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Cock-A-Doodle-Do! A Productive Morning Has Broken!

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Early Bird or Night Owl.

To which camp do you belong?

Are you reading this at 6 a.m. or midnight?

My Mom was a night owl, her RedBull energy kicked into gear at around 11 p.m. That’s Snoresville for me.

Welcome to this Hemingway’istic short post (goal: fewer than 500 words) about productivity and time of day.

Honestly, I love to get sh*t done… my TO-DO list is really a “I-GET-TO-DO-LIST” (IGTDL)...

… it’s like my daily mantra and goody bag blended into a kid’s bouncy castle.

Since my earliest days in then-tiny Stoney Creek, Ontario (yes, I was born in Stoney Creek but grew up in Hamilton without ever changing addresses), my IGTDL list has always been front-loaded…

… that is, if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen in the dawn’ish early hours of any day… writing, garden or construction projects, exercise, food prep, bowel movements, reading, bowel movements and reading combined… my eyes are at their energetically-widest aperture in bright a.m. sunshine. Holy Cock-a-doodle-do!

I have to remember that I’m fortunate to rise and enjoy a productive day with good health and financial stability, and a 2nd vaccine prick hopefully floating its microscopic immune magic in my veins.

Waiting for a brilliant burst of energy or some mind-blowing idea?

Hell no. Forget it… real life means real effort, something I should have learned before my first day of kindergarten instead of “why I shouldn’t trip little girls intentionally as a flirty and surefire pick-up approach“.

Productivity may be in the eye of the beholder, but my keenest observation over many years is that productive inspiration (like learning) is a verb and not a noun…. getting things done is best summed up by NIKE… JUST DO IT! Take a nibble and soon the whole muffin is gone…

At the beginning here, I waxed enthusiastically about my early-morning productivity rule… but now I’ll slam into reverse a wee bit because there’s an exception… yup, there’s ALWAYS an exception…

… like any language we learn, there are exceptions to rules, and productivity in my world is no exception to the exception rule *please stop saying exception Larry*…

Music, whether playing or writing is that exception.

Music as a creative force is a nighttime, darkness dweller. For unknown reasons, the Muses fear the daylight hours, and deeper emotions are best accessed in the quiet stillness of night.

OK, I mentioned real effort, and now I’ll leave you with one more wee golden nugget of Larry Wisdom… it’s a one-word mantra we should all adopt – FOCUS … multi-tasking effectively is a myth.

If you want something done, if you wish to accomplish something truly worthwhile, something important… drill in and do it… with singleminded focus… with focus comes flow…

OR … you could simply pass your numbered days sipping a glass of scotch on the ship of La Vida Suave.

That’s it…

WHEW! 493 Words (sure, I’ll wait while you count)… thanks Mr. Hemingway.

Now, what’s next on your IGTDL?

Morning Has Broken…

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Are you a Morning Lark…

Cape Cod Morning

Cape Cod Morning… Artist: Edward Hopper

… or a Night Owl?

Nighthawks.jpg

Nighthawks… Artist: Edward Hopper

An early morning Okanagan Lake ripple concentrically riffles its way outwards, softly handing the light reflection onward from one small wave to the next like an Olympic relay team passing a baton from start to finish…. silent symphonies of silky azure grasping tones from the sunrise sky.

A gentle southern breeze from Oliver hovers over the water, lazy like a Texas drawl, drifting northward up the valley.

The delicate paintbrush of sun casts narrow, gauzy shadows across the clay cliffs, highlighting the vertical veins and wrinkles patiently etched and scratched through wind and rain millennia. You raise your eyes and drown in its beauty.

I’m a morning person.

I like it that way.

Okanagan lake dawn.jpg

As a kid, I loved jumping out of bed on a cloudless summer day and smelling the perfume of lilac and lily-of-the-valley blossom in the air, invisible clouds of blissful scent that gave a sense of deliciousness to the dawn.

I’d wander the pathways of my little vegetable garden and absorb the trill of the morning songbirds.

My energy and creative spark are morning-centric.

Today:

  • I write my blog posts in the morning, signing off my computer before noon.
  • I do my “hard” guitar practice and songwriting in the morning hours.
  • I hit the gym, or pool, or track, for intense exercise… yes… in the early am, often before the sleepy sun pulls itself out of bed for the day.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Except.

Being a morning lad makes my… summertime… part-time… evening-time… forays into bartending a challenge.

I love the aura of creative flow I feel when I concoct, blend and shake red, and yellow, and blue cocktails, adorning them with pinwheels of lime or zesty curlycues of lemon peel… but… yawn.

If only folks enjoyed imbibing their alcohol at 7:30 am with a warm pancake and a slice of bacon and then calling it a day by noon, I’d be in bartending heaven. I’d be floating on a natural energy high, perhaps boosted a touch along the route by a “Vitamin C” latte fix or two.

But reality persistently insists that alcoholic consumption is in the nighttime haven of humanity… many of us even watch the ticking clock, feverishly counting down the seconds before joyously pronouncing “Happy Hour” at 4 pm or 5 pm, abiding by the unwritten rule that booze is verboten any earlier.

When pouring and mixing drinks for others, I find that by 11 pm when the patrons, servers and staff in the restaurant are decidedly looking awake and energetic, I’m coaxing, prodding, imploring my eyes to prop open and remain alert.

And on other evenings, when I go on stage to sing and play my guitar at Medicis’ Open Mic night, I hope for an early slot on the entertainment slate. At 7:30 or 8 pm, I’m primed and wide awake and set to perform. Put me in Coach!

Time passes, another light beer settles in, and by ten o’clock, my eyes are growing heavy and I fear my voice will sound tired and croaky. In fact it never does, but as I tap my toes and enjoy the other entertainers’ music, I worry and fret that I may not be at my best.

It’s occurred to me that I could suggest to David the owner that he try out an Open Mic “Daytime” edition!, but I know it would never fly.

medicis night

Me, on stage at Medicis

Need another example? I frequently enjoy a night at the local Cineplex, inhaling fluffy bags of salty, buttered popcorn, and catching the latest Wonder Woman or Maudie flick.

There are two evening showings, but it’s always the early showing, the 6:30 or 7:15 edition that I sign on for. Starting the film at 9:30 or 10 pm means when the lights lower in the house, my eyelids kinda do the same. No one likes the unintended snoring sounds of Shavasana next to them in the theatre. Can’t help it.

Something that makes humans so special is that we are a species that can adapt to new environments.

As a Man on the Fringe, I adapt into these environments where I plug my square peg into a round hole (hmmm, maybe that’s an unfortunate choice of wording!) because they expand my quality of life, adding technicolour to my world like the moment Dorothy opens her door to Munchkin Land. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Many of the joys and desires in life occur as the sun sets, flaming in orange and pink hues at the western horizon. When the sun fades to twilight… as darkness oozes into the corners and crannies… the curtain rises on romance and sensuality and danger.

So while I’ll never fully adapt to the schedules of these times, I do my best to set mind over matter, sharing in the beauties that exist in the shadowy nighttime world.

Then as the sun bathes the far side of the planet, I’ll dream of the sensory delights and pleasures that await me when the loon’s call brings me back to life and I open my eyes and ears and nose to another deliciously fresh morning.

Once again, I wander the pathways of my little vegetable garden and absorb the trill of the morning songbirds.

moon and earth.jpg