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

Read 229 answers below or select another question.

John Zeratsky · Author, Designer

The most common “failure” is that I have to be somewhere early, so the whole thing gets compressed. I always maintain my routine of feeding the cats and making coffee, but I might have to skip my morning Highlight so I can leave earlier than normal. This isn’t too disruptive to my day, because if I’m doing something else (going to a conference, leading a workshop, traveling, etc.), that activity becomes my Highlight and helps me bring my attention and energy to what matters most.

But… if something crazy happens to my morning routine and I don’t have time for coffee or breakfast, all bets are off.

Kate Nafisi · Designer, Finisher

When I’m home and don’t have a slow morning, I run on adrenaline and feel irritable. On those days I require a longer lunch or an extra break in the forest to relax and reset.

Wilf Richards · Coop Co-Founder

I go with the flow as best I can, knowing that if I am far from the ideal routine that I will get back towards it as soon as possible in a day or two.

As long as I get the sleep and rest I need I can normally still function okay. If I don’t get enough sleep, however, then I can get grumpy, irritable, and angry. Those are my warning signs and motivations for regaining balance and knowing the importance of having a healthy routine.

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Josh Gross · Founding Partner at Planetary

Honestly, it’s awful. This routine, as simple as it is, really helps me get my day started right. If I wake up and have to immediately deal with work, check email, respond to messages, or otherwise disrupt this schedule, it throws off my focus and productivity for the whole day. I need to be able to maintain at least the core of this routine for my own mental health.

Paul Murphy · Third Grade Teacher

It’s pretty hard for me to fail at my morning routine, which, if I were writing a book on the subject, I might loftily claim is the secret of my success.

Admiral William McRaven has a book called Make Your Bed, which is partly based on a speech he gave somewhere about the importance of making your bed after getting up. He made the point that making your bed first thing in the morning was a good way to accomplish something right away. It was a nice little positive kickstart. If nothing else went right, at least you had that. So I’ll steal that idea. My routine is so simple anyone could do it, and executing something as soon as you get out of bed sets you on a path to success for the rest of the day. So my day is never ruined because I can’t get to the gym, or because my meditative trance is broken by a balky smoke alarm, or because I ran out of K-cups and can’t have my coffee. I can count on every day starting off the way I expect it to because it takes very little to execute my morning routine.

Denise Lee · Founder of Alala

When I don’t get to follow my routine, I try to at least work out later that same day. If none of it happens, I remind myself that tomorrow is a new day and I’ll get back on track then. I don’t stress over it; there are too many other things to stress about!

I feel a bit out of sorts if I don’t get to do my normal morning routine. I notice this mostly with my appetite and how tired or unfocused I am throughout the day. If I don’t get to have my smoothie for breakfast, I tend to eat worse or more food than I usually would throughout the day. I also find myself getting tired at certain points in the day where I usually have energy and find it harder to focus. As I grow older, I am much more protective of my time, so my sleep and morning routine are high priorities.

Amy Nelson · CEO of The Riveter

When I don’t take time for myself in the morning, I feel incredibly rushed. Even just thirty minutes where I’m alone gives me fuel for a long day with my kids and with The Riveter.

Rick Smith · Founder and CEO, Axon

Typically, if I miss my routine, it’s because I need more sleep—and that’s either because I have a particularly intense period of work or I’m coming off trips where I’ve not gotten enough sleep due to early-morning flights and what not. Getting good sleep trumps everything, so I don’t feel too guilty if I skip my routine because I need to get more of it.

George Foreman III · Retired Professional Boxer

I try not to take it too seriously.

There was a time when I would become very upset with myself if I was off my routine and I would try to compensate for it all day. That type of mental obsession can start the day off with negative emotions and feelings, and it chokes creativity. Remembering that life is short, that every breath is precious, and that happiness is the only true currency keeps me looking forward to the next morning as opposed to dwelling on the ones that have passed.

Carly Stein · Founder of Beekeeper’s Naturals

Even if I can’t accomplish my routine in its entirety, I take pieces of it and do my best to incorporate as many parts as I can. I love setting myself up for success with all these rituals and practices, but I’ve found that the most important predictor of success in my day is my attitude. My routine is there to serve as the building blocks for a successful day. It’s a tool. I try not to get bogged down if I can’t do it all. My attitude is way more important.

Hayley Leibson · Serial Entrepreneur

I try not to be too hard on myself if something comes up and makes it impossible to stick with my routine. I’m pretty flexible, and will adapt. If I can’t make yoga in the morning due to an early meeting or call, I’ll go in the evening after work or try to squeeze in an extra yoga class or workout on the weekend when I have more time.

Sarah Morgan · Digital Strategist

I do the same things the same way every day so I don’t have to make a bunch of decisions in the morning. My goal is to always start work with energy and positivity because no one wants to read blog posts from someone who is cranky and tired. So, my best response is to let go of whatever got screwed up and keep it moving!

Tina McCorkindale · President/CEO, Institute for PR

When I don’t work out while I’m traveling, I feel bad. But I have to get up much earlier if I have an early meeting, because I’ll have to work out, shower, fix my hair, and put on makeup, which I don’t really have to do as much when I’m at home.

Sam Crawford · Blogger, The Man Blueprint

In addition to feeling like a bit of a lemon, missing my morning routine really sets me back. That’s why I try to make it as short and simple as possible. If I am really strapped for time, I’ll just do the hydration, stretches, and getting ready, which don’t take any longer than fifteen minutes, provided I’ve gotten all my clothes and things ready the night before.

Jean Chatzky · Financial Editor, The Today Show

Not exercising in the morning is the thing that messes me up the most. Before I started meditating, my attitude was that exercise was my meditation. Now I’m trying to do both. If I don’t sweat a little bit and shake out my limbs, I’m not as productive—or happy—for the rest of the day.

Gideon Akande · Celebrity Fitness Trainer

If I fail to follow my morning/pre-morning routine, I usually find myself rushed and unprepared. I end up having to sacrifice my workout or my breakfast, or alter the scheduled workouts for my clients because I don’t have everything necessary to complete those tasks. Additionally, I feel somewhat defeated before the day has even started. Therefore, I try to avoid that scenario at all costs!

Mara Schiavocampo · Emmy Award-Winning Journalist

Days when I don’t have my routine suck. They just suck. That’s what keeps me motivated to endure the pain of an early wake-up time. I just feel totally out of sorts and like I’m playing catch-up all day. Sleeping in isn’t worth it.

Josh LaJaunie · Runner

If work or something gets in the way, I’ll take a break during the day to get something done at the gym or go for a run.

I’m not a fan of allowing myself to become fragile over a desire to have things the way I prefer them. Life hardly ever gives you your preferred things. It’s how you deal with “different” that matters most, so bring it on.

Lauren Berger · Founder of Intern Queen

Ugh! I love being in control of my day; when my day starts to control me, we have a problem!

When I don’t follow my routine and get in control (and ahead) of my day, it feels like my schedule is in charge of me. I almost feel like I’m a puppet on a string, just following my calendar around. I usually end up feeling overwhelmed and unaccomplished at the end of the day. That either causes me to lose my personal time (because I’m doing things I should have done during the workday) or just to feel like a failure.

In my new book, Get It Together, I talk about the importance of self-love and coping with failure. You can’t win them all. I try to remind myself that we’re going to have bad days. It’s okay. The next day is always a fresh start!

Sabrina Zohar · Co-Founder of Softwear

Failure is part of life. We cannot expect to be perfect all the time, so accepting that about ourselves is the first step. There are days where I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, in a bad mood, or stressed beyond belief. If my morning is thrown off, that’s okay! We can change anything at any moment. I make sure that at some point, even in the shower, I take a moment to repeat to myself, “You are protected, you are on the right path,” to redirect my thoughts and change the trajectory of the day.

Keeping rituals and our morning routines realistic is what matters most. We all want to go overboard and make a million changes, but that’s not a sustainable practice and will only lead to burnout and an even more judgmental inner voice. Start small and be gentle with yourself; give yourself praise when you do stick to your routine, and show compassion to yourself when you don’t. Change is gradual and incremental, so bearing that in mind will help you stick to your new routine and feel good about the changes you do make!

