Starting my day off right is one of the things I’ve been most preoccupied with lately, because starting your day right means continuing your day right and, you know, just generally having an all-round ‘right’ day. Which is nice and gives you the feel-goods.
It’s not easy though. That first hour of your day is crucial, yet it’s so easy to fuck it up without any thought. And that’s the key, isn’t it? You DO need thought. You need to be thoughtful. ‘Mindful’, as the kids are calling it these days.
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned from being mindful of how I start my days:
1. Don’t Sleep with Your Phone Next to You
Nothing new here, but it’s pretty important: When I sleep with my phone on my bedside table, I inevitably check it first thing in the morning. I can end up lying in bed for almost an hour just reading shit on my phone. What a huge fucking waste of time. Christ, sometimes I even take the damn thing to the toilet with me, which makes me feel like a horrible human being.
Also, if I wake up in the middle of the night and my phone is next to me, I’m likely to do some 3am browsing, which is obviously a dumb thing to do if you want to go back to sleep. Didn’t anyone ever tell you to turn your screens off before sleep? There’s a reason for that: the bright light stimulates some chemical or other (I forget its name) that keeps you awake. Bad times. Sleep is the most important thing ever.
2. Put Some Bloody Clothes On
I mean that figuratively, of course, because gross. ANYHOO. Yeah, turns out, pyjamas are not the best attire for productivity. In your PJs, you could easily crawl back into bed. You’re in sleepy-time mode when you’re wearing your pyjamas. Plus, eventually you hit that point where you start hating yourself, and hating yourself is also bad news for productivity. You can still do good work in your pyjamas, but you should at least brush your teeth, okay?
3. Exercise Isn’t Necessarily The Best Way to Start
I’m doing a 28-day challenge at the moment – an experiment if you will – on exercising first thing in the morning, because I’ve heard a lot about how it’s the best way you can start your day. I’ll be honest with you: it’s not going great. When I exercise first thing, it takes me an ice age to start my work. There’s a whole lot of fucking around that happens before I sit down at my desk. Maybe exercise IS the best thing for you – but it might not be. It’s important to figure out what works for you. I’ll be talking more about this next week when I write my wrap-up for the challenge.
4. It Doesn’t Matter What Time You Get Up
I’ve always wanted to be an early riser. Instead, I’m a get-up-when-you’re-ready-er. Usually that’s between 8 and 9am. Sometimes it’s closer to 7am, and I always secretly feel pleased with myself on those days. I’m not giving up on my dream of being an early riser, but I am coming to understand that as long as I’ve had enough sleep, I can have a productive day, and that maybe rising early isn’t all that big of a deal. If I can still have a good day getting up at 9, what does it matter?
The main thing I’ve learned is that the best way for other people isn’t necessarily the best way for me. The same goes for you too, natch.