There are few periods in the day that are more “yours” than the hours between 0600 and 0800. You get to work after your commute and are thrust into the maelstrom of noise, pulling you this way and that, inevitably ruining any best-laid plans.
Or maybe you are like me, in that you can never just “go home”; instead, you find yourself tending to the needs of your children or are ferrying them to activities! Perhaps, you have busy social calendar? Whatever your circumstances, if you are like me, you will find that very few evenings finish without some sort of family or social related drama or activity.
But in the mornings, when everyone is (relatively) quietly going about their own business, that is the time when you can truly shape your life in your own design. Therefore, for the most part, there is every chance that your morning routine should remain relatively uninterrupted.
I often wonder why we don’t put more thought into this period of our lives? I call this “All before 09:00 time”!
Far too many of us see our mornings as a frantic sprint to get “ready” for the day in the least time possible. Brushing your teeth in the shower? Easy. Ironing a shirt while eating a piece of toast? Down to a fine art. Slurping a coffee while speed walking on the way to the station. Don’t we all do that?
It is easy to feel like a high-flying go-getter if we can go from mild slumber to a caffeine-fuelled world-beater in 30 minutes. What role could an early morning possibly have, other than a prelude to the real events of the day?
Well, if your morning is organized it can not only saves you vital energy for the first crucial events of the day; but it can also stimulate you into getting a head start on everyone else. Knowing how the first 60-90 minutes of your day is going to be structured lets you feel in control, and allows you to save your energy for the important decisions to come when the “day proper” starts. Ever wonder why Mark Zuckerberg wears those boring hoodies? Well, it is one less decision to make in the morning. Let’s face it, the guy has enough on his plate. But why should we be any different?
I don’t want to tell you all what the perfect routine involves, as we are all different. But I can say for certain that it starts with waking up at the “right” time. If you wake when you are in a period of “light” sleep, you feel refreshed and energised and alert. There are apps available, which measure your activity, and even waking 30 minutes earlier than usual can make all the difference. Yes, you can wake up at 06:00 and feel more refreshed than if you woke up at 06:30! Play with your own alarm, alter it in 10 minute increments until you find the “perfect wake up time” for you. It really does work!
For many people, a great morning routine involves some exercise and some creativity. Rather than a sluggish and meandering first few hours of the day, why not get the blood pumping and the brain cells ticking over? If a rapid 30 minutes on the exercise bike and 15 minutes of stimulating reading (or even creative writing) don’t do it for you, I don’t know what will.
Many of us have ambitions to read more, write more, exercise more or maybe we just want to spend a little more quality time with our children (who always seem to be up at the crack of dawn). The hours before 09:00 make all of these personal ambitious possible. Personally, I like to run. Every Tuesday, my alarm goes of at 05:30. My trainers and running gear is already laid out ready for me to to wake up to. No excuses now. This is my “half-marathon” morning. This is a weekly ritual and watching the sun rise has become a morning picture I cherish. 21km and 90 minutes later I am ready for breakfast and keen to take on the day and it is still only 07:30.
A morning routine is like signing a contract with yourself. If you commit to it, and try not to let anything disturb it, your life can be transformed. If you know that you are going to start every day on the “right” foot, your chances of having a successful day are going to be that little bit higher.