A Week of Really Early Mornings

It’s been a week of really early mornings.

My internal clock seems to have been adjusted for 3AM, and that’s the exact time I’ve been waking up for the past week. Every time and without fail.

It doesn’t seem to matter when I’ve gone to sleep. If it’s just around the turn of midnight or an hour earlier, I’ll still wake up at the same time.

I’ve stayed awake just past this to try and figure out if there are any possible causes for the wake up call: A neighbor’s car starting as they leave for work, someone switching on an interdimensional portal to another universe, something like that.

This wasn’t enlightening. Not in the least.

Damnit.

In the meantime, I’ve just decided to go with it… Adapt or die, as they say.

Here’s what I’ve done with some of the extra hours. And it’s a morning routine I can recommend to anyone who’d like to ensure they have both better bridge games and better mornings.

Step One: Wake Up

I love running through a bridge game when it’s still early enough for everyone except the frogs and a few bats to be asleep. But I don’t jump straight into the game from getting up out of bed. It takes a few minutes to wake up (and to convince myself that I didn’t experience some weird kind of time jump that took me to the 70s): The routine says coffee and a cigarette before I consider myself awake enough for anything.

Bridge News

With coffee, it’s time to check bridge news. I’ll check a few regular websites, then move to more general search terms in the news to see what’s going on today. New tournaments, news, software, blog posts, newsletters… Admittedly this leads to searches on subjects that have nothing to do with bridge.

Once I’m satisfied that I’ve had my main news fix, I’ll move on.

The Just Declare Run

Now that I’m a little more awake than before, it’s time for a Just Declare run. Depending on what kind of morning it is, sometimes the game is restricted to one, other times a few more.

I don’t always do well. And I try not to take this as a general indication for how well my day will go from here.

Why Just Declare first? It’s a quick format of the game, and it’s still early, so I’m not always sure I trust my bidding, but my play is fine.

Forum Watch

Time to check forums. Forums on bridge, forums on programming, forums on comics, forums on board games, forums on linguistics, books, anthropology and whatever else I can come up with for that morning.

It’s usually still early, and I usually lurk when I do it.

It’s a great opportunity to find out what’s happened in the past 24 hours, what’s developing, what’s newly released and generally what people in specific interest groups are thinking right now.

Sometimes I’ll see a few things that general news coverage might have missed. Forums are a great way to keep a “finger on the pulse” of several topics at once.

Get Your Pitch-Fork

Pitching is one of the essential parts of my day. After Just Declare, news and forums, I’ll grab a pen and paper or open up a new document and start going through ideas and concepts. It’s easier on some mornings than others, but it has to be done.

What works? What grabs attention? What matters and needs to be said right now and today?

Language Learning

Every single day, I work in some form of language learning into the routine. It might be a word in a language I don’t speak, or looking up an obscure language fact: As long as I’ve learned something new about a language by the end of the day, it’s been a success.

Panic Break

Most people take coffee breaks. I’m known to take panic breaks. Once I’ve spotted the magnitude of e-mails there are to answer, it may or may not send me into a flat spin for a few minutes. I’ll usually get up and pace

What I do then is sit down, breathe and start making a list: Here’s what needs to be done. Generally, I’ll mix up the order of the things on the list, as long as I get everything done by the time the day restarts to the next.

Moving On

After the panic break, it’s time to check e-mails, respond to messages and generally get to work. My day takes shape from here on in, and days tend to be different – but this describes the start of most mornings, and maybe it contains a few things other bridge players incorporate into their own morning routines.