7.13.2011

Waking Up...

some morning light...







GERHARD RICHTER

He sticks to a strict routine, waking at 6:15 every morning. He makes breakfast for his family, takes Ella to school at 7:20 and is in the studio by 8. At 1 o'clock, he crosses the garden from the studio back to the house. The grass in the garden is uncut. Richter proudly points this out, to show that even it is a matter of his choosing, not by chance. At 1 o'clock, he eats lunch in the dining room, alone. A housekeeper lays out the same meal for him each day: yogurt, tomatoes, bread, olive oil and chamomile tea.

After lunch, Richter returns to his studio to work into the evening. ''I have always been structured,'' he explains. ''What has changed is the proportions. Now it is eight hours of paperwork and one of painting.'' He claims to waste time -- on the house, the garden...


-The New York Times Magazine, January 27, 2002 (from Daily Routines)


*******


I think one of the reasons I’ve been enjoying our weekend agrarian adventures so much is that the spontaneity of them is such a stark contrast to my normal steadfast “creature-of-habit” mode. (Although a bit hesitant to cop to it, I am unequivocally a routine girl, and blueberry picking is decidedly outside of my typical daily routine...)

I won’t bore you with the details, but most of my predictability occurs in the mornings, playing out in such prosaic ways as eating the exact. same. breakfast. every single day (coffee and a double toasted whole wheat English muffin with sunbutter) followed by the same mid-morning snack (a grapefruit). But I have this belief that the steadfast sameness of my a.m. habits allows more room for creative thinking/doing (at least that’s what I’m telling myself, it could just be that I’m supremely boring).

About a year ago, I added a new “habit” to my routine (hey, wait, maybe I am flexible) when I started getting out of bed an hour and a half earlier than Bryan and the girlies to have coffee, catch-up on personal e-mail and write/work on the blog (or just stare out the window). It took me a while to fully embrace my "morning person" tendencies, (being a "night owl" just seems so much cooler), but I finally couldn't deny the fact that morning is just my "time"... I’m smarter during the early hours (at least I am in own mind). So I started to own it, and the time alone during my most productive hours has been a total game changer in terms of how the rest of my day plays out (and totally worth any extra sleep I’m missing).

A few weeks ago I came across a blog documenting the Daily Routines of various writers, artists, etc... and was completely sucked in. (I felt especially validated by the early risers.) It was fascinating to see how other people make it work every day...how they organize their hours, when they're most productive, what makes them tick, their quirks (the quirks are especially interesting to me.)

So... what does your daily routine look like? Are you super structured or do you play it differently every day? Early riser or night owl? Do tell.

18 comments:

Katy said...

I love this topic! Nice post.

modern-eve.com said...

That Daily Routines link is fascinating. I wish I could be morning person. I have always had grand aspirations to take an early morning run, eat a healthy breakfast and read the morning paper. But my hand is just programming to hit the snooze on my alarm and it never seems to happen...

Cassie said...

I fully believe in rising early to have an hour of alone time. Because people are sleeping, I can't vacuum, wash dishes, or any other activity that distracts me from doing something creative. It's a struggle, but I rise between 5:30-6 to make coffee and quietly work on a project, blog, or even just watch a movie if I so desire. I start my day feeling productive and at peace before setting foot in the ad agency where I work. I also came to the realization that I'm more productive while sipping coffee in the morning than drinking other adult beverages in the evening, which admittedly I like to do.

Just the one extra hour helps. They add up to 7 hours at the end of the week and that's almost one full work day devoted to a personal creative endeavor. That doesn't sound like much to a professional artist, but to a working mom with a toddler that rises early and goes to bed waaaay too late, it's a dream come true.

whoorl said...

Early riser, for sure!! My mind turns to absolute mush come 6pm.

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

this summer, i've embraced early riser and night owl. so far, it has energized my mind, body and soul. i take Friday afternoons through Sunday to catch-up on sleep and just be 'lazy'. for me, sleep has really be overrated, but my body insists upon it at least 2 nights a week!

thanks for the intro to Daily Routines.

