The David Dias

Code, Tech and Life

Productivity

How a Morning Routine can positively change your life forever

9 min read

This article was originally published on Medium

I cannot remember how many times it was hard for me to wake up in the morning. The snooze button was my best friend every morning, and I even hated when I was late to go somewhere. It was hard to believe that other ways could possibly exist when you work in my job area.

At that time, I believed only one possible way to live was possible.

As a Front-End Web Developer, these last years, sleeping 3–4 hours per night during a few successive days, drinking cups of coffee during the day (sometimes Redbull) was my ritual and my life. And I thought all developers life was close to that. To be the best, you need to go further, faster and perform better than others, and you cannot be restful, calm, have lot of leisure if you want to succeed…

Moving to Mauritius in 2015

I was asked to move from France to Mauritius in October 2015, delaying my goal to move to North America, to help my company to grow up and to manage a Front-End team of 12 persons (today 20).

I met my wife on that island, the most beautiful and Kind woman ever (Kajaal Dias). And you may imagine I was in the paradise…

But in reality, it was far to be the paradise like most of my colleagues and friends may still imagine.

At that point of my life, I was not feeling accomplished; I was not really happy for what I was doing and I was not living the life I always wanted.

As most of the people, I was not able to take real actions and make changes to build something new and different.

Hacking my body to sleep only 4 hours per day

In October 2016, seeing web tutorials on Youtube, my eyes were attracted by a video title “My 20 Hour Day” by Travis Neilson on his DevTips channel. And that was probably the start of lots of changes in my life.

It was the first time I heard about “polyphasic sleep”. A way to sleep less, but being in good health and more alert than sleeping successive 8 hours. At the beginning, I thought it was another fake experiment that may work for few people only. But my curiosity pushed me to dive in some advanced research. (Thanks to Damien Fauché and his french ebook: “How to sleep only 2h per day”)


Finally, few days after, I decided to try the polyphasic sleep - Everyman 3.

At the beginning it was hard and challenging but my motivation and dedication help me not to give up. Today, it has been 4 months that I’m still sleeping 3–4 hours at night and taking 2–3 naps during the day.

My core sleeping time is between 10h30 pm to 2h30–3h00 am. I do my first nap at home before leaving for work at 7h am for 25 minutes, my second nap is at 1h pm during lunch time for 20 minutes (in my car) and the third one at home again at 6h30 pm for 25 minutes after working hours.

Smart Sleep on iOS helps me to track my naps and to wake up. The start was not easy.
Smart Sleep on iOS helps me to track my naps and to wake up. The start was not easy.

It is not always simple to be regular, but it’s really essential to listen to your body. I remember sometimes at the beginning sleeping much more in the weekend because I missed some naps during the weekdays. I simply took attention to my body reactions and even you need to try hard at the beginning to create a new habit, your body can adapt if your are really aware of its needs.

Today I am able to fall in sleep in less than 5 minutes (I slow down my breath, put myself in a stress-free position and not let my thoughts haunt me). That helps a lot when you need to do a 20 minutes nap.

Some weeks after, I started to feel that my life can be different, I could do things differently and put a real step forward to my dreams and achieve more than I always wanted to do.

Five minutes to change your way of thinking

Putting a step forward in life, is putting a step ahead of others. And to feel good with others, you need to feel good in your life. And it started with me being grateful…

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and simply appreciate what we have, even in general we don’t want to see how lucky we are.

I started writing into “The Five Minute Journal”. It is not a journal like the others. It allows me to be grateful, mindful and plan which great things will happen during my day. I feel positive and happier when I use it.

Starting my day with my journal, creating and tracking new habits were just the beginning of my journey.

The “Miracle Morning” saved me (S.A.V.E.R.S.)

Sleeping less allowed me to have time… much more time (one more day in my week). And even I love my work and to be a programmer, I felt I gave maybe too much to my coding life and not to my personal life and personal growth. I needed to put a real daily routine, a way to equilibrate my life in all its aspects.

