Kevin Purdy

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Toward a Better Morning

05 Apr 2014

HTC One turned down, morning-style Image via Wikimedia

I woke up this morning to an email from a writer at an international newspaper, who had seen a post of recurring viral popularity of mine from August 2012. Said paper had a column that featured guests, and “… we wanted to invite you to tell us in 150 words the best way to start your day for emotional, personal and professional happiness.”

In 150 words? I noted that my life had changed quite a bit in one year and eight months, and suggested that I am by no means a professional happy person. But I would give it a shot. I wrote and submitted what you’ll read just a bit further on, on a Saturday morning, while waiting on a sick wife and waiting for a phone call.

Writer: “Can you add 5 points to this…. would need a little more and your high res pic”

Me: “As in, add five more items?”

Writer: “Yes / Sent from my iPhone”.

Me: “No, I cannot help you with that.”

Working for free is a topic for another post (or series, or book, or endless context-heavy debate). But I wanted to get something out of the exercise. So here’s what I wrote about mornings, with just a dollop of after-the-fact editing and expansion.

I still agree (with the original post) that avoiding email in the morning is very wise. I can recall a recent email that devastated my self-confidence and ruined my mood well into dinnertime. I read it while still in bed; I wish I had instead accomplished something before checking email. Even if you’re not as sensitive as me, you might think about the effect of having your first thoughts in the morning be about things people want from you.

What I do most mornings is walk my dog. It forces me to get up, get at least somewhat presentable, and get moving. The dog itself is not key, but something that will not wait for you.

Working off of that, I’ve tinkered recently with not charging my phone overnight, but instead putting it in airplane mode and then charging it in the morning. I feel a neurotic urge to get my phone back to full charge, and keeping the screen on will not get it there.

So instead of seeing those day-plunging emails in bed, or bringing it with me on the dog walk, or letting it distract me from my morning and housemates, my phone charges. I will still hear it buzz or chirp if there is a frantic text message or phone call. If I feel compelled to read some news, I can pull it up on a laptop.

You’ll have your whole day to spend getting lost and distracted inside your phone, feeds, sites. Better to see everybody off, get something done, or just feel it get brighter in the morning.