A few months ago, I sat down with a notebook and completely revamped my morning routine. I’ve gone through several iteration of this routine over the years, tweaking it based on past experience and new things that I have learned. This time, I gave it some careful thought and decided that there were 4 things I wanted to get done before everything else:
- Write. Whether blog writing, or fiction writing, or any other writing, I try to write every day.
- Walk. I get in a 2-1/2 mile walk every morning, rain or shine. The only thing that keeps me from my morning walk is two negative factors to the weather (e.g. rain and wind, or freezing rain, etc.)
- Workout. Since May, I have been working out 5 days a week, Monday thru Friday, and taking the weekends off.
- Dropoffs. There are two school dropoffs each morning: one for my son, and one for my youngest daughter. Kelly and I split these dropoffs each morning.
I jotted these four “must-haves” in my notebook. There is also a “nice-to-have”: each morning, I sit out on the deck, whether permitting, and read a randonly-selected magazine article. It would be great if I could formally get that into my morning routine as well.
I’m an early-to-bed-early-to-rise person. I am generally up around 5 am, weekdays and weekends. During the week, I start work by 9am. That gives me four hours each morning to get in whatever activity I can manage. In my notebook, I divided those four hours into four slots from 5:30 – 9:00am. Why start at 5:30 and not 5:00am? I use that first half hour each morning to read news, do the New York Times mini crossword, and play Wordle. I’ve found it is a nice way to wake up my brain.
With four slots available to me, I sketched out a routine that I’d sort of been using for much of the summer. It looked like this:
|8:30am||Article reading on the deck|
So far, so good. But with school starting up there was a problem. We have to drop off our son between 7:30 – 8:00 am, and we have to drop off our younger daughter between 8:30 and 9:00 am, That means that my schedule could vary slightly each day depending on who I was dropping off. So I went back to my notebook and created an “A” schedule and a “B” schedule depending on who I was taking to school each day:
|Time||Schedule A||Schedule B|
With this schedule, I had a routine that varied only by who I was dropping off in the morning. It meant slightly different times for my workout.
As I was figuring this out, the summer was waning: sunset was earlier each day and sunrise was later each morning. I prefer doing my morning walks in sunlight. I don’t mind walking in the dark, but like Superman, the sun has a replenishing effect on me, especially in the mornings. It occurred to me that my routine would have to change with the changing seasons. This required some research. I looked up the variance in sunrise times in my area from the earliest sunrise to the latest sunrise. I also factored in daylight saving time, which would cause sudden jumps in sunrise times twice each year.
The result was three schedules each with 2 drop-off variants. The schedules varied based on the time of year. Here are the schedules and morning routines I came up with :
Schedule I: Early Sunrise (May – July)
|Time||Dropoff A||Dropoff B|
Schedule II: Middle Sunrise (April, August-September)
|Time||Dropoff A||Dropoff B|
Schedule III: Late Sunrise (January – March, October – December)
|Time||Dropoff A||Dropoff B|
These schedules have been working out well for me. Currently, given that we are well into October, I am using Schedule III. This morning for instance, I am working on this post between 5:30 – 6:30am. When I finish, I’ll do my workout, and then go for my walk, and since it is my day to walk Ellie to school, I’ll do that at 8:30am. When I get back from my walk, I’ll start my work day.
What about my random magazine article reading on the deck? As I said earlier, this is a “nice-to-have.” I couldn’t find a formal place for it in the schedules above. However, these schedules are slightly deceiving. I do try to spend a full hour writing each morning. But my morning walk takes 40 minutes (not a full hour) and my workout also takes about 40 minutes. That leaves a 20 minute slot in each of those hours where I can go sit out on the deck and read my article for the day.
I’m still experimenting, of course. In a few weeks, for instance, daylight saving time will end and sunrise will be an hour earlier than it currently is. That might allow to walk earlier in the morning, perhaps switching from Schedule III to Schedule II for a month or so. If I do can that, I’ll adjust the timing of when I use the schedules accordingly.
Meanwhile, these schedules, with their variants built in, allow me to get through my morning routine each morning, ensuring I have the time I need to do what is important to me. By factoring in varying drop-off times, and sunrises, the schedules ensure that I don’t get thrown off by changing conditions. Perhaps the best effect of this morning routine is that by 9am, I feel like I’ve already gotten a lot accomplished, no matter what else happens for the rest of the day.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to wrap up this post so I can go and do my workout.
Written on October 20, 2022.
Did you enjoy this post?
If so, consider subscribing to the blog using the form below or clicking on the button below to follow the blog. And consider telling a friend about it. Already a reader or subscriber to the blog? Thanks for reading!
Thanks for sharing your thinking here. As a never-can-get-to-bed person who lives in a frigid northern climate, I don’t imagine I could ever achieve this schedule. Yet it does tempt me sometimes – I did an early morning schedule for about six months fifteen years ago in order fit in some new learning I needed to do to give my life/career a needed jump start.
I have to ask, when is your early-to-bedtime?
Barry: early-to-bed: 8:00 – 8:30pm. My kids make fun of me and call me “old” because I go to bed so early. Occasionally, my wife makes fun of me, too. 🙂