This is why I’ve been getting up early in the morning. Can ya blame me?

Really. About a month ago, I devised a time shift plan. I now set an alarm for 6:00am and actually get right up. I’ll tell you why in a sec. For this to work, or rather, for this to feel good, I have to get enough sleep, which means I have to go to bed earlier. That going to bed earlier thing is a tough customer, however. I am one of those people who can’t just skip off to bed. I have things to do… like: 1) check off all my little tasks of the day–can’t check ’em off unless I’ve done them; 2) organize everything for the next day, including the to-do list; 3) make sure all is tidy and clean; 4) actually turn off the computer and put down my phone (WHAT?!, what about all the stuff to read and news to catch up on, and pictures to look at, email to respond to), and; 5) maybe take another crack at that Spider hand (I can’t move on to the next game until I’ve won the one I’m on, which sometimes takes days).  I might even want to read… like, a book. I know, weird. If only I had the time.

And there are the nightly bathroom procedures…  the things we have to do to preserve our teeth, skin and eyes… I swear. These alone take about fifteen minutes. Jim’s in and out in about 60 seconds. Me…. too many lotions, potions and processes. It’s ridiculous.

And I’m not kidding, until about a month ago, my turn-out-the-light time had slipped to some certifiably wee hours. It was pretty common for me to look at the clock and consider it early if I was turning out the light by 2:00am. Not unusual for it to be 3:00am. There were more than a few 4:00am’s.

I was starting to worry about myself.

Okay, so, I had to really get committed here, roll this thing back. And I did!  I’ve been going to bed a whole lot earlier than before. I still do that whole list above, and all the pre-bed shinola, except I start much earlier in the evening.  Oh, and I made one other adjustment… I made this one little tiny new rule: NO PHONE IN BED.

This one tiny thing has been the single most effective time saver ever–maybe in the whole history of smart phones. At least for me. This no-phone-in-bed thing has actually gained me at least an hour on both ends… I go to sleep earlier, and I get out of bed earlier.

My plan is working; early to bed, early to rise… that really is a thing and I’m actually doing it. Living the dream.

And this brings me to my whole reason for getting up at six. The light is beautiful to look at and I really enjoy the quiet and I just love being up, for sure. But it’s also about making a major mental shift. It’s amazingly satisfying, for example, to be done with the whole exercise part of the day–at least the regimented part–before Morning Edition‘s even gone off the air. To be moving on to other things while it’s still early in the morning is so rockin’ I can’t even tell you. This has been not just about structure (I’m a serious structure person already), but about feeling a lot more accomplished, a lot more in control of my day, a lot more ahead of the game….instead of feeling like a slug. It’s disorienting to be slothing through your morning–even if it’s your exercise routine you’re slothing through. I’m very weirded out by an 11:00am shower. Not the way it’s supposed to be. Slow starts, slipping schedules, and activities that feel random are the bane of retirement and I’m just not having any part of that. Can’t, gives me the creeps.

And I’m likely to shift my day even further. Six doesn’t feel early enough. Plus, I’m really liking these early mornings. Plus I’m feeling like some kind of superhero and am digging myself.

Call me Atom Ant.

It’s odd to feel tired so early in the evening (for example, it’s 6pm as I type this and I’m totally falling asleep and we haven’t even gone to dinner yet). But feeling tired motivates me to go to bed early. Makes me start the whole nighttime operation much earlier. Which feels great.

What a revelation.

Feel like somebody’s grandpa…like soon I’ll be stuffing kleenex into my sleeves, or coming down with arthritis… but wth.