What is your morning routine?
A sense of routine is really important to me. If I stay out late and party (and I’m not talking wild all-nighters) it takes me two days to recover. Even sleeping late at the weekends makes me feel like I’m not functioning optimally the next day.
Most days I’m asleep by 10:30pm, and up at 7:30am. Every one of those nine hours is precious to me, and I cannot really understand how anyone survives (or even thrives) with five hours sleep or less.
Come the morning, I head straight to the living room and put the kettle on. I love every kind of tea, especially oolong, and find it the perfect start to every day.
Breakfast is muesli with natural yoghurt, fresh fruit that I buy from a street vendor the day before, and perhaps some home-made bread. At 8:30am I go for a cold shower and then head off on my scooter to the university in central Bangkok where I work.
I didn’t set any of this up consciously as a routine; it’s developed naturally as what I most like to do. Sometimes I throw in some yoga, often I read through my RSS feeds or Twitter, and sometimes it’s just me, my breakfast, and the view out from my inner-city balcony.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
The only thing to change for as long as I can remember has been shifting the schedule from an 8:00am start to a 7:30am start. I did this because I wanted to slow things down, have more time, and especially to be able to get some yoga in sometimes before I start the day.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
My phone alarm is set for 8:00am in case I don’t wake up, but that doesn’t often happen. I don’t use snooze – if it’s time to wake up, it’s time to wake up.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I’m not deep into yoga, but find that it really helps me function better throughout the whole day. It’s like oiling a chain. My dream would be to do twenty minutes every day, but for now it is hit and miss.
How about morning meditation?
You know, I forgot to tell you about one of the most important parts of my morning routine because it’s so routine that I don’t even think about it.
It’s not meditation, but Reiki. I first learned it while backpacking in New Zealand, and ever since then I have given myself Reiki at the start of every day, before even moving out of bed. It’s more important to me than breakfast, and that’s saying quite a bit.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
There’s only one constant to my morning routine; Reiki, which is awesome because it goes everywhere with you. Apart from that, the routine crumbles into dust.
When I’m away from home I try to fit in with other people, which means getting less sleep, which really knocks me back. I don’t wake-up feeling fresh in the morning, and I generally feel less happy, balanced and productive. This does, however, make me appreciate my normal routine all the more when I get back to it.
What do you do if you fail to follow your routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
The main reason I may fail to follow my routine is alcohol.
If I stay up late and drink, my sleep is disturbed, and when I wake up, everything feels wrong. My body is on edge and my mind does not feel centred. I just have to ride out feeling crappy for a day or two until I’m back to normal.
Do you see to email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I used to think of checking email as a rosy time when I read happy messages from my nearest and dearest. Quite recently I realised that the majority of emails are not personal but are actually little jobs for me to do, even if that job is just to send a quick reply.
My ideal approach to emails is to read them and action them immediately. I don’t live daily with inbox zero, but it’s what I am always heading towards. So I don’t check my email until I actually have some time to deal with them properly, which usually means after lunch.
To read a bunch of emails and leave them for later feels no good, and to deal with them all right now feels like work. So mornings are email-free. I try to eliminate any pressure from the morning time, reserving it for relaxation, enjoyment and taking care of myself.