My mornings used to prioritize video games. I’d brew a coffee while a game loaded. I’d sip coffee while completing quests. A few bites of a bagel here and there (washed down with coffee) until the dreaded minute arrived that I had to shut the game down. This routine persisted for a couple years.
Finding it difficult to play games in the evening after work, I decided to make it a habit to set the alarm forty-five minutes early for guilt free gaming. It worked. Sometimes you need a little bit of incentive to set the alarm earlier.
Best of all, I never felt rushed in the mornings. I had stamped out of my system the urge to mutter five more minutes in-between alarms all the while hugging a pillow, wondering why mornings existed, and why society was so cruel by imposing early hour commitments.
Mornings used to be a scramble to find clothes, brush teeth, wonder if there is enough time to grab something to eat on the way into work.
Then I was always late due to a desperate stopover for coffee.
Then I was written up a couple times. And I felt embarrassed.
I’m not here to shame people who play video games or who enjoy betting on the snooze button. I indulge every now and then still. Video games are therapeutic for some people. And some people need their sleep no matter what.
But I find reading much more stimulating, especially in the mornings. The exercise offers me something to think about as the day progresses. It also gives me something to look forward to on my way home, other than necessary chores and responsibilities.
I also find reading less frustrating than video games, since games seem to mess with my brain’s pleasure-reward pathways. I’m never mad when I read. I’m never upset that the game didn’t work out in my favour. I never feel like I’m missing out on something.
I always feel like I’m accomplishing something with a book. Even if it’s only a couple pages.
Best of all: I can take my book with me wherever I go, and pick-up from where I left off without shame, without worrying about battery life, without worrying about the pains of pausing mid-conflict.
It’s the easiest thing in the world—and a joy—to start the next chapter in a book.
I read in the mornings because the beginning of the day is the calmest. As I mentioned in my post, How To Read 100 Books a Year, it’s also one of my strategies to read consistently.
In the late afternoon and evenings, I’m at my most fatigued. I don’t want to call myself a morning person, but mornings are when I have the most energy to freely spend.
What is so important, however, about reading at the start of my day is that I start my day with an accomplishment. My day opens by completing a chapter, embarking on a new line of thought, and anticipating what the next day—the next chapter and thought—will offer.
This routine has so many benefits for my mood and approach to the day. Reading is no longer a chore. Instead, it’s an exercise in self-care, setting me up for a positive outlook on the hours ahead.
The day begins on a good page, which I think is one of the most valuable things the act of reading offers.