Early to rise

Today I woke up earlier than I normally do. I usually get up at around 9 AM or so, but now, three hours early, I am confused on how to spend it. I’ve made breakfast, tidied up the apartment, meditated, watered my plants, watched a bunch of youtube videos and it’s still only 8:15. It’s almost like I was stepped into a weird dimension time warp where time trickles by at the speed of dripping honey.

I wonder why waking up early gives you an impression of having more time in your hands? Maybe that is the subtle magic of mornings. Everything is slow and graceful. The sun’s rays are gentle and nurturing, not beating on you like a hot-iron rod. The traffic outside is mellow. I have time to chew my food properly. I could almost swear I’m getting more nutrients.

I have always had a weird cat-like relationship with Sleep. I didn’t want it when I need it, but would cling to it when I don’t. Teenager me would wake up at 2 PM on a weekend, following my schedule of 5 AM sleep or later (earlier?). Oh yeah, Mondays were hell. My body clock was so out of whack, I’ve developed panda eyes at the sprightly age of 15. It had never left my face. Even throughout most of adult freelancing life, waking up late always made me feel like I was crammed for time. 9 AM is not nearly early enough. After breakfast, it’s already close to 10.30, and after daily blogging, it’s already around lunch.

It felt a bit… Unsatisfactory.

Of course, time spent is still time, no matter how you choose to spend it. This is me speaking as a normal person and not in anyway an enlightened guru. I’m pretty sure every life coach worth their salt will expound on the benefits of waking up early. More energy for one, that illusion of time I’ve discussed is another. I’m running on fumes of a 5-hour sleep here, and I still feel like spring chicken with all the limbs attached. Then again, I’ll probably feel the effects later in the afternoon.

So maybe I’ll give it another shot. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try waking up early and watch the sun rise. I’ll let you know if the benefits are still there, or if it was simply shell shock from a sudden change of habit. Maybe I really did step into the Twilight Zone. Find out more tomorrow!

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Time better spent

From this day forward, I’ve decided that I was going to give myself a time limit in writing my journal entries. Usually I spent 1-2 hours just drafting them. That’s all well and good, but if I really want to keep this sustainable, it might not be a good idea to give it a better chunk of my mornings. It isn’t the blogging itself that’s the problem, but I usually lose focus during the writing. I click on this, and then I chat with that. I check my phone. I doodle. It all eats up the time, and on top of that, I have an unfinished entry.

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So now I’m going to use a Pomodoro timer for my daily blogs. If you haven’t heard of it,  Pomodoros are timers that run for 25 min of focused work, and allows you a 5 min break. I’ve always used them to time myself to take breaks every 25 minutes or so, since I use a standing desk to help my posture. I use Tomighty for this exact purpose and it works really well with my workflow. I’m thinking of using it for my blogging as well.

Of course, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice quality because of time constraint, so I had an idea of typing down the main thought I want to write about the night before. Rough notes, snippets, and things I’ve discovered or done during the day along with any other ideas I have can go in the drafts the night before.

I think time-limiting tasks forces you to focus on one task at a time. If you’re anything like me at all, distraction is a cute and friendly creature. It’ll come by when you’re busy, hang on your head, showing you all sorts of fun things on the internet. It means well, and it’s almost always hard to get rid of (they are the welcome oasis for your pressure-cooked brain), but if I don’t strap on and get crackin’, another day is wasted. I can’t blame “Distraction” as my main problem. It’s always there after all. It’s a permanent fixture in life.

I really like Pomodoros too, because you’re given that five-minute breathing room to recuperate and prevent mini burn outs. Going over a certain limit also helps you let go of an entry. It’s done. It’s out of your hands. Don’t over-edit cos it’s time to get going! Gotta tackle other important things in your day!

Try it if this method works for you and let me know your results!