The 7-Step Morning Routine That Transforms My Entire Day

by | BiggerPockets.com

It is no secret that the most successful people in the world are early risers. If this is new to you, take a look here. Do you recognize any of them? Clearly, there is a positive correlation between early risers and extreme success. So why is it that you hate mornings? Why do you wake up the last possible moment before scurrying to work?

My guess is that waking up is likely the most stressful part of the day. First, you start the day with multiple alarm clocks that wake you up in five-minute intervals. Talk about annoying and completely irrational! If you hate waking up, why the heck do you do so multiple times? That’s just stOOpid (with TWO O’s!).

You get out of bed at the last possible moment, quickly get ready, and drive your car 20 minutes in traffic to work—a place you would likely not frequent if you were not paid.

You do all of this with a mind and body that has been deprived of food and water for the past eight hours. No wonder you hate mornings!

Have you ever noticed how weekend mornings aren’t nearly as bad? You take the time to get up, and if you do get up early, it is in order to do something that you love to do (i.e. hike, vacation, etc.). It’s not the morning that you hate; it’s what you do in the morning that you hate.

Related: Not a “Morning Person”? Why That’s Simply a Lie You’re Telling Yourself

Miracle Morning

Thanks to Hal Elrod and his best-selling book The Miracle Morning, mornings (and lives) around the world have been transformed forever. In the book, Hal goes into his findings from studying the most successful people’s morning routines. He takes note of six different activities many of them do and calls them “SAVERS.” Many successful people practice at least four of six of these activities, but rarely do all six. So what happens if you do all six? That’s for you to find out!

Just a note: I did NOT get paid to write this article for Hal. His book changed my life, and I want to share with you my routine, what it has done for me, and how it can have a similar impact on you.

Pre-Routine

First things first. You are groggy in the morning because you are dehydrated. How do you remedy that? You drink water (call me doctor). I chug a 24 oz. bottle of water as the first thing I do when I awake.

After you have chugged your water, go take a shower (or wash your face), brush your teeth, and mouthwash. Psychologically, there is something about taking a shower and brushing your teeth that tells your body that you are awake for the day.

“Brush my teeth before I eat?! That’s a savage move!” Actually, it’s better for you. Check it out.

Now you are ready to start your miracle morning!

The Routine (SAVERS)

Hal Elrod coined the acronym “SAVERS” to help us remember each aspect of the ideal morning routine. Perhaps you do a few of these already, but why not try them all? Here is the list:

  • Silence/Meditation
  • Affirmation
  • Visualizations
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Scribing

As an example, I will take you through my miracle morning. It may seem like a bunch of hocus pocus. I didn’t believe it at first either. I’ll admit, it’s weird. But it works, and I like it!

I have been doing this for about six months now. Here is what I have accomplished in that timeframe.

  • I went from a job that I did not love in San Francisco to my dream job at BiggerPockets in Denver.
  • I was able to kick my weekend drinking habit.
  • I was able to remove all added sugar from my diet.
  • I rented an apartment in downtown Denver for less than half of market rent.
  • I purchased a car for 75% of its listing price from the dealer.
  • I purchased a brand new remodeled duplex in an up-and-coming part of Denver with an FHA loan at under listing price. At this time, almost all properties have multiple offers and are going above listing price.
  • I created passive income streams of more than $1,000 monthly.
  • I was able to accomplish moves in Crossfit that I once struggled with (muscle ups and double unders).

I am not telling you this to brag. Truthfully, there isn’t much to brag about. There are many people who are doing much better than me. However, if you compare this to six months prior, you will see a tremendous improvement. You will see that I have taken many steps towards accomplishing my goals, resulting in a much happier life.

So, now that you know the impact the miracle morning has, let me give you an example of my routine.

My Morning Routine

1. Silence/Meditation (10 Minutes)

The first thing I do is meditate for 10 minutes. I use a playlist on Spotify called “10 minute meditation,” and it works perfectly. This helps me stay calm, focused, and concentrating throughout the day. If you’re questioning the effects on meditation, you can check out all of the benefits here.

