I'm not much of a morning person. I like the concept of mornings, "a new day filled with new opportunities," but as a sleep-deprived parent working too many jobs I have a habit of starting my day in all the wrong ways. Why do things the right way when doing them the wrong way is just so much easier?
There are a lot of wonderful ways to start your day, whether you are searching for productivity or inner-peace, but I can tell you with the utmost confidence that these are definitely not one of them.
1. Ignore My Alarm
In my house, having an alarm is mostly a formality. If I'm still asleep when it goes off, odds are good I'll shut it off without even waking up. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of having an alarm, but in practice my brain does whatever it damn well pleases. Plus, there's nothing more invigorating than realizing you turned your alarm off over an hour ago and now your hungry, pajama-clad kids need to be to school in 12 minutes.
2. Sit on the Couch
I'm in terrible shape, but after a sedentary day of programming behind a desk, followed by a night of restless sleep on an ill-advised "memory foam" mattress that, the last thing I want to do when I wake up is move. So, on the days I am lucky enough to beat my alarm to the punch, I reward myself with an all-expenses paid trip to a couch I definitely overpaid for.
3. Turn on the Television
Despite my contentious relationship with my alarm, I actually like waking up earlier than the rest of my family. Not because it gives me an opportunity to "seize the day," but because it gives me an hour or two of relative calm before the chaos of real life kicks in. At five o'clock in the morning, grown-up responsibilities suck a hell of a lot more than a couple episodes of The Office.
4. Drink 3 Cups of Coffee
I love coffee. It wakes me up and satisfies the addiction center of my brain. Unfortunately, my stomach isn't quite as appreciative of the stuff as I am—not that it stops me from chugging a gallon of it every morning. I can tell you from personal experience that inducing acid reflux in an effort to kickstart your brain is a particularly terrible way to start the day.
5. Respond to Emails
Freshly caffeinated and committed to my position on Mr. Couch, what else is there to do but pull out my smart phone and start telling everyone I work with that I am online and ready to go three hours too early, amirite? If you want to be taken seriously at work, you should definitely respond to critical emails hours before you're ready to engage with them and then go completely radio silent.
How you start your mornings sets the tone for your entire day. To be clear, I am not saying that you have to be the model of productivity, and what works for other people shouldn't have any bearing on your own life—seriously, who the hell cares what Elon Musk's morning routine is?—but the first step towards having a good day is understanding which habits contribute to having a bad one.