“Every night before I put away my work, sometime between 7-10:00pm, I make a note of what I did during the day and what I plan on doing tomorrow.” – Brett Martin Share this quote on Twitter

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Brett Martin

What is your morning routine?

The first thing I do after turning off my alarm (at around 7:30am) is put my phone down.

Eyes still closed, I sit up on the edge of my bed with my hands on my knees, palms up. At this point I listen, but do not respond, to my thoughts until they slowly subside like grains of sand running out of an hourglass. I focus on my breathing while letting the tension out of my back, shoulders, and hips.

During this time my mind constantly tries to rip me away from the moment, but I do my best not to get mad at it, not to fight it. It’s kind of funny that my mind thinks that things are so urgent and I am so busy that I can’t take a minute to just be. Someone in a rush would never notice others rushing. This realization always makes me smile as I sink deeper into the bliss of being one with the sounds of my girlfriend packing her lunch in the kitchen, the cars driving up the street, and the commuters walking briskly to work, coffee in hand.

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Opening my eyes, I quickly make my bed and appreciate the way the light from the window over my bed falls across the folds and ridges of my comforter. Once the room is tidy-ish, I throw on some sweats, grab a banana, and head out the door to the gym.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

The last six months or so.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

Things just keep getting earlier and earlier.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I prefer circuit training to heavy lifting generally, especially in the morning. Forty minutes of pushups, sit-ups, jump squats, planks, and inclined pushups are a great way to get the blood moving.

On mornings where I don’t lift I’ll run down the West Side Highway to the bottom tip of Manhattan along the Hudson River. I stop for a quick stretch where the tourists congregate to take terrible pictures of the Statue of Liberty, then make my way back. It’s about five miles. I’m always impressed by the people that look like they’ve already been running for an hour or two by the time I get out there around 8:00am.

Back at my apartment I grab a quick stretch and shower. The latter needs to be quick since my girlfriend, my buddy from college, and his girlfriend all live in the same shoebox of an apartment in the West Village.

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

Yes, I turn it off after one snooze.

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

Before my morning workout I’ll usually have a banana. When I’m back and partially dressed, I put my iPhone in a cup, open up the Economist app and listen to the week in review on 1.5x speed while making yogurt with jam, fruit, and granola.

Ready for the day, I’m out the door around 9:00am. One of the luxuries of working with creative types is I have plenty of time to grab a coffee and still easily be the first person in the office by 9:30am.

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

I try not to look at my email until after lunch. The first few hours of my day are for getting work done.

What are your most important tasks in the morning

Every night before I put away my work, sometime between 7-10:00pm, I make a note of what I did during the day and what I plan on doing tomorrow. That way I know exactly what I need to do when I sit down at my desk in the morning.

On my more productive mornings, I get right to work on the task I’ve assigned myself for the day. On less productive mornings, I get lured into cleaning out the mail that accumulated in my inbox the night before.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

Not much changes except for swapping in push-ups and sit-ups for the gym.

What do you do if you fail to follow your routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

I fail often but I always commit to trying again tomorrow.

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