Tara Hanrahan · Corporate Spa Director

I think it depends on why I miss it. When I don’t do my routine because I must be somewhere super early, then I feel fine and have no issues over missing it. When I don’t do it because I need more sleep, that’s okay as well. But when I don’t do it because I am in a sad or bad mood or, frankly, I can’t be assed—that’s when I need it the most. That’s when I know that my morning routine has the power to change how I feel about myself and external situations in my life.

Of course, I don’t always have the enthusiasm to follow through with my routine, and on these occasions I feel out of sorts for the rest of the day. There’s a saying: “You’re only one workout away from a good mood.” I think that can apply to a morning routine as well.

Jules Clancy · Cookbook Author

If I miss my morning meditation routine, I try to meditate later in the day. I really notice that when I’ve skipped my meditation, I’m more irritable and less calm.

For me, calmness is a key benefit of meditation. It also helps with my general mental health and being able to cope with whatever life brings my way. It’s also invaluable for helping me be patient with my small boys.

Catherine Duc · Grammy-Nominated Composer

My morning routine is pretty simple, so it’s like I’m on autopilot. If I inadvertently miss something (like packing my lunch), it’s no big deal; life is too short to worry about the small things.

Robert Greene · Author

If for some reason I can’t meditate in the morning, I either try to meditate later in the day, or the next day I try to make up for it with two meditation sessions. I’m kind of rigid on that.

I’m a creature of habit. I think a lot of writers lead lives that are much more boring than people imagine. Unless you’re Ernest Hemingway, and even he probably had a more boring life than people imagine. You have a routine because you can’t write without a routine. Writing is a very routine-oriented job; you have to be focused and disciplined, and you have to have the same place where you work every day. Writing is a lifestyle that lends itself well to routines and rituals.

Nicole Gibbons · Interior Designer

I just roll with it. It’s impossible to flawlessly execute my ideal morning routine every single day, so I try not to beat myself up too much. While I definitely feel more productive when I can check everything off my list, I still feel some level of accomplishment even if I get just one small thing done.

Sam Conniff Allende · Serial Entrepreneur

If I don’t edit the day’s priorities, if I’ve succumbed to anxiety, or (worst of all) if I’ve decided to clear my inbox, then the day is fatally flawed. If I fail, I’ll be in catch-up mode for the rest of the day, with an air of awkwardly catching up but never achieving it that even Sisyphus would find exhausting… which, to be honest, is today.

I love the idea of a morning routine, and when mine works those are my best days. But the routine is only one part; it’s the discipline, determination, and dedication to stick to it that matters.

Sabrina Hall · Multidisciplinary Designer

I tell myself, “Okay, just try again tomorrow.” I’ve found it’s important to be kind to myself to keep my energy positive and focused for the rest of the day. I try to hold myself accountable, though, and if I miss the morning routine I make up the time during the evening or on the weekend.

There are days when I have to adjust my morning workout routine. This can be due to having meetings in the morning or getting home late after a class or workshop the previous evening. Since working out is such an instrumental part of my mornings now, I miss it when I don’t do it and will go for a short run or even the entire five kilometers in the evening. Evening runs are lovely, as I usually do these outdoors and they become a very meditative experience. Running is a great way to think about the day and release any concerns from my mind.

Dempsey Marks · Personal Trainer

If I don’t follow my routine, my day is definitely off to a bad start. I tend to be less productive, more anxious, and just in a worse mood. I used to let this affect me a lot—especially if I slept in longer than I would like. Over the years, I’ve realized that while it’s certainly ideal to start your morning in a consistent fashion, beating yourself up if you don’t isn’t productive either.

Professor M.S. Rao · International Leadership Guru

I readjust my biological clock. When I served in the Indian Air Force, life was not fixed as I had to wake up and work at different times in different geographical locations and climatic conditions in India due to service exigencies. Sometimes, we were told to get ready within thirty minutes to travel to unknown destinations for secret operations. Therefore, I’m able to readjust and adapt in different environments.

Most soldiers have these qualities irrespective of their nationalities. That is just one of the many reasons why military people excel as great leaders globally.

Dr. Anthony Youn · Plastic Surgeon

As a surgeon, I am used to sudden changes in my schedule; however, I don’t like them. I am very organized, and all the hospital and clinic nurses and staff will tell you that I am always on time. I show up on time and I finish on time—I’m very dependable and predictable that way.

When there is a wrench thrown into my routine, such as when the ER calls me in the middle of the night, I still do my best to stay on the same schedule. I typically catch up with my sleep the next night. My patients and family always come first. Oh, and the pups, too.

Danette May · Health and Mindfulness Expert

It’s not very often that I don’t follow my routine. However, life happens, which can interfere with my mornings. When this happens, I don’t let it get to me or ruin my day. I just pick right back up the next morning.

Jamie Melzer · Fruit Jerky Entrepreneur

I’m still getting used to being an entrepreneur, working from home, and running around to meetings or to our manufacturing and fulfillment center. Every day is different, so I don’t have a strict work routine. When I can start the first hour of my morning roughly the same way every day, it helps to keep me balanced.

Suzanne Gibbs Howard · Dean of IDEO U

My rituals flex throughout the week rather than rigidly staying the same every day. If I need to be at work early, and need to skip exercise, it’s no problem. There’s always another day.

John Jantsch · Small Business Marketing Consultant

It affects my work, my mood, my level of stress, and likely my overall health. Before I got serious about some of my morning practices I had pretty high blood pressure. I was able to reverse that with much of what I do each morning. I also stopped eating meat.

Jake Knapp · Productivity Author

With every piece I miss, the odds of a strong day go down. I’m not saying it’ll ruin my day if I don’t sleep well or have to rush out the door before I exercise; it just makes it harder, and it makes it less likely that I’ll have my optimal energy. When I miss consecutive days of exercise, especially three or more, then I start to kind of go nuts.

Ashley Eckstein · Actress, Fangirl Trendsetter

I’m really flexible and can adjust easily. However, I always try to give myself an hour each morning to relax, wake up, eat breakfast, and drink coffee. If I don’t get to do that, the rest of my day feels rushed.

Krista Suh · Activist, Screenwriter

Eventually I do have to leave the womb of my bed, but because I’ve built up such a thick “brake pad” from all my time in bed, going out or something going awry is an adventure.

If I veer off my morning routine, such as when I have to get up and immediately get going in the morning, I’m usually fine in the moment, especially once I’m out, but I definitely feel more tired at the end of the day (and not in that exhausted pleasant accomplished way, more like a fried I-hate-everybody way). This simply reminds me that it’s just better for everyone if I have my mornings to myself!

Kim Leutwyler · Painter

If I do not follow my morning routine, the whole day is lost. Or perhaps the day just feels off when I wake up, and as a result I end up not following my morning routine. It’s a “chicken or egg” situation. I can tell the day is lost when I delay getting out of bed, when I can walk past my studio door without peeking in, or when I actively seek out random tasks to complete that could easily be deferred.

Julien Smith · CEO of Breather, Author

It messes up my whole day, because this is where I’m able to relax and focus and do all these things that I can’t get done during the daytime. I have an extroverted job—I run a company with over 200 people in it—so my time is very much in demand from a professional and personal perspective. My time to myself is very important and rare, so I make sure to keep it sacred.

Des Traynor · Co-Founder of Intercom

If I don’t get up within a certain window of time, it kind of breaks my day. Even though I have free time on my calendar, physically I feel like I’m late to everything from wake-up onwards. Those extra 5-10 minutes (of sleep) are not worth it.

Another lesson I’ve learned is to buy the toiletries that you like in bulk. This means it’s very rare that you’ll realize you’re out of toothpaste/deodorant/shower gel in the morning. At any given point, I might have sixteen shower gels, six mouthwashes, thirty-six razor blades, etc., in my bathroom; but it’s just easier than constantly being close to running out, and it helps me keep the routine.

Mitch Joel · Founder of Six Pixels Group

I don’t beat myself up over it. I’m not so set on the routine. I don’t like change, but if things get tossed about, I don’t sulk over what I have or haven’t done. There may be mornings where I skip meditation or coffee or breakfast or writing or maybe even email. On those days I just go with the flow. The only thing I always do is my mindfulness meditation practice. If I can’t get to it in the morning, I try to make it up later in the evening.

