First comes the coffee, then comes the things.

Michael Briggs

Posted December 18, 2019

Brrrrrrrrrp. The vibration of my phone next to my bed is enough to jolt my eyes open. I opted for the vibrate, and not the alarm, to ensure my son (who I’ve been involuntarily co-sleeping with for the past year) stays asleep. It’s strangely refreshing to be woken by technology rather than a crying child for once. Thankfully he doesn’t budge, and I slowly manoeuvre myself out of bed with all the grace of a bull in a china shop. It is Sunday, the time is 4:30am and it is time to meet up with the Rat Pack Cycling Club.

With a three and four year old, a full time job, a part time uni course and a few other hobbies  on the go I’m finding it takes me a good 30 minutes just to get myself adequately caffeinated and feeling human again. My wife and I have reached an arrangement re our exercise routines whereby we alternate mornings during the week and each secure a few of hours on a weekend to ourselves. So these weekends are sacred. They are sacred because they provide me, and other time-poor club riders, with a very short window to step outside of the confines of routine. 

However, whilst routine can suck the enthusiasm from life, it also has the power to help you get s&@t done. It takes the strain away of having to make decisions, something we do thousands of times a day from where to buy your morning cuppa to what to wear to bed. It’s called heuristics, and these are simply mental short cuts or ‘rules of thumb’ that take the effort away and help you make decisions quickly and efficiently. 

For me, applying these rules of thumb is a gradual process of learning about myself and Nader what conditions I’m more likely to make better decisions without even knowing it. For example, it’s not just a quirky cycling club custom to lay your kit out the night before – its heuristics in full force. Before you know it, your dressed and shoving a piccolo down your gob – your chances of willing yourself out in to the cold multiply by the second. 

I also know that the closer my phone is to the bed, the easier it is to press the snooze button. The answer? Move the phone in to the corner of the bedroom (next to my kit) to increase the time it takes for me to fully comprehend (or consider) what it is I am doing. Sometimes this doesn’t work though, and I kick myself for missing yet another opportunity to enjoy some ‘me time’. Funnily enough, I’ve learnt that even my own disappointment can be harnessed as a motivational power. I get to bed earlier so I have no excuses, I set myself goals to work towards to give the exercise purpose; and I’ve also come to learn that riding with buddies is best as I have a greater sense of commitment. 

So, when I have nothing left in the tank after a busy day at work or am staring down the barrel of yet another night of disjointed or restless sleep – I employ one of these strategies (a heuristic or a commitment strategy) to get my dad bod out of bed and on that bike. 

What works for you? 

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