I recently (re)discovered that writing is much easier and more enjoyable in the early morning when I’m fresh and focused than late at night when I’m thinking more about what I’m doing at work. To take advantage of this, I’ve been slowly moving my waking time earlier and earlier. Yesterday, I went to bed at 9 after tidying up and preparing for the next day. Today, I got up at 5:15. It was fifteen minutes later than I’d set the alarm clock for, but I realized that the dream I was dreaming wasn’t all that interesting compared to what I might learn if I started writing.
Moving tasks to the night before can support this early-morning writing by freeing up more time. The more I can do the night before, the less I need to do the morning after – and it pays off even when the exchange isn’t 1:1. For example, moving the half-hour I used to spend cooking steel-cut oats for breakfast from morning to evening means that I spend just a few minutes heating up a breakfast with much more texture than instant oatmeal. I packed my lunch last night, so I just need to grab it from the fridge and head out the door. I checked my purse for my keys and badge, too. Doing these little things the night before helps me streamline my morning routine.
What else can I do to free up time? I might try watering the plants in the late afternoon or try outlining in the evenings. OpenLoops has good tips for making the most of these early morning hours, and I’m sure I’ll discover more along the way.
I’d also like to look into freeing up weekend time. I used to save laundry loads and library runs for the weekend, but if I can use my weekday evenings to take care of these things, then that frees up a larger block of uninterrupted time.