Tag Archives: routines

Morning Routines

After six months in the new house, I have finally settled into my morning routines. I use the plural because my routines vary by day of the week. I know this is something of an oxymoron. Routines are supposed to be consistent, and yet this is the world I live in and I have learned to adapt.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other Friday share the same morning routine. Tuesdays and Thursdays share a different routine. Tuesdays have on added element missing from all other days. The reason for the variation is that Kelly takes the kids to school and picks them up from school on Mondays, Wednesday, and every other Friday. I take Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the Fridays in-between.

Regardless of the weekday, I am usually up by 6 am. I spend the next 40 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, every other Friday) minutes to sixty minutes (Mondays, Wednesdays, etc.) reading the news. I read three papers. I start with the New York Times because it has the best obituaries and the obituaries is where I begin my day. It sounds gloomy, but I enjoy the mini-biographies, and often find the full lives described within them an inspiring way to start the day. Occasionally, I’m caught off-guard by who appears there.

I also read the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. I skim the headlines, and usually tackle features and profiles, then the columns. I look for guest editorials. I sometimes read the letters to the editor to see what people are complaining about. I do this in all three papers, and after an hour or so, I generally feel like I have a good sense of what is going on in the world.

If it’s my day, I get the kids up, make them breakfast, and get them ready for school. We are out the door at 7:30 am, and I’m back home 10 minutes later. Then I go for my morning walk. Our house backs up to a park, and I walk two miles each morning. I walk regardless of heat or cold. Drizzle and light snow won’t stop me. Only pouring rain keeps me indoors. I listen to whatever audiobook I happen to be reading while I walk.

Back home I make myself breakfast, usually scrambled eggs, or oatmeal. I read a magazine article while I eat breakfast. I subscribe to a lot of magazines, and I’ve found that the only way I can reasonably keep up is to read one feature article a day. I cross the article off in the table of contents when I finish reading it so I know what I’ve read. When all of the features of a given magazine are crossed off, it goes in the recycling bin.

With breakfast finished, I turn to my work computer, sign in, and begin my workday. I mostly work from home these days and so I can skip the commute, which saves an enormous amount of time.

What got me thinking about my morning routines was the exception to the rule. Tuesday mornings are different than all other mornings. There is one added feature to my Tuesday mornings. When I wake up, I don’t check the obits first thing. Instead, I go to Audible and see what the new releases for the week are. I can spend 30 minutes sifting through the hundreds of audiobooks released to see if there are any gems that need to be added to my wishlist.

I don’t know how it was decided that Tuesdays would be the day to release new books. It seems like a strange day to do it. Maybe the distributors needed Monday to deliver the books to bookstores. With so many books sold online and in digital formats these days, it seems like a new book could be released any day of the week. But I shouldn’t complain. Publishers and distributors have their routines, just like I do, and who am I to disturb them.

Incidentally, I am usually less well-informed about the world on Tuesday mornings because I have to rush through the news after spending so much time seeing what new books have been released. But I still still read the obits.

And if you are curious, this morning’s article was “Escape from a Black Hole” by Steven B. Giddings in the December 2019 issue of Scientific American.

Patterns and practices

I have a routine in the morning and like any routine, it’s good because it prevents me from forgetting things. (In 12 years at my job, I’ve forgotten my badge exactly 3 times.) The problem with a routine is that if you break it in even the slightest way, it can lead to trouble.

This time of year, my routine in the morning goes something like this: 5:55 AM, turn off the alarm (I usually wake up before it goes off), turn on the light. Get dressed, make the bed. Turn off and unplug the space-heater. Turn the light off. Open the blinds in my bedroom, and in the reading room. Lights on in the kitchen, grab the keys, jacket on, open the blinds in the living room, and then outside to warm up the car. Back inside, jacket off, and into the bathroom. Use bathroom, brush teeth and check email and news while brushing. Done brushing, back to the kitchen, grab lunch out of the fridge and put it in my backpack. Feed the cat, lights out in the reading room. Jacket on, badge on, grab phone and money and keys. Lights off in the kitchen, say goodbye to the cat, lights off in the living room and 6:10 AM out the door. Like clockwork.

I mention this because this morning, I altered my pattern slightly. As soon as I got up, I went into the kitchen for some reason that I can’t remember. Then back to the bedroom. Pretty much everything else was the same. Pretty much.

All day long, however, I had this nagging feeling, this anxiety riding just below the surface. In an early afternoon meeting, I finally realized what it was that was bothering me: I think I forgot to turn off the space-heater. And of course, for the rest of the day I worried that I’d return to a pile of ashes where my house once sat. The worry was silly. I have one of those space heaters with a safety shutoff. And besides, I leave the thing on all weekend and there is never any problem. But I don’t like leaving it on when I am not home. All afternoon, therefore, I was anxious to get home and see if I had left the darn thing on. And of course, I had meetings scheduled until 5 PM.

When I finally did get home, close to 6 PM, the house was still standing, despite the fact that I did leave the space-heater on.

And all because I altered my routine in the morning ever so slightly. Those who think that traveling back in time wouldn’t wreak havoc with the present should have their heads examined!

Slept in late

I slept in late this morning. I woke up just after 10 AM, and I’m just now getting out of bed. It felt pretty darn good too.