My first official ebook, “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” will be coming out on June 12. This is a new genre for me, clocking in at about 10,000 words and priced as a magazine ($2.99). I welcome any suggestions on how to spread the news about its release (email me – lvanderkam at yahoo dot com – or post in the comments).
I’ve long been fascinated by people who manage to use their mornings well. For all except a few confirmed night owls, mornings are a great time to tackle projects that are important but not urgent — that aren’t immediately externally rewarded. We tend to wake up with a fresh supply of willpower. That discipline will get exhausted over the course of the day as we deal with annoying colleagues, traffic and bickering children, but in the morning, we can tackle the world. So what should we do with that time?
I profile people who do all kinds of things: creative work, spiritual disciplines, family time, exercise, thinking. And as usually happens when I write a lot on a topic, I start thinking about how to put it into practice in my own life as well.
These days, my 7-month-old daughter is waking up with the sun at around 6 o’clock. My nanny shows up at 8 a.m. three days a week, and I usually bring the older children to school at 8:45 on Thursdays and Fridays, finishing the preschool run around 9. There is a lot of time between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Three hours! This is a lot of time to spend mindlessly. And yet, if I don’t think about how I’m spending it, “mindless” is exactly how I’d describe those hours. This morning I tried to think about it a little more. I woke up at 6 a.m. with the baby and fed her. I got dressed and at 6:45 handed her over to my mother-in-law (who is mercifully visiting us again). Then I went for a half hour run. Back home at 7:15, I played with the kids on the floor a little — they’re so cute when they’re all hugging each other! — and helped with breakfasts. We ate in a leisurely fashion, and then I helped the boys get dressed around 8. Then we all went down to the basement to play for another 20 minutes or so before it was time to load the car (I’ll admit I started checking email in the basement — my excuse is that my workday normally starts at 8). I chatted in the car with the boys and then came home and — after a little more baby time — got started blogging. I like to do my creative, focused work early in the day. I’m also brainstorming how to promote the ebook, and mornings are great for thinking.
So at T+4 hours from starting the day, I’ve had quite a bit of relaxed family time, got a run in, and written a blog post. I think that’s pretty good. I’m trying to be more disciplined about making that happen on other days too, given various other constraints (I don’t always have another adult in the house).
What do you do with your mornings? What would you like to do with your mornings?