2. Scribing/Journaling, Part 1 (5 Minutes)

Next, write down three things I am grateful for. Yes, this can get repetitive and you might start appreciating really small things. Either way, that’s great! It puts a positive perspective to start your day and reminds you that all of the things you have right now are, well, great!

In an effort to continuously improve, I write down three things I need to be better at. Can’t think of anything? Could your spending habits improve? How about fitness or dietary habits? Anything at work or in your family life that you can improve upon? I am sure you can think of something.

Related: 6 Words That Will Forever Change How You Wake Up in the Morning

Next, I write down three goals that I would like to accomplish for the day and make sure that these are aligned with my weekly, monthly, and annual goals.

3. Affirmations or Prayer (5 Minutes)

As Napoleon Hill (and also my mom) says, “Anything you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.”

This may sound silly, and I do not mean to offend anyone, but affirmations are the simplest form of prayer. Repeating my goals to myself causes my brain to subconsciously focus on them throughout the day. You will be surprised how things tend to fall into your lap, allowing you to easily accomplish your goals, when doing this.

I use the Miracle Morning app on my phone. I write my affirmations in there and read them every morning emphatically.

4. Visualizations (5 Minutes)

Visualizations are similar to meditating. The difference? In meditation, you do your best to think about nothing except your breathing. In visualization, you envision yourself accomplishing your goals.

This can be done in many different ways. Some people create a bulletin board and pin pictures of their desires to the board. I personally shut my eyes and visualize myself achieving both my short and long-term goals. This keeps the fire burning.

In all of the feats I outlined above, visualization was a huge part. I envisioned myself accomplishing these, and they came true. It’s weird, even eerie in a sense, but I am not complaining.

property-management-checklist

5. Scribing/Journaling, Part 2 (30 Minutes)

Now that my mind is focused, I take the next 20-30 minutes to write freely. I used to HATE writing. But once I started writing about things I have passion for, I realized it is quite refreshing.

Oftentimes this writing ends up in the form of a BiggerPocktes blog post. Yes, it is currently 5:15 a.m. as I write this as part of my miracle morning. 🙂

6. Reading (90 Minutes)

For some people, reading for 90 minutes might be overkill. However, I set a goal to read 60 books this year. A big reason why I am well on my way to accomplishing this is that I take 90 minutes every morning to feed my brain. You will be amazed how much you can learn just by reading at least one book per week.

7. Exercising (40 minutes)

Maybe this means going for a morning run before the sun wakes you. For me, I prefer my rigorous workouts in the afternoon. So I throw on a podcast and foam roll/stretch for 30-40 minutes. This gets my muscles loose, releases endorphins, and prevents injury from my more intense afternoon workouts. I then do as many pushups as I can to get the blood flowing, hop on my bike, and head to work.

Conclusion

As you can see, my morning routine is long and a bit out of order. All in all, it is about 3.5 hours long. Now, I am not asking you to wake up 3.5 hours earlier. That’s absurd! And in no way is that initially sustainable.

My suggestion for you would be to try to wake up 30 minutes earlier and do all of the SAVERS for 5 minutes each. As you become more comfortable waking up earlier and you begin to want to spend more time in your miracle morning, you can extend it to one hour, two hours, etc. Before you know it, you will be a super early riser and will be able to get more done before 8:00 a.m. than most people accomplish in a week!

Happy SAVERing!

Would you consider waking up earlier to adopt some of the SAVER habits? Why or why not?

Weigh in below!

About Author

Craig Curelop

After developing a huge love for real estate investing and personal finance, Craig decided to join the BiggerPockets team as a financial analyst. Over the past few years, he has looked at hundreds of financial models of startup companies. His experience will help BiggerPockets reach the next level as a startup company. Craig has a passion for helping others get out of their "comfort zones" to get what they want and achieve the "impossible." In his spare time, Craig enjoys traveling, hiking, exercising, and sports of all kinds.

74 Comments

  1. Jerry W.

    Thanks for the article. I have tried implementing a few of the morning miracle items. Currently I get up early and go for a run 3 times a week. I have tried reading self improvement books and have read maybe a dozen so far. I ran my first 5K las summer, and beat my time by over 30 seconds this summer. Slow progress, but I believe it really helps with stress.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for reading, Jerry! I’m glad you liked it.

