Monday, April 21, 2008

Morning practices for a good day

image Our routines shape so much of who we are, both for the good and the not-so-good.  I'm one of those people who loves his morning routine, and I love even more to fiddle with it, chasing the perfect beginning to that elusive "good day."  With years of experience in such fiddling, I have discovered that how you begin the day has a lot to do with your perceptions of that day at its end.

Here are the things with which (ideally) I'd begin my day:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee
  • Prayer
  • Engagement with the Scriptures
  • A GTD daily review
  • Exercise
  • Writing

When leaving my morning routine and beginning whatever that day holds, I'd like to feel unhurried, fully submitted to God's purposes for my life in general and for that particular day.  I'd like to have the echo of God's voice following me as I heard it in His Scriptures.  I'd like to feel confident about what needed doing that day, as well as feeling confident I was moving toward my larger goals for the week, month, year, and lifetime.

For the sake of contrast, here's how I've been starting my day:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee
  • Google Reader, catching up on various blogs/sites while shoveling cereal in my face
  • Rushing off to start my day, often (but not always) getting in one or more of the following:
    • Prayer (sometimes including some time in the Scriptures) -- usually happens 4-5 days per week.  Less often on non-work, non-week days.
    • GTD daily review -- usually happens 3-4 days a week.  Never on non-work, non-week days.

I have rarely been getting at all to exercise or to writing.

My big pitfalls lately have been:

  • Tiredness.  This kills exercise first.  When I'm blasted at the end of the day and have a few spare minutes, I hardly feel like climbing on the treadmill or busting out pushups.  Also drains the goodness from otherwise good mornings; prayers seem dry, Scripture reading hard when I'm tired.
  • Creatively spent.  Preaching every week as well as constant attention to envisioning the future tends to drain your batteries on creativity.  I face a blank page now and then, and decide to just surf blogs instead of writing.  Input instead of output.
  • No home office.  I love my youngest daughter dearly.  But she stole my office.  In order to have a semblance of a contiguous morning, I often have to leave the house for a coffee shop or something similar.  This adds transit times and distractions, not to mention paying "rent" by buying coffee.
  • Feeling overwhelmed with to-do's.  This has the effect of pressing on my morning time, and I find myself wading into the email or task storm earlier than I should, rather than spending adequate time gaining prayerful, godly perspective or giving time to things which energize and sustain me.

I've got a few ideas of things to do to take my morning routine to the next step.  But before I share, any of you have any creative ideas that you use to get your day started off right?


Tim Lewis said...

Probably the biggest thing for me being tired is not getting the right amount and right kind of sleep, caused right now by the sinus infection gunk in my head. Now that it's going away I'm getting more sound sleep, making me feel less tired in the morning. I also have found that my college days of staying up until 2 am are over, and that I must go to sleep earlier. It's been around 9:30-10:30 now, depending on if there's a show I want to watch, I'm in the middle of reading something, or listening to the ipod to get my mind to slow down.

So I guess it comes down to: my morning depends on my night.

Oh, and I don't turn my computer on in the morning. It only comes on when I get home from work. Of course, I'm in front of the computer all day, and check email and respond to posts when I shouldn' right now. Hey, I can't help it if I am efficient.

Anonymous said...

I actually have a magic pill that will solve your very dilemma. Ok, I just realized that my sarcastic comment really sounds like I'm pushing heroin or something.

So much for my help...

Tim, I agree with you. My mornings depend a great deal on my evenings. Staying up until 1 pm watching a movie with Julie is fun, but doesn't help to wake me up early.

preacherman said...

I hope you both had a great earth day!
We are discussing it if you like to add your thoughts.
Again, ya'll are ALWAYS in my prayers.

Kori said...

I love not feeling rushed out the door in the morning, so changing our work schedule to an 8 am start has helped that, but I feel that my ability to get my behind out of bed early in the morning is influenced by my stress level. within the past two years, I have been great about sticking to a consistent bedtime, but when I am stressed, I just don't want to get up to face it all day after day.