“Since starting a family and going full time on my own project, I don’t have the luxury of time or going into a quiet office.” – Allison Grayce Share this quote on Twitter

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Allison Grayce

What is your morning routine?

I’m a work-from-home mom now, so let’s use the word “routine” loosely for this one!

Twice a week my son is in nursery, and I work from a coffee shop to change things up. Three times a week, though, I work from home with my three-year-old son. He keeps things unpredictable, so it can be a challenge to stick to a routine, but we make it work!

My morning starts around 7:30am. My son is usually still asleep for the next hour or so, so I immediately brew some coffee and head to my office. I take advantage of the quiet and tackle any sort of work that requires extreme focus, like writing or working through a UX problem.

By around 9:00am my son is probably up, so I get him fed and settled into an activity and switch gears to work on Roadmap. I check Slack, Intercom, and most likely Twitter and Instagram, too. Around this time, if I haven’t already, I usually outline three very specific things to achieve for the day because it can be super easy for the day to get away from me. I start working, sometimes in my office or at the kitchen table - depending on where my son is - around 10:00am.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I recently went full time on my startup, and moved back to the United States after living in Cambridge, United Kingdom for two years. There, I was working full time as a UX designer for Redgate, and my son was in nursery five days a week, so my routine was very different just a few months ago.

It’s only been a few months since I’ve been in this new routine and, to be honest, I’m still figuring it out!

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

I used to be less strict about how I used my time because I had so much of it. (Seriously, what did I do with all of it before kids?!) I’d let creativity or inspiration hit whenever it wanted, so working late in front of the computer was a normal occurrence.

Since starting a family and going full time on my own project, I don’t have the luxury of time or going into a quiet office. So, I’ve had to become laser-focused and find ways to be 500 percent productive in short intervals. I’m much more protective of my personal time with my family. It’s a whole new way of working.

What time do you go to sleep?

I usually get to bed by 11:30pm and fall asleep around 12:00am.

Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?

I get my little guy to sleep around 8:30pm and spend the last few hours of the evening relaxing with my husband, watching our favorite shows, and working on lettering projects. It helps me unwind.

I also clean my workspace before the night ends if I’ve made a mess of it that day. I can’t start the day with clutter on my desk!

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

When I have to get an earlier start on the day than normal, I use an alarm clock and probably hit snooze a few times. But most days I wake up on my own.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

I get at least one cup of coffee in me before eating breakfast because that precious hour before my son wakes up needs to be super productive!

I wait to eat until my son does because it’s easier to fix breakfast for two in one go, and I prefer to eat meals together. It’s typically eggs, fruit, and sometimes a bagel or waffle depending on how hungry we are.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I used to cycle to and from work every day while living in the United Kingdom up until a few months ago. Cycling along the River Cam through the grazing cows really helped me clear my mind and mentally prep for the work day.

It’s not as easy to use cycling as your primary mode of transportation in the United States, and since I work from home, I’ve lost that precious part of my routine! I get my cycling fix on the weekends and find time to work out in the evenings now.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

I leave it until later in the day. At Roadmap we use Slack as our primary communication internally and Intercom to talk to our users, so nothing urgent or time sensitive is in email. I check my personal email briefly in the morning and intermittently throughout the day.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Pretty much as soon as I wake up, while still in bed.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Narrowing down my top three priorities for work that day and deciding which activities to do with my son. I find it’s easier to focus and tackle the day in sprints that way.

How does your partner fit into your morning routine?

My husband is out the door to catch the train around the time I wake up, so I often wake up to him saying goodbye.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

Weekends are a completely different story! We enjoy the early mornings together with a big breakfast and coffee and are out of the door by 10:00am on Saturdays for soccer or whatever activities we have going on that weekend. Sunday mornings are much more laid back!


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