I’m motivated to write this piece because I’ve just come across a similarly motivated blogpost which talks of ‘9 things before 9AM’ (click here). It’s a mix of the mundane (drink more water) and the strange (daily affirmations) with some hard work in between (journals) but I recognise much of my own thinking.
So: here’s my maybe more pragmatic list of five and I’ll dispense with the obvious ‘get out of bed’. And let’s not be too hung up about 9 o’clock as a hard limit. Nine thirty is OK especially if you’re no longer in full time employment, the point is that it’s early enough to leave time in the morning to get something done if that’s what’s needed.
1 give yourself enough time. It’s a philosophy I developed when I was working when I travelled frequently around Europe and worldwide. I had limited time in the places I visited. Generally someone else was managing it and I’d find that I had a program that took over my day. I decided then that I needed to get some anchor points down so that I did not lose control and that’s why I take time with my early morning routine and do the same in the evening. It’s a discipline I’ve shared with the people who’ve worked for me and I’ve found that it gives you a fighting chance of being productive so that you don’t end up at the end of the day wondering whether or not you’ve achieved anything.
2 have breakfast. This should be obvious and most, if not all, nutritionists will tell you that getting the right food inside you at the start of the day is important. But for me it’s not just the food but the ritual as well and eating breakfast and savouring the process gives you a platform of calm which you’re not going to get from grabbing a coffee and eating a muffin as you rush to your first appointment of the day. Nowadays for me its a bowl of fresh fruit, fresh bread and an omelette if I’m lucky. And a coffee, see below.
3 squeeze in a little exercise. It might be just a walk round the block but do something. When I’ve travelled I’ve chosen hotels with pools or gyms or close to parks. These give me the opportunity to take a little exercise before breakfast, you just have to set your alarm a half hour or so earlier. These days now that I don’t travel this exercise is a 10 minute walk into the village to buy my newspaper and fresh bread.
4 read the newspaper. That’s my preference of course, others may prefer to read the news on a tablet or listen to it but it’s good to be abreast of what’s going on and to get the mental exercise that goes with it. I read the paper and listen to the radio so I’m getting a double dose of mental stimulation. You get even more benefit if you can engage with others so no use of earphones please.
5 drink a first cup of coffee. I’m a recent convert to breakfast coffee and appreciate that this might not be to everyone’s taste but it’s undoubtedly a stimulant and it sets me up. One’s enough, there’s little extra to be gained from multiple cups or from one of those extra large cups beloved of some of the coffee shop chains. I used to drink too many cups of instant. Now it’s just a proper breakfast coffee and maybe a couple more during the day. Taste the coffee, don’t just consume it.
That’s it and as I say above let’s not get hung up about 9 o’clock. It’s OK if it’s 0930 and if you’re a wage slave then maybe it’s 0800 or earlier. Just set your alarm in good time so that you can approach the day prepared.