“I’m really motivated so I don’t often drop the ball, but I don’t beat myself up about it when I do.” – Patrick Ward Share this quote on Twitter

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Patrick Ward

What is your morning routine?

Let’s just get this out there: I’m not a huge morning person, so when I talk about my “morning” I’m being a bit liberal with the term. That said, I typically wake up, check my phone for important messages, and then fix a glass of ice water. I’m not sure whether or not to believe that this jump starts your metabolism, but I do know that my body is always dehydrated when I wake up so this helps get me on track.

Immediately afterwards I grab myself a cup of coffee (Starbucks Pike Place, with cream and sugar). This process has become much easier since we got a Keurig a couple of years ago.

Once I’ve been caffeinated a little, I sidle up to my computer to check and respond to email. I’ve discovered that I’m at my most creative during the first two hours after I wake up, so I try to do tasks like illustration, web design, or reading articles that I queued up the night before. This also helps me get to sleep if I’m stuck on a problem, because I know the solution usually comes to me in the morning. I don’t stress about it, I just tuck it into a room in the back of my mind and sleep on it.

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How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

In June of 2013, I left my job at Parnassus Books and began a sabbatical to work on some personal projects and diversify my skill set. During my senior year of college I worked as a night auditor at a hotel while attending school full-time, and ever since then I’ve been going warp speed so it has been wonderful to catch up on sleep and relax a little.

Now that my sleep deficit is gone, I’ve been free to find my own personal rhythm. Nine hours is the perfect amount of sleep for me, so I’ll typically go to bed around midnight or 1:00am and wake up around 9 or 10:00am in the morning.

This has proven to be the biggest change in my routine and the one that has yielded the greatest results. Finding out what your body needs in terms of sleep can be difficult, especially when you’re young and people around you are running on three or four hours of sleep, but sleep is so crucial I can’t justify the trade off to myself anymore.

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

I used to hate alarms until I discovered a little app called Rise, by Simplebots. It’s super intuitive to set and the Early Bird alarm is the most pleasant sound I’ve ever heard that will still actually wake you up.

I typically set two alarms in case I get a bad night of sleep, so I can snooze for a few minutes.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I like to do cardio in the morning after I’ve read through my news and gotten some work done on my projects to help me switch gears. Thirty minutes on the treadmill, elliptical or recumbent bike is enough to make me feel energized and ready for the rest of my day.

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

I’m lousy at eating breakfast but I’ve been trying to get better. I never have much of an appetite until an hour or two after I wake up, when I’ll typically have a banana, some yogurt (Oikos Vanilla is the best!) and a couple of eggs with toast.

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

I’m really motivated so I don’t often drop the ball, but I don’t beat myself up about it when I do.

Most days are flexible so I can rearrange my schedule to make up for things that I missed. If I start failing to do one part of my routine or another it’s usually a sign that I need to change things up. No routine will work forever so I always keep an eye out for ways I can improve my routine or make it more efficient.


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