      Getting up and going for a run is great. Dedicating an hour or two (or more) to yourself everyday surely reduces stress and helps you achieve your goals. Congratulations on beating your 5k time by over 30 seconds. That’s great!

    • Craig Curelop

      Hi Lana,

      Thanks for reading! Sorry, I did neglect to mention what exact time I wake up and what time I go to bed. I actually wake up at 4:30am every morning.

      I try to get 7 hours of sleep so I try to get to to bed by 9:30pm. Sometimes it ends up being closer to 10-10:30pm. Rarely do I make it past 11pm. I would guess that most people do not get a whole lot done between the hours of 9pm-11pm. Likely just watching TV and “winding down” the day. If instead of doing those wasteful things, I would try just going to sleep instead :).

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Paul!

      5:00-5:30am is quite early. For me, my biggest time waster is my phone. I put it on airplane mode while I sleep and don’t take it off until I’m done with my Miracle Morning routine (~8am). That definitely allows me to stay focused and organized throughout the time.

      • Simon Alderwick

        That’s a great idea, Craig. And a great article too. I will try to implement these tactics in my life. I think I’ll start with putting my phone on airplane mode, and then alternating meditation and exercising/stretching. If I have any free time I will then try writing (hard to juggle family/work and free time, especially early in the morning).

        When writing in the morning, should people have a clear topic in mind? Or can we just write whatever comes into our head?

        Thanks for a great article.

        • Craig Curelop

          Thanks, Simon! I’m glad you got something out of it :).

          Honestly, what you write is entirely up to you. Personally, I like to hand write out my goals for the day which takes about 5-10 minutes and then I am usually writing a blog post or interacting on BP.

          For me, writing these blog posts feel liberating because getting my thoughts on paper. Taking the mumbo jumbo from my head and articulating it into an article is therapeutic for me.

          Some people open up a word document and write anything that comes to mind. You’ll be amazed at the ideas that come out if you just write write write.

      • Craig Curelop

        Hi Tina,

        Same thing I suggested to Paul. I would recommend putting your phone on airplane mode while you sleep and keep it on airplane mode throughout your entire Miracle Morning Routine. Nothing is more liberating than knowing that you are free from all outside distractions and you are concentrating on JUST YOU in the morning!

  2. Johnathan Soward

    Loved this article! I’m in the military and by nature mornings can be pretty rough. Not going to lie, I am not exactly thrilled about going to work every morning. However, I think applying the Miracle Morning steps will have a great impact on my mornings and potentially my life. Again, thanks for the post!

    V/r

    Johnathan

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Johnathan! I’m glad you liked it.

      Be sure to let us know how it has impacted your life. It was a huge game changer for me. I was never a morning person. I used to prefer staying up until 2am to get something done rather than waking up early. After changing my mindset, my life totally changed.

  3. Mary B.

    morning meditations/affirmations are the best. actually I do positive affirmations throughout the day. I just finished listening to Napoleon Hill’s the Laws of Success in 16 lessons. it’s a prequel to think and grow rich. whether you listen to it or read it I most certainly recommend going over it.

    Kudos,
    Mary

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Mary!

      I love meditation/affirmations as well. The more you do them the better. It’s great that you can find sometime during the day to go over them. I’m sure many of these affirmations have come true, in an almost eerie way.

      I actually have not read Napoleon Hill’s Laws of Success. I will put that on my list! Another great book by Napoleon Hill is “Outwitting the Devil.”

  4. Mason Peacock

    I’d say this is useful for those who work a traditional 9-5 job. However, with many businesses and industries moving to a 24/7 schedule, it’s tough for those with non-traditional schedules. Personally, I’m up at 430am to get to work on time and I get home around 6/630pm and I’m in bed around 8/830pm so I can get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks for reading, Mason!

      This is a morning “routine” so in order to fully get into it, it certainly helps to have a similar schedule every day. It can start earlier or later. You might even try doing it at a different part of your day? Perhaps during an hour lunch break? Or after work?

