybe you dread in the morning, how can you make it fun? So, for example, sometimes after I have my time in the morning, and I know that I need to open up Slack, or I need to get on email, I'll put on The Office because I freaking love Michael Scott. And I have that on in the background as I'm kind of going through my inbox. And I know that you shouldn't maybe be watching Netflix in the morning or watching, having Netflix on in the background as you're doing something else but it just, sometimes if I'm just feeling like a little sluggish or a little down in the dumps, having that in the background just makes this task more fun, or maybe you want to be more active in the mornings and you really don't like pushing yourself to get outside or go for a walk or go for a run.

Can you find a buddy to do it with that just makes the process of working out or going for walks more enjoyable for you? Or if you're communicating with your colleagues or your team on Slack, can you send a funny meme or something that can just make them laugh in the morning and just set the tone of humor and we're all in this together because sometimes we can make ourselves feel like to do good work, to work hard, it can't be fun, which isn't true. We can have fun and do great work at the same time. So what are the things that you do in the morning or throughout your day that you can add a little fun twist to?

Okay. So just to recap, the five habits that you are welcome to steal from me in the mornings. Number one, go on to airplane mode. Number two, drink water before you drink coffee. Number three, write down everything in your head. Number four, look at your calendar, send good vibes to anyone that you're meeting with that day. And number five, make things fun. So I'll leave you with this. Our habits and patterns make up our reality. Make sure they're creating the reality that you want to live in.

Thanks for listening to Business on the Bright Side, I'm your host, Jess Ekstrom. For all the show notes, head to and be sure to tell me what you thought of this episode on Instagram. And if you're picking up what I'm putting down, subscribe and write a review, wherever you consume podcasts. See you next time and keep chasing the bright side.

If you're into texting, click the link below to get my Monday hype text!

iPhone featuring Jess' Monday morning hype text

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