What is your morning routine?
I wake up around 6:00am every day, usually to the sound of my two little boys (one and three years old) talking to each other or, more accurately, yelling/throwing toys at each other. Before I get out of bed, I quickly check my schedule for the day, make sure that no urgent emails came in overnight, and hug my husband. Then, I’m off to play. Mornings are when I get quality time with my little guys during the week, so I try to make the most of it.
We are lucky to have help - our amazing nanny starts early, which helps me focus on quality time with the kids in the morning while still allowing everyone to get ready for school and work. I play with the kids while she preps their breakfast, and then I get dressed while they eat. After everyone is dressed, we often prep food for dinner (my three-year-old loves to help cook) and then I head out to take my older son to school before I head into work.
After dropping him off, I usually hop on a call en route to my office. On days when I don’t have a call scheduled, I listen to a book on Audible at 2x speed (I’m currently listening to The Fish That Ate the Whale). When I get to the office, I try to run up to our office’s rooftop deck for a few minutes of mindfulness and to set an intention for the day before I race off to meetings.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
Over three years now, with a few modifications, mostly based on kid-related schedule changes. I work a lot, but my schedule is flexible enough to allow mornings to fit my family.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
Before having kids, my routine was completely different. With kids, planning ahead and sticking to a routine is critical. It’s also much harder for me to get into the office early these days, so I tend to get my best work done late at night.
Fitting in workouts has been a big challenge lately, so I’m experimenting with a personal trainer who comes to my house one day a week. He is happy to have my little guys around, so they play near us and sometimes join in the exercises. So far, so good!
What time do you go to sleep?
It varies. I am a huge believer in sleep being an essential ingredient to happiness and health, but I have to be realistic about when I get it. I limit myself to two late bedtimes a week, where I may not get to sleep until midnight. I counterbalance that with two nights a week where I go to bed by around 9:00pm (I always try for 8:00pm, but it doesn’t happen), and then aim for 10:00pm other nights.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I look at my calendar and make sure I’m prepared for all my meetings the next day and have time booked and labeled with anything else I need to do. I also make sure I’m clear on the couple of things that I must get done the next day so I can focus on making those happen.
I never want to wake up stressed, so knowing what I need to do and making sure my schedule will enable that is critical. My assistant is often available late at night to make last-minute calendar changes, which is also super helpful (Thanks, E!)
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I have two alarms. They are one- and three-year-old boys, and each has a great set of lungs! They do not come with snooze buttons.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I always start with a cup of warm water, then move on to coffee with almond milk. I generally don’t have breakfast until I’m in the office, and then I’ll have green juice or a handful of nuts.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
Since my mornings are all about time with my kids, I mostly work out at other times during the week so I don’t miss them. Typically, this means a yoga class at my office Monday evenings (I work very late most Mondays, so yoga around 5:30pm is a great break before getting back to work), and a pilates class or two on the weekends.
As I mentioned, I’m also testing out a personal trainer one morning a week, which has been great.
Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?
I don’t have a rigid practice, but I try to find small moments for mindfulness throughout my day. It often starts with a few minutes on our office’s rooftop deck before I start my day, and, on more stressful days, I will take a few minutes for a walk around the block or another stop on the roof to be calm.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I answer email until the moment I go to bed at night, so unless it is one of my early bedtime nights, I generally do not have much urgent email in the morning. Other than a quick scan when I get up, I generally will not get to email until midday when I have time blocked on my calendar (usually thirty minutes, sixty if I’m lucky) to catch up.
On my busiest days, I may not get to my email until after my kids’ bedtime. My team knows how to reach me if they have something urgent I might miss in my inbox.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
It’s always the first thing I check when I wake up. I scan my email to make sure there are no emergencies and then try to quickly put it away until I am at work. If there is something urgent, I deal with it from bed so it doesn’t weigh on me once I’m with my kids.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Quality time with my kids. It gives me energy for the day, and I feel terrible all day if I miss it.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Warm water with lemon from a tree in our backyard.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
The little guys wake up at 6:00am every day, so I do as well. If we haven’t gotten enough sleep in a particular week, my husband and I will take turns on the weekend getting up with the kids to let the other one relax for a bit longer.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
Mornings when I’m traveling feel luxurious, so I try to really enjoy them by doing things like getting room service for breakfast or taking an early morning walk.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
Two things drive deviation from my morning routine:
1) Early morning meetings. Since my entire family is involved in my morning routine, it’s hard to change, so I try to avoid meetings before 8:30am. If I can’t avoid scheduling something early, my husband is quick to jump in and help adjust.
2) Urgent emails that need to be handled immediately. This is rare, but my husband is a great partner in managing things in the background during a crisis, and he’ll step in quickly to make sure I can handle things immediately.
Our recommended book this week is The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal. We only recommend three things a week that we believe will be of interest to our readers. Please take a moment to check it out.