  5. Chris Billington on

    Great points here. Key takeaway is that the whole thing can be manipulated for what works for you. I start with the exercise part and foe three minutes just to get the blood moving. This can be a mix of anything i.e. jumping jacks, pushups, running in place etc. It doesn’t replace my regular workouts, but it sets the tone for more focused meditation and everything else that follows. It’s great if you can fit all parts of the “savers” routine, but you might find that tossing something from the mix helps you keep up with the routine. Great post

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Chris! I’m glad you liked it.

      You’re absolutely right! There’s no right or wrong way to do the Miracle Morning. The order, the timing, etc. doesn’t matter. Manipulate the activities such that it works for you.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hi David,

      Haha not drinking certainly WAS NOT easy at first. I’m a young professional and many of my friends go out drinking every Friday & Saturday night. I was one of them. Now, sometimes I go out (but, don’t drink) and sometimes I don’t. I still have equal amounts of fun either way, but I can wake up the next morning feeling better than ever.

      It really all starts with motivation and what your “why?” is. My goals are to achieve financial freedom for me and my family and to be able to perform at optimum levels for extended periods of time. Drinking goes against both of those goals.

      For $300+ per month (what I was spending), I was having a similar amount of fun on Friday/Saturday nights while having horrible Saturday/Sunday mornings. I came to the point where it just was not rational.

      Once you convince yourself that drinking is in fact not a rational thing to do if achieving you goals is atop your list and you go 4-5 weeks without it. Eventually, it’s not even appetizing anymore. Hope this helps!

  6. Kuntay Talay

    Great article.. I love miracle morning routine.

    Mediation helped me out so much focus on important things and not let the small things bother me.

    I need to do a better job to stick with the miracle morning every morning. Once a while, I am slacking.. 🙂

    Kuntay

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Kuntay,

      Thanks for reading the article! I’m glad you liked it. Agreed! Meditation has done wonders, a great 10-minute investment if you ask me.

      Obviously, the more you do the Miracle Morning the better. But it can be tough to stick to it every day. I would suggest doing it just on the weekdays and occasionally on the weekends. Shoot for 5 days a week right now, then push it to 6, then 7.

      I’ll be the first to admit. I don’t do it EVERY weekend morning. But I do it EVERY weekday morning. For example, I love hiking. When we hike, we typically camp the night before and wake up at ~4am to get on the trail. I DO NOT do the Miracle Morning those mornings. But as I hike, I am certainly thinking about all of the things I would be writing/visualizing in my Miracle Morning.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Tina! I’m glad you liked the article. The SAVERS app is pretty good. It definitely could be improved, but it serves its purpose.

      Awesome that you have taken the challenge! I’m excited to hear about what you get out of it.

  7. I have got to read affirmations first (with a cup of organic Coffee), journal and then get my push-ups, squats-at least 30 minutes in if not able to run a few miles! My body and brain are fully-functional after these rituals. Glad you had such success with some and more of the same. My mind if freed with meditation as well. Ten minutes works better than an hour nap during the day. Everyone should be so blessed to grasp onto your routine.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Anne!

      It’s crazy that despite there only being 6 activities, it seems that no two routines are the same. Whatever works for you is all that matters. I’m glad you are reaping the benefits of your Miracle Morning and am excited to see what comes of it from you.

  8. You rented an apartment in downtown Denver for less than half of market rent?

    I’m a borderline poor person paying half my income to rent a room in an overcrowded 3BR house with 10 people in the house and an occupied RV on the property (11 people total). The person from whom I rent is not the owner, but a lessee who rents the house from an absentee landlord. The other people in the house include a convicted sex offender, a licensed marijuana grower, and a screaming infant.

    How can I get a normal place to live for half of market rent?

    • Craig Curelop

      Hi Terry,

      I’m sorry to hear about your current situation, it definitely does not sound ideal. But I suggest seeking the positives out of it to make the best of it!

      The way I do this, is that when I search for an apartment, I am a Craigslist hound. I look at every apartment in the area I want to live. There are some that are labeled as “$0” and every normal person thinks it’s too good to be true. Which it is. But CALL on them anyway. I basically set my own price when I called on this and that’s how I was able to do it.

      I also dedicated a portion of my affirmation and visualization routine to thinking about getting a nice place for half of market rent. Again, it’s weird… but it works haha!