Esmé Weijun Wang · Novelist

I fail to follow my morning routine only when I’m experiencing a flare of intense illness (I have late-stage Lyme disease and am chronically ill as a result). On those days, I’m profoundly ill to the point where skipping my morning routine doesn’t affect my day much—it’s already terrible.

Ali Bonar · Co-Founder of Kween

Funny you ask this, because I’m currently suffering through my day after a wonky morning routine. Basically, I accidentally fell asleep last night at 7:00pm after lying down to “rest my eyes,” and woke up at 7:00am this morning with my shoes still on. (This hasn’t happened since college.) I haphazardly threw myself together and felt “off” the entire day.

Jacqueline Claudia · Founder, CEO of LoveTheWild

I’m pretty kind to myself, maybe too kind. When I’m too tired, I don’t stress about sleeping in and missing a workout. Given everything that I have going on in my life, the fact that I get up at all in the morning is a win.

Aubrey Marcus · CEO of Onnit

If I fail to follow my morning routine I try to get a hard workout in. A hard workout is like a manual restart of the day anyway, so after I’m done with training it feels like I have a second chance at getting the day off on the right foot.

Benjamin Hardy · Author, PhD candidate

If I fail in the morning, I generally have to abandon the work day. My best work happens before noon. So, if I sleep in or let myself get distracted by my family’s routine, the hours slip by and noon comes before I can get in the zone to write. It can be a huge bummer to be off in the morning and miss my peak work hours. So I try instead to repurpose my day, like going to lunch with my wife or getting the kids from school.

Derik Mills · Founder, CEO of YogaGlo

Now that the YogaGlo team is much larger, it’s rare for my morning schedule to be thrown off by something unplanned. But occasionally my schedule is beyond my control. Even when I have to rush out of the house first thing in the morning, I can always make time for just a few minutes of sitting and light stretching. I only start to feel the effects of not following my routine after a few days. When I go for more than a few days without it, I can feel an accumulation of pent-up energy, stress, and stiffness, and I start to become less patient and grounded. I’m a better version of myself when I maintain my routine.

Joel Gascoigne · Co-Founder and CEO of Buffer

I used to allow failing a portion of my routine to negatively impact my whole day. I now see life as a continual fluctuation of routine. There is no constant but change, so when I fail I know that I need to take away one or two layers of my routine and get back to the basic pillars: good sleep, a mindful start, exercise, and water.

When I feel like I’ve failed or when I’m building my routine back up after some time away, I do a quarter mile of swimming instead of a mile, or I do ten minutes of running instead of thirty. The key is to do each element, even to a tiny degree. Once each aspect is in place, I can build on it further.

Vanessa Van Edwards · Behavioral Investigator

I am very easy on myself when I don’t do this routine—I figure it is for a good reason. Feeling guilty about it will only make it worse. I do notice that when I have to jump right into work, my day is longer, harder, and I feel more burnt out by the end of it.

Lily Percy · Executive Producer

I try to be kind to myself and not foster too much guilt on days where I don’t exercise or don’t have those five minutes of centering time, but my day is definitely affected when I don’t do either one. Both of these activities are about taking care of myself and when I don’t do them I notice that I have far less energy and patience to take care of and work with others.

Lior Arussy · CEO of Strativity

Those days are doomed to begin with. They don’t go as smoothly, and chaos often descends on my activities. I hate those days. Those are the days when you want to go back to bed and wait until tomorrow.

Christy Wright · Founder of Business Boutique

I don’t feel like my routine is that set because of having small kids and the fact that they can derail my plans. When we all get out of the house on time and are somewhat put together, it’s a success. My morning routine in five years will probably look a lot different because my kids will be in school, and it will certainly be more predictable with no diapers, sleep regressions, etc.

Corbett Barr · Independent Entrepreneur

I find that when I don’t go for a walk in the morning, I’m not in the same headspace, and I sometimes feel sluggish or tire out more quickly during the day.

Grant Faulkner · Executive Director of NaNoWriMo

If I fail to follow my routine, it’s generally because I’ve had a bad night of sleep. If I don’t get in my writing time, I find that I’m crankier, a bit off kilter, and a bit less fulfilled. My routine keeps me charged up and optimistic. It also helps me be more generous and thoughtful to others. If I’ve done my work in the morning, my ego is just less needy.

Bob Guest · Entrepreneur, Bike Rider

There are occasional days when I have to get up extra early to get into work or race up to a meeting at a museum or something. Those days aren’t really ever “good” days. When I can’t walk Bear or go on the bike ride, my day seems a little thrown off… but only momentarily (I don’t like to hold grudges). So when it’s raining, I’m disappointed that I’m not getting miles or seeing my friends or getting out in the park, but I don’t let it throw off my whole day. It usually just throws off my entrance into the day. I guess I keep a healthy expectation that another morning will come, and my routine will be picked up once again. And that’s nice.

Kara Goldin · Founder of Hint Inc

In life, just like in business, it’s important to be adaptable and to roll with the punches. While my morning routine helps me start the day feeling like my best self, I don’t beat myself up when I can’t do it. Instead, I try to adjust the day as needed, whether that means fitting in some extra exercise by walking more, or sneaking in an extra cup of coffee or caffeinated water for a quick boost.

Kevin Warren · Chief Commercial Officer, Xerox

While I’m regimented, I’m not inflexible. I forgive myself when the routine doesn’t happen. When I don’t work out, it’s usually because my body is telling me that I need a pass. When I travel, I often have breakfast and dinner meetings or am dealing with time zone changes, so I adapt and don’t really let the lapse impact the rest of my day.

Jing Wei · Illustrator

I think I’ve naturally built room for flexibility in my morning routine, so I just have to be aware of which days are more or less busy than others. My timing used to be all over the place when I was younger, but now I’m much better about anticipating how long it takes to finish something.

That said, there are still nights when I work well into the morning because I’ve unexpectedly hit a good flow. I think it’s important to allow room for those moments as well, because you never know when your best work is going to happen. That’s just the nature of having a creative job.

Onicia Muller · Writer and Comedian

When I find myself straying, I take it as a sign to audit my life.

Sometimes my agenda is too full and I start burning the candle at both ends (waking up earlier and going to sleep later). That quickly leads to burnout and chaos.

Nothing in life is mandatory. I work hard, so sleeping in or having a foggy brain means I’m working too hard. When I’m too tired to function, I take a Netflix day and evaluate what might be zapping my energy. When I’m up for it, I try my hand at mindless business administration tasks.

Again, nothing is mandatory. Sometimes I remove tasks from my to-do list. So many things are meaningless hamster wheel activities. Sometimes setting the bar too high throws off my morning routine. I rediscover my purpose when I remember that nothing really matters and I prioritize myself over my plans for world domination.

But when I can’t do the above, I take a nap and restart my day. Seriously—go back to bed and start again. You’ll very likely wake up on the right side.

Tracy Chou · Entrepreneur, Diversity Advocate

I’m very adaptable! I don’t notice much impact on the rest of my day. That said, the quality and amount of sleep definitely affect my productivity. After a bad night’s sleep, I can soldier through the early morning fine, but I start flagging by the late morning and early afternoon.

Leigh Martinuzzi · Blogger, Podcaster

When I fail to follow my routine I never feel as active or emotionally pleased as when I follow it. That is why I have become better at sticking with it—I know it works.

When, for any reason, my morning is interrupted, I still try to fit in the exercise and meditation later in the day, usually at the first chance I get. Sometimes, however, I just have to let go and accept that it won’t get done. When I miss my routine for a couple days in a row, I really start to notice the effect this has on my mental health, clarity, and overall state of happiness.

Lindsay Champion · YA Author

If I have a late night and it looks like I’m going to get fewer than five hours of sleep, I’ll try to sleep in. But I always regret it—when I do my morning routine, I become the best version of myself.

L’Oreal Thompson Payton · Blogger, Freelance Writer

My whole day is thrown off. I notice a big difference in my demeanor on days when I meditate versus days when I don’t. It’s like I’m being thrown immediately into chaos and then my day is pretty much dictated for me rather than the other way around. I like to be the boss of my day.

