For a PhD student, I am quite an early bird. I start every day at 8am, and I arrive to my office some time between 7:50am and 8am.Having a steady routine seems to be a great way to work continuously towards my goals.
Every now and then I start the day (too) slowly, and I end up without much work done before noon. To avoid this, I have some ways which help me to get my day started right away.
1. Don't snooze
I've never really understood why people like to push the snooze button on their alarm clock anyway. Once I am awake, I just come out of bed and start my day. Before I even realize that it's rather early, I'm already washed and dressed.
I'm not a nutritionist or anything, but you can't ignore all these articles which say that you need a good breakfast to start your day. I just always wake up very hungry, so skipping breakfast is not an option for me. What I've noticed over the years, is the importance of my breakfast. I've shifted from sugary cereal to honey covered cereal to wholesome cereal with dried fruits and nuts. I started to notice how much more energy I get from a breakfast without all the sugar. Recently, I've also started to have oats in the morning. The hot milk makes me a bit sleepy, but the oats themselves fuel me for a long morning.
3. Bike to university
Nothing wakes me up as well as a good bit of exercise. Biking to university involves climbing uphill (on a bridge, that is), and that makes my heart all pumping and ready for the day. I like clear, crisp mornings which give me a good dose of fresh air. I really dislike the foggy, smoggy days on which I feel I can hardly breathe.
4. Know your most important task for the day
I usually leave in the evening my most important task for the next day on my otherwise cleared desk. I also keep the document I need to work on opened on my computer. That makes me ready to get started with it right away.
5. Enjoy the silence
(not just the Depeche Mode song). I can get great progress in the morning before people start walking up and down the hallway and students start dropping by to ask questions. My officemate is an early bird too (he starts at 7am), but his presence doesn't disturb me as much as the footsteps in the hallway. I assume the footsteps distract me so much because I always try to figure out if they are on their way to my office to come and ask me something, or are headed somewhere else.
I know this all sounds really good, but too often I start with reading e-mail and surfing the internet. I'm still working on breaking this habit and doing these low-energy tasks at my low-energy moments of the day.
How do you get started in the morning?