Daily Routines

James Clear: Daily Routine

On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.

When Atomic Habits author, James Clear, discovered that you only had 25,000 mornings as an adult, and realised he had wasted a lot of them, he was determined to create a routine to get the most out of each day.

25,000 times you get to open your eyes, face the day, and decide what to do next. I don’t know about you, but I’ve let a lot of those mornings slip by.

You Get 25,000 Mornings as an Adult: Here are 8 Ways to Not Waste Them | James Clear

After waking up in the morning with no alarm (unless he needs to catch a flight or has an appointment), Clear takes a shower, drinks a glass of water, and then “write down three things I’m grateful for, read twenty pages of a book, then get into whatever my work is for the day,” Clear told My Morning Routine in 2014.

Skipping breakfast, because he intermittent fasts, Clear will then head to his office; select one of many articles he’s been working on in Evernote (“I rarely start from a blank slate”) and begin writing.

As an expert in forming habits and mastering focus, Clear is known for using some interesting ideas to stay on track with his work. For instance, while writing Atomic Habits he would ban himself from using any social media for the week (with help from his assistant):

Every Monday, my assistant would reset the passwords on all Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, which logged me out on each device. All week I worked without distraction. On Friday, she would send me the passwords. I had the entire weekend to enjoy what social media had to offer until Monday morning when we would do it again.

How to Write Like James Clear, Bestselling Author of Atomic Habits | Shane Snow

Clear will spend most of his mornings writing, “my creative energy is highest in the morning, so that’s when I do my writing each day,” and reserve the afternoons for less creative tasks: interviews, phone calls and emails. “I don’t need my creative energy to be high for those tasks, so that’s the best time for me to get them done.”

As a way to prevent distractions while he’s working, Clear has removed all push notifications and most social media apps, and leaves his phone in another room when he’s writing.

As someone who practices intermittent fasting, Clear only eats between 12-8pm every day, and has his first meal of the day at noon — a habit he formed as a way to save time for work and health benefits:

“Take a moment to think about how much time people spend each day thinking, planning, and consuming food. By adopting intermittent fasting, I don’t waste an hour each morning figuring out what to eat for breakfast, cooking it, and cleaning up. Instead, I use my morning to work on things that are important to me. Then, I eat good food and big meals as a reward for working hard.”

After wrapping up his work for the day, Clear will head to the gym in the late afternoons or early evenings — he lifts three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), usually betwen 5pm and 7pm.

Clear will usually head to bed at around 10.30-11pm, but not before getting ready for the next day, “I’ll outline the article I’m going to write the next day and develop a short list of the most important items for me to accomplish. It takes 10 minutes that night and saves 3 hours the next day.”

Most unproductive or unhealthy behaviors are the result of slow, gradual choices that add up to bad habits. A wasted morning here. An unproductive morning there. The good news is that exceptional results are also the result of consistent daily choices.


Before you go…

Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Joe Rogan, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.