Joshua Spodek · Author, Adjunct Professor

I haven’t missed it since I started in 2011.

I avoid equipment or apps so I can do my routines anywhere. The last time I traveled, for example, and didn’t have access to a rowing machine or a place to run, I substituted jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and bodyweight squats in my hotel room.

I’ve had injuries and illnesses over the years, but none have stopped me from my routines.

Melanie Elturk · Founder of Haute Hijab

My entire day is off, especially when I miss my morning prayer. I make up the prayer as soon as I can, but I feel I’ve wasted time and wasn’t as productive as I should have been. That usually means the rest of the day isn’t super productive.

Hilary Matheson · Ultrarunner, Climber

Up until my current trip to Nepal, I would have told you that the only thing that derails my day is not getting coffee in the morning. However, coffee isn’t a big part of the Nepalese mountain culture, so except for a couple occasions when I’ve settled for instant coffee out of desperation, I’ve been shockingly functional without it. I’ve been starting my days with milk tea (black tea and condensed milk) or hot lemon. It’s been a nice change, and it’s probably good for me to realize I don’t “need” coffee. But I still miss it and the comforting presence it provides.

Jason Vo · Publisher

I don’t beat myself up on days when I fail to adhere to my morning routine, because when I do, it’s usually for a good reason. Some days I have filming to do early in the morning, for instance, and leave my bed a mess as I run out the door. I can always get around to doing it in the afternoon!

Samir Becic · Fitness Expert

Should this happen, I adapt as I go. I don’t let a break in my morning routine ruin my day! Sometimes it’s nice to experience the day from a different perspective. Sometimes, when I feel stuck in my routine, I purposely break it; too much comfort for me creates discomfort. I like challenges and seek them out often.

Ritu Narayan · CEO of Zūm

When the morning gets thrown off or when I get up late, I try to maintain one hour of time spent with my children and stick to the routine as much as possible. I may take fifteen minutes to come back to myself before getting on with the day after the kids head out.

I try to plan so that I don’t have meetings that conflict with my family routine. It’s very hard on my family when our routine is thrown off, and it requires me to ask a lot of everyone else.

Josh Haynam · Co-Founder of Interact

I break my routine on purpose from time to time so that I’m not so affected when I fail to keep it. When I do stay out too late or travel and can’t keep the routine, I miss the joy of the morning. But rather than kicking myself for messing up, I use that feeling to drive myself back to the routine again the next day.

Meredith Laurence · The Blue Jean Chef

It’s not a big deal if the morning routine changes, but I don’t feel as good about myself when I don’t get a walk in. I think missing your routine on occasion is what makes a routine enjoyable - knowing that you might not get it in every day, and knowing that it is a choice.

Drew Logan · Fitness Expert, Trainer

This usually derails my whole day. In these situations I have to be honest with myself and listen to my body. If I need to rest one day, I’ll schedule, adjust, and plan the day accordingly. This usually means waking up at 5:30am and just doing the walk, and taking the day off from the strength work. The key here is in being able to recognize the difference between being lazy and truly needing a rest. If you have balance, taking a brief respite can feel like a huge boost in energy.

Melanie Travis · CEO, Andie Swim

I hate when I have to leave without breakfast, but when I have a meeting before 9:00am (sometimes it’s a photoshoot or an investor pitch or any number of things) I just get up, shower, leave, and grab something at a café en route to my appointment. In those cases, my wife walks our dog. She knows I’m grumpy when I have to miss our breakfast.

Todd Davis · Executive Vice President, FranklinCovey

When I follow my routine, I feel on top of the world. Regardless of what the day has in store for me, I feel accomplished and in control. It makes a significant, tangible difference when I stick to my routine.

So, what happens when I don’t? Just the opposite. I get caught up in what I call “the pinball syndrome,” bouncing from one thing to the next and ending the day feeling like very little of what is important has been accomplished. Discipline is a very powerful motivator.

Gail Saltz · Psychiatrist, Author

At this point it’s fair to say that I am addicted to my morning cup of coffee, and without it I get a headache, so I’ll always try to find a source of caffeine in some form before noon. When I’m not home and can’t talk to my kids or husband, I likely text or call them for a quick “hi,” “bye,” and “I love you,” at least.

I really like to try to have a low-maintenance morning, because having many things to do just adds unnecessary stress to my day. Having just a few requirements and being flexible about them actually helps me feel more relaxed for the rest of the day.

Matthew Weatherley-White · Managing Director, The CAPROCK Group

The beauty of my morning routine - no alarm clock, no fixed beverage, a range of acceptable breakfast foods, a huge range of available exercise, and a dedicated block of white space - is that it is nearly inexhaustibly flexible. So there really is no room for failure. Thinking about it now, I wish I’d been intentional about this, as I’d love to claim that my morning ritual was designed so that it was always accessible. But it emerged as a function of environment, temperament, and preference.

That is, perhaps, the best lesson for any morning routine: make sure it serves as an almost organic, inevitable armature to your morning rather than an exogenously imposed structure that may sound optimal but runs contrary to the natural rhythms of your life.

Celeste Headlee · Radio Host, Author

If I miss my routine, the rest of the day feels a little off. Not bad, but just a bit off kilter. It is very hard to get the workout and meditation done when I’ve missed it in the morning. I’m so used to having that finished by 7:00am that I forget to make time later in the day. I don’t know what works for others, but I’ve found that front-loading my day (getting a whole bunch done in the morning) is my productivity secret.

Kristen Ulmer · Fear Specialist

No effect. There are about six times a year I have to set an alarm: to catch a plane, give an interview, or facilitate a client or group and adapt to their earlier schedule. I usually feel about the same on these days, but I get tired sooner in the evening and sleep better at night.

Tami Halton Pardee · #1 Real Estate Broker in Los Angeles

If for any reason I’m not able to do my morning routine, I will literally find a time within my day to book out to make sure it is done. The only time that really happens is if I had a specific hike I wanted to go on that day, but I still usually try to do both.

Jenny Blake · Author, Career/Business Strategist

Gah! Unless it is for something awesome (like leaving for an exciting trip or going to a morning dance party on a boat!), I tend to feel more scattered, stressed, and reactive throughout the day.

I also keep the mindset that it is never too late to fit in my morning routine. If I get interrupted or am unable to do it first thing, there is no reason I can’t take a break in the middle of the day and take a time out for myself. If I meditate and read at 1:00pm, for example, sometimes it is the perfect reset in the midst of a crazy day.

On a great day, I am meditating and reading during breaks at least two or three times throughout the day! Morning, noon and night :)

Tammy Strobel · Writer, Photographer

If I don’t follow my morning routine, I feel unfocused. When I’m tired or unfocused, I try to be kind to myself. Treating myself with kindness and compassion might sound silly, but it makes a huge difference in my daily life. If I’m able to offer myself kindness and compassion, my day is always better.

Hitha Palepu · Writer, Entrepreneur

My day is completely derailed when I don’t follow my morning routine or I take my phone off airplane mode too early. When I don’t take care of myself first, I’m not the best mother, wife, or businesswoman I can be. My morning routine went from “it would be nice if I did that” to “I must do this to be my best self.”

Ravi Raman · Executive Career Coach

I designed my routine to be helpful. This means that if I miss it, I don’t worry too much about it. For example, if I woke up late and had to jump into work (e.g., rush to a meeting), I would skip my meditation, writing, reading, and coffee. I would simply grab a protein bar and start the meeting.

Then, later in the day, I would squeeze in the things I missed, if possible. The biggest impact comes from waking up late. When I wake up before 6:00am, I end up having a lot of time to take care of myself and think about things (which ends up being a fun exercise for me!). So if my routine is disrupted, I miss out on that. The good news is that I get to start again the next day and pick up my routine again. That’s the cool thing about designing a morning routine - you get to practice it daily!

Simon Enever · Co-Founder of Quip

I am just mentally behind when I don’t get up early and organize my day this way. When this happens, any morning meetings are the first things to get pushed back as I try to reclaim the time I “lost” in the morning.

Mick Batyske · DJ, Parent

Rana could tell you more, but I usually bitch and moan about how it’s hampered my productivity for an hour or two. Of course, I could just work that entire time instead of complaining!

