We all have them. Morning routines. Most of us however have never planned or even thought about the opening minutes of our day. We stumble out of bed and into our waking lives with no purpose, waiting for the day to take control and when it does invariably we are swept away.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We can start our day on purpose, in focus and at once. That’s the power of a morning ritual or routine that has been considered and designed. It doesn’t have to be much, in fact the simpler the better. It is the morning after all.
A lot has been written on the subject and I have read a fair amount of it. Usually in the morning. I could be dramatic and say that it has changed my life and day by day I suppose it has. When I open my eyes now I know that in 30 minutes time I will have achieved more than a lot of people manage in all the hours before lunch. I also know that the hours that lie ahead of me have a foundation. Of course it doesn’t always work out that way. I have an “unusual” job and that combined with a young family means my sleep can be seriously diminished at times. But on the whole I follow my morning routine.
I only need 30 minutes.
Coffee first. Making my coffee is a ritual in its self. I use an AeroPress and the process is enough to focus my attention. Instant coffee is the root of all evil in my opinion, designed to be quick, thoughtless and bland. No care required. Real coffee has authority and the power to stimulate your senses. However you decide to create your cup you will need to be fully present in the making. It has enough process and promise combined to fire up my physical and mental state. I would grind the beans myself if I could but the kids are asleep…
Then I take my seat. The comfy chair in the dining room. The one the cats sleep on in the day. Cats are smart, they can seek out comfort and calm. I only need one light on in the room, not too bright, this is a period of transition, no need to be severe. I have my diary, a paper diary. They still exist. I use a pen I like and I think about my day. I start to write out what is required of me and what I require out of the hours ahead. I have a section of the page marked out to scribble down ideas that may or may not be relevant. My brain begins to work and depending on the possibilities I sense a growing enthusiasm for what lies ahead. The morning is all about possibilities. My thinking is only interrupted by sips of coffee. I have no real vices, I don’t drink or smoke, but coffee is something I am not prepared to give up. It’s fucking glorious.
Once the coffee cup is drained and the diary filled, I read. I try to read something educational in the mornings and inspirational in the evenings. I want to try and find a tactic that I can employ during the day but at night I want to dream of a better tomorrow. I don’t read fiction unless I have an expanse of time. Something that now only seems to come with travel. 10 minutes of reading, less if my diary has taken longer than usual.
The final 5 minutes of my 30 minute oasis is spent meditating. Yes, meditating! Cross-legged on the comfy chair, like some middle-aged, middle class monk. Scoff all you like, it’s something I wish I had welded into the framework of my life years ago. I have tried in the past but I always tried too hard – not the best approach to something that is trying to be nothing. Five minutes focusing my attention on the sound of my breath, that’s all it is. My mind wanders and I call it back to the sound of my breathing. It wanders again, I adjust. Wander, adjust, repeat.
And that my friends is it. The reveille of voices from upstairs tells me that the kids are up and the morning has become everybody’s morning. But that’s okay, I have already tamed the beast.
If you want to read more about the best way to start your day the following books should whet your appetite:
The Miracle Morning
Level Up Your Day
Good luck and Good Morning!
Photo by David Mao