It’s clear to me that the way I start the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. When I’m up early and hit the ground running, I tend to be more energetic and productive well into the evening. If I sleep late, nothing will feel like a priority and I tend to feel tired and sluggish. My morning routine, then, is the key to everything else.
I try my best to always wake up at the same time. That sets a pattern for consistency. Shower, coffee, breakfast with Katie. We sometimes have a quick meeting to cover what we each have going on that day, and to decide if and when we’ll meet up for lunch. After that, I look over my journal, update the previous day, and get a handle on what needs to be done.
The main variable here is breakfast. It would make sense to just have the same thing every day, or to keep it as simple as possible. A lot of the time we do have yogurt and muesli, or fruit and porridge, or scrambled eggs. Sometimes I get more elaborate. Most days I listen to my body, what I’m craving and what my stomach will tolerate. It’s also a matter of whether one of us will be out and about that day, and how far off lunchtime might be.
Output First, Input Later
The first thing I do in “work mode” is write blog posts. I start with a post for this site, while I finish my coffee and get into the right frame of mind. Recently I’ve started writing a daily post for Dancing Lights Press, which helps me to get focused on the current work in progress.
I don’t look at anything online until I’ve put down some word count. At the point that I need a break, or I need to process and think about what comes next, I will check things. That makes writing the anchor point in my mind, rather than email or reading blogs or scanning the news. If there’s a lot to deal with, like a bunch of new blog posts or an article I want to read in-depth, I’ll often bookmark it and save it for later, rather than allowing it to drag me down the rabbit hole.
My Morning Routine
Starting earlier means ending earlier, of course. At least, it should. There are times when I’ve been sick. Or I had to run errands during work time, and I need to make up the hours. Low energy, poor productivity days often result in me putting in a couple of hours writing in the evening. Having a good day means that I accomplish more. I feel better about the quality of the work I’ve done. That lets me comfortably goof off in the evening.
A lot of that is journaling. Reviewing what I did and didn’t do the day has, over time, led to me being better able to judge my workload. I am more realistic about what I can accomplish. That gets filtered through how I’m feeling, and the type of work in front of me. By looking at what needs to get done that day, I can pace myself. I know when I need to knuckle down, and when I can goof off. The goal is to be done as close to 6 as possible, so I can do things other than work.