Paul Schiernecker is a writer, musician, and freelance journalist from Essex, UK.
What is your morning routine?
During the week I get up between five and six, and whenever possible I try to write and exercise before I head out on my commute to London. The first thing I do when I wake up is crack my back and try to work out how long I have before I have to start getting ready for work. Then I check my phone for emails, texts, WhatsApp messages, Facebook notifications, Twitter mentions and comments and statistics on my blog.
If I manage to get up without pressing snooze I’ll write. At the moment I’m redrafting my second novel which involves looking at what I’ve written, concluding it is genius and then moving along. If I do press snooze then I’ll skip this completely and just exercise.
I’ve recently decided that my body is a temple. The exercise I do is a combination of running, basic weight exercises, and yoga. A year ago I managed to completely kick smoking and have been running since. Then, I couldn’t run a mile. Now I do between three and five. I run three times a week. The yoga is part of a warm down on these days.
After that, I make myself a cup of black coffee, shower, dress and if I have time eat breakfast. I’m not a massive believer in breakfast, against the advice of everyone else in the freethinking world. When I do it’ll either be cereal or fruit. I leave the house at seven, walk a mile to the station and then get the train.
My time on the train is very important to me. When I first started working in London two and a half years ago I couldn’t understand how people do it but its just part of the package. On the train I write my blogpost for the day. I started my blog in February and have written every day since. Sometimes they’re poignant, sometimes they’re flash fiction, most of the time it’s me complaining about something. I’ll then read for the rest of the journey (I read a book a week minimum this way. I’m currently reading Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay).
When I get to Liverpool Street I have another mile walk ahead of me. I love this walk. I feel very fortunate to work in London. A lot of people don’t seem to appreciate it at all. My walk takes me over the river, from St Paul’s Cathedral to the Globe and the Tate Modern. I dig it every day.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’m a creature of habit so once I start doing something a certain way I tend to stick to it. This routine has been a rolling series of improvements for the last year.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
When I was a student I really wasn’t a morning person. At the time I put it down to my anaemia but I don’t think the nights of drink and drugs helped. I reached a point where the whole thing completely lost its appeal and now I’m annoyingly perky.
What time do you go to sleep?
During the week I have to be in bed by eleven, I get grouchy otherwise.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I use the Sleep Cycle app Benjamin recommended months ago. It gently wakes you based on the movements of your body during sleep. The only downside is that it is far too easy to snooze. You don’t even need to hit a button. You can just tap it.
Note from Benjamin: the snooze feature can be disabled, if you dare.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I’m not a massive fan of breakfast but since I started running I’ve found it is necessary. I either have mango and lime or grapefruit as a preference. If not it will just be wholesome cereal. I eat just before I head out.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I run three times a week. On the other days I do basic sets of weights. I’ll follow both with yoga.
How about morning meditation?
I tend to let my mind drift for about two hours each morning. That’s my meditation.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning, either for calls/messages or social media and news?
I always check my emails in bed when I first wake up.
I am a nightmare for updating on all social media platforms whenever possible. If there is one thing my girlfriend could change about me, I think that would be it.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
It completely throws me out of sync when I’m away, I’ll have a completely different routine. The only thing I insist upon is showering. I can’t focus on the day until I’ve showered.
What do you do if you fail to follow your routine and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I get a little OCD about the routine. It’s not going to completely destroy me if I don’t do it but I do it because I’ve customised the whole thing to wake me up and prepare me for the day.
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