The Early Morning Hours
I’m an early morning person. I generally rise around 5:30 AM. In fact, even on vacation I’m hard-pressed to sleep in beyond 6:30 or 7:00.
One of the reasons I like getting up early is that it is quiet. At home, the wife and kids are still asleep. It gives me a chance to knock out some reading before another hectic day begins, full of unplanned distractions. I can head down to my study, put the news on the TV or some classical music on the stereo, and plow through newspapers, magazines, feeds, and email on my iPad.
On the road, there’s not much better than going for a walk around whatever city I’m in as the sun comes up. In Washington, DC, I love walking along the National Mall before the tourists are out in force. You can hear the crisp footfalls along the gravel paths that run along the perimeter. When I arrive at the World War II Memorial near the Washington Monument, I often take a seat near the fountain and enjoy the solitude of the environment.
Even cities that one may not associate with peace and quiet have it in those early morning hours. Walking the streets of Manhattan on a weekend morning at sunrise would make you forget that you’re in a city of millions of people. It almost feels abandoned. Even on weekday mornings, the traffic tends to be light before 6 AM, making it a great time for a walk.
Ultimately, the result of these early morning hours is a lot of quality thinking. Whenever it is quiet and I am relaxed, my brain fires up. I’m not alone in this. CC Chapman inspired this post through a tweet he wrote early today: “Ahhh..morning and an overly awake brain. Sometimes a blessing. Sometimes a pain in the ass. :)”
CC is right. Sometimes an overactive brain can be annoying. There are times when I just want to rest and not think. Ironically, I usually find a need to do something to truly relax. That’s when I watch junk TV, read some fiction, or play the occasional video game.
On the other hand, I often try to arrange for time to relax — and thus think. I have written in this space before about my semi-annual Think Week exercise where I go off to a hotel somewhere on my own to clear my head and organize my thoughts.
All of these thinking exercises are great. I get most of my good ideas during these quiet times. Turning the early morning hours into a ritual many years ago makes sure I get the day off to a good thinking start.
Happy that I could provide you with the ingredients for this post this morning when we were both up too early.
The quiet time of the morning IS a powerful time. I’m a total night owl though so early mornings like this are not great for me. I find I’m most productive after everyone is in bed at night and I have the house to myself.
When I worked in an office I do remember loving to get in before everyone else did. That first hour was always the most productive of the day.
On your point about walking around cities in the early morning. That IS my favorite part of traveling. Few things make me happier then walking around while a city wakes up.
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