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Bulletjournal: Morning Routine

August 3, 2017 Leave a comment

We all have morning routines, don’t we? Even if it’s “roll over and sleep for a few more hours,” we have something we do regularly once the sun is bright enough to shine in our eyes, or the alarm rings.

I’m a night person. At least, I was meant to be one – going to sleep late, waking up late,not really functional until the afternoon. Best shows are on at night, not hungry for dinner until 9PM. That sort of life. I’d be great as a member of the gentry or aristocracy in Regency England. But I’m a part-time receptionist, hours 9-2 (9-1 on Fridays) and I have to get up in the morning and do things. Like drive a car and make sure the people calling are sent to the right extension.

I can’t be late for work. If I’m not there, the phones for a busy social welfare agency just don’t work. And being chronically late helped cost me my last job.  So, I do make it there on time 99.9% of the time and have since I got it.

Up until the last week of June, this was my morning routine – wake up about 6:30 at the earliest, or at 6:45 when the alarm on my phone rings at the latest. Promise myself I’ll get out of bed by 7. Turn on Twitter. Shut off the alarm at 6:45. Keep reading – tweets, articles, Buzzfeed listicles. 7AM happens and passes. So does 7:15, and 7:30. Bed is warm and comfortable, and my husband is there, and he often wakes up and we talk, and maybe turn on the TV, and the president is being awful on Twitter and time passes. Too close to 8AM, I finally jump out of bed in a minor panic, get dressed, get meds and breakfast, go to wherever I parked the car and drive to work, getting there just in time to grab a coffee and log on to the switchboard.

So, that wasn’t fun. I’d forget things – I put a checklist in my bulletjournal so I’d remember lipstick and earrings, and, oh, yes, MEDS. I’d miss phone calls. I’d get caught in traffic and be delayed more. And I was not happy, but I wasn’t changing, either.  I wanted to change.

Now, there are lots of articles about having a “productive” morning routine, which is important if you’re running a business or a department, or teaching a class, or writing. Google for them. They’re very useful if you’re that sort of person, and I suspect many of you are.

I’m not. I’m a part-time receptionist who runs the switchboard and herds clients and visitors and buzzes the door, and sometimes orders milk because Gd forbid there be no milk for the coffee. It’s not that job isn’t important. Gatekeeper is important. It’s just that it’s moment by moment, with little planning.

I suspect some of you have jobs like that, too.

So, what happened? I got bored. I often do, and these days when I get bored, I read planning blogs. Used to be knitting blogs, used to be fanfiction. And I happened upon this post in littlecoffeefox.com . Looked interesting, so I read it.

The very first suggestion was

DON’T LOOK AT YOUR PHONE

And there, above my head, was a lightbulb. What a brilliant idea! So simple, so elegant. Just don’t look at your phone right away. There were a few other things – meditate, have a glass of water, eat breakfast, but that was the BEST. Right then and there, I decided to do it the very next day. I even made it a task in my bulletjournal – NO PHONE.

And everything changed. I do mean everything.

I woke up at the same time, but there was nothing to do because I couldn’t open my phone. So I got dressed – I’ve been laying out my clothes since I got this job over 1.5 years ago, and a few months ago I installed a hook on my door and have been placing complete outfits, from undergarments to headscarves, on a hanger. And then I was dressed. So I went to the dining room. Where, since meditation doesn’t work well for me, I said my morning prayers, something I’ve sadly neglected for years. And then I got a glass of water (the idea is you haven’t had anything to drink for several hours. Hydration is nice, although it turns out there’s no basis for the 8 glasses a day thing. You should just drink when your thirsty, but that often doesn’t register for me.) and sat down at the dining room table and opened my phone.

At this point, it was a little after 7AM. A half hour later, I was fully awake, and hungry and, since it’s far less comfortable reading in a chair instead of a bed, I was quite happy to test my blood sugar and have a bowl of cereal, which I could eat in a leisurely way instead of bolting it down. Jonathan joined me, we chatted and read our phones, and then a little after 8, I put on lipstick, picked up my purse and planner, and walked to wherever I parked the car (somethings can’t change) and got to work 20 minutes early, where I got a few little chores out of the way.

I was in love. I was so in love, I changed my evening schedule, too, so I’d take my shower before 10PM, and be asleep by 11:30 instead of 1:30. I use that 90 minutes to journal and plan for the next day and watch tv and read and chat with the husband person.

That was back in late June. The new tasks, duly noted in the daily logs of my bulletjournal became habits and installed on my habit tracker starting in July. I became more observant of religious morning rituals (a phrase uttered on awakening, ritual handwashing before praying). While I’ve been reading the Torah portion more or less daily, I’m doing it more often at the table with that glass of water before turning on the phone. I also researched exactly what prayers a woman should say – and stopped skipping several. And I haven’t skipped Sundays, which  happened the last few times I tried daily praying.

By showering earlier, I’m dry and rested by bedtime, and a lot more relaxed, so I go to sleep more easily. I added emptying the dishdrainer, but expanded it to clearing off and wiping the counter (I’m a terrible housekeeper), which means cooking is more fun and I know where all my utensils are.  This is big in a kosher kitchen.

All I did was change one little thing and it snowballed. Maybe I’ll start doing the morning pages, but I have carpal tunnel syndrome and too much handwriting HURTS. Maybe I’ll stay where I am for a few weeks and just enjoy it. I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do for so many years.

I very much hope I keep it up, because I like it so much, but the holidays are coming up in a month and a half, and I have no idea what will happen with that much schedule disruption. So I’m going to enjoy what I’m doing right now and not worry about next week or next month.

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