Week 40/2022: Building a morning ritual

Week of 3 October 2022

Building a morning ritual

Following Sunday’s post about changing up my bedtime, as prompted by Chapter 1 of Laura Vanderkam’s new book Tranquility by Tuesday, I’ve been looking at the bonus section of the chapter, which suggests putting together a morning routine.

Of all the productivity tips and hacks I’ve read over the past 10 years or so, the morning routine is the one that almost everyone says you must do to set yourself up for the day. It’s something that I’ve done consistently for many years. If nothing else, I’d get up and go for a walk first thing.

However, earlier this year, I got sick and I fell out of this habit. I decided to stop getting up in the cold, dark mornings to go for a walk while I was recovering. But even when I started to feel better, I still didn’t want to get up in the dark and I switched my walks to later in the day.

Ever since then, my mornings have been a little unstructured and I never quite feel settled. I seem to fall into the day rather than setting myself up, and this carries over into the rest of the day.

Now I’m getting up to write at 6.00 am, I want to rebuild a morning ritual with a couple of things to signal the start of my writing time. To do this, I need to get up a little earlier, say 5.30 am. And you can be sure if I’m going to get up at 5.30, I want to fill this time with things that are good for my mind or my body, perhaps things I struggle to fit in during the day if I don’t do them first thing, rather than scrolling Instagram.

So, sorting out my morning routine is next on my list.

For a morning ritual, Laura suggests choosing three “bite-sized” things you could do in 15-30 minutes that you would actually enjoy doing (and, therefore, presumably, would make you more likely to get out of bed to do). Her suggestions include some quick exercises or stretches, reading, meditating, or having a coffee. You could even have five or six things and choose different ones on different days. She stresses that there is no right way to do a morning routine: it is there to serve you, not the other way around.

Sometimes I think I forget this.

But at the same time, I also think it would be helpful, at least while I’m still trying to build the writing habit, to do the same things in the same order, to try and train my brain that I do this, and then I do this, (and then I get coffee) and then I write.

I’ve noticed though, that my brain doesn’t respond well to that type of routine, so maybe it doesn’t have to be completely set in stone. It’s there to serve me, right?

I like Christian Rivera’s suggestion from his INTP productivity program, to start your morning ritual with activities to care for your physical, mental and spiritual needs, before you work your way out to interacting with other people. So social media is out. Exercise, reading, meditation, looking at the sky, listening to the birds, deep breathing or listening to calming music is in.

Also coffee.

At the moment I seem to be spending that first half hour (if I actually get up at 5.30) cleaning the kitchen and scrolling social media, which doesn’t put me in a good frame of mind for writing. I want to stop this and use that time more intentionally, to ease myself into the day.

This is my project for next week.

A black cockatoo in a tree eating a seed pod
Black cockatoo / minungkana

22 for 2022 update

Last week, I said I was going to do these things:

  • Continue the creative writing bootcamp (thing 17).
  • Contact the nutritionist (thing 2).
  • Flick through Use It All and find some ideas to use in my meal planning (thing 3).
  • See how much work there is to clear out my veggie bed, and find out what I can plant at this time of the year (thing 6).

I did all of the things!

I finished week 4 of the bootcamp, and, as of Sunday, I have Monday and Tuesday to go. (Spoiler: I completed them too.)

I sent an email to the nutritionist I want to see.

I took a look at the veggie bed and pulled out all the weeds. I’m not sure what there was more of in there, weeds or parsley, because that has self sown and taken over. I don’t think I’ll need to buy parsley any time soon.

A small veggie box crowded with overgrown parsley
The veggie bed – after I cleared it out

I had a look at Use It All and I’m not sure if I can use it in exactly the way I thought I’d be able to but I have another idea about reducing food waste. Another project for next week.

22 for 2022 summary

  • Things completed to date: 8 (8, 10, 11, 13, 18, 19, 20, 22)
  • Things completed this week: –
  • Things I worked on this week: 5: (2, 3, 6, 17, 21)
  • Things in progress: 8 (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 17, 21)
  • Things not started: 2 (14, 16)
  • Things I’m not going to do: 4 (4, 7, 9, 15)

What do I want to do next week?

I want to sort out my morning ritual and to keep up with my 6.00 am writing now that the bootcamp is over. The final task was to look at the writing strategies that worked for me and build them into my days. I think writing at 6.00 am for at least half an hour was a big one. It might not have always been 6.00, but before starting my paid work definitely seems to be a time I can do this.

So I need to stick with it.

I also want do do some more work on the veggie garden (thing 6) and explore more of what I can do to reduce food waste (thing 3).

Weekly summary

What was the best thing about this week?

The best thing this week was something Kramstable did rather than anything I did. He went on a five-day voyage on the Lady Nelson tall ship with a group of young people doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. I was lucky to be able to be at the docks to see them off on Monday (I felt like I needed to be standing there waving a handkerchief as they left the port) and to see them return on Friday afternoon.

An old fashioned sail boat, The Lady Nelson, leaving Hobar harbour
A fond farewell

It sounds like it was an amazing experience for everyone who went.

What did I learn this week?

My friend Pete, has a YouTube channel about travelling around Tasmania on public transport and I learned from one of his videos this week that the car park at Lower Sandy Bay used to be a turning circle for the trolley buses that used to run along Sandy Bay Road, until 1968. As did the flat area on the street corner outside Wrest Point Casino. The concrete paving along that road is actually what remains of the trolley bus road.

What I’m reading this week

  • The Little Red Writing Book by Mark Tredinnick
  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
  • Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Habit tracker

  • Went for a walk or ride (Goal = 7): 7
  • Writing Bootcamp (Goal = 7): 7
  • The Little Red Writing Book exercises (Goal = 5): 1
  • Listened to writing podcasts (Goal = 2): 2
  • Controlled breathing (Goal = 7): 7
  • All four physiotherapy exercises (Goal = 7): 5
  • Mental health break outside during my work days in the office (2 days): 2
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 4): 3
  • Daily gratitude (Goal = 7): 7
  • Shut my computer down before 9.15 (Goal = 6): 5
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