“As I’m in the process of snoozing and dealing with my orchestra of alarms, my phone migrates closer and closer to me until it’s directly under my pillow.” – Jing Wei Share this quote on Twitter

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Jing Wei

What is your morning routine?

I should probably preface this by saying that I’m not much of a morning person. That, combined with the fact that I’m a freelancer, is a dangerous situation.

My mornings can vary wildly depending on what my day looks like. Some days I’m out the door at 8:00am, other days I work at home in my PJs until 2:00pm. But most days I wake up comfortably around 9:00am. From there, I take a shower, wrestle with my eyeliner (I won’t admit the amount of time it takes to do this), sit down with a mug of tea, and look over what I need to do that day. I like to have simple, quiet mornings to balance out the workday. The last thing I want is to wake up to a list of tasks, especially because my job often involves a million tiny to-dos. I like to create pockets of down time for myself anywhere I can in the day.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I went full-time freelance last year, so it’s been about six months of pure, unadulterated freedom.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

Prior to going all freelance, I was going into an office two days a week. Most of those days started off with meetings, so I was more efficient in the mornings to make sure I was alert and on time. Now I’m facing a common challenge with freelancers, which is creating my own schedule. It can be difficult to set a hard start- and end-time for oneself when there are no expectations. I’m currently trying to figure out what works best for me and to differentiate between healthy and indulgent.

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There are a million things I’d like to add to my mornings, like going to the gym or making really elaborate smoothies, but I also have to be realistic about what makes me feel comfortable. I find that I’m the most productive when I’ve started my day with a clear and relaxed mind. If anything, I’m more inclined to work on improving bad habits, like spending too much time with my phone an inch away from my face.

What time do you go to sleep?

I often have a hard time falling asleep, so I usually go to bed around 12:30am and expect to fall asleep around 1:00-1:30am.

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

Sometimes I go for a swim at night, which helps me sleep better. When I have to be somewhere in the morning, I like to lay out my clothes the night before so I don’t have to think about what to wear when I’m in a rush to get ready.

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

I feel like Night Me often has to trick Morning Me into waking up on time. Normally I hit snooze regularly until I’m ready to wake up. But on days when I have to get up early, I set up to three alarms within 15-20 minutes of one another, so I’m guaranteed a backup even when I hit stop on the first two alarms.

Nothing is worse than the feeling of waking up and realizing you’ve accidentally overslept, so I try my best to avoid that even if it’s kind of extreme!

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

I probably have breakfast an hour or so after I wake up. I’m not a coffee drinker, so there’s nothing that’s rushing me to the kitchen in the morning. My go-to is soft scrambled eggs, a thick slice of toast, avocado, and lots of hot sauce. In the winter I switch it up with oatmeal and fruit. On weekends I love making a big brunch, like hash or pancakes. I’m highly motivated by food, so I always associate good mornings with great food.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

God, no. I can recall two times that I’ve worked out in the morning, and they were pretty painful.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

I was making illustrations for Headspace for a while, which prompted me to download the app. It was a short-lived trial (because I eventually went through all of the free sessions), but I did enjoy it and I hope to come back to it in the future.

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

I like to answer emails first thing in the morning so I can start the day with nothing looming over me.

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

When I have a hard time sleeping, I usually take a hot shower and rub some lavender oil on my wrists and temples. I’m not sure if that actually does anything, but I like the ritual of it.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Somehow, as I’m in the process of snoozing and dealing with my orchestra of alarms, my phone migrates closer and closer to me until it’s directly under my pillow. So I would say, in all honesty, checking my phone is the first thing I do in the morning.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Making sure there are no fires to put out work-wise, packing my bag with everything I need for the day, and tidying up the house before I leave so I don’t come home to a mess.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

I have my first drink a little while before breakfast, and it’s usually hot lemon water or tea. In the colder months, I drink tea like crazy. English is my favorite, with a bit of milk and honey.

How does your partner fit into your morning routine?

My partner is probably the only reason I haven’t succumbed to my laziest morning tendencies. He loves mornings, so he actually helps me form routines rather than hinder them. For example, he goes for a run after he wakes up, and that’s roughly the amount of time it takes for me to shower and get dressed. When he comes back, we’re both ready for breakfast and sometimes we travel to the studio together after that. He is also the one to drag me out of bed on the weekends when I’m hungover, for better or worse.

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

Weekends don’t feel that different, because I sometimes switch it up and treat a weekday like the weekend. On Saturdays, my partner and I usually go to the farmers market and make a late brunch. I actually tend to schedule most of my social plans on weekdays, because I like having weekends wide open. And I do love sleeping in. I always encourage my partner to go on extra long runs on weekend mornings!

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

Strangely, I wake up much earlier whenever I’m in a different environment. When I’m traveling for work, I’m usually hyper focused on a project. I think the pressure that comes along with that is more than enough to get me up in the morning. I always feel inspired after a productive trip and think that I’m going to be a “new me” when I get home and wake up every day at the crack of dawn, but I inevitably go back to my old ways within a week.

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

I think I’ve naturally built room for flexibility in my morning routine, so I just have to be aware of which days are more or less busy than others. My timing used to be all over the place when I was younger, but now I’m much better about anticipating how long it takes to finish something.

That said, there are still nights when I work well into the morning because I’ve unexpectedly hit a good flow. I think it’s important to allow room for those moments as well, because you never know when your best work is going to happen. That’s just the nature of having a creative job.

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