I am a totally hardwired morning person. Even on the weekends without an alarm clock, it’s rare that I wake up after seven at the very latest. I remember being a kid, staying overnight with friends, and both liking and dreading the mornings–because I was generally up well before anyone else in the household, which gave me both time to myself and an awkward social situation. Am I allowed to get up and prowl the house? Or do I have to wait for a grownup to tell me it’s OK? Maybe I’d better just hide here and read.
Back on topic: mornings are when I find it easiest to get things done, when I can make habits and routines and keep to them. I have more willpower when I’m just getting started with the day.
Therein lies a problem: I start my day job at 8:30AM, and it takes about half an hour to get there (a paltry commute by many standards, I realize). Which means, getting up at my normal hour of 6AM, I have about two hours of free time to work with. Generally speaking, getting ready takes about half of that: giving the cat his medication, feeding critters all around, showering/getting dressed/brushing my hair, grabbing breakfast, maybe quickly scanning e-mail and social media before I head out the door.
This leaves me with a single precious hour, give or take ten minutes.
I can walk a brisk three miles and still get back in time to get ready.
Or I can write/study, either at home or at the coffee shop near work–which has the added benefits of providing an easy breakfast option and letting me stall until minutes before work begins, knowing I’ve already gotten past the bad traffic areas.
I haven’t yet figured out a way to manage both.
Aside from all the other benefits of exercise, walking has nearly always been key to my writing. It’s when I think through the next stages. It’s when a lot of ideas come to me to begin with.
But there isn’t much point in having the thoughts to write without the time to write them.
It is…a puzzlement.
I really wish I was one of those people who could stay up late to finish writing projects, but my brain pretty much switches into low power mode just after dinner time. Evenings are fine for doing chores around the house, maybe doing a bit of polishing content I created earlier in the day, not-too-demanding reading. But anything more than that? Fuggedaboutit.
And I can’t just push off the walk part of the equation until late, either. If I exercise too close to bedtime, I can’t sleep.
I need more day in my day.
I’m considering getting up earlier still: getting my walk in at 5AM, or trying to write first and then further refine my ideas during the walk. That’s just…insanely early to me. But it may be worth experimenting. It may kill me. It may make me stronger.
I’m really curious how other folks manage such dilemmas.