I’m a fairly busy person, working two jobs and hoping to make it in the literary world. I normally work seven days a week, because I write at least four times a week and do research/interviews on two days, in addition to the full-time “real world” job.
Nevertheless, I like starting my day with some mindless task. I envy those folks who can leap out of bed and focus on the day’s list immediately. I couldn’t do that with a perpetual coffee drip permanently inserted into a vein. My brain cells simply don’t line up at attention first thing. Blame it on being a night person for too many years. I worked second shift for a long time, and while I say I’ve adjusted to a nine-to-five world, I often wonder if some small part of my mind resists the change.
I like to start the day reading or writing, even if it’s just yesterday’s newspaper or refining an upcoming column. Then it’s on to the exercise regimen, something I cannot do without, for reasons of health and sanity. Exercise does require concentration, but once started, it’s automatic, and therefore becomes almost mindless. I like yard work and housework for the same reason. Both require movement (good for the body) and not too much thought (good when the brain’s not quite awake).
For some people, religious services first thing in the morning are the way to go. While I am not particularly religious, nor do I promote any one religion over another, I can see the value in that idea. And no, I am not suggesting that religion is mindless. Whether simple prayer at home, or organized services in a house of worship, it is for many a means to focus rebellious brain cells, souls and spirits in a disciplined way towards a single vision.
For others, the way to start the day is with study, in the hopes of getting or furthering their education. Whether it’s a fresh-faced high school student or laid-off, middle-aged executive in need of a fresh start, shaking off the night’s sleep comes when the textbooks are opened, the MacBook is turned on and the gathering of knowledge begins again.
For parents, their children are their literal and figurative wake-up call. Mindless moments can’t be all that common when you have babies needing feeding, changing and cuddling, toddlers opening everything and chewing anything, and preteens and teens dealing with everything from acne and Android to Justin Bieber and college board exams. There’s too much to do, and no doubt the time when a parent can allow their thoughts to drift to nothing special is something they look forward to…after the kids are grown and out.
So to all you folks who worry about your lack of concentration first thing in the day: relax about it. Accept and embrace the mindless, and find something easy to do when it’s early. Take time to focus the brain, and enjoy the opportunity. By the time your brain catches up, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished. Either the toilet will be really clean, or you’ll finally finish War and Peace.