“My day is completely derailed when I don’t follow my morning routine or I take my phone off airplane mode too early.” – Hitha Palepu Share this quote on Twitter

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Hitha Palepu

What is your morning routine?

I wake up at 5:30am and get out of bed to turn off the alarm, which is across the room. After brushing my teeth and putting on workout clothes (which I leave next to my sink the night before), I drink the thirty ounces of water on my nightstand, write in my Five Minute Journal, and meditate. I then make the bed and head into the kitchen to drink tea and catch up on the news via The Economist Espresso app.

I’ll then either work for an hour or exercise, depending on how much I have on my plate. My two-year-old son wakes up at 7:30am, and I spend the next two hours with him - we have breakfast, read books, and play. At 9:30am, our nanny arrives and I shower and get dressed (if I exercised early) or go work out (if I worked already).

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I’ve stuck with this specific routine for four months now, but my morning routine has involved journaling, meditation, and exercise for a few years now.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

My son has been the biggest factor in my evolving morning routine! A year ago, we’d take a long walk every morning (which doubled as my exercise and quality time with him). I’m still trying to get in my exercise as early as possible, but it doesn’t always happen when I have deadlines or pressing work.

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What time do you go to sleep?

When I’m not out in the evenings, I’m in bed by 9:30pm and reading for 30-45 minutes.

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

I fill my giant tumbler with ice water and place it on my nightstand. I also set out my workout clothes next to my sink and plan my workout for the next day - spin class, dance workout, strength training, or yoga. I also set out my work outfit for the next day and pack my bag so I’m ready to go!

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

Absolutely. I use the “Bedtime” feature on my iPhone, which also helps me track my sleep cycle. When I used to set my alarm for 5:00am, I would hit snooze until 5:30am. Now, I’m up when my alarm goes off. I enjoy having that time in the morning to embrace a routine.

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

I usually have a smoothie. We have a Daily Harvest subscription, and I make one of those with almond milk and add MCT oil, collagen peptides, and a scoop of protein powder. When I’m really hungry, I make savory oatmeal or a veggie-egg scramble.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I try to work out for 30-45 minutes every morning. We are lucky to have a home gym, which makes it much easier!

I rotate my workouts: A Peloton ride with a ten-minute arms sequence, a PlyoJam dance workout with ab workout from Aaptiv, a full-body strength workout from Aaptiv, or yoga (also from the Aaptiv app). If I get in one of each of these workouts every week, I feel strong and fulfilled.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

I meditate for 5-10 minutes every morning to this mantra: “I am, I can, I will, I do.” The mantra is from one of my favorite Peloton instructors and is the only one I’ve found that helps me focus on my breath.

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

I do a quick triage of my inboxes while sipping tea, but I respond to emails at noon and 5:00pm - or when I’m on the subway or in a taxi.

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

Besides the Bedtime setting in my iPhone’s clock, I use the Samsara Timer app for meditation, The Economist Espresso app and Axios newsletters for the news, and my electric kettle and Nespresso machine for some necessary caffeine.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

I try to keep my phone on airplane mode from 8:00pm to 8:00am. I always journal, meditate, and make the bed before I turn off airplane mode, and I’m working on getting in my work or workout before checking my email.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Journaling and meditation. Those are my non-negotiable, must-do-these-every-day rituals to start my day right.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Water, and a lot of it! I follow it up with black tea with lemon and honey (that my husband makes for me) and then a latte from our Nespresso machine.

How does your partner fit into your morning routine?

My husband’s an early riser, so he helped me become a morning person! He has his own morning routine, so we give each other space to do our routines and start our days on the right foot.

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

I don’t set an alarm on weekends but naturally wake up at 7:00am. I still meditate, journal, and get ready for the day before joining my family. I get my son changed and fed while my husband gets ready, and then we’re off to the park, a museum, or to brunch!

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

I repeat a lot of my nighttime rituals (setting out workout clothes and my outfit, getting a giant bottle of water, planning my workout) and always meditate and journal (using the Five Minute Journal app when traveling).

I try to plan a workout in a new studio or go for a run when I’m traveling as a way to explore. I wrote my book, How to Pack, specifically to address the process of packing more meaningful items when traveling to help you feel settled, organized, and comfortable in a new environment. Living temporarily out of a carry-on doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a routine.

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

My day is completely derailed when I don’t follow my morning routine or I take my phone off airplane mode too early. When I don’t take care of myself first, I’m not the best mother, wife, or businesswoman I can be. My morning routine went from “it would be nice if I did that” to “I must do this to be my best self.”

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