The Nightly 5/5/5 Routine I Use to Jumpstart My Mornings

I practice 3 activities each night that take up 5 minutes apiece

Photo by kwan fung on Unsplash

Whenever I mention online that I’m a habit coach and I help people improve their habits, most of the time, I get the same response: “How can I wake up early?”

This issue has even more intensified due to the corona lockdown times. A national survey published on NCBI concludes

“Due to complete lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic leads to a state of social jetlag with delayed sleep-wake, meal timings, and excessive digital media exposure…”

I used to be a night owl, which isn’t an issue. In 2016, my life was going through a tough phase, and I developed anxiety issues too.

At that moment, I started waking up at 4 AM. It was my way of trying to gain control over my life again. Waking up early changed my life. I started feeling like I still control things in my life.

Different life phases need different strategies. With my growing business, it's common for me to attend late-night meetings to cater to the opposite side of the globe.

Waking up at 4 AM is difficult when you sleep after attending a meeting at midnight. That’s why I made my sleep schedule from 1 AM to 9:30 AM.

Let’s get clear on the first point — no, you don’t have to wake up early to be productive and successful. Having a planned morning and night routine will do that for you.

This 5/5/5 rule of night routine helps me a lot in improving my morning routine and making peace with my own sleep schedule. To repair your morning routine, practice the following 3 activities every night for 5 minutes each.

Activity 1: Look at the rear mirror

We wake up, do our jobs, and sleep. Most of us hardly take any moment to reflect on what/how/why we are doing whatever we are doing.

This simple daily reflection activity has helped me improve my awareness many folds.

To get started

Breathe slowly and deeply. Relax in your bed and close your eyes. Rewind the whole day in your head, from when you woke up till getting in bed to do this activity.

Try to recall the emotions, conversations, wins, failures, everything. Think about the people you met, how you made them feel, how they made you feel, etc.

Ask yourself these three questions —

  • What went well today?
  • What didn’t go well today?
  • What can I do differently tomorrow?

Activity 2: Failing to plan is planning to fail

According to the book Essentialism by Greg Mckeown,

“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.”

What is the ONE thing you’d want to focus on tomorrow? Let’s start there. Focussing on more than three tasks every day? Your efficiency is probably already lost.

In one of the posts, Forbes mentions,

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

Your productive day starts the night before. Plan your day. If you plan your day after waking up on the day, you’re already too late.

To get started

Set priorities for the next day.

Make a list of the 3 most important tasks you intend to finish tomorrow.
Don’t go beyond 3 tasks. This will teach you prioritization.

Writing it down on paper will help you a lot.

Activity 3: Switch off your brain

Most of the time our brains live in a survival mode — it tries to stay active so we don’t get hurt. But this is also the reason why even a little stress can disturb our sleep quality.

My therapist recommended me to switch off my brain when I go to sleep. I have been doing it for a few weeks now, and it has exponentially improved my sleep quality.

My theory is — when I don’t turn off my brain manually, it continues working throughout the night, and I don’t get quality sleep.

In one of the posts about sleep quality, mentions,

Everyone has a sleepless night once in a while, but if you find that your thoughts are keeping you up on a regular basis, it’s time to talk to your doctor. A medical professional can help you evaluate whether any current medications or lifestyle habits are contributing to your insomnia and can also offer some solutions.

Irregular sleep or poor quality sleep can have long-term effects on your body too.

To get started

Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Pause and relax. Visualize an imaginary switch turning off to signal your brain to relax.

You can also try breathing meditation that helps you turn off your brain and relax. Start by taking slow and deep breaths and count those breaths in mind.


If you plan to wake up at a fixed time, you have to prepare for it the night before. My 5/5/5 night routine has helped me a lot in making my nights and mornings more effective.

I follow the below mentioned three activities for five minutes each a night before.

First: Reflect on the day

Answer these three questions —

  • What went well today?
  • What didn’t go well today?
  • What will I do differently tomorrow?

Second: Set priorities for the next day

Make a list of the 3 most important tasks you intend to finish tomorrow.
Don’t go beyond 3 tasks.

Third: Turn off my brain

Relax, pause, and close your eyes. Take a few slow and deep breaths. Visualize an imaginary switch turning off to signal your brain to relax.

Certified Habit Coach || I help my clients improve their emotional health with simple habits || Check more here:

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