mornings are usually extremely tough for me.
I wake up sluggish, unmotivated, dehydrated, and overall grumpy.
I always tried things that would make my mornings better and more productive, but nothing ever worked.
I would snooze to get some more Z’s and then when I do get up I’m trying to get myself ready to work and rush out the door.
‘How do I fix this?’ I have asked myself many times, but the solution came from an unexpected direction.
My mornings used to consist of these actions:
- Waking up.
- Drinking coffee.
- Social media and email until 30 minutes before I need to leave for work.
- Tefillin and a quick prayer.
- Quickly gussy up in the bathroom.
- Leave for work.
I wasn’t getting lots done in the mornings.
That was frustrating, to say the least. I would get to work starting my day pretty grumpy because I didn’t start it with a quick win.
This all recently changed during November when I attempted — and inevitably failed — NaNoWriMo.
NaNo was not working for me this year. I realized I was doing something wrong when I had whole days without progress.
I mean, shouldn’t you at least have even some progress every day? By some, I mean something like 50–100 words. That seems too little for perfectionists, but it could amount to 3000 words a month.
Three thousand words a month means you have 30k words in ten months. pretty cool right? That’s only 100 words a day!
So, I knew something needed to change.
But how can I change my mornings?
It’s not that I don’t want to be productive; I’m just so tired. I was a wreck in the mornings.
Did I need to fix my sleep as well as my behavior? Could be, I wasn’t sleeping so well, either.
Going to bed at 1 AM, thinking about getting up early is the epitome of ignorance. No, it won’t work. Stop it. Now.
Some people might be blessed to sleep 4 hours a night and get up fully rested. The rest of us don’t get that privilege and need to sleep 7–9 hours a night.
But of course, I deny my body this amount of sleep. At least, I used to.
So, one thing I tried to do during NaNo was to go to bed no later than midnight. On the days that I did manage it, I saw I was less useless on the following morning.
I could stand to have a productive morning if I slept well.
But that wasn’t the end of it. There were perfectly good mornings that I missed because I didn’t know what I wanted to achieve. So I would go to work fully rested and thoroughly frustrated that I lost a perfectly good morning to confusion and lack of planning.
The third piece of the puzzle that brought it all together came from religious teaching I heard at synagogue during Shabbat that says that people need to schedule times to learn Torah. It’s a pretty basic one, and I had heard it before, but never did it connect with other parts of my life in that way.
I knew how to make the most of a morning in general. I didn’t know how to make the most of my mornings.
That’s when I knew I needed a plan and a schedule.
Today, I have a pretty basic plan: Write at least 100 words every morning. It could be towards my book, it could be towards my blog, or it could be towards articles for Medium. At least write.
That is a small enough goal that won’t make me ditch it so soon. It’s 5 minutes even when I’m not inspired to write.
So, if you want to make the most of your mornings you need three things:
- An achievable goal (100 words or something you consider comfortable).
- A good night’s sleep.
- A plan. (all those 100 words should amount to something. Is it a book? Your blog? figure it out)
And guess what, sometimes you go overboard. One hundred words are just the beginning! This article of mine is a perfect example of a piece I wanted to write within the confines of those 100 words and turned out to be at least six times more than that.
You can do it! It’s not impossible to make your mornings a whole lot more productive than they are today.