i think morning time is one area where the existence and value of regimentation (e.g. checklist) shows its global relevance as mornings for most people, based on my polling, begin virtually the same day in and day out, workdays and non-workdays each having their own cadence of course. most of my days i wake in my home begin like this ...
MY MORNING CHECKLIST
there do seem to be a few natural areas in life where the routines are so pedestrian and mindless, they just organically come be be set in stone. even if the first thing you do upon waking is reach over and check your email or favorite website, it is something that will in time get written into the fabric of your days. i have met a few people who actively fight these natural patterns by, say, brushing their teeth with their non-dominant hand or always going to repeat destinations using different routes. this upstream swimming always perplexed me as it seemed counter-productive and, well, kinda pointless. then one of these practitioners explained why they did this. they said they liked heightening their awareness of even the most mundane matters so they would be more engaged, or the modern-day wording is "present", in the various points of the day, ALL of the points of the day. this turned my bafflement to intrigue. i've long believed that as long as you have a thoughtful reason for doing what you do, then you are golden (of course, as long as your inclinations aren't harmful to others in which case your have some twisted thinking and should seek help). that said, i will not be brushing my teeth with my left hand anytime soon. i've got too many interesting things on other lists to spend my time foolin' with that.
- wake. hopefully naturally and hopefully between 5:30 and 6:00.
- weigh myself.
- get my drinks ready for the day (those drinks being tea and vietnamese coffee).
- write (for website or talk/lecture, until 7:00 a.m.).
- @ 7:00 a.m. do my first set of pushups for the day (daily goal is 5 sets of 25).
- review my goals.
- update my LIFE spreadsheet (recording prior day's progress & happenings).
- schedule the day's hours (if they haven't already been set).
- start day.
if you are thinking the above list is just what sort of happened on its own and i simply wrote it down to share here today, that is very much NOT the case. that above process is the end product of years of successes and failures and constant tuning. in six months i will look at it again. touch each piece and see if it is making my mornings and days richer or is more of a styrofoam peanut simply taking up the day's space. fact is i recently turned my whole day upside down. i used to be way nocturnal and did all of the above things after 10pm, including drinking coffee. i even exercised after 10pm. in reviewing my processes one day, it occurred to me that i was doing some of my most personal and long-lasting work (e.g. working on my health, writing/sharing my memories) at the end of the day when i was completely spent and fading fast. i was giving people who weren't me my best hours and giving myself only a fraction of what i was capable of. so i began a long-term project of going from being someone who stayed up until 2am every night and cursing my morning alarm clock to someone who gets up by 6am (without an alarm clock). i definitely bristled at the start of this change. my main concern focused on the obvious advantage of night-work that you can work until you were done and just sacrifice sleep (like that matters at all) where if you moved to the morning, you could only work until you had to go to your job, else you might lose said job. after a fair bit of rumination, i concluded the quality of the product, even if there was less of it, out-weighed the quantity. now having a few years of practice in, i think it was the right choice for me and over time, i have become more productive with the hours i had, mostly due to how finite that time is, which holds a more honest fidelity with how the natural world actually functions than does thinking that time can be stolen from the day by sacrificing sleep or exercise, which is some short-sighted math and a lesson it sadly took me more than three decades to learn.