January 29, 2014

How To Cure Boredom

I strive to live with a sense of wonder, but I often fail. Even when I'm doing what I love—in one of the richest countries in the world, where all of my basic needs are taken care of, and then some—I become acclimated to great experiences.

Just as melancholy knows no bounds and can strike at any time, so too can boredom.

You've been floating along, doing okay, but suddenly it hits you: you're disenchanted and stuck in a rut.

Melancholy is difficult, but thankfully boredom is a bit easier to fix. The answer is to be present and aware. More accurately, the answer is to be curious. There's no cure for curiosity. (Why would you want one?)

I like to be curious. I like to ask questions and meet new people. When things go wrong, I'm open to new direction.

If this happens to you, perhaps it's time to march into new territory. Change a habit. Get up early or stay up late. Change your lifestyle to focus—and feel—better.

Everyone can become routinized. When boredom strikes, get back to curiosity as fast as you can.

January 16, 2014

How To Become A Morning Person

For as long as I can remember, I've been a night owl—go to bed at 3 a.m., wake up at noon. My productive hours have always been late at night, when distractions are limited. But over the past few weeks, I've managed to change that.

Since childhood, dawn has been my favorite time of day—I love seeing the sunrise, and I love the smell of morning air when I go for an early jog. My problem is being awake to experience it—so I decided to train myself to become a morning person.

As I'm writing this, it's 5:30 a.m., two hours before sunrise, and I've been more productive this morning than I ever was in my late-night work schedule.

So how did I do it?

Well, I'll admit my headline is a tad misleading because it implies I know some kind of secret process, and that's not the case. It wasn't easy. I just forced myself to wake up early on a consistent basis, and the rest fell into place. I have a daily alarm set on my iPhone for 4:15 with the label: "Success doesn't happen while you sleep." That's a gentle reminder to my groggy morning self of why I'm doing this.

The first day is terrible. The second day is alright. By the third day, you can start calling this your regular schedule. When you wake up tired and feel like shit all day, you'll realize you need to go to sleep earlier, and you will. As soon as that adjustment has been made, you're good to go.

The key, the way I see it, is to force yourself to get up at the same time every morning—tired or not. If you do anything on a consistent basis for a little while, it becomes a habit.