“Front-loading my day (getting a whole bunch done in the morning) is my productivity secret.” – Celeste Headlee Share this quote on Twitter

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Celeste Headlee

What is your morning routine?

Monday through Friday, I wake up at 4:30am. I have a Philips Hue Bloom light that gradually becomes brighter to simulate a sunrise. I feed the dog, take her for a short walk, make coffee on the stove, fill my thermos, grab my lunch, and drive to work. I meditate in my office for twenty minutes, work out in the office gym for thirty minutes, shower, and then sit down at my desk, ready to start the day. I always make sure I’ve drunk twenty ounces of water before 7:00am, to get my brain lubricated.

I write scripts from 7:00am to 7:30am, eat my breakfast (usually oatmeal and fruit), and then we have a team meeting at 7:30am. At 8:00am, we record pre-production for the show, and then I continue reading my scripts and making note of questions I want to ask. I’m live on the air between 9:00am and 10:00am, and that’s basically the end of my morning.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

About three years.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

When, for whatever reason, I don’t get enough sleep the night before, I sleep in until 6:00am and delay the workout until the afternoon. Getting at least seven hours of sleep is more important to me than making sure I exercise at the same time every day.

What time do you go to sleep?

I’m in bed by 9:00pm.

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

I pack my gym bag and put it in the car, get the stovetop espresso maker ready so that I only have to turn on the stove in the morning, and pack my breakfast and lunch.

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

I set one alarm on my smartphone and another on my Alexa, plus the Bloom light that turns on. I can’t risk sleeping in. And I haven’t hit a snooze button since I was in college.

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

It’s usually a couple of hours. When I wake up hungry, I eat a banana, but I don’t have my oatmeal until my workout is done.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

Every week I do three days of cardio and three days of circuit training. And my daily step target is 10,000.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

I use the Headspace app for meditation for about twenty minutes every morning.

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

I answer the important stuff immediately and then snooze everything else until noon.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

Yes! I use the S+ ResMed to track my sleep.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Almost immediately. I have to make sure no news broke while I was asleep.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Getting my scripts written and getting my body energized and ready to go on the air. I need a clear head and early-morning energy, so the morning workout and meditation are crucial.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

I immediately drink at least ten ounces of water and make sure I’ve drunk twenty ounces by 7:00am.

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

I sleep in until 6:00am or 7:00am on weekends and walk to Starbucks with the dog. It’s about five miles, round trip. I still drink water, but I delay the meditation until I get back from the walk.

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

No, I travel a lot and this is a big challenge. I bought an Amazon Tap so that I can still wake up to Alexa, but it’s really hard to do the rest of my routine when my hours change drastically. I’m still working on this part.

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

If I miss my routine, the rest of the day feels a little off. Not bad, but just a bit off kilter. It is very hard to get the workout and meditation done when I’ve missed it in the morning. I’m so used to having that finished by 7:00am that I forget to make time later in the day. I don’t know what works for others, but I’ve found that front-loading my day (getting a whole bunch done in the morning) is my productivity secret.


Photo of Celeste by Jeff Roffman.

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