What is your morning routine?
I’ve never had a morning routine. I don’t know how you establish a routine when you never know where you’re going to wake up or what you’re going to do that day. Some days I wake up in a hotel room and don’t need to get to the theater until noon. Other days I have to race to Sesame Street by 8:00am. Many days I drink coffee and read the news until I need to start work.
On my favorite days, I have my kids. I usually put out cereal and bowls for them before they go to bed, but when I get up I often make them another breakfast anyway, like eggs or French toast. I have to admit that I put way more time into arranging the assorted cereal boxes and bowls I leave out for the girls the night before than I put into thinking about the nutritional value of the food itself. But they don’t seem to mind. I make their young lives more surreal—recently I made them an elaborate Stonehenge affair from two dozen mini cereal boxes.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
Two of the biggest changes in my life happened in the last few years. One was becoming the production designer for Sesame Street, which means that when we’re shooting I have the closest thing I’ve ever had to a real job. I actually have to show up to from time to time.
The other big change was having kids, which means two little people are counting on me a lot earlier in the day than anyone ever has before.
What time do you go to sleep?
Usually around 3:30am. I hate sleeping and put it off as long as I can. My mom was always the same way. I could call her on the phone at 3:00am and be pretty confident that I wouldn’t wake her up.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I rarely use an alarm clock. When I have to wake up, I do (most of the time).
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I don’t eat breakfast, but I drink a lot of coffee with lots of skim milk and occasionally a little sugar. I drink as much coffee as I can get down.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I barely ever answer email, but I’m trying to get better about it.
How does your partner fit into your morning routine?
My girlfriend usually wakes before I do and holds onto me in bed, sometimes for hours, trying not to wake me up. Since she goes to bed well before I do, that’s her only chance to cuddle.
Sometimes she gets up to play with the kids so I can sleep, but usually I get up so she can have the time to herself, even if she just stays in bed to answer email or read the news on her phone. We work together, but most days we work independently in the morning, because she knows I like to have a few hours to wake up before facing the day. When we get really busy, she prods me to get to work earlier.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
When I’m working on Sesame Street, I wake up at 6:45am and leave for work fairly early Monday through Friday. When I’m working on anything else, weekdays and weekends are all the same to me.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
My non-routine doesn’t change much whether I’m home or away.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
For the most part, it doesn’t make much difference to me. It just means I need to catch up on news later.
Our recommended book this week is The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep. We only recommend three things a week that we believe will be of interest to our readers. Please take a moment to check it out.