L’Oreal Thompson Payton
L’Oreal Thompson Payton is a blogger and freelance writer, and director of external affairs for Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Passionate about empowering, educating, and inspiring women and girls through storytelling, L’Oreal currently lives in Chicago.
What is your morning routine?
I typically wake up between 6:30 and 7:30am on weekdays. In the last year or so, I’ve made a conscious effort to ease into my mornings. No checking texts or jumping immediately into emails. I used to work out in the mornings, but I’ve found that I most like to spend my mornings indulging in some well-deserved “me time.”
I start with reading a devotional and saying a prayer. Then I’ll listen to a brief 5-10-minute guided meditation. If I’m feeling especially inspired or thoughtful, I’ll write in my journal. I like to practice mindfulness. Lately, I’ve been incorporating a morning cup of coffee, thanks to my new Keurig.
I’m a big fan of rituals and I find that by starting my mornings in the same way, it sets up the rest of my day for calmness and creativity, which is important to me both personally and professionally.
After performing my morning routine, I get ready for the day… I eat breakfast, shower, dress, and then I’m out the door. I take the bus to work and I love not having to drive because my commute is my reading time (I typically read devotionals in my Bible app. On weekend mornings, when I have more leisure time, I read a little bit of whatever book I’m reading at the time. I’m a big fan of self-help books… I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, it really spoke to my heart and soul as a creative!). By the time I get into the office, I’m ready to start my work day.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’ve been practicing some variation of my mindful morning routine for the past year or so.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
A few years ago, I made it a point to exercise in the morning, and it worked for a while, but I found that it often left me feeling rushed and flustered when getting ready for work.
Then I was working on my side-hustle as a blogger and freelance writer in the mornings, but ran into the same issue with being rushed and flustered. Plus, I’m not a big fan of checking email first thing in the morning.
Now I focus on self-care in the mornings with prayer, meditation and journaling. I’ve found this to be the routine that makes me happiest and calmest.
What time do you go to sleep?
I try to go to bed by 10:30pm so I can get a full eight hours of sleep, but it’s more often around 11:00 or so. I need to get better about unplugging before bedtime.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I usually check the weather to see what the temperature is going to be so I can plan my outfit accordingly (Chicago weather can be so unpredictable at times). If I’m feeling especially prepared, I’ll pack my lunch and gym bag the night before.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Yes, I use an alarm, and I’m guilty of hitting the snooze button a few times if I stayed up past my bedtime the night before. I’m thinking about moving my phone to another room and using a traditional alarm clock to avoid snoozing so much.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
About 15-20 minutes after I wake up, depending on how long the meditation I’m listening to before then is. I used to have seasonal breakfast options (cereal in the summer, waffles in the fall, and oatmeal in the winter). But now I eat oatmeal pretty much year-round because it’s quick, convenient, and filling.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
Not anymore. But if I’m feeling particularly stressed, I may do a quick yoga video or stretch.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
I listen to my guided meditations on the Insight Timer app, which I love!
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
Nope. Email can wait.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
Not currently. I used to wear a Fitbit (I only stopped wearing it because it recently broke) that would track my sleeping patterns. I found that to be pretty insightful.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Because I read devotionals and listen to meditations using apps on my phone, it’s pretty inevitable that I’ll glance at my notifications, but I don’t usually check them until I’m on the bus. I make a point to put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode every night from 10:00pm until 10:00am so I’m not distracted by the pings.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Prayer and meditation.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
I’ll usually have milk or orange juice with my oatmeal, and I’ll grab a coffee from Starbucks after I’ve cleared out a few emails at work.
How does your partner fit into your morning routine?
My husband is not a morning person, so he doesn’t interfere with my morning routine at all as he’s usually still sleeping. He understands my rituals are very important to my well being.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I still pray and meditate, but I definitely sleep in on the weekends. I deserve it.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
For the most part, yes. Using apps definitely makes this easier.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
My whole day is thrown off. I notice a big difference in my demeanor on days when I meditate versus days when I don’t. It’s like I’m being thrown immediately into chaos and then my day is pretty much dictated for me rather than the other way around. I like to be the boss of my day.
Anything else you would like to add?
There are so many books and articles out there about secrets to success and why you should wake up early and what the perfect morning routine should look like. My advice is to just do you. There is no one-size-fits-all. What works for me may not work for you… and that’s okay. Find your groove and don’t be afraid to adjust until you discover what works best for you—keeping in mind that it may change several times over the course of your life.
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