“I recently discovered the beauty of listening to audiobooks for mundane tasks like cooking and, yes, my morning routine.” – Marjolein Verbeek Share this quote on Twitter

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Marjolein Verbeek

What is your morning routine?

My alarm goes off at 6:30am, playing music from my iPod which is usually on shuffle, so it’s always a surprise to see what I wake up to. Last week I decided not to use the snooze button anymore, and it’s been pretty easy to get used to. After waking up and listening to the music I have to get up pretty quickly so to beat my roommates to the shower.

Once I’ve taken a shower I get dressed and fix my hair before it dries. I then move downstairs into the kitchen for breakfast before brushing my teeth, doing my makeup, cleaning my room for a little bit, all so I’m ready to leave the house around 8:00am.

I live across from my campus, so I’m at the office and school (same building, I work as a project manager at a student company located at my university) about ten minutes later. That short walk is just enough to wake my body up. Classes and most of my colleagues start at 9:00am, so I have the office to myself for a full hour. That one hour makes me feel great, I am very productive in the morning, so I’ll feel like I have already accomplished something before I even get started on my appointments or classes.

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I recently discovered the beauty of listening to audiobooks for mundane tasks like cooking and, yes, my morning routine. I usually listen to educational books; fictional books I save for when I actually take some time to read and lay down on the couch and relax. With audiobooks I get the privilege of not being so bored all the time while having all the freedom to move around. On top of that it also seems to wake up my mind quite well.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I created this routine (together with my evening routine) about two months after I moved out of my parents’ place, in the summer of 2013.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

Since creating this routine it has changed quite a bit.

Things have been added, deleted, updated, and moved around. I feel like it is a moving thing, just like my life. I try to add or change things every time I feel like I should adopt a certain habit, but the basic routine always stays the same.

What time do you go to sleep?

My evening routine is absolutely essential to the success of my morning routine.

I have an alarm set on my phone that goes off at 10:00pm. I then wrap up my work and shut down all screens, including my phone. I dim the lights and take my sleeping pills (I have had those since I was a little kid, apparently my body doesn’t know how to make melatonin very well). Afterwards I’ll make my lunch for the next day before brushing my teeth. Back in my room I start cleaning up, packing my bag for tomorrow, and laying out the clothes I want to wear. At around 10:45pm I have a clean room and an empty mind, and I’m ready to go to bed.

Because I do this, I feel well rested when I wake up in the morning. I feel the consequences of not following my evening routine immediately, it’s complete chaos. These routines seem inseparable to me. It almost feels like my sleep is part of a daily, twelve hour long routine.

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. It provides the structure I need; I can’t rely on my biological clock.

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

I have breakfast 45 minutes to an hour after waking up. I try to vary what I have, but my pool of options seems limited; toast with scrambled eggs, toast with jam, or a banana power smoothie.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

No, unfortunately not.

When I still lived with my parents I had a car which I used to drive to campus and back every day. Two or three times a week I would go to the pool before class to swim some laps; I loved it! Unfortunately when I moved closer to campus I moved further away from the swimming pool, and I can’t bike there (us Dutchies bike everywhere!) or take the bus and be back in time any more.

How about morning meditation?

Unless you count the ten minutes I use to wake up and listen to music, then no.

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

Not until I get to the campus. It can never be that important if they haven’t called or texted me.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning, either for calls/messages or social media and news?

I turn off my phone at night and turn it on when I want to listen to an audiobook. I then reply to any messages my boyfriend or friends have sent, and put my phone in my pocket.

I try to refrain from checking Facebook, which is a lot easier since I turned off notifications. Usually it turns out I haven’t missed anything on there anyway.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Well, my shower definitely feels like the kick off of the day. On days that I don’t shower in the morning (which are rare! Even if I showered the night before I really need it to feel fresh and wake up), I definitely have a harder time getting started.

Apart from that I don’t feel like some tasks are more important than others! The fact that I need to do all of those things was the reason for creating a routine. Not following it will inevitably mess up my day a little bit.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

I don’t drink coffee, ever. I really don’t like the taste of it, and I believe if you need it to wake up then something must be wrong with your sleep cycle.

Usually I go for a glass of milk or a cup of tea with my breakfast.

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

No. When I stay with my boyfriend, for example, my whole routine is off, although I am trying to implement it there too.

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

I don’t do much if I fail to follow it! I just don’t feel as refreshed, awake, and organized then, with less productivity coming about as a result.

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