Jamie Morea · Co-Founder of Hyperbiotics

I used to be really thrown when I wasn’t able to start my day like I wanted. Now, I am doing my best to see it as a gift. Days when I feel off-kilter and still manage to find my alignment usually end up full of wonderful surprises.

When I reframe my perspective to one of eager anticipation for the unexpected, I experience even more magic and joy than if everything had unfolded perfectly.

So, rather than being frustrated at my little one for being awake at 4:00am, I try to focus on the beauty of mamahood and what an honor it is to have the precious little being fully dependent on me for a few years.

Nick Tasler · Organizational Psychologist, Columnist

I immediately tear my robe and curse the heavens. Just kidding. Missing my morning routine sucks, and I don’t prefer it. But the human animal is nothing if not adaptable. So I just try to remind myself that shift happens, and then move on with my day.

Caroline Burckle · U.S. Olympic Medalist Swimmer

This question is something I have been unpacking within myself for a while now! NO JOKE, not having my morning routine affects me like nothing else. That being said, the past few months I have been working on truly letting this go. I have learned that it only affects me when I let it. Whatever I try to endlessly control ends up controlling me.

Mike Vardy · Founder of Productivityist

I feel ‘off’ if I miss any aspect of my morning routine. There have been days when I skipped splashing water on my face and I wound up going through the morning feeling out of sync. It usually happens when I’m sick, and so I’ll notice a slowdown in progress anyway. So I guess if I miss it when I’m not sick the same results would occur, only probably not as drastic.

Routines are the ideal way to bookend your day. I think they are the building blocks of effectiveness, efficiency, and efficacy. Without my morning and evening routine, I’d be far less productive than I am, and I’d achieve less in the process.

Nikki Pechet · VP of Marketing, Thumbtack

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.

May Boeve · Executive Director of 350.org

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.

Zane Bevan · Creative Director at Robinhood

If I mess up my morning routine, it’s definitely a bit tougher. This morning, in fact, I didn’t get to Starbucks in time and I also missed my train. I try to keep my routine as consistent as possible so I don’t have to think about it, but some mornings it’s really nice to be able to hit snooze and fall back asleep.

Bedros Keuilian · Founder, CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp

I try to get back on track as soon as I can.

If don’t sleep well, I double up on coffee so that I can get into my work and workout grooves. If I have to miss my workout for some reason, I shift my day around to complete my workout later in the day. What I don’t do is beat myself up if a day does not go as planned. I simply do my best to adapt and overcome, knowing that tomorrow I’ll be back on my routine.

Todd Henry · Bestselling Author

I definitely feel a difference in my day when I’ve not spent my morning productively. It seems to set a tone for everything else I do. However, that’s been a great motivator for me to stay on track and execute my dailies. They don’t feel optional anymore - they are are as necessary as drinking water.

Merrill Stubbs · Co-Founder and President of Food52

Right now, it’s all about flexibility and unpredictability. I can’t be too wedded to a specific routine or I’m bound to be disappointed when things go awry. I mean, poop happens. Literally.

I’m looking forward to the kids being a little older and being able to add something beyond the usual block-and-tackle to my mornings, such as a regular exercise regimen or some quiet time. Life is all about phases, right?

Shawna Kaminski · Fitness Coach

While my routine sets me up for a great day, I try to be flexible when it doesn’t happen. Sometimes I have to do some mental gymnastics or walk my dog [again] to get the quiet time I need.

Emily White · Founding Partner at Collective Entertainment

I try to not be too hard on myself when the morning routine cannot happen for any reason. That said, skipping my routine is rare because these priorities enhance both my life and my business - that’s exactly why they are priorities.

If, for some reason, I don’t get nine hours of sleep, I will nap to make up the difference. If I truly can’t exercise, I’ll take conference calls while walking around the block or with legs up the wall until I hit an hour. It sounds crazy, but prioritizing sleep and exercise makes such a difference across the board that it’s beyond worth it.

Erin Loechner · Author, Parent

Oh, I have a hard time if I don’t get in my morning hours. Even on weekends when I’m not working, I prefer being the first one awake to center myself in quiet. It’s the only time of day when the house is silent and calm, so I treasure it so much!

Erika Serow · President and US CEO, Sweaty Betty

My routine is fluid enough and I travel enough that I’m not thrown off when I miss it. However, getting less than six hours of sleep has an immediate impact on my mood, my acuity, and my eating habits for the day.

Guy Tal · Landscape and Nature Photographer

In my case it may be better to ask the opposite question: what if I tried to follow a more rigid routine? I have tried in the past, and when I do I very quickly find it profoundly limiting, frustrating and unproductive.

I work in bursts, and I can’t do creative work on a schedule. Some days I can write prolifically and other days I can’t put a satisfactory sentence together; some days I am inspired to make photographs and other days I don’t feel like touching my camera; some days when I’m uninspired I use my time for office work and other chores; etc. I rarely know in advance what the best use for my time will be on a given day, and attempting to force it usually becomes an exercise in frustration.

I think that a very common misconception that humans have is that other humans think, feel and function in the same as they do. If a routine works for me, it must work for others; if a certain activity is enjoyable to me, it must be enjoyable to others; if socializing is rewarding to me, it must be rewarding to others, etc. But the truth is, some of us perform best in chaos and feel oppressed when beholden to a routine; some of us are perfectly comfortable with our messy desks and offices; some of us are introverted and prefer to spend our times in solitude, etc.

Mauricio F. Corridan · Photographer

I’m pretty flexible, so if I can’t manage to do something because I lack the time in the morning, I just do it later in the day or in the evening.

Vanessa Garcia · Multidisciplinary Artist

On days when I really need to get a lot of work in, waking up late can mess with my head. Sometimes those days feel like disasters. When everything goes against my plan for the day, I do something like visiting my grandparents. That always puts things in perspective. Seeing people who love you and whom you love when they don’t expect it reminds you of what’s important. It reminds you of how little time we have; sometimes the best thing you can do is to not try to beat time but to slow down and enjoy it.

Erin Motz · Co-Founder of Bad Yogi

I’ve missed three days over the past few months, and it’s totally thrown me off! I do try to catch up with it later in the day; for example, I’ll still carve out time to meditate and write, and that helps clear my head and bring me back down to earth.

Liesl Gibson · Pattern Designer

There are some days when I just don’t sleep well enough and go back to bed for another hour as soon as my daughter leaves for school. I really dislike those days, though. I feel thrown off schedule and unproductive even though I really need the extra sleep.

Steph Davis · Free Soloist, Wingsuit BASE Jumper

My life is dictated primarily by the weather, for better or for worse! I have a hard time working with schedules based on calendars, which is how most of the world works, because calendars rarely align with weather schedules, and the weather is so unpredictable from day to day and even hour to hour in the desert and the mountains.

Lisa Nicole Bell · Writer, Producer, Podcast Host

I will turn my morning routine into my afternoon routine if I need to. I like doing it in the morning, but I have no qualms about doing a mini version in the afternoon. Even if I only set aside fifteen minutes, that time goes a long way toward my mental and emotional well-being.

Sol Orwell · Co-Founder of Examine.com

Evolution isn’t about being the fittest but about being the most adaptable. It sucks if I can’t get into my routine, but I try to shrug it off and just carry on. Life is far too varied and random to be beholden to any set pattern or sequence of actions.

Sarah Doody · UX Designer, Product Strategist

I used to beat myself up if I slept in or missed a workout. But honestly, I don’t let it mess up my flow anymore. If I sleep in, it’s probably because my body really needs it and I haven’t been paying enough attention to go to sleep early or to sleep in a little more. I absolutely hate being rushed in the morning, though, so I try to just be more efficient throughout the day so I can make up time.

Having fewer hours in my day is almost a challenge to see how focused I can get - and how little I can get caught up in social media or in reading articles and things like that.

Gracy Obuchowicz · Yoga Teacher, Retreat Leader

I can streamline my morning routine for a couple of days and still feel okay. However, if I skimp on my self-care for too long, I begin to feel overwhelmed and anxious.

