The Morning Routine

For most of my career my morning routine was pretty simple. Jump out of bed, take a quick shower, grab something for breakfast, make some coffee to fill my travel mug and hit the road. The rest of the day was spent reacting to administration or student demands with the occasional moment or two where I could move my own agenda forward. 

Having left that job two years ago I have more freedom in my schedule but a strong desire to use time more effectively in crafting music and words. Discipline is needed to keep the day from slipping away with nothing created but an empty coffee cup, crumpled newspapers and a dead iPad battery. 

A regular morning routine is the solution. There is no "one size fits all" approach to crafting a morning routine but here are some of the actions I am trying to incorporate into my morning - it's a work in progress. 

Hydration - as soon as I get up I drink a glass of water and start to make a cup of tea. 

Journal Writing - while the kettle is boiling, I starting writing in my journal and only pause to prepare a cup of tea. At first I write whatever comes to mind but eventually my focus comes to what I want to accomplish that day and I use the journal to plot a strategy. 

Draft Tomorrow's Blog - so far during this thirty day blogging challenge (it's day 18 if you're keeping track) I've maintained the discipline to write at least a rough draft of the following day's post. Some days, like today, it flows smoothly. Other day's it doesn't or I have to cut my time short due to other demands and return to it later in the day. 

Exercise - some form of physical activity. I downhill ski in the winter and golf in the summer so I try to have a strength building routine I do 2-3 times a week. I don't use a lot of equipment beyond a mat, my not insignificant body weight and occasionally a suspension trainer. I'm trying to do yoga daily, after I do some strength training or as a stand alone routine. 

Mindfulness - at the end of my yoga practice, the final shavashana pose provides an opportunity to lie quietly, fully relax and observe my thoughts in a non-judgemental, non-reactive manner. It's the hardest of all yoga positions. I'm not sure if there is an ideal length of time but currently I try to do at least 10 minutes. I also try to be mindful throughout exercise and yoga as well as throughout the day. The morning practice helps. 

At this point my routine starts to disintegrate. Usually I'll shower and have some breakfast followed by a cup of coffee. This would be an ideal time to work on my music - skills and performance practice as well as song writing. I'm trying to break myself of the habit of drinking coffee, reading the newspaper and spending time with email and social media. 

That's where I'm at right now - I'd be curious how you manage your day.

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