It all started at 7:06…

This morning, I got up at 7:06 am.

Recently though, I’ve been trying to get up at 5 – just to bag me some quiet time to do some work before I get distracted by kids, the dog or YouTube.

(Can’t wait for this lockdown to be over!)

Before I even get out of bed, I checked my phone, to see if I had any work that needed dealing with. 

Yeah, yeah… I know this is a terrible habit, but I always have the lingering thought that something I wrote yesterday was shit, and I’ve been getting hate emails all night long, so I can’t relax until I check everything’s OK.

Today, it was. Phew!

I get out of bed, grab my dressing gown and head downstairs to make a coffee. 

Not any old coffee though…

You see, a few years ago, my wife got me a Tassimo machine and I’ve never looked back. 

(I always go for the XL coffee pods because I feel like they’re better value and those smaller ones are a bit of a waste. Besides, I like a big ol’ cup of coffee to start the day)

I grab my cuppa, head to the lounge, open up the window and plonk my arse on the couch.

No one else is up.

^^^ That’s important to me. If I get up first, I feel like I’m “one ahead” on my day. 

Besides, when I’m first up, it feels like MY lounge. If I get up AFTER someone else, it feels like I’m entering THEIR space.

Even five minutes of a headstart is enough.

This morning I was first up, so I sit on the couch, nurse my brew, and think about what I’ve got to do today.

My mind always steers towards work first, so I spend a few minutes thinking about what I’ve got on my plate and how I’m going to tackle it. 

I also set myself a target for when I’ll have it completed. 

I learned a long time ago that Parkinson’s Law (“work expands to fill the time allowed”) is very true, so I pick a tight deadline and plan how to meet it.

Once I’ve done that, my mind moves back to more urgent matters – the school run!

What day is it today? Do I need to pack a PE kit? Forest school clothes?

I never have to worry about our oldest daughter – the 17 yo. She’ll stay in her room until 38 seconds before she absolutely has to leave and then makes a break for the door. 

This causes me all kinds of anxiety (I hate being late for anything), but I try to remind myself that she’s old enough to look after herself.

The youngest (10 yo) gets up and I spend the next hour trying to get her off the phone. 

Breakfast – wash – dressed.

Those are my focus for the next hour.

I like breakfast done by 8am, wash by 8:15 and dressed by 8:30.

If we can do that, we’ve got a good chance of getting out the door at 8:45.

(School is just a 5-minute walk)

If I’m still yelling “TEETH!” at 8:42… we’re in trouble.

Recently, I’ve started taking her a little bit earlier, to give her a little more playground time with the other kids before school starts.

Her school’s pretty small – about 60 kids in total – so I want to make sure she interacts – in a non-classroom way – as much as possible. She’s moving up to high school this September, and I want her to feel confident in her ability to get on with people without needing a teacher to help.

At 8:44, we get the dog on his lead, grab my phone (and my cheap, non-Apple AirPods) and do one last “have we got everything?” check before heading out the door.

I like to do the dog walk straight after dropping her off, then I don’t have to faff around getting ready to go out twice.

Two birds, one stone.

I’m always looking for little optimisations like that.

I drop her off at school and watch her go in the door.

(I once didn’t see her go in the door and, even though I saw her playing in the playground with her friends right before the bell, I still phoned the school to check she got in OK)

Once I see her go in, I grab my phone, open up the podcast app and find something to listen to…

… at 2x speed…

… and head out on the dog walk.

– – – – – 

Why am I telling you this?

Why the hell should you care about the small, intricate details of my morning routine?

You shouldn’t…

… unless your target market is middle-aged, self-employed married men with young children.

Then… you should care.

Quite a lot.

The largest part of any copywriting job is the research.

It’s not sexy or fun (unless you do it in your underwear, listening to Luther Vandross), but it’s ESSENTIAL to writing good copy.

You can get super technical with this.

(Don’t believe me? Try searching for “human behaviour” books on Amazon…)

Thing is, you can also make it easy.

What does a typical day for your ideal client look like?

Write it out.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know every detail…

… write what you DO know and keep coming back to it.

Suddenly notice that all your perfect clients are raving about a new book? Add that in.

Wait… 95% of your dream clients go to the gym to lift weights before work? Pop that in there too.

When you find something new, add it in.

Over time, you’ll build a more complete picture of their day.

Here’s the thing…

It’s not so much WHAT they do…

It’s more about WHY they do it.

What feeling or emotion is behind the action?

Go back to my day and you’ll see hints of feelings and emotions I’m trying to create or avoid in the things I do.

Feelings and emotions are the reasons we do ANYTHING and, because of that, they’re also the key to nailing your copy.

What feelings and emotions are your customers looking to experience and avoid?

John