Waking up, ready for creativity

This post is part of Startup Edition 21. Sign up to the weekly newsletter to get the response to a single question each week from a curated gathering of bloggers in the startup community.

Since January, when I joined thoughtbot as a designer, I’ve shipped a new product every 6-8 weeks. Creating new products is my job and I can’t be lollygagging around waiting for my muse. Sticking to a routine allows me to avoid early morning decision fatigue and get to the office ready for anything. Here’s my morning game plan for consistent creative output.

Wake up without an alarm clock.

Measuring my output using iDoneThis for months, I noticed that I was prone to getting into morning fogs (not unlike Karl). These would essentially paralyze me for half the day and I was forced to compensate with copious amounts of coffee that put me on edge until the end of the day.

Eliminating the alarm clock allows you to wake up when your body is ready and avoid the fog.

Make eggs and drink two cups of water.

After experimenting with oatmeal, cereal, and other easy to make breakfasts, I’ve settled on eggs for the last few years. They fill me up until lunch time and keep me feeling good. In general, I avoid sugar during the workday to keep from crashing hard.

Shower and wet shave.

Since discovering the art of the wet shave, it’s become a ritual. It forces you to slow down and concentrate on the process providing for a moment of manly zen.

Cycle into the office and bask in the mayhem of Market street.

Riding bikes into the office gives a great opportunity for much needed fresh air. I’ve also been a streak of serendipitously running into friends on the road.

Make a Chemex and socialize.

Coffee has become a huge part of my life since moving out to Silicon Valley. When I was prepping for 500 Startup’s demo day I was on a regiment of six cappuccinos a day to keep cruising. Since then, I go through ups and downs of abuse. Right now I’ve hit a sweet spot of two cups a day. The Chemex is amazing for it’s ability to make many delicious cups at once. It’s great to get together two other coworkers and make a pot together.

Put headphones on at my desk and let the beats flow.

Research shows that listening to music increases productivity. If you’re looking for a source of working music, I’d recommend Console.fm

Your morning routine runs everything around you. Have one and stick to it.