Do you want to be a morning person, but you just can't stick with it? We usually associate being a morning person with exercise and productivity. But what if that just doesn't work for you? What if changing the expectation of what your morning "should" be is the key?
I know I could conquer the world if I could just force myself into becoming a morning person. Like one of those people who gets up at 5:00am, works out, accomplishes some work tasks, has a coffee, journals, meditates, reads a book and showers, all before everyone else rolls over and grabs their phone to stare at their emails. I've tried. Oh, how I've tried. Here's how it usually goes:
Sunday Night: "Ok, I've got everything in place. Workout clothes laid out, meditation station ready to go, new adorable notebook purchased at Target placed strategically on my desk... I've got this. NOTHING CAN STOP ME. THIS IS THE NEW ME."
Monday morning, 5:30am, alarm blaring: "AAA! Oh no, already? Ugh, fine. I have to do this. But I don't want to get up just yet. I'll check Twitter first." (Proceeds to doom-scroll and get behind schedule by 20 minutes. Modifies schedule to accommodate. "I'll totally meditate and journal later." Never meditates or journals.)
Monday afternoon: "Ok, that was pretty good! I didn't get everything done, but I definitely feel more accomplished. I can totally do that again! This time I'll just make sure to pop out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off."
Tuesday morning, 5:30am, alarm blaring: "No." (Sleeps in until 8:30, feels behind the rest of the day, spiral of defeat, Taco Bell for dinner.)
I have gone through this cycle countless times and I still find myself always playing catch-up, starting work later than I want, and never having time for the creative things (outside of my work) I want to incorporate into my day. And with the New Year, of course I was going to try again, but I was already feeling defeated. Luckily, I got a change in perspective.
My husband has been learning about Aruyvedic medicine, the sister science of yoga, to see if there may be some benefit to his life. I'll be honest, it didn't really sound like my thing and I wasn't that into the idea. While I am all about what brings people joy, I tend to be a skeptic. (But let's be honest, I've been in LA a year and a half now. I give it another 6 months before the crystal collection starts.) We were discussing our intentions for 2022 and how we wanted to improve our lives in the coming year. He had been learning about Doshas. (Something to do with your bio-energy, I don't know, he's the one reading the books.) He had a hunch about what my Dosha was and he said, "According to your Dosha, your best hours of creativity are between 6-10am."
I had kind of a lightening bolt moment.
Those were the hours I was so tormented by. The morning ones where I couldn't seem to get anything productive done. What if I was trying to do the wrong things? What if, instead of treating those hours like work hours so I could have time for my creativity later, they became my creative hours to prepare me for my day?
I was excited. I thought about the important non-work-related creative things I wanted to do everyday. It came down to three: journal, play the piano, and write stories. I came up with a schedule:
5:45am - Wakeup, shower, make a coffee
6:15 - Journal (specifically Morning Pages, my Artist's Way fans know what I'm talking about)
6:45 - Play piano (I used to play classical piano competitively as a kid and miss it.)
7:10 - Write (I bought a book of short story prompts two years ago and never opened it. That's my starting point.)
7:30 - Light yoga and a quick meditation
7:40 - Check emails and make my to-do-list for the day
*My phone has to stay by the bed, plugged in, until the end of my morning routine. No phones allowed.
So, how did it go? Beautifully. Waking up wasn't the easiest, but knowing what I was waking up for made it easier. My husband wakes up later, so he keeps the dogs with him. (His creative time is at night, so I keep the dogs with me then.) By the time I got to the start of my work day, my brain was more focused, I was in a better mood, and the tasks didn't seem so daunting. I had started my day just for me in my creative zone. I'm only in week one of this new routine, but I've never felt more optimistic about keeping a schedule.
I switched the focus of my early morning hours from productivity to creativity. As a result, both functioned at a higher frequency throughout the day. Game changer? Just might be!
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