  9. Bryan Mitchell

    I already get up 2 hours earlier but I’ve been doing an hour of reading and 15 minutes of exercises. The other 45 mins are showering, packing up my gear for work to include my breakfast. I live in the hills in northern Italy over looking the valley/city so I I relax and do my exercises on my covered patio. All this said, I’m doing most of the things, but need to add the goal oriented tasks. If I add another hour and wake up earlier, I’ll be getting up before 5am. This is not difficult, but I work up to 12 hour days 8 to 8 and usually don’t get home until 9pm. I’ve noticed that if I want to be my best, I have to sleep more. I think more deeply, am more focused. Basically, my synaptic gaps are lit up! So, I’ll have to somehow work less to make this work. The problem is I manage an organization with over 400 people in three countries. More to follow.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Bryan,

      Well, I am certainly envious of the location of your morning routine. Definitely sounds better than my basement apartment :).

      I have two suggestions for you:

      1. When you read the Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod explains that many times the amount of sleep you get is really in your head. If you tell yourself before you go to bed at night, “Hey, 5 hours of sleep! That’s great! That’s all I need to be 100% functional tomorrow!” You’ll find that you’re not as tired unless of course you are thinking about how you only got 5 hours of sleep the night before.

      2. If that doesn’t work for you (it worked for me). Maybe you can write down your goals/do writing in the morning. But practice a bit of your meditation and visualization sporadically throughout the day. I don’t think this will have as great of an impact of doing it in the morning, but different things work for different people. It is certainly better than not doing it at all.

  10. Jonah Eleccion

    Great post, Craig! You are an inspiration :)..I have been doing some of the steps (affirmations/vusualizations..) but I got to admit I’m not consistent. I have been trying to wake up earlier and follow some morning rituals but it’s still a struggle. I will try to follow your steps (maybe tweak it a little) and hopefully months from now I will have this great habit in my system which I believe is a big factor to success. Thanks for sharing!

    • Craig Curelop

      Hi Jonah,

      Thanks for commenting and letting me know you liked it! I’m glad you did. By doing affirmations and visualizations you are far ahead of many people, but it’s definitely good to get you in the routine. I highly recommend you read the book (if you haven’t already). He helps you push through those first couple of weeks until getting up early is routine.

      Absolutely tweak it as you like. I don’t think there are any two Miracle Mornings that are the same.

      Excited to see how it works out for you!

  11. Justin Young

    I realize that I only concentrate on the “exercise” portion for my morning routine thinking that I don’t have a lot of time. But I like how you suggested to put just 5 minutes towards each aspect to at least feel some effect of the “miracle morning”.

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Justin!

      Without a doubt. Exercising in the morning is great. But maybe take a few minutes right after you “cool down” to meditate/visualize? Or maybe you do it before? Affirm/Visualize your workout? Get yourself hyped up! That’s what many professional athletes do.

      Think about before a game when they are in a huddle and are all chanting. That’s a form of affirmations. Or how about sometimes they have their head down on the bench? (i.e. Tom Brady in the last Super Bowl). I’d bet he was visualizing what he was about to do next.

      Happy SAVERing!

  12. Michael Orlandoni

    Thanks for the post, Craig! What books have you been reading that you recommend other than the Miracle Morning? I love hearing about new reads.

    I need to focus on waking up earlier. Did you slowly transition into waking up earlier and earlier until you hit the ideal time of 4:30, or was it an automatic switch?

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Mike! I’m glad you liked the post. Thanks for commenting!

      Oh man, there are a TON of good books out there. To give you my top 5 (exclusive of the Miracle Morning) I would say:

      1. The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
      2. 4-hour work week – Tim Ferriss
      3. Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss
      4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
      5. The One Thing – Gary Keller

      For top real estate books, check out: https://www.biggerpockets.com/books.

      As for waking up earlier, I transitioned. Getting up immediately 2.5 hours earlier consistently would be nearly impossible for me. I used to wake up at 7am. Once starting the Miracle Morning, I pushed it back to 6:30am, a few weeks later to 6:00am, a few weeks later to 5:00am, and after about 3 months to 4:30am.

