It has occurred to me that my solitary reader might glean some benefit from my dawn activities, as is it not routine which keeps us productive and sober? Do you, My Reader, have such a routine that you mechanically execute upon waking? Routines are a boon as they allow one to toss a handful of tasks into one basket which are then acted out with little or no thought at all.
I wake every day, whether Wednesday or Sunday, at 4:30am. I’ve two planners set on a lectern against my western wall, one for my fitness regimen and one for my daily activities. I’ve spoken about the Full Focus Planner in the past and still use it to date. I transcribe both my workout routine for the day and whatever goals I can think of which weren’t written the night before (usually to do with shopping or school).
Having set a glass of water by my bedside the night before, I take a supplement combination simply called “Alpha Mix” (alpha as in it is my primary supplement recipe, not in that I believe it will turn me into a woman-hunter). In my Alpha Mix I’ve put together, through independent research, what I believe are the most essential medicines for me to take daily. Four of these are prescribed to me by my psychiatrist and doctor: allopurinol for gout which has seemed to have alleviated since I took up abstaining from alcohol, Strattera for ADHD, and Wellbutrin & Abilify for my more morose tendencies. Rounding out the mixture are standard vitamins which I believe everyone should take: a once-daily pill containing all of the essentials, fish oil (although I treat on Salmon and Tuna three to four times a week), and a probiotic. It’s quite a mouthful of gel and powder, you can be assured.
Showering is put off on most days unless it’s what I’ve deemed a rest day. Otherwise, I dress in one of my gym outfits which were also laid out the night before and drive to a Planet Fitness (I know… no-one else is open at this hour) close to home. There I complete one of three routines I’ve designed over the course of several months, through trial and error. I believe it is important to structure your workouts so that your fatigue grows gradually rather than all-at-once… dumbbells first, then barbells, then machines. If I’m feeling spry I may also perform some yoga poses, though lately, this has bored me to no end!
Once back home, I shower and perform a mini-routine centered around skin-care. I use Brickell men’s products to wash, scrub, moisturize, and preserve my skin. It is because of a routine such as this, which I acted out even in my drinking years, that people often tell me I look ten years younger (also for avoidance of the sun which alcoholics are wont to do).
By this time it is usually 6am and I still have time to read a bit while my coffee brews and the first Cardinal awakens to sing his morning soliloquy. Today, I’m using that time to write (although this will be scheduled to post later so I might have time to edit it). Lately, I’ve been reading Walden and I should admit, as you have likely been wondering, that Thoreau’s ghost has inspired my prose recently (assuredly, as I write I hear the voice of a 19th century Bostonian hermit reading my words).
Lastly, I check off anything on my planner I’ve gotten done (such as going to the gym), pack both planners into my courier bag (handcrafted by a leatherworker friend) as well as which book I happen to be reading, some highlighters and page markers for annotations, and a notebook; reading is my most important activity of the day… I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.
And that’s it! All told, it takes only two hours to complete all of this. I normally arrive at work an hour early to either read, write or study. The peace and quiet in the morning before my insufferably negative and thunderous coworkers arrive is essential to starting my day on the right leg. Hopefully, this has shown you how useful a routine can be. All of these things are done every morning, automatically. I never worry about procrastinating over my fitness, health or intellect. It did take some time to hammer down this specific routine, roughly a year. Many tasks have come and gone which were found to be irrelevant or too much for the morning. I suspect I shall continue to refine my routine for the rest of my life, as a man who stays the same is a man who has begun to die.