What is your morning routine?
My kids wake up at 7:00am on the dime. Occasionally, Arabella will wake up earlier (singing!) but she knows she has to stay in bed until 7:00. The time before my children get up is my time to get ready for the day. The earlier I wake up, the more I can do.
I get up at 5:30am and meditate or work out — or both. Then I shower and listen to a TED Talk while I moisturize and do my makeup (eight minutes!). Afterwards, I dress and read the paper — always the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the front section of the Times. I like getting my news in the morning and I prefer the paper to online, with the exception of Observer.com, which I read when I get into my office each day. I like how the papers pace the stories. Visually, it’s easier for me to see what’s most important, as opposed to scrolling through the headlines online.
At 7:00, I get the kids out of bed. While Arabella does her “three things” — brush her teeth, wash her hands, and make her bed — I change Joseph and get him dressed. Then, we eat breakfast together as a family. I walk Arabella to school a few mornings each week, but if I’m going directly to the office, I usually head in between 7:45 and 8:00am.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
It changes all the time. As my kids get older, their schedules and routines fluctuate so I need to adapt.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I like to be fully ready for the day before my children get up so that my mornings are completely focused on them. My alarm goes off much earlier these days than it did pre-kids!
What time do you go to sleep?
I aim to be in bed by 11:00pm each night, but that doesn’t always happen.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I do — and I try not to!
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I wait to eat until Arabella and Joseph are up, and breakfast is always one of two options.
On weekdays, with the exception of special occasions, I try to keep things simple. I read once about a phenomenon called “decision fatigue” — essentially, we each have a finite supply of mental energy each day and seemingly mundane, ordinary decisions tap into that reserve. To avoid making a big decision out of breakfast, I always give the kids one of two choices: either Greek yogurt and berries or “fancy oatmeal.” If they choose oatmeal, I get out all sorts of toppings — chia seeds, berries, flaxseed, goji berries, cinnamon, walnuts, and almonds — and the kids get to “decorate” their oatmeal.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
When I’m in town, I like to work out at the gym in my building. My trainer, Peter Monge, put together a workout program for me — he also put together a similar program exclusively for my readers that I do with him once a week. The other days, I go through it on my own and in the hotel gym when I travel.
How about morning meditation?
Meditation is one of the most important things I do each day.
I meditate for twenty minutes, ideally twice daily. Sometimes I miss the afternoon session, but I always make the morning one. It’s been invaluable in terms of calming my mind and allowing me to think more clearly. I recently treated my team to an intensive transcendental meditation course. It’s proven to increase productivity at work and cut down on stress (doesn’t that sound awesome!?). We covered my team’s experience with transcendental meditation on my site.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I answer email at night — my goal is to achieve inbox zero before I go to bed. Some days I’m successful, other days, less so. Regardless, I aim to wake up to a clean slate.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Unfortunately, right away. I can’t seem to break that habit.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Starting the day together as a family and chatting over breakfast before we all head off in different directions.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
A large glass of water with lemon and a big cup of coffee — both at breakfast.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
Unfortunately, my children don’t change their sleep patterns on the weekends — so neither do I! My husband and I both work to keep our weekends unscheduled and devoted to family time. Our days are much less structured and we’re able to be more spontaneous, which is fun.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
It is completely different.
If I am traveling for work and without my children, I’ll go to the gym, have a leisurely breakfast in my hotel room (I make it a point to stay at Trump Hotel Collection properties whenever possible!), and read the newspapers cover to cover without distraction. It is a totally different rhythm — and obviously much less chaotic.
I try not to spend nights away from my kids, but when I do, I enjoy the quiet mornings!
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I just try to start new the next day!
Our recommended book this week is My Morning Routine by Benjamin Spall, Michael Xander. 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.