  13. Richard Hanner

    Craig, you blended valuable information with a personal narrative. That’s fine writing. It is an approach that resonates throughout BiggerPockets, which highlights valuable informative expressed in clear and personal terms. It’s a laudable journalistic accomplishment. Very well done, and many thanks to you and your colleagues.

  14. Gianni Laverde

    Hi Craig, really nice post and really inspiring. It’s awesome that TMM has been so influential on your work towards achieving your goals. It is powerful indeed. I practice it every weekday although i tend to slack on the weekends and feel I need to focus more on my visualization piece and be more constant on my journaling.

    Thanks
    Gianni

    • Craig Curelop

      Hi Gianni,

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad you liked the article. It’s awesome that you practice every weekday! Far ahead of a lot of people. On the weekends, I rarely wake up at 4:30 to practice the Miracle Morning. I usually wake up a little later and start it a little later :).

      Visualization and journaling can be tough! That just means you need to do it more so it will come as second nature.

  15. Stacey Freeman

    Hi Craig, Thanks for this post, which was really inspiring. I do some of these steps early morning already (exercise, writing) and have started TODAY to add others. I especially like moving my reading time to early morning, as I’ve been trying to fit it in at the end of the day, which hasn’t been working so well! Have you posted a list of the 60 books you are reading–I’d love to see that! Thanks again, Stacey

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Stacey,

      Thank you for letting me know that you liked it. Means a lot! I’m really glad it made an impact on you.

      I LOVE the action! I am excited to hear about how doing all aspects of the Miracle Morning help you.

      I have not posted anything on the actual books I have read… though that is a great idea! I think I am going to wait until the end of the year when I finish all 60. As of now, I’m at 40 so I’m a little bit ahead of pace :). Keep a lookout for a blog post towards the end of the year/beginning of 2018.

  16. Tom Pham

    The Morning morning book literally changed my life. I thought I was a night owl but it turns out, I am most productive when waking up at 6 am every day. Good to see you and others that have had a positive impact from reading this book.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Michael – Thanks! I’m glad you liked it :).

      The Miracle Morning is definitely much harder to complete if you need to be at work super early. Maybe you try doing the routine at a different part of the day? I have a theory that may or may not be true.

      I think a big reason why TMM works so well is that it is done during a part of the day where there are no interruptions. It’s before the world wakes up. If you can find a portion of your day that is free of all distractions, you may be able to complete it then? Just a thought…

        • Craig Curelop

          Without a doubt! Or go to bed earlier (instead of doing the SAVERS) and wake up earlier. Whatever is best for you.

          Be sure to keep the BP community posted. If it works at night… this could be a game changer for a lot of people.

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Ann – So I just use the “TMM” app (described above) for the Affirmations. I don’t use it for anything else. It’s just somewhere to store them. I read them emphatically to myself everyday and it does wonders :).

    • Craig Curelop

      Hey Ann,

      It was the affirmations I’d say. I basically make a promise to myself every single day that I will not drink and I will not eat added sugar. It’s embedded in my brain. When given the opportunity, it’s basically like betraying a promise to myself. If I can’t keep a promise to myself, how the heck am I supposed to keep a promise to anyone else.

      Also, by consuming alcohol and sugar, I was spending enormous amounts of money ($200-$300 a month) while impairing my body. If my goal is financial freedom and be able to perform at optimum levels for an extended period of time, alcohol and sugar does not fit into my life.

      After pushing through for 2-3 weeks, alcohol/sugar didn’t even appetize me. It was easy from then on out.

  17. Robert Westbrook

    Great article, I know getting up to multiple alarms is my biggest problem. I think I’m going to try these out for a week and see if it helps me. Dallas is crazy busy and I need every edge I can get in this wholeselling game here! Thank you for the article!

    • Craig Curelop

      Thanks, Robert! I’m glad you liked it.

      Definitely try. I would recommend to try it for a month though. You can do anything for a week. It takes ~30 days to build a habit so if you only do it for a week you will let yourself get back to your old ways by week 2. Then you don’t get anywhere haha.

      Hope that makes sense! Best of luck on the wholesaling!

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