It’s a busy busy life. Even when we are not busy with work, we tend to be rushing to a game, picking someone up, running an errand, or adding to our never-ending pile of stuff.
When I take a full hour to sip my french roast — without looking at email, texts, Instagram, or the news — before getting started in the tornado of the day, my outlook changes for the better. I have time to think without the torrent of input from the outside world. Fragmented thoughts from previous days magically knit themselves into coherent ideas. Only after that hour of peaceful thinking while watching the sun rise or staring into the fire dancing in my fireplace, and occasionally jotting a sentence in my notebook, do I pick up my device and reattach to the priorities of the present. This early morning hour is an amazing counter to the urgency conspiracy I have often written about.
When I make this time for thinking, my life tracks in a dramatically better path. This isn’t the ‘mindfulness’ everyone is fashionably harping about these days — most people seems to want to disconnect their mind from work and projects and just notice the little things (and sure, that’s worthy too) — but it is mindfulness in terms of getting your ducks in a row as to what you want to create, who you want to influence, and what your priorities are right now. Developing the skill to consciously decide what you want to think about (and what you won’t think about) will pay dividends for your entire life.
Daily commitments can often get in the way, especially when you must make it through the TSA gauntlet in time for a 6:30 am departure. It can be hard to restart your habit, but I see these hurried days as a great reminder of the importance of making time to carpe mane, to seize the morning — to think. I do believe this is a morning habit — although I’ve tried, I personally can’t seem to achieve the same zen thinking time after quitting time. The hassles of the day creep in and I never seem to get into the bliss zone of zen thinking.
I hope that you give it a try. It will first require the discipline of getting up a little early, of not pressing snooze on that alarm three or four time in a row, but it is worth it. One hour per day of open-minded yet focused thinking will help you become more optimistic, action-oriented, and priority-focused all day.