Morning Person

by Steve

Beaten-up photo of a beaten-up alarm clock

According to Time Magazine, we’re doing mornings all wrong. Surprise, surprise, it turns out that falling out of bed, rushing to get ready and hurrying our way into a soul-destroying commute is not the ideal preparation for a morning’s creativity. Who would have thought it?

So, what is the formula for a good morning, where we feel engaged, happy and in the best head-space to pull out glittering creative gems from our brainspaces?

We’d set the alarm a few minutes early and lie awake in bed, following our thoughts where they lead (with a pen and paper nearby to jot down any evanescent inspirations.) We’d stand a little longer under the warm water of the shower, dismissing task-oriented thoughts (“What will I say at that 9 a.m. meeting?”) in favor of a few more minutes of mental dilation. We’d take some deep breaths during our commute, instead of succumbing to road rage. And once in the office — after we get that cup of coffee — we’d direct our computer browser not to the news of the day but to the funniest videos the web has to offer.

Nice. I could go for that. I’m not sure it would make me any more creative, but it sounds like fun. And I think I’ve been kind of heading in that direction already.

I don’t think I’m one of those intolerable morning types. You’ve seen them. Always chirpy, always ahead of themselves, always in control. By 9am they’ve been to the gym, written three posts for their motivational blog, seen their perfect children off to school and saved the national debt crisis. And they don’t even have the good grace to be openly smug and horrible so we can hate them with a good conscience. Oh no, they have to nice. It’s enough to make you have one long lie-in just to avoid them.

I don’t think I fall into that bracket. I’m not always a particularly efficient morning person. But I do like getting up early, especially on my own time. I like to make the most of the day when I don’t have to clock-in to the 9-to-5. I hate waking up late on a day off and not only thinking I’ve wasted half a day, but thinking I’m half a day closer to being back at work.

Saturday morning is my absolute favourite time of the week. All the promise of a whole two days off work. A world that’s still interesting and with stuff going on, unlike the potentially stifling sleepiness of a Sunday. You can do as much or as little as you like on a Saturday morning.

Anyway, I think I probably do get more done in the morning, feel less clouded by all the other stuff that fills my head up as the day goes on. Admittedly I’ll then flake out by about 11am, but I love that satisfying feeling of having got a lot of things done before lunch, and having the whole of the rest of the day to enjoy as I see fit.

There’s also something quite special and magical about being out and about on a beautiful morning. There are fewer people about. The light is somehow different. While I’m by no means ever up at dawn, there is something I love about being up early (-ish) on a non-work morning, whether I’m being super-practical with whatever household or shopping task that needs doing or just getting the morning paper and having a morning coffee.

As for the Time Magazine advice…I’m getting there. I still rush in the mornings, but that is so I can miss a little bit of the commuter rush and can be first in the office and have some nice, quiet time to watch aforementioned web videos. That and I don’t want to get up too early. Not in the dead of winter.

But I won’t rush too much. There is something pretty liberating in not forcing myself onto a packed train and just waiting for the next one, or refusing to push my way along the street, or taking the slightly longer yet quieter route to work. Commuting and commuters can be horrible, so I think it makes perfect sense to take that literal or figurative deep breath once in a while.

But as I say, I don’t think I’m any more creative. Then again I don’t think there is a super-optimum time for me. But don’t expect much from me in the afternoon as I crash from my carb-heavy lunch, or from the evening as I’m not great with late nights. So, I guess morning is my creative time, by default. Funny that I wrote this at 7pm…probably explains the quality of the above.

Image from the Museum of Hartlepool, via Flickr