What is your morning routine?
I wake up at 7:00am most mornings and immediately make french press coffee with milk.
I’ll then journal and meditate for fifteen minutes. Sometimes I read poetry - Wendell Berry and Hafez, most recently - before meditating. My journalling is very free-flowing, usually about half a page, and a combination of what I’m feeling, thinking about, and looking forward to.
Next I get dressed, pack my lunch if I have leftovers from dinner the night before, and make sure I have the right things in my bag (especially my computer and my headphones!).
I’ll then bike to the office or, if it’s really cold, take the subway.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
About four years now.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
When I travel, which is about one week each month on average, some of this goes out the window (except the coffee part, which invariably amps up!).
I’d like to add morning exercise, and I’d like to wake up earlier in order to fit that in. I’m trying to be better about eating breakfast.
What time do you go to sleep?
Usually before 10:30pm.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I do not check email before falling asleep! Chances are there will be something I need to attend to, and I’ll want to do that right away, even if it can really wait till the morning. Or there will be something discouraging that I’ll have to give a lot of thought to, which makes it harder to fall asleep. By not checking email, I can sleep more easily. I just have to remember that a ten-hour difference usually won’t make or break the issue at hand.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Yes, and yes!
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Usually after about twenty minutes. When I’m in a hurry, I sometimes skip it and just eat at the office. Lately I’ve been making a smoothie with banana and almond milk. Here’s the recipe: a glass of almond milk, one banana, a dash of cinnamon, and a few ice cubes.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
No, I wish I did! But I value sleep too much.
Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?
I meditate for fifteen minutes every morning; sometimes a guided meditation, sometimes sitting.
I’ve had a daily meditation practice for about six years, and I find it’s a really soothing part of my day that I look forward to when I wake up. I appreciate having a time for silence and stillness by myself, which helps me with the discipline of quieting my mind. I have a hard time keeping this practice up when I’m traveling (especially when there is jet lag to contend with, or a different daily schedule, or if I’m staying with friends and don’t have a quiet space); after a few days, I usually notice that I’m more anxious and my mind is racing. At that point I try to reintegrate it into my routine.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I usually leave it until I get to work - I’d rather get myself to the office earlier, and I need to get out the door faster in order to do so. Not checking email first thing helps me to be fully focused, as opposed to just giving my partial attention, while I’m rushing around getting ready to leave.
My day is really structured around phone meetings, and I often have early morning phone meetings at home before I even get to the office. When that’s the case, I check email quickly beforehand to make sure I know what’s going on before my meeting.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
During the winter I use a humidifier.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Usually not until I get to the office, but if I’m traveling, right away.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Water, then coffee.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
No, it all goes out the window on the weekend!
For me, the weekend is really about relaxing, about the joy and release of not feeling like all my time is structured and planned. I eat a larger breakfast (eggs), sleep in, and don’t do my meditation practice. My partner and I usually run errands, including walking to the farmers’ market and dropping off our compost there. We usually see some friends for a meal or a party, see a movie, or go out for dinner and drinks. I go to church on Sundays when I’m in town.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
If I’m not too busy I’ll do a shorter meditation. Sometimes that goes out the window, though, especially if I’m tired from jet lag or the travel itself. I also tend to fall behind on work when I travel, so my mornings and evenings are used for checking email and having phone calls.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I sometimes feel like I’m in a big rush, or I feel really tired by the middle of the day. When I feel that way, I try to find time for a quick break to collect my thoughts and get grounded.