The very first thing I do when I wake up is drink a glass of hot water with lemon, say many highly successful people on that bloody Morning Routines website. How does that work? If you have to get out of bed and go down to the kitchen to prepare it, it’s technically not the very first thing you do upon waking, not to be pedantic. But if you were to put the beverage beside your bed the night before it would be a) not hot, and b) kind of manky. You could keep an electric kettle, bowl of lemons and a knife in the room. Or get a butler to bring it in.
Why do I keep reading that website? Part of me likes to snortle at the green juice and meditations at dawn. But a little part of me longs to kick some arse in this life and make my mornings a whirlwind of productivity.
Here is my current routine:
I rise when my thimble-size bladder sounds the alarm and head to the bathroom. Next stop is the kitchen to make a sandwich for Gareth’s work breakfast. Not because I’m a 1950s housewife but the task keeps me awake, and almost two years into the job he’s still rubbish with the early starts. I yell up the stairs, you need to leave for the brewery 10 minutes ago. I hear a duvet-muffled I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. Five minutes later he stumbles down and mumbles one of the following before departing:
- If I were any more tired, I’d be dead
- Brewing is a young man’s game
- Make sure you’ve figured out how I can retire by the time I get home.
Before I worked from home I blamed my morning slacktitude on the day job. If not for the commute, I’d rise at dawn and write 1000 words and do yoga and prepare a savoury breakfast! 9-5 was the source of all woes!
But turns out without the structure and accountability of an employer I was even worse. For much of my first solo year, as soon as Gareth left one of two things happened:
- I’d check my phone “just for a minute” to see if things were okay with my clients then feel the need to attend to everything right away lest they think I was a slackarse. At 2pm I’d still be on the couch in my PJs.
- I’d go upstairs and put on the workout clothes, a maudlin ensemble optimistically laid out the night before. I’d make the bed then sit on it for “just a minute” to contemplate the universe. Next thing it was 11am and I’d wake in a panic then have to work late into the evening.
This year I’ve slowly been getting my mornings in order. Top tactics so far:
- Putting the coffee pot beside the stove ready to go, because coffee is the reason for waking up
- Resisting urge to check phone until I’ve done 20 minutes of something non-worky (usually reading, or walk + podcast) to make a distinction between work and home.
- Writing a list of the next day’s tasks the night before, so I don’t waste half an hour deciding what to do then another half hour choosing a pen to write the list.
- GETTING PROPERLY DRESSED for crying out loud.
When I manage to do those things I feel competent, like the day is not a runaway horse. There’s still a mild sense of unease rumbling away in the background but that seems to be normal for the self-employed.
The next mission is breaking the habit of Laptop On Couch. If I can nail that, maybe I can advance to hot water and lemon!