Failed tweak – Morning meditation

I usually meditate at either middle or end of the day – when the head is usually frazzled or distracted, and needs a dose of calm and care.

Since everyone talks and writes about it, today I decided to meditate in the morning. At about 6 AM, after finishing coffee and before starting work, I took 15-20 minutes to meditate with Calm.

The meditation itself was good, and I may have maintained the focus better. But due to the timing, it wasn’t as useful as usual. I was already calm and focused before the meditation (early morning is my favourite, and most productive work time). So the marginal benefit provided by the meditation was small.

Later when I felt the need for meditation in late afternoon, I hesitated – ‘because I had already done the session for the day’. It was a stupid self-argument, but I listened to it and didn’t spend the 15 mins. I have paid for it with a distracted mind and subsequent low productivity all evening.

Looking forward, I could fight that argument (‘already done it today’) in my head with logic. But that’s a system 2 action, and system 2 is lazy so I’ll probably end up failing more often than not.

I could set a fixed afternoon time to create a rule/habit, but that will have a similar constraint – I will end up meditating when its scheduled, and not when I need it.

So, instead I am declaring the morning meditation a failed tweak, and will instead go back to meditating when I want/need during the day.

My Morning Routine

(Inspired by one of my regular haunts: the ‘My Morning Routine’ blog)

What is your morning routine?

I wake up between 04:45 and 05:15. I do some ankle stretch exercises while lying in the bed. To save myself from checking email, news, or another distraction, I use the ankle stretch time to sync my watch (Fenix 3) with the Garmin app. This shows me how much, and what quality sleep I got.

Then I go downstairs and drink half a tumbler of warm water with half a lime squeezed in. By the time I finish the water, my dog is up and about. We go out to the backyard for his morning rituals. This takes 5-10 mins, depending on whether the moon is still visible (he spends 5 mins barking at it, and getting told off by me).

After we return indoors, he goes off to sleep, and I make my coffee. I make the coffee the slow way. Grind the beans, heat the water, place the wet filter and ground beans in the clever dripper, and then pour over the warm water. I then place the lid on, letting it brew for 4-5 mins. I use this time to walk around, wake up the body, and do some step raises.

An example day plan in Calendar
An example day plan in Calendar

Usually, by the time the coffee is ready, I am wide awake – both in the head and in the muscles. I now head upstairs with the coffee and a tumbler of water, ready to start the work day.

I schedule the first 30 mins for coffee and catching up – basically gathering my thoughts, remembering where I left yesterday, and thinking of the top highlights I want to focus on today. I also use this time to lay out my calendar for the day (A sample is in the screenshot attached). I schedule 30 mins for all this, but it rarely takes more than 10 mins.

I then work for ~3 hours, usually from 06:00 to 10:00, with an hour’s break somewhere in between for loo and more ankle & calf exercises. Around 10, I take Tango for a walk followed by some back and core exercises. By 11:30 I am back upstairs working for another 2-3 hours. Continue reading My Morning Routine

… music used to make me smile

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile

That’s how I wake up every day – listening to the first few verses of Don McLean’s American Pie.

I have three alarms set within 15 mins. The first one is set to American Pie, the second one is that horrible default alarm tone, and the third one is Sigrid’s Everybody knows from Justice League OST. I never get to the third one.

Continue reading … music used to make me smile