Morning Coffee: Pressure and Progress


This is my morning coffee.

To clarify: I’m not actually a coffee drinker (blech). Which is not to say I don’t have difficulty starting my days. But my difficulties are more in terms of motivated productivity rather than brain functionality, even if the two are somewhat connected.

No, I don’t need to be juiced up first thing in the morning, so much as motivated to get up and about. Historically speaking my mornings have long involved  being off to either school or work within 30-60 minutes of waking up. As such my inner drive is conditioned to expect productivity within the first couple hours of the day. Contrast this with weekends: Sleeping in means not having to do anything first thing in the morning. Those first few hours are inherently about relaxation.

My new job situation does not require immediate post-waking action – my day job doesn’t start until Noon. The current goal in life is to work that day job semi-full time, while pursuing freelance writing the rest of the time. That’s where the early mornings come in… ideally.

Again, I’m not used to waking up to nothing crucial. To clarify: nothing crucial in terms of regular presence unto employers. It’s not that there’s no “work” – whether it’s for the odd freelance client or simply exercising my writing skills (e.g. this very blog). But unless there’s a writing deadline for that very morning, I don’t have to snap-to and get to work as per the expectation of others. I’m not punching a timeclock; I’m not showing my face to prove that I’m working.

There’s a weird freedom in this. And I don’t know how to handle it.

My pre-dayjob morning time allows me about 3 hours of productivity. And that somehow feels like a lot. But damn, if it doesn’t fly right by. Internet buffoonery is the favourite pastime of King Procrastinatus (me), and the rabbit hole of YouTube videos sings a time-eating siren song.

Being aware of my procrastination causes a lot of self-guilt and shame. But that’s only half of the mental struggle: the other half entails self-imposed pressure. My eager, motivating mind paints lovely pictures of getting a lot of writing work done. It always seems easier than it really is. But as positive and motivated as this feels, I don’t realize how much productivity I’m secretly picturing until it’s wayyyyy too late to have accomplished even half of it.

The biggest battle is, again, getting out of bed in the first place. And that’s where the “morning coffee” comes in.

With now three alarm clocks (one well out of reach of my bed, which gets my body up and about), I’m starting to develop a simple morning routine: a quick 10-minute walk with a water bottle, followed by decent breakfast not in bed with my laptop, and then getting to work writing. I haven’t been doing this every morning yet (only twice this week), but it does work.

And really that’s all I need to know. It works; I know it works, and I see results as a result.  It’s imperfect, yes – even after starting with this new routine this morning I only ended up with one short writing project completed.

But I am not going to beat myself up over this. I am not going to let inner guilt and shame defeat my first steps, my progress towards a better and brighter lifestyle. This is about short, achievable goals, improvable habits and day-by-day progress.

Onward and upward (out of bed)!

© 2017 Day By Day Mental


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