I loved this observation from Oliver Burkeman in his most recent newsletter:
…efforts to implement morning routines… have a way of becoming utterly deadening the moment you try to define them too strictly: “630am get up, 645am journalling”, and so forth. Far better, in my experience, to draw up a “menu” of things you'd ideally like to do every morning, then select one or two of them each day. (Because it's less yoked to specific clock times, this approach is also vastly better suited to a life in which your routine is liable to be interrupted by small children waking and requiring your attention.)
I wrote a couple of days ago about my struggles with writing of late. But it’s not only my writing that I’ve been battling to keep going with. It’s been my exercise, my journalling, and my reading too.
And the change from summer to autumn is a big factor here. Getting up at 6.15am to write in my study is so much easier when it is light and warm. As autumn has drawn in, I’ve been finding it harder to get up and out of bed. My morning routines have been knocked out as a result.
But Burkeman’s comments are a reminder to not hold these things too tightly. Adaptability is a more useful asset that rigidity.
In truth, this is what I have been starting to do this last week or so. Instead of having to journal first thing (as has been my habit), I’ve been giving myself ‘permission’ to journal later in the day. (The risk here is that it gets dropped completely as I don’t have a set of triggers for another time in the day – but I’ll try and figure that out.) And with exercise, rather than doing it every weekday morning, I’m content if it’s two or three times a week. (Dark mornings are brutal people – cut me some slack!)
As always, life is a work in progress, and I continue to learn, and adapt, and – hopefully – keep growing. But I will be adding this ‘menu’ idea to my morning routine. I think that will help.