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On morning routines

I’ve been toying with and fine-tuning my morning routine quite some over the past months. The ultimate goal is simple: I want to be energized, ready to dive into the day, and with as little friction and time-loss as possible.

The first routine I had consisted of waking up at 7am sharp, getting ready, taking breakfast as fast as possible and then head out to university. I like being in my office by 8am, and this one made me arrive between 7:55 and 8:10.

Then, I thought I had a better idea. I’d skip breakfast at home, rush out as fast as possible and then eat in at my desk while reading my mails. The disadvantage is that I found myself chewing through my breakfast way longer than when I eat at home, and that I couldn’t really make the shift from reading mails to getting into research. However, on some days I was in as early as 7:40.

Now, I’ve changed it all over again, and so far enjoying it. Since I now practice sports every evening, I can be a little faster in the morning by leaving the shower for the evening. With my sleep cycle alarm clock, I now wake up at a moment during 6:50 and 7:15 that corresponds to an up in my sleep cycle pattern – it basically wakes me up at a moment when I think I’m half awake, quite a pleasant way to wake up I must say. All I need to do then is get dressed, and head to the kitchen. I am back into a slow breakfast, with a cup of coffee (my coffee at home just tastes better than the Douwe Egberts from the machine at the university), but at the same time I use my smartphone to already throw out some unwanted mails, catch up on blogs and social media. If I need to cook up a long reply for an email, I use the time on my bike to think about it. And I still try to be in by 8am (or between 8:00 and 8:15). The advantage of this method is that I can get started with research right away, or if necessary, reply an email for which I already know what to write, which saves me time as well.

At the moment I arrive to my office, I exactly know what to get started with for the day. Typically, I write a sticky note to myself at the end of the day to remind myself where I had left and what to start with the next day. When I’m working in a document, I write a quick note to myself and my train of thought in italic, so I know in the morning exactly what to continue with.

How do you make sure you get your day started off in the right way?

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This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. Hadn't heard of it before, but that's pretty much what I meant with leaving a note to myself and/or writing in italic in the document what my train of thought was. I used to stay around until my section/paragraph/.. was finished, but I know my kitty is at home and getting hungry in the evening, so I try to stop when it's time to go home and know what to continue with the next day.

  2. Hi! I stumbled over your blog looking for something rather far off (I had looked for useful shortcuts in written English and got to your computer shortcuts page). My first impulse was to just close the page, since it wasn't what I was looking for. But then I somehow got caught up reading the morning routine article…and found all the rest. Your blog is a gold mine for me! As a prospective PhD student (I'm in my 3rd Master's semester now, in Germany) I am a bit scared about whether I am fit for this experience. So I find it wonderful to see that things I have thought about to make my life easier and increase my productivity are written here too, surrounded by lots of other useful information. And I just wanted to say: thank you! I know there's a lot I have to work on, but it feels good to see that there are others who think alike.

  3. Thanks for your comment – and I'm glad to read you're finding useful information in here.All the best with your PhD, and you can always give me a shoutout here, on Twitter or on the Facebook page of PhDTalk in case you have a particular question (or for random PhD chatter)

  4. Thanks for sharing, Eva. I recently started my PhD and was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work I am required to put and yet nothing ever feels like done. I almost had a panic attack, so started looking for motivation quotes for PhD candidates, your posts helped me relax a bit!

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