I’ve never been a morning person.
Sure, I might get up to get ready for work, to get my kids on the bus or to catch a flight, but I’ve never been one of those morning people.
I’ve always been the kind to romanticize the night. I’ve written all my books and several others at night. I’ve crammed for tests in college at night. I’ve watched every episode of Sherlock, Twin Peaks, Peaky Blinders, The West Wing, Psych and The Walking Dead at night. I thought it was cool to be a night guy.
But a few things have changed recently that have given me pause to reconsider the morning. First, my wife and kids gave me a dog. She’s a cute dog and is considered to be the family dog in all regards… except for her need to be walked in the morning and at night.
So, every morning, without an alarm, I am awakened by a hungry puppy whose stomach calls out on the sixes and at noon. I get up, I feed her. I try to go back to sleep, but who can sleep with a puppy around? I go for a long walk. For the first couple months, I was convinced I could stay up at night, get up for the early walk and be fine. I could not. So, earlier to bed for me, earlier to rise for me and Penny.
Next, I’ve been fascinated by the power of habit and how successful, prolific people take things in increments. Me? I’ve always been a bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew guy. And, by and large, it has worked for me. Two, 100,000 word books written in a total of about nine weeks. Big projects undertaken not necessarily at the last minute, but something pretty close to it. It’s the former journalist in me – deadlines thrill me.
But I was listening to a podcast not long ago and the host suggested that the first thing people should do in the morning is make their bed. It had nothing to do with aesthetics or the need for order. It had to do with the idea that achieving the first thing you set out to do in a day sets the tone for the rest of the day. I liked that a lot. Walking Penny, therefore, became my making the bed, since making the bed with my wife still in it wouldn’t be good.
Last, I’ve come to the realization that I’d really like to be prolific. I feel like I have a lot to say and a lot I want to do and beginning my day with those things feels like it has promise. I’ve done a little digging and it seems like the morning might be the thing I’ve been looking for. Rather than cram, I’ll iterate, break projects into small, consistent chunks.
James Patterson has written 180 books (no judgement on quality) before his morning golf.
Casey Neistat has become, perhaps, the Uber YouTuber by beginning every day at 4:30 a.m. editing footage from the previous day.
R.L. Stein – more than 300 novels. Chris Brogan, a half dozen or more best-sellers writing a half hour at a time. My friend John – got cut like a diamond by adding CrossFit to his morning routine.
So I’m going to give the morning a shot. I might as well. I’m up anyways.