“The biggest challenge to my morning routine is my obsession with my dog. If he wants to cuddle, I’m usually late.” – Carolyn Feinstein Share this quote on Twitter

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Carolyn Feinstein

What is your morning routine?

My morning routine is all about working motherhood. I wake up at 6:00am. With three kids who need to get out the door between 7:30 and 8:00am, I find that getting up early and being prepared is the best route to a peaceful start to the day for all of us. I usually do a quick perusal of the digital news and a skim of my business and personal emails when I wake up, though I try not to dive into email right away.

Growing up, my mother made clear that “breakfast was the most important meal of the day,” so I invest time in making a real breakfast and a smoothie for my kids every morning. I’m fortunate that Dropbox serves an incredible breakfast, so I don’t have to spend time feeding myself. At 7:35am, my twin daughters, my yellow lab, and I head out the door for our walk to the school bus stop and a chance to connect around the day ahead. Once they’re on the bus, Steeler and I head into the Presidio for a walk and what ends up being my morning meditation. We then head home for the next round of school departures. I drive my son to school on my way to work, and the day begins.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

This has been our routine for the past two years, when I made a shift to getting up much earlier. It’s been a huge improvement in my ability to feel like I have the day under control before the rest of my household wakes up.

My husband works in finance and, in San Francisco, that often means working New York market hours - leaving home before 4:00am. I’ve always been the only parent on duty in the mornings, so having an organized routine is really important.

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What time do you go to sleep?

I try to go to sleep by 11:00pm, but it’s often a lot later. I’ve found that as my kids’ bedtimes have gotten later, mine has too.

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

We have a whiteboard on our refrigerator, and before I go to bed each night, I write the next day’s schedule for our busy family on the board. It allows me to think through what’s ahead and it’s the first thing that gets checked in the morning. Someone gave me this advice four years ago when I was describing the chaos and questions that made up our mornings, and I’ve done it every day since. It’s super simple and surprisingly powerful.

I also read every night before I go to sleep. It’s a habit I’ve had since childhood. I’m happiest when I’m in the middle of a great book, but if that’s not the case a magazine article will do.

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

I use my phone as my alarm clock - even though I talk all the time about my desire to buy an actual alarm clock and keep my phone out of the bedroom. I definitely hit the snooze button, usually twice.

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

I eat breakfast and have coffee after getting to the office each morning. I’m insanely lucky that the incredible chefs at Dropbox makes it possible for me to have roasted broccoli, eggs, and a little fruit each morning.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I try to get on our exercise bike every other morning, and I always get in a walk with my dog to start the day. To make our family’s morning schedule work, I need to be working out by 6:00am - which isn’t always possible - but I definitely feel better on the days that I get my workout in before starting my day.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

One of my goals for this coming year is to incorporate a more formal meditation practice in my morning routine. Right now, my morning dog walk is my meditation. We walk in the Presidio which is quiet and beautiful. We’re together, but obviously not talking, and I find that I’m able to think really clearly as a result.

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

I tend to answer super urgent emails first thing in the morning to get a jump on the day. The rest I try to leave until I get into the office.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Almost immediately… I’m not proud of it, and I’m trying to change this aspect of my morning routine.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

I drink hot water with lemon juice first thing in the morning, as well as a tablespoon of something called Fire Cider. It’s a super spicy cider vinegar that I’ve grown to love that’s supposed to combat inflammation in the body and help boost immunity. I give it as a gift to everyone.

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

My routine is quite different on the weekends because my husband is home and my kids don’t have to get to school. I still get up early (but not quite as early) and try to get in a workout or some hitting practice with my tennis coach before the rest of my family is up and out. I also indulge myself and my dog in a much longer walk, usually at Crissy Field.

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

The biggest challenge to my morning routine is my obsession with my dog. If he wants to cuddle, I’m usually late.

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