The hidden cost of not having a morning routine

Public Domain Unsplash – This is the ideal, a slow and controlled start to one's day.

Disorganization comes at a steep price.

The benefit of a morning routine, as I've always understood it, is to make you feel organized and in control of your day. But apparently there's more to it than that. According to finance blogger CityFrugal, implementing a solid morning routine and sticking to it (that's key!) can shave an impressive five years off your working career, enabling you to retire sooner.

What? How? You're probably scratching your head right now (as I was when I first read that claim). But there is some interesting logic to it – as well as some math. Here's why.

Imagine a routine-less morning, as so many of us have on a regular basis. You hear the alarm, hit snooze, sleep too long, then bolt out of bed when you realize you've slept in. You rush around trying to get ready, don't have time to make breakfast or coffee, grab a cab instead of hopping on public transit to get to work, buy food on the way, and collapse in your office chair, a frazzled mess.

At that point it is difficult to collect one's thoughts and focus. You drift through the morning, doing the easiest tasks, scrolling on social media, maybe doing some online shopping when you hit a slump. You buy your lunch because you didn't have time to make it at home. You're drifting aimlessly, like a jellyfish. But nobody should be a jellyfish at work! Says CityFrugal:

"This jellyfish approach is costly. That’s at least a $12 cab ride to work, another $8 on breakfast and a coffee, a $15 salad for lunch, and maybe a boredom purchase of $15 on Amazon during the day as you’re feeling low energy and out of sorts. In one day, not having a morning routine has cost you $50."

Say you do this a couple times a week, and you've wasted $100. Compare this to a strict morning routine in which you tackle the day like you own it.

Wake up early, spend time meditating, journalling, exercising, showering, preparing food for breakfast and lunch, walking or biking to work while listening to a podcast, arriving energized and motivated at work. Your entire day is likely going to be more productive as a result of that stellar start; you already feel like you've accomplished some real work. Cost? Zero dollars.

Now comes the math, via CityFrugal:

To see the cost of a weekly expense (including foregone investment returns) over a 10-year period, you multiply $100 by 753 = $75,300.

Compare that to a routine that saves you $100 per week. How much shorter would your mandatory working career be if you earn $80,000 in take-home pay and currently save 20% of your income? Your working career would shrink from 36.7 years to 31.1 years. That’s more than 5.5 years of freedom!

Wow. If that doesn't jolt you out of bed faster than an alarm clock, I don't know what would. And that doesn't even touch on the money-earning potential of adding an extra hour or two to your day by getting up earlier – a perfect time to develop a side-hustle or small business that could also augment those retirement savings significantly.

Everyone has different jobs, interests, and priorities, and your unique morning routine should be shaped to fit these, but the takeaway remains the same. Spending money because you're disorganized ends up costing you far more than the initial outlay; you lose potential gains in the process.

Thanks to CityFrugal for this lightbulb moment!

The hidden cost of not having a morning routine
Disorganization comes at a steep price.

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