“My morning routine is changeable depending on the season. Autumn and winter tend to mean a later start to the day.” – Ian Hicken Share this quote on Twitter

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Ian Hicken

What is your morning routine?

My morning routine is changeable depending on the season. Autumn and winter tend to mean a later start to the day. Once I am awake I cannot stay in bed for long and need to get up almost immediately.

My routine evolves over time and adapts to my lifestyle. Since re-locating to Asturias, Spain my routine has changed considerably. Six years in and I’m pretty happy with my mornings.

I moved to Asturias from a city-based lifestyle of regular work and less flexibility. Living here, in a very rural area, working from home and located in a very beautiful part of the world means that there is less pressure to start the day.

The seasons mostly steer my world and set my agenda. The luxury of living without a timepiece dictating your every move is one to be truly cherished.

What time do you go to sleep?

I’m not a night owl these days but that’s because I work physically harder than I ever have done.

We have a large plot and grow most of our own fruit and vegetables and lead a simpler life but there is a load to do on a daily basis so bedtime tends to be around 11.30pm. Sleep comes sometime after depending on what’s on my mind; the price you pay for having a creative mind. If we have friends over or staying then bedtime tends to be much later.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

Only when a plane or ship beckons, and always too hyped to hit snooze.

In a previous life in the UK I have been known to get up, shower, dress and drive to work on the Pavlovian conditioning of an alarm clock, only to find the office closed due to it being a Sunday.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

Breakfast happens about thirty minutes after checking on the cats, emptying the dishwasher, and a quick wander around the garden – weather permitting.

Breakfast is toast. We make our own bread and it toasts really well, adding on some butter and maybe some yeast extract. Freshly ground coffee is the drink of choice with a small amount of honey and to finish, fruit if I remember.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

Years of back problems have resulted in daily stretching and re-aligning my spine before I get up, a few minutes spent in bed doing this helps a lot. As for workouts, the intention is there but the mind is always elsewhere.

How about morning meditation?

I am always too distracted and my mind wanders. I have tried meditation but it’s not for me. I could however, sit quietly and be at peace with the sounds of nature.

Do you see to email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

After breakfast I spend twenty minutes or so checking what’s happening in the world and planning any work I need to get on with. I rarely respond to email instantly but it’s good to know what needs doing later in the day.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Jotting down what I can remember of my dreams in a notebook as part of a project I’m involved in. Checking that the cats Wentworth and Gawber (named after two areas near where we lived in the UK) are around and fed; Greek yogurt and fresh cat biscuits are usually served.

Shower and teeth cleaning come high on the list as well. Me, not the cats. They see to their own.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

A drink of ice-cold water in the bathroom most mornings, but I crave coffee. Occasionally I get up in the early hours of the morning to work on something if I am inspired, and I make a coffee to keep me focussed.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

For the most part yes, save checking on the cats.

What do you do if you fail to follow your routine and how does this influence the rest of your day?

I don’t miss it. I quite like the unexpected, the unforeseen, and the expectation of something to come. You never know where the journey will end up.


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