A few years ago, an old colleague of mine told me, “You’re wasting your life.”
She was commenting on my weekday routine: waking up around 6am, meditating, exercising, sea swimming, getting into work early with all of that momentum and chirp behind me, and going to bed by 11pm.
I didn’t judge my colleague as wasting their life for waking up at 8am, eating breakfast whilst watching television, and invariably coming into work late.
Horses for courses, I guess.
Now that I am back to full-time work, rocking and rolling in a new role, I have returned to a regular and glorious early morning routine.
Morning chirps are important, massively important.
Whatever it is you do in that first hour or two after you rise sets the tone that follows you throughout your day, echoing in thoughts and shaping your actions.
I have known this for a few years, but in the last couple of months it has been emphasised in my life.
Let me tell you why.
Morning Routines and Space Constraints in The Hotel Quarantina
When I was landed with a surprise 10 day enforced quarantine at The Hotel Quarantina a few weeks ago, I knew I had to start honouring a morning routine again, something I hadn’t done whilst travelling the previous six months.
How did I, during 10 days confinement to a hotel room with no social contact or fresh air or outside time, not only “survive”, but flourish?
By religiously following a morning routine, and allowing that morning chirp to echo throughout my day.
I would wake up, immediately do breathing exercises, then meditate, then journal, and exercise.
These and similar activities – which so many people (including myself) know they could and should be doing, but often avoid – are physically and mentally vivifying, and set you up for the day like nothing else. I dare say, even better than cereal and television.
Tell me, which of the following was I doing in quarantine?
- Wasting my life?
- Positively irradiating my day, and that God-forsaken room, by prioritising my physical and mental health with a morning routine?
I hope we can agree that I wasn’t wasting my life; I was optimising my health, happiness and sanity by conquering those mornings in my confinement.
I had no choice but to be strict with myself and honour this routine, lest I fall victim to ill health of my body and mind – all too easy a thing to do, alone in a luxury prison cell.
The importance – the urgency, even – of honouring a morning routine to preserve my physical and mental wellbeing was clear as day in quarantine.
Why should it be any less clear a priority when free?
Just because we are free doesn’t mean we are free of challenges to contend with. Just the opposite: if anything, we have a greater amount and variety of challenges.
Optimising our mornings, and therefore our days, is even more important, no?
Morning Routines and Time Constraints in Day to Day Life
Yesterday, my older sister told me something that resonated with me.
When she is at work and has a ten minute window, she will apply herself to some ‘life admin’, and usually get something done.
Whereas, if she is at home on a weekend and has plenty of time, she procrastinates and gets little life admin done.
It’s economy of scarcity.
If you have an abundance of something, you needn’t treasure it, and can happily squander it.
If something is scarce, it is by necessity more valuable; you treasure it more, and make more careful use of it.
I have a job now – huzzah! – and I know I have to be here at this time, which gives me so many minutes to do this or that task.
My time has become more constrained, and therefore more precious, and as a result I have treasured it that much more. It more valuable because I have less of it.
On weekdays, I rise between 5.30am and 6.30am, which gives me about two hours of time within which I can master my morning and set myself up to conquer the day.
Time in the morning is not only scarce, it is exponentially valuable, for that small slice of time determines the trajectory for the rest of your day.
As your day starts, so goes the rest of your day.
This is why I waste my life by squeezing every last minute and bit of chirp I can out of my mornings, by exercising and meditating and swimming and writing and doing things that make me feel good.
The Magic of an Early Morning Routine
Mornings are more quiet, more peaceful, more precious, more beautiful, and more inspiriting that the rest of the day.
Magical moments are morning made.
Mornings grow all too quickly into days, and just as children grow into adults, their initial wonder and purity is lost to a world of seriousness and responsibility.
In the evening, your work is done, you are tired, you are hungry, you are distracted, you are busy or winding down. You are chilling out, not warming up.
In the morning, you arise anew, you are fresh, you have no distractions. You have a day full of opportunities ahead of you, and but a small slice of precious time within which to optimally prepare yourself to make best use of these opportunities.
Set your alarm clock an hour earlier. Watch the sunrise, bask in its beams, hear the birds, breathe in the air, swim in the sea, move your body, experience life at first light.
In this priceless time, you can calibrate your consciousness to be harmonious, receptive, joyful, proactive and grateful. Why wake up in a rush, in a reactive state, fumbling through your morning, when this alternative is available for the sake of an hour less on your alarm clock?
Aside from the magic, the beauty, and the tranquility, the promise of an early morning routine is that the day all but takes care of itself afterwards.
Mornings are an eternally appreciating asset: they increase in value as long as you own them.
If you own your morning, you can afford all that your day demands of you.
I dare you, set your alarm clock an hour earlier.
We have a group of like-minded chirpy souls who congregate on Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Mostly we chat, meditate, sometimes do a bit of yoga and exercise, and have a dip in the sea afterwards.
It is a beautiful and glorious way to start a day, and doubly good to share that start with good people.
No money or strings attached.
Let me know if you fancy joining us.
2 thoughts on “Early Bird Catches The Chirp”
For some people, it’s drinking and escapism that’s the meaning of life. For others, it’s building the mind and body of the thing we have our entire lives. I’m loving your morning routine, and agree with all you shared. Thanks for this post!
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Thank you brother.