Time Management

I don’t write about minimalism very often, despite the title of this blog. Whenever I share my work with someone new, I often get a question about the name, “why coffee minimalist?” It’s easy enough to talk about my influences toward minimalism and how it shaped my life just before coffee took over, but looking through my weekly stories the concept of focus is not very apparent.

The same could be said of my day-to-day life. My mind is all over the place, and I recognize now that I latched onto the “owning less stuff” aspect of minimalism without internalizing the more important tenants of focus, attention, intention and self-care. So today I’m going to share some of my new focus and direction through time management, inspired and influenced by the awesome dudes at Cat and Cloud.

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Morning Routine

I have never been a morning person, so this is one of the best things I can do for myself. Establishing a routine that I can do without thinking, and making a commitment to get up and do it no matter what, has finally freed me from the snooze button. Right now I’m not getting up early enough to do everything I’d like before work, but I’m working on consistency first so that I can push the alarm earlier and add steps later down the road. Here’s how I spend my morning:

• Get up and drink water
• Pour glass of Elixir (or tea, if I run out)
• Quick journal while drinking Elixir
• Make pot of coffee for the house
• Get cleaned up and dressed
• Make breakfast, eat, brush teeth
• Pour a tumbler of cold brew and head to work

I already drink a ton of water throughout the day, but having a glass first thing in the morning helps my body wake up. Then I sit down with a glass of Elixir and my phone, where I use an app to write my morning journal. I’m not big on typing a bunch with the phone, so I keep it simple: things I thankful for, a few short term goals, and my long term goals. Yes, I totally stole that from the Cat and Cloud crew, but it works for me.

When I’m super sleepy and not mentally awake, this is the most challenging part of the routine, but I can take my time, sip my Elixir, and focus my mind. I mentioned last week that Elixir was a big part of my inspiration for establishing this morning routine, and I think it’s due to the unique experience of Elixir helping push me outside my comfort zone into a more awakened state. When I don’t have any Elixir on hand, my backup is hot tea, which takes a few minutes to prepare, but can encourage a similar contemplative mindset.

From there I’m on the coffee bar, weighing out some beans and cranking up the Bonavita so the family has some coffee to start with. I often take a mug back to the bedroom with me so my wife can wake up to the smell of fresh coffee, and I’ll enjoy my own cup during breakfast. Then I always grab a tumbler of whatever cold brew we currently have on tap when I leave the house, just a special extension of the coffee room into my time out in the real world.

Evening Routine

While my morning routine is all about preparing for the day ahead, the evening routine is about reflecting, winding down, and preparing for the next day. The timing may shift depending on when I get our toddler in bed, but once he is asleep I have a simple process:

• Pour small glass of red wine
• Write in my Gratitude journal
• Prepare coffee bar for the morning
• Set out clothing for the morning
• Change to pajamas, brush teeth, go to bed

Even though my morning journal includes a list of things I’m thankful for, I take a moment in the evening to reflect on my day and jot down a few moments that were special. It’s a way to mentally close out the day, along with the glass of red wine, that helps my brain slow down. Focus on what’s good, let the rest go.

Then I’m back at the coffee bar, setting things up for the morning brew. This starts the quiet process of preparing myself for the next morning, and setting out my clothes has the same effect. Once those two tasks are finished, all that’s left is to get ready for bed.

Why this matters

Why all the focus on routine? Because it helps me be a better human.

Time management and structure help me stay focused on what matters most, spending time with family, taking care of our boys and giving them the best version of myself. Both of these routines are still new, and I may have more to say about time management in the future, but for now I hope this inspires you to evaluate your routine the same way the Cat and Cloud podcast inspired me.

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Update: I wrote this post prior to the birth of our second boy, and a lot happened in that time. He is doing well, but the first few days were challenging on many levels. Love and support from family and friends was key in helping us deal with the unknown. The morning and evening routines varied a bit, shifting each day to fit our needs, but they did provide a bit of “normal life” to focus on and helped keep me centered.

2 Replies to “Time Management”

  1. Thank You, Matt…

    Things I’m grateful for this morning:

    1.) That your blog exists. Hadn’t been in here in awhile and for some cosmic reason, Today’s Sacred Cup O’ Pourover (currently the Suke Quto as roasted by 1000 Faces, Athens, GA) led me here. Generally, I read your archived stuff, but this latest on Time Management hooked me straightaway.

    2.) My own sense of Routine.

    3.) The concept of Minimalism (and, as you eloquently stated, the idea that it goes [and can go] beyond the notion of simply paring down to essential possessions).

    Sending Central California Coast (and caffeinated) vibrations to your newborn and family.

    Namaste,

    BTO

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Brad! I received a coffee from 1000 Faces many months back via Mistobox and it was excellent. I need to try more of their stuff, but you know how it is, so many coffee roasters, so many coffees…

      I think you might expect to see more of these sorts of posts in the future as I have less time for coffee as a serious hobby. I don’t want to let the blog go into hibernation again, always regretted when I let it happen in the past, and these most recent posts are starting to show me the direction I should be headed.

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