Every evening, before I go to bed, I perform the following ritual:
- Pull out the gym clothes I’ll be wearing the next morning.
- Pull out the work clothes I’ll be changing into after my post-workout shower.
- Pack my gym bag with a towel and work shoes.
- Put my gym shoes besides the gym bag.
- Prep my coffee maker so I just have to hit a button to start brewing.
- Put BCAA powder in my shaker bottle so I just need to fill it with water.
- Put the dirty-laundry basket by the front door so I can start the wash before I leave for the gym.
All of these things take a few minutes, but they save me from having to make decisions when I wake up bleary-eyed, barely able to brush my teeth. I quickly learned that if I wanted to limit the resistance of an early morning workout, I had to prepare for it.
I’ve applied this philosophy to writing (always have a scratch file on my phone ready for notes), reading (always have a magazine and book in my backpack), my day job (block out my calendar a week in advance for certain tasks), and so on. The key has been to identify what I can do ahead of time to make the actual event happen as easily as possible.
This isn’t to say my life is consumed by a monotonous, soul-sucking adherence to schedule. I try to leave room for serendipity, but I’ve found I’m more productive (read: happier) if I can maintain a rhythm.
How do you prepare yourself for the important work?