What is your morning routine?
Most mornings I wake at 8:00am. While I’d love to say I wake up without an alarm, I do need a bit of motivation to get going in the morning. Though tea is my first love (and being in the tea business, I have easy access to it), I generally prefer a piping hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning.
I resist the temptation to look at my emails on my phone in the morning (I may remove email from my phone soon), but my phone has my carefully curated list of news and blog feeds which I like to look through while waking up.
I don’t watch TV news or any other news source that’s sensationalist or overly negative – which rules out most of them! I like the Zite app, which I’ve trained carefully to scan for interesting stories or news over a variety of topic areas.
Once my cup of coffee is finished, I head into my morning meditation – one of my most crucial morning practices. I actually lay down on a yoga mat for my meditation, as I find it’s the easiest way for me to relax and get clarity and inspiration for my day ahead. (No, there is no temptation to go back to sleep – meditation is a very active and engaging practice for me).
After meditation, I jot down in my journal any insights or inspirations that I might want to remember from my meditation, then I grab breakfast, a cup of tea or another coffee, and dive right into my workday. I work at home so my commute is short.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’ve been self-employed for about eight years, and have had this basic routine since I started. The importance of the meditation and mindfulness practices are a more recent addition.
What time do you go to sleep?
I’m a night owl, but I try to read for an hour at the end of the day while drinking herbal tea, which gets me ready for bed.
I hit the hay at midnight whenever I can, so I can get eight hours of sleep.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Alarm, yes. When I worked in corporate, I was definitely a snooze button addict – in fact, my mornings were planned to have snooze time.
I’ve since found that on days I snoozed, I felt terrible, had a hard time waking up, and felt tired and dragging the whole day long. Since science has solid evidence that snoozing is not so good for you, I now steer clear of it.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I try to eat within an hour or two of waking, since a cup of coffee can be rough on an empty stomach.
My typical go-to is greek yogurt (careful to avoid brands with unnecessary added sugars) with pumpkin seed granola and fresh fruit on top.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
For a while I worked with a trainer for about an hour in the morning. I liked the fact that I got my daily workout out of the way (I try to get at least an hour of exercise every day to combat working at a desk) but having to leave the house and go to the gym that early interfered with my internal morning practices.
Now I prefer a midday workout which makes for a good break to refuel my creativity.
How about morning meditation?
I can’t emphasize how important a mindful meditation practice is. Even if you just sit quietly for three minutes I find I get more creative insights and downloads in those moments than at any other point in the day.
A typical meditation session is about 35 minutes.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I batch emails because it’s the most effective way to get through them.
Rarely is an email urgent, so I check-in on email when I get to my desk just to make sure my team has what they need for the day. I’ll then review email again at lunchtime and do a final clear-out of email at the end of the day.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
My work has me on the road on occasion, and I do try very hard to ensure my schedule is such that I can have my morning time, especially if I’m on stage or giving an important presentation that day.
I find hotels to be a great place for quiet, mindful morning moments, as there is no temptation to clean out the refrigerator or reorganize my desk. Before trips, I try to get ahead on my tasklists so there isn’t so much pressure while I’m away.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
On days where (for example) I need to be somewhere for a meeting by 9:00am or earlier (which is rare – I fiercely protect my schedule) I find that my energy doesn’t go as far throughout the day.
I also find my creativity isn’t as high and my inner Libra comes out, making me a bit more indecisive. Once you have a solid morning routine that works it’s hard to stray far from it!
Andy gave away two 2 oz packs of Plum Deluxe's Mindful Morning Blend, good for 30 cups of delicious caffeinated tea. The winners have been notified.