I previously wrote a post on getting an early start to the day. And in that time, I've also realized that there are only so much that I can do in that time. One thing that I do want to emphasize is that you want to manage it in such a way that you don't get exhausted by the time you get to work or school.
Before I get into some of the popular ones that I have come across over the years, there are a couple of things I want to get across. First, whatever you do, just start doing it. Get up early. Yeah, tomorrow. Start. That's the key to everything. In fact, isn't that the key to it all?
Second, why are you doing this? Getting up in the morning is great. I mean it but I think it is important to find a purpose for what you're doing. That can come later. But what I mean is how getting up early in the morning fits into your overall day. At some point, just think about it. It can make your morning more effective. And going back to the first point: start.
The most popular morning ritual I see is the meditation. I'll be honest. I don't know if it is for everyone but I think it is worth a shot. But let me start this is: going to bed at a good time and waking up early.
People seem to believe that waking up early is the first step. It is actually the night before - what time you went to bed. Everyone have different needs in terms of hours of sleep. Eight is optimal but I think it varies a hour or two - as in 6-8 hours. Personally, I like to sleep more but five seems to be all I get, and six some days.
My bed time is around 11 and I wake up around 4 am. I've gone to sleep earlier around 9:30 when I fall sleep in front of the TV (bad habit, guys) and end up wide awake around 2:30 or 3 am (perhaps we can explore the bad habits of unsuccessful people at a future date - bad habits that I have plenty of).
Now, if you want to go back a bit further, we can discuss diet and what to eat for dinner. Like all the things mentioned above, it varies from person to person.
Okay, now that you're awake, what now?
Physical Activities - Getting Out of Bed
I like stretching a bit and do some walking around the room or house. This is usually about 10 minutes but it varies. Honestly, I change my routine so much that, honestly, waking up early truly the only thing that is routine about my morning. Oh, and yeah, the temperature kind of matter to me. So some light body movement to warn up the body helps a lot.
While I do that, I make a cup of coffee. And weather permitting, I like to step outside and have my coffee and just take in the morning. I might bring a book or my phone just to catch up on some tweets, articles, or look through my messsages/emails. Some people do that. Some don't. What you don't want to do is to have your phone or tablet close next to your bed so that it becomes easy for you to pick it up and lie in bed reading or playing a quick game. That can stretch into half an hour or more.
Some people would suggest that leaving the phone behind is important so you don't get distracted. Perhaps there is some wisdom in that but going through the schedule and mail lets me know how my day is shaping up and what I'm up against.
Some take up writing. Boy, would I like to do that. Personally, I do not always have something to jot down. When I do write, I found myself writing about the morning and what I hope to accomplish that particular day or focus on some worry or issue that I might have. I do think a lot so perhaps, I can start with that. A to-do list is what I have read and heard people do as a part of their morning writings. I do caution this: do not end up overwhelming yourself (I like to share with you another time what I do in addition to a to-do list). I have a list and I pick two or three things I want to get done that particular day. And if it all goes well, I do another. And I stop there.
One habit I did pick up is that I write throughout the day even when I'm at the office.
Physical Activities - A Morning Workout
I generally like to work out after work as with most people. But I find that if I can get in a good 20-30 minutes of heart pumping cardio, it really gets me amped up for the day. Sometimes, no so heart pumping but anything helps. And after that, a quick shower is like a second awakening to the morning.
I find a lot of people work out in the morning. Sure, we read about it but to see the number of people out running in the morning or at the gym is impressive. I'm sure we are a minority but we are who we are. And I like to get out there.
There are a couple of things that I would like to incorporate into my routine. Perhaps squeeze in another 15 to 20 minutes of learning. I have been learning to draw. Perhaps that is what I can do more of in addition to writing more.
There is one side-effect to my morning routine. And it's a good one. A lot of what I do in the morning I realized I did when I get to the office. And since I've done a lot of it already (like reading the day's headlines and sorted through messages and emails), I can dive right into my work.
I'm energized even when I know I'm about to face a tough or long day - knowing that I've done something already and I'm on my way to checking off a couple more items on my list.
Of course, there are days when I slack off. I just want to stay in bed. I feel off for some reason. I'm human. And that's perfectly fine. We are not automatons. And life sometimes just throws us off. Just know that there is always another morning tomorrow.