What is your morning routine?
Some days (good days!): Wake up to an alarm at 7:30am. Leave my phone in airplane mode while I have a cup of coffee and write in my notebook for half an hour or so. Then make a little breakfast, head to my desk, open my email, and start my day.
Other days (more often than I would like): Wake up to an alarm at 7:30am. Hit snooze for half an hour or more. Open and read my email on my phone, holding it inches away from my nose. Get out of bed by 9:00am. Make coffee and a little breakfast. Head to my desk and start working in earnest.
I write whatever’s on my mind. Sometimes it’s personal musings, sometimes it’s to-do lists, sometimes it’s thoughts on an article I’m about to sit down and write.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’m pretty bad at sticking with any sort of daily routine. I orient my life around weeks more than days.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
Putting my phone in airplane mode when I get into bed and then not checking email until I’m awake and at my desk is really good for me and something that I’ve only tried to start doing in the past few months. I’m not always successful (early-morning phone addiction is powerful!), but I’m trying.
What time do you go to sleep?
Between 11:00pm and midnight, usually.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
The aforementioned airplane-mode trick. I also like to review my calendar for the coming day before I turn my phone off for the night, so I know which work task I’m tackling first in the morning.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Yes. And definitely yes.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I like to have coffee first and then eat breakfast an hour or two after waking up. I’m usually not hungry right away. I don’t really have a typical breakfast. The rotation includes smoothies, yogurt with granola, avocado toast, toast with almond butter, and the occasional egg sandwich for when I’m hungover or want a treat.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
No. Morning is my most productive mental time and exercising in the morning feels like a waste of my best writing hours.
Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?
Occasionally, if I’m feeling really stressed, I’ll try to fit in a short morning meditation. I use the Gaiam Meditation Studio app because there are a lot of different voices and kinds of meditations to choose from.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I read it all first thing. I first respond to what’s pressing, but I respond to everything else later in the day.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
No, unless airplane mode counts.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Sometimes right away, sometimes after I’ve had coffee and taken some writing time.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
The most important task really varies morning to morning. Sometimes it’s to respond to editors’ emails. Sometimes it’s to work on a draft. Sometimes it’s to revise a feature. Sometimes it’s to catch up with the news and find a column idea.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Water, followed by a single cup of coffee.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I have no weekend routine.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
I’m absolutely terrible at adapting this routine to the road. My weekdays on the road are as variable as my weekend days.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I tend to beat myself up a bit if it’s late afternoon and I have yet to write anything or complete my main task for the day. Mornings are my best hours, so I hate to feel like I’ve wasted them, but I’m not sure that my routine plays a big part in whether I use those hours well or not.
Photo of Ann by Lara Shipley.