My Morning Routine: Live, Love and Laugh
How a bread machine changed my life
Having read so many posts on Medium about the perfect morning routine I really thought I should share my own. It’s not hugely controversial, but it’s not like any of the others I’ve read either. Hope it’s helpful 🤓
The Night Before The Morning After
It goes without saying that for any morning routine to work you need to go to bed at a reasonable time. I’m usually in by 11pm but of course there are late nights and that’s fine. I try to never go to bed in a rush or with any stress and use that time to slowly relax by reading a magazine or book. I don’t look at screens (blue light!!) in the bedroom unless we had an early night to watch a movie in bed (not that kind of movie!) and all devices go on airplane mode before we go to sleep.
Firstly, let’s talk alarms. I tried Sleep Cycle for over a year. It’s a fantastic app which I highly recommend, but I love it for the data it captures. I found out when I sleep best, under what conditions, at what times etc and that’s useful to me. I’m not sure I found my awakenings any less traumatic despite its ability to wake me when I was in light sleep. So I went back to the good ol’ bedside clock radio to wake me with a loud beeping, shortly followed by BBC Radio 4.
I did try getting up every day at 5am, for around 6 months. Whilst it’s not something I’ve adopted long term it did help me fully appreciate how amazing the time in the morning is. And nowadays I’ll rise between 6:30am and 7:00am which I would have thought of as horribly early not so long ago.
One kitchen appliance I can’t recommend highly enough is a bread maker (we have this one). Every three days or so I wake up to a house full of the smell of freshly baked bread, and that combined with the need to take it out to cool gets me out of bed early two or three times a week. This then has the knock-on effect of making me tired early that night and so on…
Whilst it’s out cooling I’ll tidy the kitchen, clean the dishes or get back into bed to snuggle up with my wife Stacey for a few minutes. One day I will insert a short high-intensity workout here but for now this is fine.
As I remember, years ago these new gadgets made bread that wasn’t so great but now even the cheapest ones provide bakery-quality results. It really is one of those things where there’s no going back once you’ve tried it. I still love artisanal breads in restaurants and cafes but for my daily breakfast I just need homemade white bread, toasted. Whilst ‘white’ isn’t thought of as a healthy choice, when homemade there are just six good quality ingredients in there, and it’s fresh.
For breakfast I have the following, which I (unscientifically) think is a great blend of healthy, energetic and tasty:
- 1 kiwi fruit peeled and sliced with yoghurt (organic, unsweetened), topped with honey and omega-rich seeds
- 2 slices homemade white toast, buttered with real organic butter kept out of the fridge and topped with peanut butter or marmalade
- 1 large cup of white Americano coffee made with an Aeropress
Laughs and cuddles
[single people look away or grab a sick bag now]
Once I’ve made me and my wife breakfast — which means I start the day doing something nice for someone else — we take time to sit and eat together. Fortunately here in England Channel 4 screen Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier in the mornings. So we eat breakfast, chat about our day or what we dreamt about and laugh at the TV. Having eaten we usually have time to cuddle up for a few minutes, just watching TV and being silly, before the task of getting ready and out of the house fires into motion. If you have a partner this is a very important thing worth getting up a bit early for. It’s a great way of reminding you how lucky you are and what’s really important in life, before the trivia of the day gets a hold of you.
I’ve read the benefit of, and tried, cold showers but a lovely hot, soapy shower with nice products is just how I roll. Unless it’s a very hot summer’s day, you still get that invigorating coldness when you first emerge from a hot shower to dry yourself. I come out feeling clean, warm and it really resets my energy levels.
Wear something nice, without wrinkles
Then it’s time to get dressed. A year ago we invested in this steam generator iron. It’s like a regular iron but the steam is produced in the sizeable base, piped at high pressure through the cord to the hot iron. You get your clothes ironed beautifully and fast. Perfect for lazy people like me who can’t stand wrinkles.
There’s something about getting on a train in the morning and moving through the land that’s weirdly satisfying. It makes you feel like you’re really going somewhere (because you are obviously), that stuff is happening and the day still holds the potential for all sorts of exciting things to happen.
You’re around people yet totally alone. You have licence to focus completely on writing emails, reading a book, jotting down thoughts or plans.
If I’m going to the Harkable office I catch the tube and get about 25 minutes to just be alone, look at my to-dos, get my head around big picture and small. By the time I walk out of the station at the other end I have a clear idea of what’s important in life but also today.
I’m still perfecting all my routines, habits and processes and no doubt will be for the rest of my life. But this really works for me. What makes your morning?
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I’m Will (@willfrancis pretty much everywhere on the internet).
I’m a writer, speaker & presenter on technology and culture. My book, Cocktails of the Movies, is now in your local bookstore.
I’m a co-founder at Harkable, where we help your favourite brands innovate. I was editor of MySpace UK in the late noughties. I’ve been listed by The Telegraph, Independent, NMA and more as a top technology and media influencer.