What is your morning routine?
I wake up around 6:30am to my one-year-old puppy licking my hand, jumping on and off the bed, and playing with anything he shouldn’t to get my attention and get me up. I grab whatever clothes are nearby, wrangle a leash on him, and head out for a walk.
Once we’re back, we both get breakfast and, since it’s still too early for me to properly function, I spend thirty minutes to an hour watching TV, listening to a podcast, or reading. I know a lot of people opt for working out, journaling, or meditating, but my goal is simply to start my day in a positive mindset and feeling energized. Sometimes an episode of The Real Housewives is all I need to get in a good mood. Once I feel alive and ready to rock, I jump into my most important task of the day.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
We adopted our dog Hudson about five months ago, so the 6:30am puppy wake-up is relatively new, but I’m actually starting to enjoy it. Knocking out the majority of my to-do list before noon always makes me feel like a rock star.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
When I was first self-employed I was thrilled to be working on my own schedule, so I opted to skip the alarm and allow my body to wake up on its own—and it was glorious. I’d usually get up around 9:00am. It’s much easier to jump straight into work when you’re listening to your internal clock.
Last year I included a gratitude practice in my routine. More than putting me in a positive mindset, it allowed me to see which things I repeatedly wrote down that I’m grateful for. Quiet days just for writing was a big one, so this year I’m working on incorporating more of those into my week. I’m still doing my gratitude practice, but it’s more sporadic. It usually happens while I’m watching TV in the morning. I think it’s becoming less of a priority because I’m up earlier and I’m less awake as I start my day.
This year I’ve added in a manifesto of sorts—kind of like a longform version of affirmations. It’s essentially an article I wrote about myself and my accomplishments ten years in the future. Reading it (just before I start working) helps to ground me in a bigger version of what I can accomplish and fills me with excitement to dive into the tasks that will help me get there. (Apparently, I have three dogs in the future, so maybe I should add in a morning dog walker, too?)
What time do you go to sleep?
I’m generally in bed around 10:00pm, and I read until I’m tired (around 11:00pm).
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
Not before bed, but at the beginning of the month I plan all my tasks so I’m never making a daily to-do list and I’m never worried that I’m going to forget something.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
My dog is my alarm and I’d really love to snooze him, but it never works!
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
The dog walk takes thirty minutes, and I make breakfast as soon as we’re back. I tend to eat the same thing for months at a time. For a while it was breakfast burritos, and lately it’s been instant oatmeal. (I haven’t found the energy for cooking at 7:00am just yet.)
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I spent nine years training and teaching aerial silks, so that often included a 10:00 or 11:00am class. But I’ve recently retired from teaching, so now my go-to workout is using the Sworkit app at home.
I prefer to work out at the end of the day to make a definite transition from business to personal time. Plus, my boyfriend comes home around that time, so when I’m not feeling it we can get each other motivated.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
Nope! Meditation was part of my afternoon routine for a while, but I got out of the habit. I know getting back into it will include a few days or weeks of falling asleep, and at the moment, there’s no space for naps on my to-do list.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
Absolutely not. I’m a big proponent of not answering email first thing and not having email on my phone at all. I open my inbox twice each day, once around 11:00am and once before I’m done working for the day.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
Nah, I keep it simple over here. A killer mattress, a quiet room, and a good book (with Night Shift, if I’m on my iPad). Recently, I’ve been reading Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller, Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, and The Ultimate Introduction to NLP by Richard Bandler.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I hate to say it, but if the boyfriend is already off to work or still asleep, I take a quick spin through Instagram pretty much right away. However, I’m pretty good at limiting the people I follow to those who inspire and motivate me, so it does help to put me in the right mood for the day.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Walking the dog, eating breakfast, and then whatever item on my to-do list is going to make the biggest impact on my business.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
I guzzle some water at my 6:30am puppy wake-up and then make green tea with lemon to go along with breakfast. My body doesn’t need much caffeine to get going; it needs food.
How does your partner fit into your morning routine?
During the week he’s already off to work, so I have a nice quiet apartment, but on weekends we have our own routine.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
My days start the same, thanks to the dog, but we usually go back to sleep after walking, so I can pretend I got to sleep in. Then we make a big breakfast at home or go out for brunch because San Diego has some seriously great restaurants.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
Yep! It’s helped to keep my routine simple. As long as I have a cozy bed, then my main focus is getting breakfast as soon as possible. I generally travel with a ton of snacks, so when I can’t get out to grab something I’ve always got a backup.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
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!
Our recommended book this week is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. 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.