I live a mile away from one of my best friends, but until recently we barely saw each other. It's not that we didn't want to—we've been nearly inseparable since we met as neighbors in sixth grade—but our work schedules are polar-opposite (I work 9 to 5; she gets off work when I'm already in bed) and one of us is often out of town on the weekend. Our mile apart might as well have been a thousand. When we did catch-up, it was almost always over the phone. Over the past few months though, we've seen each other more than we have over the course of a year, thanks to a simple shift: We spend time together in the morning. At least once a week, I meet Willa at 7:30 a.m. to walk around our neighborhood, go to a yoga class, or grab breakfast. The shift has been such a success, I've come to prefer it over after-work plans, and have been suggesting early bird hangouts to more and more friends as a "drinks after work" alternative. Here's why I'm all about before-work plans:
I'm sure that every person reading this has made plans at one point or another, then canceled after a grueling day. (If this doesn't sound familiar to you, I am truly impressed!) Flaking-out is far less likely to happen in the morning. You're still fresh, and, to be honest, there's less time to weigh the pros and cons of whether you have the energy to make it. Just hop out of bed and go!
I'm a huge believer that your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. Even an early ten-minute meditation can positively impact your afternoon. Now imagine what an hour laughing and catching-up with a friend can do. It's truly the best way to start a day, even if you're meeting a coworker for a quick coffee before heading to your desk.
In my experience, morning activities are about half the price of evening activities. An average breakfast in L.A. hovers around $8, compared to $16 for a dinner entrée, and a coffee is $4 compared to an $8 beer. More often than not, our morning activities are completely free. Willa and I usually opt to walk around the Silver Lake Reservoir, a 45-minute loop we tackle with mugs of coffee from home (consider trading-off who's on "coffee duty" each time you meet). When we workout, we find a spot on ClassPass. I maintain the "Classpass Light" membership in addition to Orange Theory, so that I'm able to do a morning workout once a month.
Invite a friend over for quiche and coffee instead of dinner! Go for a sunrise hike! Offer to buy them breakfast in exchange for them taking photos for the blog you write for! (Okay, this one's kind of specific...). Willa and I are even signing up for an English Literature class on EdX and going to use a morning each week for "class" (something we'd never have the energy for in the evening). The options are just as varied, if not more, than the evening. Speaking of which...
I thrive from community. Similar to exercise, I'm happiest when I see a girlfriend every day, even if for a quick get-together or walk (made easier by the fact that I've prioritized living in a neighborhood adjacent to some of my closest friends). When I see friends first thing, my evenings feel more flexible—I can either make spontaneous plans, or spend the evening reading solo or making dinner with Jonah.
P.S., These photos were taken at Roo Coffee, one of my favorite brunch spots in Silver Lake. They're so friendly (including graciously allowing us to have a mini-photoshoot), and the food is delicious!