I was never one to like routines. I found them monotonous, but recently I’ve started to embrace one at a certain time, which has enabled me to have much more fulfilling days!
Last summer I took to getting up at 7:30am every morning whether I was at work or not when a neighbour’s dogs started waking the street up at 8:00. Initially annoyed with this I soon grew to love being up early at the weekends when the air just felt different, more fresh (I live in the city) and I found myself going for early morning runs, watching my box sets with breakfast, writing or catching an early morning classic film on TV.
Getting up and doing something, anything, soon spilt over to the rest of the day too. I can procrastinate like a champ, but I came to realise if I started the day off well then on some subconscious level I wouldn’t want to waste a moment; my inner procrastinator would take the day off and I’d have a great sense of satisfaction when I went to bed each night. Yet if I slept in and lounged about it’d be later and later in the morning before I’d have the energy to start anything, I’d feel lazy all day and end up wasting it, cursing myself when it was time to go back to the office.
Now fast-forward to the beginning of December and I had the month off, my favourite time of the year had arrived and I’d been bought a wonderfully original advent calendar with different flavours of tea for each day. I’d also bought myself a Christmas jumper mug (from Firebox but I also saw it in the shops in Belfast) so decided to try them both out in my newly festively-decorated house. Usually I’d have jumped straight into the shower at 7:30am but on this particular day I liked the idea of going downstairs in my dressing gown and curling up with a hot cuppa first to wake myself up. With this cup can you blame me? The whole scenario cried out “winter” to me.
For whatever reason I hadn’t shut down my Mac the night before and noticed the power light softly blinking in sleep mode. So I sat down on my (very comfy) chair in front of my desk at the back of my living room and woke it up. Next thing it was 8:45am and I’d had a very enjoyable and extremely promising start to the day, having checked all of my social media, emails, the day’s news and I’d even been texting friends and annoying them that I was off. I also noticed the time was exactly half an hour before a certain TV show I always tried to catch when I’m in the house on a weekday morning…
So I nipped off to the shower and was back to the living room just in time to make breakfast and settle down in front of Matthew Wright. I love The Wright Stuff and find it’s a great way of catching up with a lot of what’s happening in the world and, while it can get serious, it often does so in an accessible and funny way. But that wasn’t all this morning brought with it, no no.
The same lovely person who’d introduced me to the tea above had also shown me TweetDeck and the ability to schedule my Twitter ramblings. Now I’m all for engaging with people in real-time but for the purposes of getting The Oink! Blog posts out there, to as many people who may be interested as possible, it proved invaluable. So on this particular morning I spent the ad breaks during The Wright Stuff on the couch with coffee and my iPad, writing out the day’s scheduled tweets to promote the latest posts.
(Of course at the weekend Matthew isn’t on, but he’s usually replaced with either Saturday Kitchen or a couple of NCIS episodes on DVD, but the same rules still apply.)
By the time the show was over at 11:15am I felt I’d really accomplished something with my morning and it wasn’t even over yet, never mind the whole day! I felt positive, encouraged and motivated, spending the rest of the morning writing more, the afternoon Christmas shopping and wrapping, I’d company that night and cooked dinner and had a lovely night in. When the next morning rolled around it was a no brainer to get up and try the same thing again.
You know what? It worked.
I found it really beneficial to have a morning routine to set me up for the day when I’m off. I love it, it’s effortless, gets my brain going and I find my whole day so productive if I keep to it. Here’s to what it could bring to 2017!