An Early Bird in the Hand (or: How to Wake Up)

by Cheney — October 4, 2017

Coffee cup, mornings, early, ugh, early morning, I don't do mornings

Today’s attempt to wake up early like successful people do. Maybe I have to face the fact that I’m never going to be a morning person and just go back to bed.

There’s that saying that goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”. Now, my belief system is vague at best, and I tend only to mention higher powers when an anecdote needs comedy or dramatic emphasis. But I like the saying, at least, my version. It goes something like “For a really good laugh, I write down something about finally getting my act together and read it back at least a week later”. Not as catchy, but I find it does the job.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”

I read an article last week about how successful people get up super early, and have finished a full days’ work before I’ve even worked out exactly why I hate each and every person on my morning bus. The key, this article claims, is to establish a routine. It urged me to write down what my ideal morning looked like, so I could begin to make early a reality. I’d had a good strong cup of tea by this point, and was feeling mildly positive, so I gave it a red hot go. I wrote:

Early Morning Ideal
  • 7am: Wake up early
  • 7-7.15: Meditate
  • 7-15-7:35: Make and eat breakfast, watch news while eating
  • 7:35-7:40: Get dressed
  • 7:45-7:55: Brush hair, brush teeth, put on sunscreen etc.
  • 7:55: Leave house, walk into the city to catch bus

I felt pleased after writing this down. I thought it seemed achievable, a calm morning that would require a little preparation, such as packing my backpack the night before, or laying out some clean clothes. No big deal. I’ll compare it with this morning’s actual routine:

Early Morning Reality
  • 7am: Wake up early, feel disenfranchised with the concept, go back to sleep.
  • 7:17: Wake up again, tell self I’ll “only sleep until 7:30” because that sounds like a nice even time to wake up.
  • 7:34: Wake up, figure I’ve missed that window, so make new deal to sleep until 7:45.
  • 7:49: Ok, we’ve come this far. Let’s make it an even 8am.
  • 8:04: Curse self, get up feeling annoyed.
  • 8:04-8:47: Make breakfast, eat in front of TV while reading miscellaneous internet, then get annoyed because some sports coach walked out partway through a TV interview, but I missed the circumstances of it because I was reading the internet. Google around to see if someone mentioned it on Twitter or Facebook but they haven’t, so get further annoyed that people aren’t more committed to transmitting the important matters of the day to me.
  • 8:47-9:07: Pull miscellaneous clothes out of wardrobe, laundry hamper and chest of drawers. Arrange in a combination I hope is weather-appropriate (it mostly isn’t). Change twice. Make liberal use of dry shampoo. Splash face with water, observe with horror how tired I look. Hope in vain that it’ll mostly work itself out by midday, and leave it at that.
  • 9:07: Observe I at least remembered to pack my backpack, and leave. (You forget your gym towel, but this part is otherwise a victory.)
rower, paddle, paddling, mornings, early, early morning, sunrise, rowing

I tell myself this person didn’t wake up before dawn. They just got lost while rowing the day before.

The only thing in common between these two routines is that it took me approximately an hour from actually getting out of bed, to getting myself out the door in both scenarios. So, at least I’ve got that bit down. The other thing this routine reveals is that I appear to be an optimist. A massive, gigantic optimist. My dreams for Future Cheney are wild and free, involving mindfulness, nutritious breakfasts and bountiful clean laundry. If nothing else, I enjoy my apparently limitless capacity for hope.

In fact, while I was looking around for the original article that I referred to above, I found a new article about creating a good morning routine. I’ve bookmarked it to read as soon as I finish writing this blog post. It seems to contain a lot of good, realistic advice that I’m sure I’ll be able to put into action. Starting tomorrow. Too easy.

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