I’ve come to understand that my morning routine is linked to my professional success and satisfaction. I hold a lot of space for others’ growth and that space can quickly become depleted if I don’t make conscious time to stay grounded. When I don’t feel good, I’m not much use to anyone else. Last year when I visited an Ayurvedic clinic in India, the doctor told me that as a teacher, my practices need to be twice as strong as everyone else’s. I’m not sure I am quite there, but I work on cultivating more discipline in a joyful way.

I focus on doing the best I can and prioritizing fun over perfection. I tell my clients all the time that they have to create a morning routine that makes them happy. The whole point is happiness, so my practices can’t feel like drudgery. I look forward to getting up early because I like what is ahead of me. My self-care really feels like self-care, which is why I do it so consistently.

Raffaella Caso · Founder of BabyGreen

If, for any reason, my morning routine fails, I try to recover the rest of the day. But it’s not the same; that’s why I strongly need my routine, especially the minutes I spend writing down my daily docket (with my hot coffee).

Victoria Durnak · Artist, Sculptor

My son is dependent on that nap. Some babies can go without sleep for longer stretches, but my son becomes impatient and unfocused. My exhibition is also dependent on that nap, so when he skips it I get nervous about the show!

Isabel De Los Rios · Certified Nutritionist

The last time I missed my morning routine was last year, upon returning from Hawaii (a six-hour time difference), when I woke up at 9:00am in my four-year-old’s bed. I must have fallen asleep putting him to bed, and with the time change, I slept all the way to 9:00am.

Since I knew I was still going to need at least thirty minutes of my routine that morning, I let the kids watch some cartoons on my iPad while I made my tea and did my Bible reading. Thank goodness it was a Saturday and no one needed to be anywhere. That was the last time I missed my morning routine. It’s sacred territory.

David Kadavy · Author

If something other than work has to be done first thing in the morning, it’s as if my whole day’s creative output is shot. Ultimately, though, I think those situations leave me with more energy for doing “social” work, such as researching podcast guests or nuts-and-bolts production-type work later on in the day.

Ann Friedman · Freelance Journalist

I tend to beat myself up a bit if it’s late afternoon and I have yet to write anything or complete my main task for the day. Mornings are my best hours, so I hate to feel like I’ve wasted them, but I’m not sure that my routine plays a big part in whether I use those hours well or not.

Sonia Rao · Singer-Songwriter

Following a routine is good for me and it allows me to write and practice and play shows, but if I do that for too many weeks in a row, I start to feel like a robot. So every so often I like to completely ignore it and see where the day takes me.

Tiffany Pham · Founder, CEO of Mogul

If I inadvertently stray from my morning routine, I recover throughout the day by staying present and in the moment, and still over-delivering on each task ahead.

Jess Weiner · Social Entrepreneur

I definitely feel more alive when I’ve taken time for me, my body, and my relationship; there is no doubt about that. My mind feels clear and I feel happier and more energized.

But I try not to beat myself up if I’m not as consistent as I want to be. I believe in infinite do-overs in life. If I get up and jump right into work, I try to at least stop for a few minutes in the evening and correct course. I’ll read a book, call my husband, or listen to Oprah and Deepak. They always know how to help me get back on track.

Arianna Huffington · Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post

Being committed to a routine is, of course, what makes it a routine. That said, on some days life intervenes or we get off track. And when this happens, I try not to judge myself or let it negatively influence the rest of my day.

I’m a big proponent of silencing the voice of self-judgement and self-doubt in our heads, which I call the obnoxious roommate. It’s the voice that feeds on putting us down and strengthening our insecurities and doubts. I have spent many years trying to evict my obnoxious roommate and have now managed to relegate her to only occasional guest appearances in my head!

UJ Ramdas · Co-Founder, Intelligent Change

It really affects my day if I don’t do my morning routine at all. The day is a lot more likely to affect my state.

If I fail to follow my morning routine I’ll typically still get in a cold shower and a few pullups before leaving the house if time is tight.

Arvell Craig · Coach, Strategist

I used to stress a lot when I didn’t get my morning run. Getting coffee is pretty important as well. The other items are important, but I don’t notice any energy or mood dip due to them.

Kate Krasileva · Psychology Researcher

When I don’t exercise or eat breakfast, my mental state is definitely affected for the rest of the day. I find it more challenging to focus and stay motivated, so my productivity is certainly off.

I love sticking to my routine and have noticed a considerable improvement in my sleep when I’m disciplined enough to stick to it during weekends, as well as during the week.

Sean Ogle · Entrepreneur, Writer

Each little win in the morning makes me want to achieve another.

Water? Check. Writing? Check. Breakfast? Check. Gym? Check.

It’s only natural to want to keep checking off boxes. If I don’t have an early win, I tend to just float throughout the day - not getting much done and not feeling very productive.

Stew Smith · U.S. Naval Academy Graduate, Former Navy SEAL Lieutenant

I only miss a workout when I’m ill (very ill). I find my productivity at work is considerably less if I skip a workout. It may take me until 10:00am to get productive, versus normally being productive at 8:00am immediately after my workout.

On a normal day I will always eat something after my workout as I’m hungry and need to eat healthy brain food in order to start writing. I write for Military.com and About.com, and have a few books in the making this year, so when I’m not working out, I’m writing about it.

Katelin Jabbari · Googler, Parent

I rarely fail to follow my morning routine when I’m at home, since I know I’ll feel worse throughout the day if I do, but the few times I have (once when I was sick and once when I was just too tired to wake up at 5:30am) it’s basically meant skipping the gym. I still have to pump, get dressed, do something with my hair (even if it’s just a ponytail), and drive to work. I get to my desk around the same time, so it’s just that hour and a half of working out and taking a little bit longer to get ready that I miss.

If I fail to follow it because I’m on vacation or traveling for work, I don’t stress about it too much. I know it’s temporary, so I take the time to catch up on sleep and relax a bit.

Rachel Binx · Data Visualizer, Artist

I hate having to rush to get ready in the mornings. I think the stress of rushing often causes me to forget other things that I need to do. Sometimes it feels like a rushed morning can throw off an entire day.

Taylor Davidson · Entrepreneur, Photographer

Waking up early usually isn’t a challenge, but sometimes things can get in the way of my morning workout. In that case, I try to enjoy my morning shower, find my focus for what I have to work on, and carve out time later in the day to work out.

Craig Ballantyne · Author, Fitness Expert

I never fail. My morning is spiritual to me, and missing my morning routine would be like the Pope missing morning mass. It does not go neglected, period.

It all comes down to planning and preparation. That is how you control your days, own your life, and live perfect days without regret every day.

Chris Guillebeau · Author, Modern-Day Explorer

I think the best way to put it is that some failures are acceptable and others aren’t. If I’ve slept poorly or didn’t hydrate well, it’s a bad omen for the rest of the day. I’ll be distracted and unfocused. On the other hand, if I sleep a bit later than usual, it’s not always a problem. I try to schedule meetings and calls for later in the day in order to keep the morning reserved for the work and writing I do on my own.

David Moore · Designer

If I happen to miss my twenty minutes of silence or don’t plan out my goals for the following day I notice that’s it’s harder to find my groove in my morning. I don’t make a big deal out of it I just focus on trying again tomorrow!

Steve Kamb · Founder of Nerd Fitness

I’ve noticed more and more how important this routine is for me to be my best self and create the best value for my team and community. All it takes is one morning meeting or interview and it can ruin an entire day’s worth of writing - my brain rationalizes and says “I only have sixty minutes instead of my normal three hours, better just do some busy work.”

I know that sometimes things happen and my mornings can get thrown off occasionally, so on those days, I just accept it and do my best to clear the rest of the obligations off my plate so I can get right back on schedule the next day. If I miss two days in a row, it makes the habit of creative writing much harder to pick back up. Like a muscle, it needs to be worked out!

Cara Stawicki · Rower

I’ve been an athlete my whole life, so honestly, if I don’t get in a workout first thing in the morning, I can get pretty cranky. However, our training can get incredibly intense and I’ve learned to rest whenever I can and as much as I can. So during the occasional morning off, I don’t stress about not working out and instead catch up on things at home.

Lisa Congdon · Fine Artist, Illustrator

Routine, and rituals for that matter, are a very important part of being a creative person. I find that when I go off my routine, my sense of balance is skewed. And sometimes that can make me feel really anxious, which, in turn affects my ability to do good work, or in some cases, to get any work done at all.

