M.G. Siegler is a General Partner at Google Ventures, a columnist for TechCrunch, and a writer of 500ish Words. M.G. currently lives in San Francisco, California.
What is your morning routine?
I recently moved back to the U.S. from London, so I’m transitioning back to a more normalized schedule. While over there, I would often be doing late-night calls with the U.S., so I typically woke up at either 8:00am or 9:00am. At that point, I would quickly check for urgent messages on things that may have happened while I was asleep (again, during the day/evening back in the U.S.).
If nothing is too pressing, I typically read some combination of The New York Times or the articles I had saved the previous day to Pocket. I drink a bottled Starbucks Frappuccino while I do this, which abhors some people, including my fiancée. But it’s my one vice, something I’ve done since I was a kid.
Around 10:00am, I would dive into email. I liked doing it at this time in the UK because most of the U.S. is still asleep - and not able to immediately respond. I have a deep hatred of email, so I try to do it once a day and ideally not turn it into a back-and-forth volley. This takes me to lunch time, which is typically when I would start my meetings for the day.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
Again, I was living in the UK for the past year, so this was my routine there. In the U.S., it’s slightly different - largely because I do my email at night instead of in the morning. Again, because I like to try to send email when people can’t respond to them immediately!
In the U.S., I typically wake up earlier if I have to head to our office in Mountain View (which can be a 60-90 minute commute). Or I’ll do a meeting or two in the morning. If my schedule is clear, I like to write at this time - but it’s rarely clear.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
Beyond the U.S./UK differences, I definitely wake up much earlier than I used to. When I was a tech reporter, I would typically work very late into the night, often going to bed around 3-4:00am. As such, I would sleep until 10 or 11:00am. Seven hours of sleep is my norm, but in those tech blogging days, I would often get six or sometimes just five hours a night. I sleep much better now :)
In those days, I would get up and immediately get on my computer to start covering whatever hot story was happening in tech on any given day. I would never eat breakfast, but I still drank that Frappuccino.
What time do you go to sleep?
Typically between midnight and 1:00am.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
If there’s something specific, like a meeting, I have to be up for, then yes. Otherwise, I try to leave the alarm off and I’ll wake up around the same time every day.
When I do have an alarm on, I usually hit the snooze button once or twice.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
If I have a morning meeting, I’ll sometimes have breakfast, but usually, it’s just me and my Frap.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I would love to, but no, my gym routine is in shambles. When I was a regular at the gym, I would typically go in the evenings.
How about morning meditation?
In a way, my morning reading is my meditation.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
Just the aforementioned Pocket (disclosure: Pocket is a GV investment). It allows me to get to any news I missed from the day before. And I read The New York Times on my iPad.
I also really like the new “While you were away” feature on Twitter.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Within ten minutes of waking up. I often think I should wait until I’m fully awake, but the truth is that checking my phone helps me wake up as it gets my brain going.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Definitely reading. This is what jump starts my whole day with ideas and inspiration. I typically read news, but sometimes I’ll read a long-form piece that I had saved to Pocket.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
In case it’s not clear yet, it’s that bottled Frappuccino. I swear, this isn’t an ad for Starbucks.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
My weekend routine is typically the same as my weekday routine, though I spend more time reading and less time doing email.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
I’m pretty bad at this, actually. I’m a creature of habit, so even one difference in the routine (not having the Frappuccino, for example) throws the whole thing off. In some ways this is a good thing though as it makes me adapt and occasionally will make me realize I should switch up my routine in some way.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
My mental state is thrown into a sort of disarray for at least a couple hours. This typically just makes me hate email even more :)
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