“In the afternoon my brain completely shuts down, so that’s a better time for me to get some exercise and get the oxygen flowing.” – Monica McCarthy Share this quote on Twitter

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Monica McCarthy

What is your morning routine?

This is very much a work in progress as I’m still working on creating more of a routine in general.

Since I don’t have a typical day job and because I’m often working in collaboration with others (often in difference time zones), it’s often difficult to completely determine my own schedule. But I’m grateful for the days I’m able to write 750-1,000 words, check off a to-do that’s been nagging at me (usually this is an email of some sort—Guilty, ed.), make a small breakfast, clean up, and brush my teeth.

And if I actually make the bed, I know it’s going to be a good day.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

I used to try and work out (usually running) first thing, but I’ve discovered that my brain and overall creative functions work a thousand percent better in the morning, and I have a relatively short window of time in which to remain extremely focused.

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In the afternoon my brain completely shuts down, so that’s a better time for me to get some exercise and get the oxygen flowing… of course that means it’s much easier to find excuses not to exercise as the day progresses; I’m still trying to find a solution to that problem!

What time do you go to sleep?

The answer is always “it depends”, but more often then not, about 11:00pm.

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

I set an alarm for 7-8 hours after I go to bed (unless I’m up against a deadline or have to be up at an ungodly hour to be on set), otherwise I can’t fall asleep because I’ll be worried about sleeping in too long and wasting my precious morning hours.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

Aside from the shower? No. My brain is usually racing a mile a minute in the morning and I struggle to get my thoughts down on paper fast enough before they instantaneously combust, never to be seen or heard from again.

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

I check my email very early on in the day, along with any messages via social media. It stresses me out too much not to know if someone wants my time or attention for one reason or another, though I’m trying to get better about waiting to reply until after my writing and other morning projects are completed.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Drink something. Eat something. Not let myself get distracted from the things I actually need to be doing.

Bonus points if I change out of my PJs before noon.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

I typically down a glass of New York’s finest tap water to cleanse the palate and wake up the system.

In warmer months this is often followed by green juice (kale, cucumber, apple, ginger, and carrots). In colder months, I make coffee with my French press. I like the process of boiling the water, grinding the beans, and pressing that nozzle thing down to strain the beans.

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

This happens a lot, usually because of travel, auditions, or filming. Fortunately, all of those activities also foster inspiration and creativity in their own right so I’m willing to sacrifice the interruption to the routine.

But no, I’m not good at sticking to a routine when those things are happening. It’s really an “either/or” scenario for me.

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

The precise routine doesn’t matter as much as the output.

If I can buckle down and knock out a blog post or write a script or pitch five people, then I feel like I’ve conquered the world! That sense of accomplishment and mini-win offers momentum for the rest of the day’s tasks… even (especially) the mundane ones like, you know; laundry, bank, grocery store, etc.

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