By Maria Grønlund

By Maria Grønlund

Jason Zook realized he needed to revamp his morning routine once he noticed how much negativity was creeping into his brain in the pre-work hours. If you turn to email, Facebook, or Twitter first thing in the a.m., you’ve probably experienced the same:

Even if you have the most highly curated feeds and friend lists, negativity will always slither its way through the cracks of our digital lives.

Indeed, a German study found that, out of 600 people who logged onto Facebook, one in three felt worse about themselves after doing so thanks to unconsciously comparing themselves to their friends and followers. Even if your social media usage doesn’t lead to self-deprecation, it could let negative ideas infiltrate your brain in the vulnerable early hours of the day thanks to news stories, complaints, and strong opinions.

As such, Zook instituted “InstaCoffeeHobbes,” a 10-15-minute morning ritual that fills his brain with positivity to start his day off on the right track. It’s a three-part combo of scrolling through Instagram (he’s careful to only follow family, close friends, and inspiring photo feeds of landscapes, cars, and the like), enjoying a cup of coffee, and flipping through a book of Calvin and Hobbes comics that hearken back to his youth:

By the time my coffee is finished brewing, I’ve spent 10–15 minutes doing only things that make me happy. My day has started with positivity — positivity that will be a shield of armor from the rigors of the rest of my day. If I were to start with negative influences first, the rest of the day is an uphill battle to reach positivity.

Experiment with your own combination of positivity-infusing activities that together launch your day with a feeling of calm and brightness. That could include doing a crossword puzzle, listening to contemplative music, brewing a cup of chai tea, or meditating. Labeling your mixture with a goofy portmanteau like Zook’s might not hurt either, both for the sake of remembering it and injecting the concept with a little fun.


  • Christine Hennebury

    This sounds like a great plan. I have a little ritual I do before I start my work for the day but I haven’t put one in place for first thing in the morning.

    Thanks for this!

  • xaigo

    I usually skip any social media in the mornings, but I keep a folder (sometimes on the hard drive, sometimes on Pinterest) with things that currently inspire me: people, art, cool designs, things that illustrate my goals etc. So I automatically get only the good stuff and skip the bad.

    A folder on the hard drive is harder to maintain up-to-date, but it’s also much better in terms of productivity – it’s too easy to start jumping links on social media sites and then goodbye, focus for the day.:)

  • Nela Dunato

    I rather avoid social networks altogether. Instagram is a huge time suck for me since I follow 300 people, and also it can trigger comparison because I’m a visual artist & designer, following mostly other artists and designers.

    For me, mornings are all about having the quiet time to reflect and create.

  • Adam Thomas

    Right now I try to just write in the morning – and avoid the social media. It seems to be nothing but a time suck. But I do feel great when I get that writing done, have a nice heaping glass of ice coffee, and eat some eggs. That helps me hit the ground running 🙂

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