KEEPING ALL HATS IN THE AIR FALL FRIDAY SERIES: Mornings are best for routines

There’s the researcher hat, the networking hat, the business hat, the editor hat and the art-spectator or the reader hat – whew! With so much other “work” to do, it can be difficult to find the time to actually write or do your artwork. This series talks about priorities and goal setting. How do you juggle all the aspects of your writing and/or art career? Inspired by a SCBWI WWA Bellingham Network Schmooze that took place in Sept, 2009.

THE TIP:
My friend and fellow writer Barbara Davis-Pyles used to work in psychology. She opened my eyes to the fact that mornings are generally the most habitual time of the day for people. She says that if you want to start a habit, try adding it to your morning ritual.

So, what's the first thing you do in your day?

BEFORE:
I used to start by tackling some email over breakfast. I did this because even though I love correspondence, I'm introverted -- I tend to procrastinate with it. So I figured, tackle the hard stuff first.

But the hard stuff wasn't my first priority! Starting with email used a chunk of the freshest part of the day. Also, because I procrastinate with email, I sometimes ended up surfing the internet between emails. And it set a tone for the rest of the day that didn’t energize me.

AFTER:
For the past two weeks instead of email with breakfast, I've read the paper (as I used to do later in the day) and I've spent time visioning my day out in my day-planner (as I used to after I took time to answer email).

Then after breakfast, everyday, I've spent 15 minutes doing Yoga -- centering myself -- and setting a good tone for the day (YAY! this has been my favorite change!).

Then, if it's a workday, it's art time. I've given myself permission to neglect all correspondence or business until after noon (I’ve shot off the occasional fast email that was pestering my mind, but for the most part, I’ve let it go).

This is a huge deal. I don't procrastinate on my art. Art is what I want to be doing. When I give myself permission to do it, it's what I do.

THE RESULTS:
WOW!
Despite having an incredibly full plate the last two weeks, I've accomplished so much of my own work. That is a good, good feeling.

So I'm curious about your morning ritual? Is there a habit you'd like to start or break? What's your morning going to look like from now on?

P.S. My friend Karen Ann Chalupnik who also attended the schmooze that inspired this series put a great post up on her blog recently about a change she's made based on the schmooze. Read about it here.