Mel said...

Ha! This couldn't come at a more opportune time. I was thinking of going "early" to have time for myself. I am not an early riser. In fact, I am a grumpy, grouchy, grumbly morning person, I'm ashamed to say. I selfishly steal any extra time I can to sleep in just to make up for my night owl tendencies, however it just isn't cutting the mustard. Thanks for the inspiration and firsthand account of your success with it! I especially like your lead in with the artist- I can relate.

Ana Degenaar said...

I am loving this post. I am more of a night owl but early riser wanna be. I will actually be one in 2 weeks when my Emma starts preschool until then, I will keep her up and play with block at about 9:00pm like an irresponsible mom.

idaclare said...

HOW am I just learning about this blog? I love the concept of the people's mundane everyday lives. Thanks for sharing.

Molly Ford said...

I am absolutely a morning person. It took a while to feel confident in that, because I am young and in college living with three "night owls". It is something you can't really fight against. When I have tried, it seems to always backfire on me and I end up feeling out of my element.

It is great you posted this, because it reminds me that there is no shame in being fully awake and in love with the morning hours. There is a stillness that is captivating and that seduces me to wake up early every day.

Mary said...

I am absolutely not a morning person, but I started waking up early as well. At first, it was out of necessity - I have to shower and get ready for work before my little guys wake up so I can get them ready as well. Now, though, although I do still allow time to shower/get dressed, I also try to leave a little time for me. 15 minutes of yoga, watching the sunrise, maybe tidying up or getting a head start on packing things for the day...it's huge.

Christian said...

This Daily Routines site is the most fascinating thing I've seen in a long time- I can't stop reading it! And though I love my life as a mother to 2 small kids, where family is first and writing (my job) is second, I can't help but feel totally in awe (envious?) of the (primarily male) writers who structure their days just how they like.

Thanks for the link!

nicole said...

i adore this post,giving me so much to think about.

Babette Jewelry said...

Joslyn-this post really hit a nerve with me because I'm ALWAYS trying to squeeze more time out of the day. It consumes me. Having two young children, I constantly feel there aren't enough hours in the day to complete anything. Currently, I stay up until at least 12.30am, which is wreaking havoc on my body. You've inspired me to try the early morning method- though I'd have to be up by 5am to beat my girls who are also early risers: 6.15am! My FIL actually wakes up at 4am everyday without fail!!!

Christian said...

I'm just getting to Alice Munro and Toni Morrison, now there's some inspiration for mother writers!

Torrie said...

I'm a definite early-riser who's been stuck in a night owl's routine! The kids go to bed later during the summer, which causes me to stay up later... for some sort of 'aloneness' with my husband! ...which leads me to sleep in later. I must change this entire pattern! I started last night, by falling asleep earlier, and then awaking earlier today. A much better way for me to start my day.

(although I agree fully. a night owl is a little cooler, and I'm sure it'll fight to come out here and there ;))

Carrie said...

Oh, I too love this post (so much that this is my first time commenting after years of reading!).

I would LOVE to be a morning person. The peace, quiet, morning light, coffee, all of it. Nonetheless, I am firmly a night owl and it's terrible. I'm always curled on the couch with a blanket at 12:30 being completely unproductive. Mornings allow you to put around and do what you need, and then get going for a full and awesome day. Evenings allow you to gear up to... sleep. Sigh.

Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

eLiZaBeTh said...

I am a night owl...as much as I would like to be an early bird, I am not. I am okay with that now. I do my best thinking & creating when the house is quiet, the day is done. It is not that I mind getting up early (I used to work at Starbucks and was there early every day!), I see the beauty in getting up early, but I have learned to embrace my inner night owl...

mn said...

I find it interesting that to be productive creatively, artists often stick to a daily routine. Most of the non-creative world thinks of artists/freelancers as people who don't have structure in their day-to-day, but in fact the most prolific ones always do. I have a fascination with others' routines!
And I'm definitely a night owl. Can barely think straight and cannot brainstorm until about 3 pm & after. Thought it would change after becoming a parent, but not so!