The Simple 3-Step Morning Routine a Neurosurgeon Swears By for Success

Updated 06/29/18

Few people are more qualified to comment on what activities ignite productivity and success than neurosurgeons. They arguably know the brain better than anyone else, and they lead incredibly busy and demanding lifestyles. So when neurosurgeon Mark McLaughlin revealed his three-step morning routine for success to Business Insider, we took note.

Reading in Bed

According to McLaughlin, changing your morning routine has the power to positively affect your personal and professional life. His is comprised of three simple steps, which he refers to as his "triple threat." While the steps themselves are quite simple, there is one aspect of this morning routine that's a bit intimidating—McLaughlin's day starts at 5 a.m.

"The quiet early morning hours are a key time for focusing on a set of routines that start your day off right before the rest of the world wakes up and has the potential to throw you off course," he says. Beginning in the early hours of the morning, this is how a successful neurosurgeon, wrestling coach, author, speaker, and dad sets himself up for success every day.

1. Meditate. McLaughlin wakes up at 5 a.m. and spends 10 minutes meditating first thing. He practices transcendental meditation, in which he repeats a mantra in his head for 10 minutes of peaceful silence.

2. File. Any time a non-urgent task comes up in McLaughlin's day, he files it away in a system he's created for himself that assigns one task to every day in the future. Each morning he checks his daily file and checks off a task that he saved for later, like writing a thank you note to a friend.

3. Plan. McLaughlin relies on an old-school physical day planner to keep track of what needs to get done throughout the day. Although things don't always go to plan, this helps him stay focused on daily goals.

While you don't have to mimic McLaughlin's morning routine exactly, think about ways you can make your morning more productive to set yourself up for success every day.

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