One of the things that has helped me maintain at least some sense of level headedness in unsettled times of this past year has been a fairly consistent morning routine. It’s not a rigorous morning routine, but it’s a pattern of the way I do my first part of the day that doesn’t really change no matter what’s going on.
For starters I tend to not use an alarm clock unless I have an early morning meeting. I’m often awake before six and have lots of time to do whatever. If I have a meeting, I’ll set the alarm just in case and sometimes, depending on what has happened the day before like if I’ve been out all day hiking or something active, I may sleep in longer. I structure my day by trying to have all meetings and calls, if at all possible, in the late morning or afternoon and typically try to cluster them around lunchtime on one side or the other. So there’s no urgency to get up if I don’t need to.
So I get up when I’m awake and I head upstairs and drink my 20-24 ounces of water just to do a major hydration which has been a great part of the morning routine. I sit in my comfortable chair and read some scripture. I’ve been reading through Isaiah lately, which is just a loaded book with all kinds of nuggets in there. I’ve been taking some extra notes and mulling on some things.
Another thing I’ve been doing is going through old notes I’ve taken at conferences and looking at sermon notes so I can scan them and throw them out to lighten the load a bit and move closer to paperless. I do some of that biblical input and then I have a little notebook on the end table beside the chair there to write down one win from the previous day. It’s something that made the previous day a success or the most successful part of the day before.
I do also mention something I’m thankful for, but just a sentence or two really highlighting what was good from the day before. That really does something for your head space at the start of a new day. I will spend some time praying sometimes just a simple prayer over the day, right there thinking about the day ahead.
I also grabbed a little notebook to write out the things I know I need to do that day and hone in on the one thing, which if I do it and get nothing else done, will make the day a success. Usually there’s one thing or a cluster of tasks around a project that if I do them the day will be great. I try keep it to something that could be accomplished in a half day, because even though I like to plan my day through, I know things can come up. So if there’s something I can get done within the half a day before lunch and it makes the day a great day, then that’s what I will go after.
I will get my smoothie from the fridge, which has been made the night before and have the smoothie often while listening to a podcast of some kind. I listen to a wide range of podcasts that I mentioned in a previous episode and then make sure I’ve written out the tasks for the day. Often they’re clustered to a ministry area that I’m working on to some personal stuff on just one page.
Then Kristin and I will usually go for a stroll. We call it a cortisol stroll to get the juices flow and get the cortisol slope happening the right way. There’s something about natural light first thing in the morning that actually helps set you up for the next night’s sleep. We’ll do that and I’ll often listen to another podcast and if I haven’t had a smoothie, I’ll do that.
The other thing that is a part of my morning is that I wear pretty much the same clothes every day. I know this is a bit of a cliche in the tech world, and Steve Jobs as the example, but I wear pretty much the same clothes every day. I’ve got two pairs of pants that look identical. One pair is insulated dark cargo pants with zip off legs that can turn into shorts even though I’ve never used them that way. Those are my primary pants I wear. Then I wear a t-shirt of some kind. Sometimes I’ll use a long sleeve and kind of wool Merino wool shirt, a hoodie or a polar of some kind. That just makes the mornings much simpler.
So you can see it’s a routine, but a loose routine. I get up when I’m awake, spend some time in the Word, spend some time thinking about and praying about the day. Then I have my smoothie, go for a stroll, dress in my standard clothes, and have some hydration. After that I often spend more time in intercession, depending on day. I pray for different things on different days of the week, focusing in on different groups of people in different areas of intercession, but just that’s the stuff at the start of my day.
I’m just wondering what kind of routine do you have? Are there some things you always do or never do at the start of your day? Having just a few little things that you always do can really give you some momentum at the start of your day and actually start your day healthy, hopeful and with an appropriate level of energy.
Hope there’s a nugget in there for you somewhere. God bless, press on.