I read somewhere that it takes 55 days to form a new habit. That’s 55 days straight of forcing yourself to do something you might not really fancy doing before it becomes second nature.
It’s something I thought about in the run up to my transition to freelance life.
When you have an office job you are on a schedule every day. It might vary but, typically, the alarm goes off at the same time, you moan and groan and eventually get out of bed, get dressed and rush to work, where the next phase of the routine begins. Mine would invariably include a strong, black coffee and a sift through my emails while simultaneously reading three newspapers and checking half a dozen websites.
I’m not on a schedule any more. Don’t want to get up today? Technically, I don’t have to. This could mean missing deadlines or working through the night as a result, of course, but all on my own terms.
In my final few weeks in the office I gave some thought to what my new typical day might entail:
I could reinvent myself as someone who leaps out of bed at dawn, watching the sun rise as I do yoga on the roof of the house, I mused. A few flaws with that plan though: it’s not really safe, I can’t even touch my toes and I’m really not an up-with-the-lark kinda gal.
I could jog to the shop every morning to buy all the papers, call in on a friend for coffee and be home ready to start work by 9am. A few issues here too: buying lots of newspapers is expensive. I can pick one a day maybe but if it’s buying the FT every day or paying the mortgage, I’ll probably opt for the latter. Anyway, there are apps for that these days. And, friends? Well, they’re at work. And if they’re not I can pretty much guarantee they don’t want a sweaty-from-a-jog-to-the-shops visitor before 9am. I certainly wouldn’t.
I could lay in bed until midday, catch up on all those boxsets I never watched – I still haven’t seen a single episode of Breaking Bad – head to the pub for a swift one and maybe start working around 8pm after dinner, become a night owl. But that doesn’t really work either; I’m not very good at binge-watching things, far too fidgety, and I’ve never been one with much stamina for a late night.
Regardless of what time I woke up, I think most people’s bets were on me mooning about in my pyjamas all day. One person, who shall remain nameless, even posted me a onesie. Like I don’t already have one!
In the end, I’ve pleasantly surprised myself. I get up, without an alarm, earlier than I ever have and am actually excited to get down to my desk – via the kettle, of course – and start working. And I solemnly swear that I’m making an effort to change out of my pyjamas. It’s early days, certainly there’s a while yet to the 55-day mark, but I think I might have the makings of a good habit.
What’s your morning routine?