I'm starting this morning not with my normal routine of: CTRL + SPACEBAR, "Chrome," "Gmail," ALT + T, "Facebook," ALT + T, "Reddit," CTRL + SPACEBAR, "Tweetdeck." That has become my automatic morning response and I can do it quickly and utterly unconsciously. Today is going to be different, though. The coffee is almost done, it's still dark outside, and I'm going to start the day with a win.
Starting with a win is one of those things I'm increasingly realizing makes a big change in how I experience the rest of my day. As the day progresses, the opportunities for "wins" tend to decline. Or, perhaps they are just overshadowed by the annoyances and myriad "losses" throughout the day. Email is the most common vehicle for losses. "Can you do this for me?" "Have you done this yet?" "Why did you do this?" "What's the next thing we have to do?" None of these are inherently "bad" questions, but they represent drains on my attention because I am not their locus of origin.
Nor am I saying that I wish my days were filled with exclusively self-created work. I enjoy helping people and the majority of my projects, personal or otherwise, incorporate and need other people. However, I've learned over the years, and particularly over the last couple of months, that it's hard to start my day taking care of other people's problems first. When I do, I can feel the resentment grow inside me. If I don't take care of myself and my needs, even in the most cursory manner possible, I do a poorer job helping other people throughout the day.
I started writing this only ten or so minutes ago and have only taken a sip or two of the aforementioned coffee. But, now that these words have traveled from my head to my fingers and to my screen, I know the rest of my day will go better. I will be asked to do annoying things, I will have to work on tasks that aren't the most important to me right now and it will all be okay. I selfishly woke up early to indulge in my own thoughts and creative impulse and because of that I'll be able to work more unselfishly the rest of the day.