After starting my Five Minute Journal, I discovered “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod, reading articles and his book. That was exactly what I was looking for!

Then I started to put a morning routine using my favorite Todo app (Todoist).

S.A.V.E.R.S means Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercises, Reading and Scribing. These 6 elements are part of my daily routine now and help me to start my day in the most positive way.

My typical Morning Routine and his apps

Waking up at 2h30 am, I start my day with a glass of water and a personal recipe with lemon, water, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, apple cider, honey and collagen (everything organic). It allows me to feel good for whatever I ate the day before or will eat during the day. That did a huge change for my stomach, and I never had any stomach problems or pain again. (Remember in Mauritius, most of the recipes are spicy).

I brew my “Kick Ass” coffee from Kicking Horse Coffee with my beautiful Java Presse (I really love USA brands). I don’t really need coffee, but it’s more a personal pleasure for my morning ritual. (Sometimes I drink the Bulletproof Coffee by Dave Asprey with Coconut Oil and Ghee).

For meditation I use the excellent app calm.com. It can take only 10 minutes sometimes more, but that practice in my life had a significant impact in my way I live the present and feel more peaceful. There are other useful apps like Headspace amongst others.

I wrote some affirmations I read every morning and before to go bed. After I take some minutes to visualize what I want to achieve in my day, that helps me to keep focus.

I use Day One for scribbing whatever I feel or have in mind during my day and recently move to Fields Notes for my Morning Pages (thanks to Loic Le Meur).

I put Brain.fm for 15 minutes (with my headphones) and read at least for 15 minutes. I created a list of books on Evernote I want to read each week and month. I’m challenging myself with Goodreads to read 50 books in 2017… I am late already… :)

I regularly undertake activities like coding, watching tutorials, design, social media updates, new projects depending on the day. It is normally between 1h to 1h30 hours in the morning and oneextra hour in the evening.

Then when my wife wakes up, we go for a 20 minutes walk in the park near our apartment. Before I take my shower, 5 minutes of plank and 5 minutes of shaper, it’s enough for me to sweat and feel good.

I add when I have 20 minutes free some Yoga exercises with the help of Daily Yoga. Otherwise I participate every Saturday morning to a session class.

The most beautiful and clean park you can find in Mauritius
The most beautiful and clean park you can find in Mauritius

I take my cold shower hearing my favorite podcasts The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, The 5 AM miracle by Jeff Sanders and The Tim Ferris Show by Tim Ferriss. Can’t leave home without hearing these guys!

Since few weeks, I’m practicing Intermittent Fasting, so I don’t take breakfast but instead, I prepare a natural juice with cucumber, lemon, parsley, apple, carrot, wheat grass and with all others vegetables and fruits I find around.

During my short trajet to work (10 minutes), I listen with my wife some best-selling nonfiction books using Blinkist. I really recommend you to take a premium account, it is worths every penny.

Then I start my day at work with some other routines I may share in another article.

(I use to track some new habits on my mini-book “Track your habits” by kikki.k and with the Coach.me app.)

My new habits and Routines are only at the beginning

Experimenting lot of new things in the previous 4 months, give me the will to go further and do everything I can to achieve my goals and dreams.

I know I’m still adjusting with my Morning Routine, but I can’t go back after all what I discovered, all people I meet that give me some mindfulness and clarity in the life. I’m so grateful for all of this.

Nothing can stop me now to fulfill every single unique present moment of my life.


Tell me about your Daily or Morning Routine

And you, do you have a daily or morning routine?

What you do daily to improve your life, achieve your goals and take actions to build the life you want?

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David Dias smiling, photo blank and white

About the author

David Dias is a Software Engineer and UX/UI passionate. He tries to document everything he learns and help people starting their coding careers. After living in France, Brazil and Mauritius, he now lives in Toronto, Canada where he works for HomeX.

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