Here’s a routine that’s worked for me through thick and thin.
(0. Get enough quality sleep. Ideally I’d get nine good hours per night, but sometimes I go quite a bit longer to make up on ever-encroaching sleep debt. In the end I probably average 8 hours, which is not bad.)
1. The night before, make coffee and put it in a thermos next to the computer (away from bed). Plug phone in next to the computer and set an alarm for wakeup and another for half an hour after that.
2. Wake up to alarm, walk to the computer to shut it off. Open coffee and drink about 8 ounces.
3. Start reading blogs. Blogs are an old, compulsive habit, so it’s very easy to convince myself to stay up out of curiosity about what’s new. Force down two cups of coffee during this time (also an addiction and easy).
4. Half hour alarm goes off, the coffee is starting to kick in. Now it’s a race to get dressed and out of the house to my workplace or a coffee shop (weekends) as quickly as possible. When I get there, I’m allowed to read blogs again until responsibilities kick in (incentivizes quickness).
Aside from showering, this driving time is where I get my best insights because I’m caffeinated, rested, and still halfway to dreamland. When I get to work or the coffee shop, I write down some quick “anchor” phrases to help me recall the original sources of inspiration and some of the major points. These anchor points are where the majority of my blog posts come from. I’d really like to move everything a bit earlier so I can start doing cardio in the morning regularly again (caffeine + rested + dreamland + cardio = euphoric inspiration) instead of over lunch breaks. But it’s basically impossible to go to bed at 7:30 and have any kind of IRL social network, so I haven’t figured out a way to pull this off quite yet.
Also, Tex is still wrong about neanderthal sleeping habits. Big game hunters have no business being night owls.