My morning routine grounds me and keeps me organized, and that frees me up to focus on making new artwork each day.

Rand Fishkin · Founder of Moz

I’m pretty flexible actually. I can go days with lots of interruptions and inconsistency and be okay.

My biggest requirement is my back exercises, and I can do those anywhere with floor space (I have been in a few Manhattan hotels where it was impossible, though).

Gregg Carey · Entrepreneur, Survivor Contestant

My clarity, confidence, and happiness is certainly limited. My steps feel like more work. My clothes fit differently.

The key to really nailing and prioritizing my morning routine was when I was able to see how much more the morning contributed to my overall well-being than the evening. My big breakthrough came when I realized that the first three hours of the day are more important than the last three. I’ve been able to craft my mornings into something that truly excites me. I look forward to waking up. It’s my Christmas morning strategy.

Danielle Buonaiuto · Soprano

​I’m definitely off for the rest of the day, feeling like I’m rushing to catch up. It’s less about what I do but that I wanted to do it, and didn’t get to.

Elizabeth Royal · Street Style, Fashion Photographer

If I don’t do my morning routine I feel like I’m less productive and I often need to stop and try to take a minute to plan out the remainder of the day and pray.

I tote my planner with me most places, so I’ve done my scheduling in doctors offices, on trains, airplanes, in cabs, coffee shops, standing on a corner in the middle of a city, and even on a bench in a museum.

Johnny FD · Entrepreneur, Frequent Traveler

If I catch myself laying around and not getting straight up, I’m tired the rest of the day and less productive. Sometimes I allow myself to do it but only if I first wake up and open the blinds so sun shines through and naturally wakes me up.

We all know that having a good morning routine and actually sticking to it is key to being successful. My goal is to become a millionaire in the next five years, and I know that as long as I continue this routine I’ll get there.

It’s been a pleasure to share my morning routine with all of you. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your friends.

Crystal Paine · Author, Speaker

When I get up really late or have to be out the door really early in the morning, I usually have to abbreviate my morning routine to just a few basic things: Bible, shower, and getting dressed.

On those days, I have a choice: I can choose to beat myself up over the fact that I am not following my usual routine or I can give myself grace. I’m working on doing a better job of giving myself grace - because life happens and it’s okay if we don’t always do everything we’d hoped or planned to do. The best thing I can do on those days is to remind myself to just do what I can do, do the best that I can do, and remember that tomorrow is a new day!

Wesley Verhoeve · Photographer

It impacts the rest of my day pretty significantly. I will get less done, I might be more tired, and feel generally dissatisfied about not having followed the routine. I try to remind myself that I will just have to try again tomorrow, and not get too hung up on missing a day.

Molli Sullivan · SoulCycle Instructor, Former Professional Dancer

When I deviate greatly from my routine, I feel “off” — I don’t feel the same sense of peace and flow, and it impacts my ability to be present and my best self.

When this happens, I make a note of it and do my best to get back on track! Sometimes deviating from the plan, or having moments of “backtracking” and “stumbling” end up being the best reinforcers for developing better habits. We take a setback, learn from it, and then use it to refocus, realign, and reconnect with what makes us feel our best.

Carrie Melissa Jones · Writer, Community Builder

In the last year I’ve really learned to love myself for the first time ever. Ever. Can you believe that? I’ve spent my entire life motivating myself out of guilt and self-punishment. A lot of it comes from my childhood and how I was raised. But now I have left all that. Now I motivate myself out of love, compassion, hope, and the knowledge that I have to take care of myself to do good work. My work involves gathering people, making connections, writing, and thinking through complex problems. If I don’t take time to practice what I preach for others, how could I be good at my job?

Of course, what makes everyone happy and productive is different, and I try to be very sensitive to that. I share my morning routine not to make anyone feel that they’re not doing enough or that they’re not “loving themselves enough”. You can forgive yourself for failing, each and every day, and still live a very good life. Or you can create a life where tiny failures are actually celebrated because you tried.

Whatever you want your life to look like, you can find a support network to cheer you on and find a way to make it happen.

Yuko Shimizu · Japanese Illustrator, Educator

I have to be flexible, otherwise the routine, which is supposed to relax me, will turn into a stressful event in itself.

I travel a lot, so I know I won’t be able to follow the same routine all the time. When I can’t, I do my best to find another way to calm and relax myself in the morning.

Temitopé Owolabi · Photographer, Student

If I fail to commit to my routine I am always able to adjust to a mindset of advancement because I’m constantly thinking of the next thing to do. I do things to keep me motivated.

Andre D. Wagner · Photographer

The routine isn’t as important as waking up early is. As long as I’m up early I’m happy. As I mentioned before, having that quiet time to myself is important. I also hate to feel rushed. When I start my day calm, and in order, I’m setting myself up to have a good one.

Life is always changing, I just like to have my personal time before my day gets going.

Aiste Gazdar · Co-Founder, Director of Wild Food Cafe

I just roll with it! I forgive myself, be nice and loving to myself, and do better the next day.

If I fail to follow my morning routine I do my best to catch up with my me-time and meditation in a yoga class, or go to a sauna or for a walk for some chill time. In extreme situations I’ll go for a coffee or massage.

Sara Rosso · Director of Marketing at Automattic

I have the sense of something being unfinished if I don’t follow my morning routine. Some people may think it’s the ultimate sign of relaxation to check email in your pajamas, but it unnerves me.

I like being prepared and if I get an invite for a coffee or lunch with someone, I’m already ready to walk out the door.

Nathan Kontny · CEO of Highrise, Parent

I get sad when I can’t spend those precious moments with Addison. I’m also anxious if I can’t get a workout in. But when things don’t go to plan, I try and remind myself of that insight from Paul above.

Those moments where the routine fails: is a really great time to notice the world with fresh eyes.

Jessica Zollman · Photographer, Former Community Evangelist

I’m extremely adaptable and have discovered I thrive on uncertainty. If a routine goes on for too long it becomes monotonous and I become unbearably bored.

My morning routine has been in flux ever since I stepped into the world of commercial photography. I understand how the lack of structure would be a nightmare for some, but for me it’s quite literally been a dream come true.

Adebe DeRango-Adem · Graduate Student, Freelance Journalist

Even if things don’t go as planned, mornings should always be a time for us to remember our purpose, and feel thankful for what we have (gratitude is free, and always pays off).

Even if the night before was blasé, I can look forward to a new day ahead, since anything is possible. If a cold or rainy day awaits, I try to remember that, ultimately, I choose to be under the weather, and it’s much easier to let life be life.

Einstein once famously said that you can live your life thinking one of two ways: that nothing is a miracle, or that everything is a miracle. So far, the latter perspective has been working just fine.

Waking up is ultimately a kind of miracle.

Wade Foster · Co-Founder, CEO of Zapier

I don’t worry about it.

I’m not a slave to the routine so I just move on where I left off. The routine is a means to an end and not the end in and of itself. So I focus on those 2-3 things I want to get done and try to do them.

Karina Bania · Artist, Mother

Some days everything falls apart and I get off track. On those days, I try to be easy on myself.

As my studio is in my home, I can usually adjust the day to get some time alone to create. For me, painting is a meditation. If I have time for just a few minutes every day, I feel fulfilled.

Mattan Griffel · CEO of One Month, Forbes’ 30 Under 30

I definitely know which parts of my morning routine to cut out and which to prioritize if I’m short on time.

If I don’t meditate, I find myself getting more irritated throughout the day, and I become kind of an asshole to people. And I’d be very disappointed if I didn’t write – I’m currently on a 372 day writing streak, which is the longest I’ve ever had.

Belle Beth Cooper · Writer and Co-Founder of Exist

I’m terrible at salvaging a day that didn’t start well, especially if I get up late; anything after about 8:00am is too late for me to feel good about my day.

The best way I’ve found to feel good if my day doesn’t start well is to get a lot done. I’m always on the lookout for good ways to reset my day when it’s not going well.

Elle Luna · Artist, Designer, Writer

One day without my morning routine and I feel like I’m slipping and sliding around my day. It’s hard to stay grounded. Presence and focus is harder and takes more effort. If two days go by, it becomes worse. And three or more becomes very challenging. My energy becomes scattered.

