Keeping Morning Routine Fresh

Do you have a morning routine? You know, the things you automatically do after waking up. You don’t think about them, but if don’t follow those unwritten steps your entire day feels off. I was thinking about my routine the other day and decided to write it out step by step. (WARNING: It’s pretty intricate.)

Don’s Morning routine:

  1. Wake up
  2. Walk to kitchen
  3. Turn tea kettle on stovetop to boil (water already filled from previous night)
  4. Fill glass with cold water (drink throughout steps 4-12)
  5. Get 2 pre-peeled hardboiled eggs (peeled night before) and balsamic vinaigrette from fridge
  6. Grind coffee beans (measured out from night before)
  7. AeroProessPour coffee grounds into AeroPress (set up from night before)
  8. Get coffee mug from cupboard
  9. Cut hard boiled eggs into halves, sprinkle salt and pepper, splash Tabasco and balsamic vinaigrette
  10. Cut grapefruit half and slice (be careful because pulp can move, baby!)Seinfeld George Wink
  11. Pour boiling water into AeroPress, stir, top off, apply filter, set timer to 4 minutes to steep
  12. Start writing Morning Page
  13. Invert AeroPress onto coffee mug after timer goes off and plunge into mug (by far my favorite part)
  14. Eat banana while waiting for gravity to expel remaining coffee from AeroPress
  15. Throw coffee grounds in trash, wipe down, and wash off AeroPress
  16. Drink coffee, eats eggs, and grapefruit
  17. Swish mouthwash, brush teethSeinfeld Kramer Teetch (to keep my teeth from staining and looking like an old catcher’s mitt)
  18. Bio-break
  19. Finish Morning Page
  20. Make my bed
  21. Meditate for 10 minutes
  22. Write for at least 15 minutes

Before reading the above you probably thought I was pretty anal, but now I may seem to reach Howard Hughes levels of OCD. I mean, how could anyone keep 20+ steps in his mind, Howard Hugheseven subconsciously, and do them in order every day?

It’s a fair question to ask, but I bet if you took the time to think your own morning routine through that you would have at least a dozen actions you take. I’m just more meticulous than most people and took the time to write my routine out in detail.

A slightly less obvious takeaway is that my morning routine revolves around coffee. That’s hardly a groundbreaking revelation. Most adults rely on caffeine as a crutch to get going each morning, but they also mindlessly buy coffee from Starbucks. At best they make coffee from a standard coffeemaker at home.

Conversely, my coffee making routine borders on religious ritual (as if I’m taking communion), but even religious ritual can get monotonous over time. You’re doing the same steps…over and over and over again. GodfatherIt’s almost inevitable that you’ll just go through the motions after a few weeks or months. If you’re not careful that routine will be fully mindless within a year and you never know why you started (or why you continue) doing what you’re doing. That’s why I make a subtle change systematically to my routine every few weeks to keep it fresh.

As you probably surmised already, I buy expensive coffee beans. Anyone that grinds his coffee beans and uses an AeroPress daily is going to pay a premium on raw materials (‘duh). And that is the thing I change up, the raw materials. The steps in the routine remain the same.

As a side note, using an AeroPress to make coffee is great because it is travel ready. You don’t need to worry about getting burned coffee at Charbucks or junk coffee at a convenience store when you’re away from home. Just bring your AeroPress with you.

A bag of coffee beans lasts 2 to 3 weeks for me, which by coincidence is how long it takes for me to settle into a mindless routine. But just as I start getting sloppy the current bag of coffee beans runs empty and I have to buy more. So I just get a bag of different roast the next time.

The first time I make coffee with the new beans the entire process feels completely different. The smell has changed. The coffee is another shade of dark. And the taste is noticeably new. The experience is a natural reminder of what I like about coffee and mornings, and life in general. It totally resets my process and makes me appreciate it all over again.

Subtle natural reminders extend beyond bags of coffee beans too. They’re all over the place to remind me to appreciate what I have. For example, when spring weather finally arrives in the Midwest in April (or May). birkenstockThat’s the reminder that it’s finally warm enough for me to wear my Birkenstocks outside. And when the weather starts to cool in late September. That is when I break out my fall jacket.

There are also natural reminders that This Too Shall Pass when I’m having a rough day. Every sunset reminds me that the day is over and to put away whatever was bothering me. And every sunrise is a new beginning and fresh start.

Thanks for reading.

Don

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