Friday, May 8, 2009

On Starting the Day

How do you start your day? Are you jarred out of sleep by reports from the latest war zone or traffic on the beltway? Does your Blackberry start buzzing before you're even out of bed? Do you slug down a cup of coffee and run out the door before you're late for work? Let us propose another option: start your day in touch with nature. Here are some ideas.

Find a sit spot. For the duration of the time it takes you to eat breakfast, turn off all other media and just sit and observe nature. This might mean looking out on your backyard, or a bird feeder you hang from your apartment window. If you're really concrete-bound, you could listen to a CD of bird songs or get yourself a fish tank -- or take a short walk outside.

Make yourself more time.
Are you reading this and thinking, "I just don't have time to sit around in the morning"? Sure, the time is not just going to materialize out of thin air. Try going to bed half an hour earlier so you can wake up half an hour earlier. Make the time.

Turn off the alarm.
If you don't have to be anywhere in the morning at any particular time, wake up to the birds singing instead of news or music or loud bleeping noises that make you jump out of your skin. Even if you do have to be somewhere at a particular time, if you get into a good sleep schedule, you may find you don't really need an alarm most of the time.

Don't check in. Does it really make a difference whether you see your email at 7:30 instead of 7:00? Once you start checking in, there may be no going back. Just don't do it. Everything will still be there when you're ready for it. And you may find you're much more ready for it if you give yourself some time first.

Try it for a week. See how you feel. You can always go back to the war-report, skip-breakfast, run-out-the-door method if this doesn't work for you.