This week I was chatting with a friend of mine who works in finance and who takes the same work-bus as me in the morning. We got into a conversation about sport and I mentioned that I tried to do some sport every morning before coming into work. He said ‘I used to be good at doing exercise, but I struggle to find the time.’ I said that I was able to make the time by getting out of bed just after six o’clock. He replied that he gets out of bed just after five o’clock. But when I asked what he does before catching a bus in the morning, he said that he basically just had a cup of coffee.
Recently a friend posted something on Facebook: « You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. » For me, getting a morning routine hard-wired into the day makes for a great start, and a good way to fix some basic things into the weekly programme. By putting quite a few things into the morning routine, I can take the stress off weekends and evenings and just allow certain things to just happen naturally.
At the moment, I’m waking up at 610. We don’t have curtains, so in the summer that means waking up with the sun, but at the moment, it’s just a bit before sunrise. I’ll check whatsapp and then head out for some sport. When I was training for the marathon, this was almost always running, but now I’m putting the emphasis on working out with weights, and a more varied set of aerobic exercises on alternate days (running, cross-trainer, cycling). I have a small breakfast (2 Weetabix, 1 piece of fruit and a cup of tea) either before or after the exercise. If I’m working out in the gym, I’ll go down with my tea. While cycling or cross-training I can read my Kindle (Bible reading (3 chapters) + another book); I just find you need to increase the font size. Other exercise is done to podcasts.
I need to be in the shower by 730, and then out the door by 745-755, after a short prayer with my usually-sleeping wife. It’s a 5 minute walk to the metro, two stops on the train, and then a bus to work that leaves at 820 to arrive at 900. Taking the bus is something I find a key part of organising my mornings: I can just switch off and concentrate. On the walk to the metro I listen to podcasts. Then, when I’m waiting for the train, I’ll take out my phone to surf. I’ll quickly check Facebook and Emails (though only to browse quickly as I prefer emailing on a laptop at work). Then I’ll open the BBC News app to read some news stories/headlines, and then open Feedly to clear my RSS feeds. i can finish with these main two phone tasks in the train, or waiting for the bus, or on the bus.
The next step is to pull out my Kindle. The first priority is to read my three Bible chapters, which I’ll generally follow by a short prayer. Then I’ll do other reading. I’m reading the Qu’ran at the moment, though I tend not to segway between the two religious books without something in between. The morning is often a time to exchange whatsapp messages.
The result is that every time I arrive at the office in the morning I’ve done some exercise, eaten, washed, caught up on the news, cleared my blog inbox, advanced in my reading and podcast listening, and read some of the Bible and prayed. This all helps to advance a number of core life objectives, and make sure that important things aren’t being neglected.
I don’t think such things are for everyone, but I’m very much a morning person, and I feel I can thrive where things are very regular like this (bus always leaving at the same time, etc).