Morning routine of a mildly successful 36 year old

I must stop reading these types of list. It’s a list of the morning routines of a bunch of successful under 35’s in the US, who either run businesses, are writers and presenters or are simply at the top of their games in some way.

I won’t force you to read it all, but here are some of the “highlights”:

  • Waking up at 3.30am/4.00am/5.00am
  • Eating breakfast (usually avocado on toast it seems)
  • Meditating
  • Exercising
  • Playing with babies and toddlers and being happy about being woken by them at 5.30am
  • Arriving at work fresh, informed and already several hours into their working days

What world do these people live in?!

I’m not doing too badly at work. I’ve just started a new role and have done well at my previous roles (or at least well enough to step up each time rather than sideways). My routine, however, looks very different to theirs, which makes me wonder where I’m going wrong.

Wake up and decide how long I can get away with laying in bed for

I set my alarm for 6.58am to give me time to turn my radio on to the local news, grabbing the headlines and then listening to the traffic reports so I know whether I’ve got a hope of getting into the office or not. Or at least I try to; often I make it through the news and sport and then fall back asleep at the very bit that would actually be useful.

My wife and I then play a game of chicken; the last person out of bed needs to make it, so the challenge is leaving it to the very latest moment to maximise time in bed but not so long as to let the other person get up first. It’s a fine line. She usually wins.

Try to get food into little mouths

After three or four circuits of the kid’s bedrooms to get them up we then have the daily fight to get them to eat breakfast. I’ve yet to work out their secret roster, but they somehow know exactly whose turn it is to play up. Generally speaking, one is brilliant (in uniform and almost ready by 7.15am), two are indifferent and one has the role of “little s**t”.

Despite having seven different types of cereal or them able to have toast, crumpets, muffins, pain au chocolat, brioche or pancakes, somehow we never have exactly what that one wants. Then it’s trying to drive the herd back upstairs to brush their teeth and hair, before trying to grab ten minutes to get ready myself. This cannot be at the same time as my wife, as four unsupervised children equals arguments. Guaranteed.

Finally is the chasing and getting them out of the door. “Have you got your homework?”, “Where is your bookbag?”, “No, you can’t take your rocking horse to nursery”, “I told you to pack your PE kit earlier”, “Why didn’t I know that form needed to be signed last night?”, “Brush your hair”, “I said, go and get your homework”. This often continues throughout the entire run to nursery and to the school playground, interspersed with questions from the children on ancient Egypt, why dogs don’t wear nappies and comments on Pokemon Go. Time to focus, meditate and think through work problems? Nope.

Commute. Commute. Commute.

Once the kids are in school it’s time to hop into the car and get into the office. I cross my fingers that traffic isn’t bad, but really there’s not a lot I can do about it. I actually enjoy my drive in, even more so in my new car, as I get the chance to catch up on podcasts. These range from football, to economics, to comedy, to hobbies, to interesting ideas and more; an hour or so to listen and either learn or simply enjoy.

You see, other than a glance at my phone when I wake up, I have no opportunity at all to spend hours working before breakfast (as if I have time to have breakfast myself?! Those kids lunch boxes don’t fill themselves!). Yes, I could start getting up a lot earlier, but I like my sleep! I’m a night owl generally, so rarely sleep before midnight; six and a half hours is as little sleep as I can usually get away with.

Nope, I’ll just have to stop looking at these lists and the stylised, over-perfectionised, probably fake versions of sucessful people’s mornings and get on with living mine. Only eight more years until they are all at secondary school or older, when they can look after themselves in the morning, and I can start my own power-morning routine. Sort of.


Poor Simon

I wrote this helpful message to Big Motoring World in Wrotham’s Facebook page, but it looks like they must have accidentally deleted it. Can’t imagine why. I’ll be helpful and repost it here for them to see (and will even add in the pictures I mention in it too).

Hi Simon. I have no idea if your name is actually Simon or not, but that’s the name of the first car salesman I ever met, so to make my life easier I’ll use the same name for you – I do hope you don’t mind.

Well, Simon, I wanted to let you know how incredibly happy I am with my new car. I wanted to share a photo or two with you, but you don’t seem to let people share photos on your Facebook page and I can’t track down an e-mail address, so instead I’ll have to describe it.

