“I choose one item to be the day’s biggest priority—if I could only get one thing done that day, what would it be?” – Esmé Weijun Wang Share this quote on Twitter

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Esmé Weijun Wang

What is your morning routine?

I tend to wake up between 4:30-5:00am. I don’t use an alarm. Once awake, I wash up and make coffee, which I drink while doing my morning journaling. I do a particular morning ritual in my journal that includes writing down my morning prayers of gratitude, my wishes, and my intentions for the day, and doing a tarot card pull to give me some guidance. I choose one item to be the day’s biggest priority—if I could only get one thing done that day, what would it be? Next, I choose 2-3 other tasks to sit on the priority list. I use the Things app to keep track of my tasks and projects, in addition to using a paper journal.

I also keep a Things I Did Today list, which is basically what it sounds like. Keeping such a list is a good way of reminding myself of what I’ve actually accomplished instead of beating myself up over my endless list of tasks.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

At least a year, probably more. It’s had slight variations over time.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

I’m currently adding a writing rite to kick off any writing that I do. My writing rite was created by my spiritual mentor, Briana Saussy, as a way of bringing strong intention and blessing into my work. It includes washing my hands and anointing them with salt and hand cream, as well as saying a special prayer that aligns with my breaths.

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What time do you go to sleep?

Between 8:00-10:00pm.

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

I don’t. I’m usually pretty eager to get going in the morning.

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

I typically have breakfast pretty quickly after waking up, as I often have a light dinner and am hungry when I wake. I love savory food in the morning and often eat leftovers for breakfast. My husband teases me about eating spaghetti or risotto or whatever first thing in the morning.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

I don’t have a regular practice right now, but I have been diligent about meditating in the past. I’d like to pick it back up again.

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

I check my email pretty early in the morning but usually wait to respond unless it’s urgent and important.

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

I listen to a podcast or audiobook on my phone upon waking. Sometimes I use Sleep Cycle to track my sleep. I use Things to digitally manage my projects and to-dos. Most important to me, though, are my planner, which is a Hobonichi Techo Cousin, and my journal, which is a large Monocle notebook. I use PenGems pens and Stabilo highlighters with them.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Almost immediately.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

My morning routine is the most important task, for me. It gets my day going.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Coffee and water. I have them both almost immediately.

How does your partner fit into your morning routine?

I wake up hours before my husband does, so I have a lot of peace and quiet in which to do my routine.

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

I often sleep in on weekends, but I still do the morning routine.

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

The Hobonichi is central to my routine, as it contains my morning prayers and such. I make sure I have everything I need for that part of the morning when I’m traveling.

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

I fail to follow my morning routine only when I’m experiencing a flare of intense illness (I have late-stage Lyme disease and am chronically ill as a result). On those days, I’m profoundly ill to the point where skipping my morning routine doesn’t affect my day much—it’s already terrible.

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