You made the decision to work from home or commute to an office space. It was the first of hundreds, thousands, probably millions of decisions to come. And you can’t escape them. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a valuable employee, decisions will follow you, haunt you, size you up, and tackle you down. “It’s just life,” I’m told… Is it?
In my last post, we discussed having balance through living an anti-hustle lifestyle. Now, we need to discuss the first step to finding that balance.
Decisions are stressors. They gnaw at your peace like ear mites on a cat. At first they are a passing nuisance, a small itch, but as decisions multiply, their presence cannot be ignored. They discharge stress and anxiety in your psyche, and left unchecked, you eventually require medication.
We live in the Choice Era.
We choose our morning coffees. We choose our evening snacks.
We choose our wall colors. We choose our sock colors.
We choose our exercises. We choose our entertainments.
And those choices spiral into an endless abyss of sub-choices.
Do you want your morning coffee black or flavored? Do you want it with whole milk or non-fat? Vanilla creamer? Hazelnut? Mocha? Shot of espresso? Froth? Cinnamon?
Wall colors… yeah… Moving on to sock types: Do you like soft, super-soft, ultra-soft, toes, high, low, mid, dress, casual, or some combo thereof?
Do you want to exercise via walking or running? Around the neighborhood block? In the gym? Kickboxing? Yoga?
Do you want to watch a TV series or a movie? DVD or Netflix? Which music app is the best for you? Don’t even get me started on genres.
*Major intangible Page Points to you for making it through that monotonous list.
The rotten truth of decision-making.
I won’t sugarcoat the truth for you. Ever. In this instance the truth is that you simply cannot escape making decisions. They really are a part of life… But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix the bad taste of truth with a small spoonful of sugar.
Actually, you can use a heaping spoonful.
When decisions meet dawn…
What is the reason for the morning? What is its purpose? If you don’t know, how can you make the morning hours work for you, not against you?
The body loves routine. It craves it. It cries out to you and asks for a predictable regimen. And the beauty of a good routine is that it eliminates choices – the very same choices that are burdening you. Meaning:
The purpose of any morning is to set yourself up for a good day. Routine accomplishes this task.
Choice is one of the worst enemies of your mornings, and you probably don’t even realize it. If you’re like me, you don’t rise from the bed with a smile and a chipper song on your lips: You rise from your bed with eyes like daggers, ready to stab away at the person who dares speak to you before that ceremonial first cup of coffee is flowing through your veins.
And if you are indeed like me, choosing a cereal, choosing a beverage, choosing a coffee, choosing an outfit, and all of these other choices just make you angrier. Well, that’s not how good days are made.
My morning routine.
It is quite simple, really. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you about it. My morning starts the night before…
Unless you are like a professor I once knew who wore the same clothes every day, you will be faced with the decision of what to wear. Why not make that decision the night before your morning routine? It’s just one less thing to think about the next morning.
If you work for yourself, believe me when I tell you that the morning hours are not the time for making a to-do list. You just awoke from a hopefully 7+ hours system shutdown. Your brain is in no condition to organize something as complicated as your workday. Make your next day’s to-do list the night before your morning routine.
With those two things out of the way, here is what I do every morning:
- I wake up at 6am (if I don’t have a film shoot to get to early).
- I eat the portion size of Back to Nature’s Cranberry Pecan Granola cereal and drink one 12oz glass of water.
- I drink one 8oz mug of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with a little sugar and some half/half creamer.
- I watch Disney’s Mickey Mouse while I do numbers 2-3 (completely unsurprising if you know me well).
- I read in the Bible a little bit and pray.
- I take a shower and get dressed in those clothes I already knew I would be wearing.
- Weather permitting, I take a short stroll that serves as my “walk to work.”
- I begin working on that previously made to-do list at about 8:30am.
It doesn’t stop there. I have guidelines that I follow with my work, a lunch schedule, an evening schedule, etc. My routine is slightly different on Saturdays and Sundays. My wish is that you’ll give me the opportunity to share those routines with you. But the most important routine, the one that changed my life the most, the one that made me a happier person, is the morning routine.
Let routine do its work before you begin yours.
Consider giving this a try. Your routine will take time to develop, but it’s worth the effort. Wrestle those habitual morning decisions into submission. Eliminate what you can and set a schedule. Develop a morning routine that is devoid of decisions, and you will have successfully set yourself up for a good day.
If you have an awesome morning routine, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! And be sure to sign up for the free Story Lovers Community mailing list where you will get perks and more encouragement via my newsletter. Thank you, friends!