Picture a brand new, Silver Seat Alhambra. Now add 15 years travel, wear and tear to it. Don’t forget to include 176,000 miles, Simon; it was a real workhorse. That’s what I drove to your showroom in just a few weeks ago. I didn’t know at the time what I wanted to replace it with, but I knew I needed something better than that. It had done us great service, but I had a brand new job and wanted to treat my kids and wife to something a lot nicer, with a working radio and everything. I’m really ambitious like that, Simon; can you imagine it, a radio unit with a broken tape deck being its best feature. I needed something better, and knew just where to go.

Well, my new car is everything I dreamed of and more. It’s blue. I mention that as every other bloody car I’ve had has been silver. Not that I particularly like silver, mind you, but until now beggars can’t be choosers. Not only is it blue, it’s a brand new VW Sharan. When I pulled up at Big Motoring World in Wrotham and pulled up behind two Sharans – one silver and one blue – I knew which of the two I wanted.img_3690

Not only is it a blue Sharan, it has a digital stereo. Simon – I’ve got music in my car again! Admittedly I rarely get control of the dial when the family is in with me, but as long as we avoid anything Bieber related I can live with it. And when I say dial, it’s actually a touch screen, with sat nav and loads of other digital goodness. I feel like I’m living in Star Trek. On top of that it parks itself too – very modern. I’ve never been as happy parting with so much money.

Do you know how much I ended up actually spending Simon? I don’t normally share these things as it’s a little crude to talk pound signs on most occasions, but I want to share it with you as I’m sure you’ll be interested. I don’t have buckets of cash laying around as I’m sure you’ll appreciate; every spare penny gets sucked up with paying the bills and replacing children’s trainers after they leave them in the garden overnight for the foxes to eat. Yep, that happened this week.

No, for me it was the finance route. The drive-away price of my lovely, brand spanking new blue Sharan was £24k. £24,000, Simon! I’ve never paid anything like that much for anything; not even if you added up every piece of clothing I’ve ever owned would it come to that much (although I have my suspicions about my wife’s shoe collection).

Once you factor in finance repayments – a necessary evil I’m sure you’ll agree – the total cost will be something like £31k over four years or so. That’s a lot of money, Simon, and I’m not entirely sure I appreciated at the time how big that would look if you stacked it up in front of me in pound coins. I’d like to think it would look like a scene from Scrooge McDuck, though admittedly I probably wouldn’t need quite as big a vault.

And do you know why I wanted to share this all with you, Simon? It’s because I just wanted to let you know how much a single, short conversation with one of your sales reps cost Big Motoring World. You see, despite me pulling up behind two – TWO – VW Sharans with stickers in the window (each for less than the amount I ended up paying I’ll add, so I’d probably have been a prime target for upgrades!) I was told by the young sales assistant there that you don’t do people carriers.

Yep, my eyes had deceived me. Those two out front (and perhaps more out back) were a figment of my imagination. It was quite a surprise, I don’t mind admitting, to know that I was seeing things. For a moment I wondered whether or not my 18 year relationship and four children had equally been made up, or perhaps were an elaborate Truman Show style fiction. But no; it turns out it was only the fact that you didn’t want to sell me a people carrier.

It’s a shame really, though it did mean I got to go to the VW showroom directly and met a wonderful, friendly salesman who not only knew what I wanted after I told him but had some in stock and knew that fact! A salesman who knows what cars he has available and who doesn’t tell customers that they are wrong when they disagree – you would do well to steal him from VW if you get the chance.IMG_3761.JPG

I don’t suppose there’s much that can be done for me now, Simon; as I said, I’m very, very happy with my new car and have been merrily whizzing around the South East for a fortnight now. I just wanted to let you know that you missed out on a £30k sales opportunity all because your salesman effectively said I was lying. I don’t like being told I’m wrong when I’m not. It might be worth you having a little word with your team. And perhaps my wife. She disagrees with me too sometimes.

For me it was one sale, but who knows how many you’re missing out on. I like supporting local businesses like yours and want to see you doing well; please sort this out soon Simon otherwise I fear for you in this scary post-Brexit world. Having to change your name to Little Motoring World would be a bit humiliating. Funny, yes, but humiliating.

Have a wonderful day, Simon, and if you do want to see those photos of my new car or the other two I pulled up behind do let me know and I’ll zip them over right away. If you want more cars like them, I certainly know a dealership with some in stock!

Your friend (and almost customer),