Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Morning Routine: How I Start My Day

Now that classes have started again, I have tweaked my morning routine.  Although I am a morning person, getting going can be a challenge (I prefer to piddle about aimlessly, instead of diving in).  However, I know that my day will go much better if I get off to a good start, so I have been rather ruthlessly disciplined about making this routine work.  I have found that the best way to get things done in the morning is to not give yourself options.  Don't decide, don't think about it.  Automatically get up and do it.  When something becomes a habit, you can circumvent the deciding process, during which you might talk yourself out of doing something that you know you need to do.  (I read a rather interesting book a while back that talked about this very process: The Power of Habit)

In order to achieve this, I do a bit of prep work the night before.  I lay out the clothes I will need first thing (on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings, this means running gear).  I have my alarm set on my phone (I know, I know, an ancient flip-phone, but it works) and I leave the phone with my clothes on the bathroom counter.  When it goes off in the morning, I have no choice but to get up and walk over to turn it off, and there are my clothes, ready and waiting.  I don't even think about it--I just put them on.  I also have my nook out, and I do a quick check of email, Facebook, and the weather.  Even a couple of minutes of the bright screen time helps to wake me up, then I am out the door.  I love this.  The early morning run is something I savor.  No one except other runners and walkers are out at the park, and the sun slowly comes up as mist burns off the pond.  Fantastic.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, I have an 8am class, so I get up, turn off my alarm, and head straight for the shower (after a quick check of the internets!).  When I get out, there are my clothes waiting for me.  I get dressed and fix my hair and makeup.

Once I am finished getting ready, or once I get back from my run, I eat breakfast and have my quiet time.  Bible study and prayer are habits that can be difficult to form, but I know they are crucial.  The best trick I have found is to tie them to something I know I will do without fail--which is eating breakfast.  Recently I found a resource offering different daily Bible-reading plans that could be sent to your email.  I chose the "Every Day in the Word" plan, which sends passages from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs.  This works well for me as a daily supplement for my more intense Bible studies that involve commentaries and lots of note-taking.

For breakfast, I try to eat a combination of complex carbohydrates (high-fiber cereal, oatmeal, or whole-grain waffle) and protein (scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, yogurt, or kefir), with some fruit or veggies as well.  I also almost always have a cup of decaf Earl Grey tea.

I love my morning routine, and it works for me.  I know that this is subject to change.  Recently I have been thinking about how different things will be once the baby gets here--he'll have his own ideas about when things will be done.  But, for now, I am enjoying my peaceful (if predictable!) mornings.