How To Create A Day That Counts (The First Hour)


We all wake up in the morning the same way. We roll over, our dream fades, we open our eyes and our mind activates.

But what we do next could is very different and varies greatly from one person to the next.

Morning Rush

Most people wake up with just enough time to take a shower, have a little food and drink and race out the door to work. Then as the day goes on things seem to just get more and more hectic. You try to force things to calm down but they just get more and more out of control.

Does any of this sound familiar?

What if you could transform your day from frantic to free, from chaos to calm? What if all it took was changing one simple thing?


Over the last several years I have been experimenting with my mornings. I’ve played with

  • wake up times
  • morning routines
  • work schedule
  • exercises
  • meditation
  • caffeine (lots and lots of caffeine)

What I have found is that the tone you set during the first hour of your morning will continue throughout the entire day . And by creating a system that makes for a smooth first hour, you can create a pretty smooth day. (the opposite applies as well)

Do you wake up at the last minute and spend your morning racing around, belt in hand looking for your keys so you can run out the door, drive as fast as you can and get to work exactly on time? If so, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Here’s what you can do instead.

The First Hour

  1. Wake up at least one hour before you need to. If your workday starts at 9:00am and your job is 30 minutes away from home, wake up at 7:30am. Set an alarm if you have to. This way you get to have a little bit of your own time before you start the day.
  2. Create a morning routine. Use your hour to put yourself in a good state of mind. Sip a cup of coffee, look at the sky, listen to music, have something to eat (if you eat breakfast), meditate, stretch, exercise. Do whatever relaxes you and makes you feel good. *This is key and it is yours to create.
  3. Set 1 Goal. Think of one thing you want or need to accomplish today. You may have 100 things on your todo list but you’re just going to pick one – and do it today. Whether your one thing is related to work or your personal life, this small, daily progress will stack up over time and soon you’ll seem super human compared to others that have 100s of things on their todo list and never get anything done.
  4. Visualize your entire day. While you’re sitting having coffee or visualize yourself going through your entire day. See yourself going through each step. Look for obstacles that come up and solve them mentally before you start. Go all the way through going to sleep that night. What did you do? What problems may come up? Go through everything before the day begins and you’ll more prepared when it happens. (this really works)
  5. Feel good. As you go through the day, remember to feel good. No matter what happens during the day you get to choose how to react to it. If a car cuts you off in traffic, no worries. Co-worker screws you over on a project? Life is too short, who cares. Set an alarm if you have to to remind you to Feel Good in the middle of the day. (I have an alarm on my phone that just says “Feel Good” it makes me smile every time)

If you do this for a while you’ll start to see the difference. By changing the way you start you can change the course of your entire day.

Start slow, don’t try adding to much at once.

The First Week

  • Monday: set a goal to wake up an hour before you need to leave home
  • Wednesday: add 10 deep breaths before you get out of bed
  • Friday: add 2 minutes of basic meditation

Add each new part of your routine slowly, this shouldn’t feel like work. It should feel natural and good.

Don’t expect immediate perfection. I’ve been playing with this for a long time and some mornings I just blow it. And I normally pay the consequences. As with anything else there will be some days that are better than others. The trick is to keep trying, even if you mess it up for a day or two (or 10).

Taking advantage of the First Hour will put you in a much better position to stay in control, do your best work and propel yourself one step closer – – to taking over the world.

  • Mike MRK

    Another great article. Just saved it on my evernote.

    • Malan Darras

      glad to hear Mike. Thanks

  • Tim

    Malan, are you familiar with the work of the late Seth Roberts? If not, I think you’d find his stuff absolutely fascinating.

    • Malan Darras

      TIm, haven’t heard of him. looks interesting – recommend any article in particular?

  • Ben O

    Malan, thanks for reminding me why I do my routine every morning.

    morning routine is so critical. it provides a basis for you to
    repeatably do the things that move the needle towards your goals. Its
    practice for the other things in your day that you’ll need to work on to
    get where you need to go. I always viewed the morning routine like
    working out. You know what you need to execute and focus on to make
    progress. It was always easier for me to workout and know what to do but
    with business and in life its not so clear for me. the morning routine
    provided a way for me to listen and direct myself towards where I want
    to go in life.

    Thanks again for the great articles!

    • Malan Darras

      that’s awesome Ben, glad it’s working for you. i think if you can figure out how to workout, morning routine and work on campaigns and do it all on a regular basis – life is much, much easier.

  • Malan Darras

    thanks Tim, i’ll check it out.