Today I’d like to ask you, “How do you start your mornings? The reason I’m interested in knowing this, is because morning routine is going to be a deciding factor how productive and creative you are with your day. Because, if things are equal for most of the people, one person who can start his or her own day in a productive and creative way will have a better day in general. So, it’s really a matter of thinking about it really thoroughly and having a routine everyday you wake up.
For example, for me, the first thing I do in the morning is I fire up my computer, and I create something, work on a musical composition. Today, this morning, I was working on an organ solo piece called “Vilkas grikius sėjo”. This is based on a Lithuanian folk song about the wolf who was sowing the buckwheat. And this piece is going to be dedicated to Kae Hannah Matsuda, and I’m very delighted to be able to work on it in fragments every morning. So, this morning, I worked on the second section—it will have four sections—so the second section is pretty much done, now. And, it took me about an hour to do this.
So, every morning recently, I’ve been creating something. Sometimes, I create on the spot, like an improvisation, and in that hour, I can actually complete a piece. With my Sibelius Ultimate software and a MIDI keyboard attached, I can improvise an organ piece and then later edit it, and it will be published on the same day. But sometimes, when the piece is longer, like the piece I’m working on right now, I need to spend more days on it—maybe an entire week. That’s okay! But I found that having a morning time for that works best for me, because I’ve read someplace that we, as people, are the most creative and productive two hours after waking up. So, if we think about it, a lot of people check email, scroll social media, check the news first thing in the morning, and that can actually add up instead of five minutes, you can do 20 minutes, instead of 20 minutes, you can spend an hour just scrolling your phone, easily. And then, it’s time to go to work for most days. And there is nothing else creative to do before that; you are in a hurry.
So I’ve found that waking up earlier than normal is a good thing for me. Basically, I have plenty of time to be with my thoughts and to spend my morning as creatively as I can. Then, whatever happens in the day, I know at least that one thing was done creatively. For example, if I have an emergency today, I know that at least I created this middle section of this organ piece today. If not, I can go back and work on other things later in the afternoon. That’s okay, too. I can create Pinky and Spiky comics later in the afternoon, and in fact, today, I will do that.
It’s important to realize that you have some options in the morning. You don’t have to rush. But for that to happen, you have to go to bed earlier than normal, because if you want to get up earlier, you have to get a good night’s sleep—at least 8 hours. Right? And for me, this means going to bed about 10 o’clock in the evening. And that allows me to wake up around 6 AM or before 6 AM. In the Summer, when it’s sunlight very early, then I have no trouble getting up even earlier. So, I don’t need my alarm clock for getting up. I usually wake up very naturally. But the very first thing I do is to create, because then, my day will be lived in the way that matters to me. And then, in the afternoon, there is another thing that we can sometimes do. If you take a nap for 15 or 20 minutes, then in the afternoon, you will have a burst of energy, too, for a couple hours. So it’s good to split your day into two halves, and if you want to create and be productive in the afternoon, that’s an ideal scenario, too.
So guys, I hope you can also start thinking about your morning routines. And how you live your morning is how you live your day. And how we live our days is how we live our lives, basically. So the question is this: How do you want to live your life, then? And if you answer this question, the morning routine basically takes care of itself. How do you want to be remembered? Or, what things do you want to be remembered for? ...After you’re gone, of course. So, if you think about it, then the morning productivity and creativity always comes first, because you want to do things that matter and are most important. Not urgent, though, but most important first. So that means also going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, preparing, perhaps, your workplace in advance in the evening. For example, if I know that I am going to create a musical composition in the morning, I need to sometimes come up with musical material to work on in the evening, so that I won’t waste my morning precious hours looking for material online. I always have this Gregorian Chant Gradual book, very thick book, with me, and I know that the next piece will be taken from that collection. The only thing that I sometimes have to worry about, is the dedication—to whom this piece will be dedicated. So, I have a list of friends, of organists and composers to whom I would like to dedicate my next pieces, so I just basically write down the person’s name who is next on the list, and then, I am ready to create first thing in the morning.
And I hope you can do it, too, whatever medium you are creating in, either in sounds, or pictures, or text or photos or drawing or videos, or combinations of the above, it doesn’t matter. And if you do, make sure you share it with the world, because when you create, miracles happen.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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