Morning momentum

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I love the rain, I do. I love it, even more, when I can just lay in bed for hours reading books.

I’ve noticed that the wintry, rainy weather has been affecting my usual morning ‘rise up and shine’ mood. It’s not that easy to part with the luxury of my warm bed and instead of jumping right out and getting on with things, I reach for my phone, stay under the covers, and look through the news. I realised that although there isn’t really anything wrong with this, it’s affected how I start my day and some of the quality of my work in the morning.

Instead of being in control of my morning (and essentially my day), I’ve been merely reactive to whatever is thrown at me during the day. Reaching for my phone first thing in the morning is not something I usually do, and I realised it has aided in my procrastination. Reading news headlines first thing in the morning soon just snowballs into checking my emails and then responding. What happens next is that I lose my sacred morning writing time.

"The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control." Epictetus, Discourses II.5

We have control over our own actions, no one else’s. Choice and control; and so, I choose to be kind to myself. Maybe what I need is to schedule some ‘chill’ time intentionally during the weekend so that I can allow myself some indulgences after a good week of meaningful work. Rest is important too and so maybe I’m not allowing myself enough rest. I am taking back control over my weekday mornings though and creating purposeful momentum at the start of my day.

  • H20 – I drink a glass of water and take my probiotics.
  • Oxygen – I spend five minutes focussed on my breathing and my mindfulness practice.
  • Cold – I take a super quick shower to really wake me up. It’s freezing, hence why I shower as fast as I can.
  • Tea for two – I do two sacred hours of writing. During my Pomodoro breaks, I make and have my morning smoothie.

With the writing done, I’m ready to take on the rest of the day, and only then do I start to listen to the news and open emails. The rest of the day is split between re-writing previous drafts of my work, doing more research, analysing data, reading other work related to my field, attending meetings and webinars, catch-up with peers, and so on.

At the very end of the day, I purposefully slow down. When everything’s done, dishes and all, I go back and focus on myself again. I journal my day, unload all my thoughts, write down the delights and worries of the day, and then I pack it all away. Sometimes I have time for a warm bath, if not, it’s a cold, quick shower, before settling in with a book. I usually light a nice, scented candle too. When I feel ready for bed, I wash my face and take the time to slow down even more. Finally in bed, just before I shut my eyes, I recall the delights of my day and also think about all the people I love.

When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Tagged in What messes with your head, phd, Productivity, Student life