Since so many of us have been working and learning from home, it seems harder than ever to get motivated and get a good start to the day. I’ll admit I have never been one to sleep very late, I think my record is no later than 10, but recently defining myself as a morning person has shifted away from someone who just physically wakes up early towards someone who has a productive start to their day.
Now, I don’t want to give the wrong idea. I definitely do not jump out of bed after opening my eyes and do that dramatic stretch and yawn you see in the movies. You know, the scene when the character wakes up looking flawless and gets right to business. When I say I am productive, I don’t mean I get up, run a marathon, and make a gourmet breakfast before 8 a.m. To me, being productive means just getting moving.
Since I am doing remote learning this semester, it has become important for me to give myself some sort of routine. The only things that are set in stone and out of my control are the times for my classes, meetings, and work shifts. Because of this, my mornings differ depending on what time my classes start or when my first meeting is. The consistency that I have found, despite changing schedules and classes every day, comes from the alarm clock on my phone. I set this alarm for 7, which to some may be really early, but for me, strikes a perfect balance between my natural sleep cycle and the time I need to get ready for the events of the day. For someone else, their perfect balance might be at 9 or 10, or it might change every day.
Let’s get back to how I make my mornings productive. Since the goal, for me, is to get moving, I have a variety of options, though I mostly gravitate towards two in particular. Sometimes I literally get moving and go on a run or walk, which are some of my favorite ways to destress and get my day started with a clear mind. Ideally, this would be the way I start my morning every day. But, that is not realistic for me, because sometimes I do not have enough time or I just don’t feel up to it. So, I only do it if it feels right. If it feels more productive to get started on a reading I have or to finish up an assignment, then that is how I will start my morning. In that scenario, it is not my body that gets moving, it is my mind.
Sometimes neither of those things happen. But even on those days, I am still a morning person. And I am still a productive morning person.
The keys, my absolute morning musts, are breakfast, coffee, and a change of clothes.
By feeding my body with cereal or toast and a cup of coffee, I am building my energy for the day and setting myself into motion. Even if I sit at the table or out on the porch for an hour with my Special K and coffee, I have made at least one deliberate decision to get my day started. The same goes for getting dressed. Regardless if it means just switching into a new pair of sweatpants, I am taking an active role in how my morning unfolds.
By becoming a morning person, my outlook on my day-to-day life has seen many changes. I know what decisions I can make and what actions I can take that get my day moving. Because I have no set schedule with my mornings, outside of the time I wake up, there is no pressure to feel like I have to go for a walk, or I have to do all my homework before my first class. Simply by giving myself the opportunity to start my day on my own terms and in my own control has improved my moods on a day to day basis and shown me that productivity, especially in the morning, can occur in all different ways.