Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Getting High for a Start

I’ve been waking earlier. My 4.30 am alarm gives me five or six hours of sleep, depending when I log off, but these days I beat the thing to it. (Maybe something reset my bio clocks.) Anyway, I usually don’t go back to sleep once I’m awake (no particular reason), so I would pick up my ever-handy phone and check Facebook or my email. There’s little activity that time of day, though, and within two weeks, I was going straight to my RSS feed reader (I use Opera Mini’s) where there was always some new and interesting post. Before I’d know it, two or three hours would race by, day would break and I could get on.

But I wasn’t really feeling it. I mean, yes, I loved my feeds (I did choose them, after all, and find them delightful), but something about it all niggled at me. I didn't just want to return to my former rhythms, either, since I still got enough sleep by retiring earlier.

Along came a BFO ("blinding flash of the obvious"*): here was prime free time, and the best I could do with it was read RSS? I could have kicked myself.

Instead, I made a decision. The next day I was up 3.30 am (waking, fortunately for me, is generally an event, not a process), grabbed my textbooks (got exams next year), made myself a cup of coffee (what better to wake up to?), and hit the dining table for the next couple hours.

The high from that two-hour study session was unexpected, lasting well into afternoon. Even more, it's proved consistent: I ride into each day on a wave of pure energy. I enjoyed my new schedule so much, I even reset both my log-off time and wake-up alarm an hour earlier just to keep it up. (I've already decided to go on after the exams, substituting study with, say, writing.)

I've had to wonder, though: why the high? Obviously the regular—and more effective—study is cause for satisfaction, and I do enjoy acquiring knowledge. But does that fully explain it? Perhaps a good part comes simply from starting my day with a personal victory: two hours in and I’ve already achieved something meaningful. I think that sense of accomplishment—knowing I'm fulfilling my own commitments to myself from the get-go—is what makes me feel ready to take anything on.

Now there's a kick starter.

P.S. What would you spend 2 free morning hours on? A penny for your thoughts below.

*"BFO" is courtesy David Allen, author "Getting Things Done" (GTD)

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