My friend Emily was just telling me the other day about how being scattered is not just psychological but literal, as well. We quite literally disperse our energy in different places when we’re scattered, with some over here, some over there, some at the coffee shop, some lingering behind in that conversation, a bit in our email… and we can feel it. It’s feels frustrating to be scattered. But the great part is that we can get it back. Immediately. It’s a simple as closing your eyes and taking three breaths, focusing on that alone, coming back to yourself, collecting the energy and centering it.

Three deep breaths can change it all! Or a walk where you consciously try to notice what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing. Just this morning I was walking down the sidewalk, my brain spilling in every direction. Stop! What’s happening right now I wondered? Suddenly I felt cold in the tips of my fingers, I heard a bird flapping its wings, I felt this delicious click of my heels on the cement sidewalk, I felt the soft edges of this wacky plant that looks like a family of caterpillars exploding from their pot. Once I had fully arrived again, I sat down, did my morning pages, and then, with much greater energy and focus, attended to my business for the day.

Grace Bonney · Founder of Design*Sponge

When my day starts out with work and not with the pets and a little bit of outdoor or indoor garden/plant time, I’m much more likely to over-work, forget to eat, or forget to drink enough water. I basically turn into a little huddled laptop mouse and that’s no good for anyone.

So I’m pretty good about organizing my travel, work and other meetings around my early morning routine. I have a lot of wonderful team members who depend on me to answer their questions and focus on what they need from me to get their work done, so I don’t want to let them down. I try my best to start the day on the right foot so I can give them, and the people around me, my best.

Amber Rae · Writer, Artist

I forgive myself. If I’m not kind and loving with myself, I can always find ways to be disappointed. By having compassion, I can easily jump back in.

I will say, though, since I absolutely love my routine and look forward to it each morning, it’s rare for me not to follow it. Once I let go of the routine other’s expected of me and instead designed my own, all else fell into place.

Mason Currey · Author of Daily Rituals

If I’m at home, I very rarely fail to follow my routine. But there are plenty of days that I fail to be very productive during those hours.

I might have something that I need to write, and I just can’t seem to make it work – that happens a lot. For me, especially with writing, there’s this constant tension between forcing the work and waiting to be in the right state of mind for the work. Some days, I sit down to write in the morning and it’s just impossible; other days, it’s almost effortless. And I wish I could just take the effortless days and leave the miserable ones, but it seems like it’s the miserable days that enable the effortless ones, if that makes any sense.

But to answer your question – if I do manage a good morning of writing, I feel terrific for the rest of the day. And if I don’t, well, there’s always the next morning.

Ben Brooks · Tech Writer, iOS Project Manager

Usually the worst thing that happens is that my hair is a mess for the entire day. I really am not someone who is easily thrown off by a small hiccup. I’m not sure why that is, but some really crappy stuff can happen and I can mostly brush it off and keep focused. The only exception being computer problems — that’s my achilles heal and will throw off my entire day.

Eli Trier · Illustrator, Writer

It’s not that big a deal if I miss a day here or there, but I certainly feel it if I miss out for too long. The only exception is my coffee – woe betide anyone who tries talking to me before I’ve had a cup of coffee!

Usually, if I’m short on time and have to go out for an appointment or something, I’ll do my rituals later in the day, so I still get the benefit. But it’s not quite as good as doing them first thing.

Shannon Lohr · Founder of Factory45

On days when even the wrath of God couldn’t get me out of bed, I’ll sleep later (until 10:00ish) and not be thrilled about it.

I try not to let it affect the rest of my day because I know that I can just work later in the evening if I have to. The big factors for me are making sure I’m eating well and moving my body at some point throughout the day.

Veerle Pieters · Graphic, Web Designer

If I’m not able to have my coffee I miss it, for sure. I always need time to wake up in the morning, and coffee helps. I don’t think it influences me a lot though, just a little.

Nichole Powell · Photographer, Writer

A good morning sets the tone for the entire day, and makes me feel centered, purposeful, and calm. By the same rule, stressful or rushed mornings where I don’t get to go through my routine often make me feel unsettled, and that feeling can be tough to shake.

I’ve learned a few tricks to get things back on track, though — a solo coffee run after morning meetings; a walk around the block to reconnect with my surroundings; a quiet minute to breathe deeply between obligations. Some days the best solution is just to hit the restart button with a quick workout or a power nap, and to tackle the day fresh from there.

I’m still working on the best strategy to remedy a rough morning, so if you have any tips I would love to hear them!

Austin Kleon · New York Times Bestselling Author, Artist

I try to forgive myself and move on. (Sun comes up, sun goes down. Always another chance tomorrow.) One thing about a routine is that the days where you break it can be some of the most interesting days… but they wouldn’t be unless you had a routine to break.

Ian Sarachan · Soccer Coach, U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team

Certain things I can get away with not doing. But the staples; working out, food, and family time are crucial.

If I have a good morning my day is usually great, regardless of what happens throughout it. If I start the day in a bad mood it makes for a much longer twenty-four hours.

Tessa Miller · Tech and Health Editor, The Daily Beast

My morning routine definitely sets the tone for the rest of my day. If I’m rushed and stressed in the morning, that will carry through my work day. If I have structure and time to get organized, it’s usually smooth sailing.

Rae Dunn · Ceramic Artist

I am completely thrown off without my morning routine. I hate being jarred awake and having to rush out the door (such as when catching an early flight, ugh). And I hate not exercising. It all makes for an icky rest of the day.

Willem Vernooij · Writer, Student

I don’t fail my routine that often.

Sometimes it gets hard to do one of the core activities, but I always try to compensate for them in another way. Other than that, it doesn’t really affect my day in such a way that I’m unable to function, but I do feel bad for not having completed my routine.

Dan · Parent, Founder

I can get by just fine, but if I’ve had the perfect start I’m in a much better place to handle whatever comes up and I’m more focused and productive.

Andy Hayes · Tea Seller, Creative Web Producer

On days where (for example) I need to be somewhere for a meeting by 9:00am or earlier (which is rare – I fiercely protect my schedule) I find that my energy doesn’t go as far throughout the day.

I also find my creativity isn’t as high and my inner Libra comes out, making me a bit more indecisive. Once you have a solid morning routine that works it’s hard to stray far from it!

Kyle Legg · Web and Graphic Print Designer

If I fail to follow my morning routine, my day may or may not be influenced. Sometimes I may be thrown off and move very slowly, but other times I may be entirely unaffected and able to fly through the day regardless.

Gavin Weeks · Entrepreneur, UX/UI Designer, and Front-end Developer

It doesn’t really affect me to be honest.

Sometimes I miss breakfast (I know!) and sometimes I go in a little later or earlier. I don’t think my routine (at least when I’m in the UK) is the most ideal, so it’s already a little disruptive from the average nine-to-five.

Jordan Bishop · Canadian Entrepreneur

If I break my routine, I generally maintain a feeling of being behind for the rest of the day. My meditation guides me to my priorities for that day, so without that I’m a bit lost.

Paula Borowska · Author, Blogger, UX Designer

It doesn’t bother me if my routine is disturbed; I don’t depend on it.

If I fail to follow my morning routine I just improvise and move on with the day. My routine is just something I got used to doing in the mornings. I’m sure if I moved in with roommates, hell, even back with my parents, my routine would change somewhat. I don’t mind that either. And if it happens sporadically – like when I visit my young cousins – it doesn’t disturb me.

I’m not OCD about my mornings. They’re just mornings.

Monica McCarthy · Actress, Producer, Frequent Traveler

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.

Amit Sonawane · Reader, Writer, Devout Tea Drinker

The beauty of giving yourself time and space in the morning is that you become unflappable. It’s hard to have a bad start to your day if you don’t set any expectations. I do have a little checklist that I keep for my daily routine, but if I miss something then I just put a note (e.g. didn’t read today) and move on to other things, no big deal.

Kashyapi · Meditation and Zen Teacher

I don’t fail, because I don’t set rigid rules and structures for myself. I have a feel for what I want to do each day, and that shifts, but it always contains the key elements I’ve detailed here.