“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.” – Tessa Miller Share this quote on Twitter

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Tessa Miller

What is your morning routine?

I’m not a morning person. At. All. If I could stay up until 2:00am and sleep until 11:00am every day, I would. That said, I do find the quiet of the morning special in its own way, and I enjoy New York in those sleepy hours before everyone is hustling to work.

I’m up pretty early most days because I have a three-month old Shiba Inu puppy, Fievel, and he consistently has to pee around 7:00 or 7:30am.

After we walk around the neighborhood, I bring him home and give him breakfast and a chew toy while I get ready for work. I’m an evening shower-er, but if I need a pick-me-up, I’ll take a quickie. Then it’s thirty minutes for make-up, throwing my hair into a bun of some kind, and getting dressed.

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Next, Fievel goes back in his kennel (usually with a ‘chewie’ full of peanut butter), I kiss my darling boyfriend good-bye, and I hop on the train by 9 or 9:15am (I live Prospect Heights and work in Chelsea).

On the train, I organize my edit plan for the day - what copy is in, what stories I want to assign - and catch up on the news. I get to the office around 9:45 or 9:50am, then go straight to our morning edit meeting at 10:00. We go over all the day’s assignments and breaking news - that takes about an hour. By 11:00am, I’m ready for coffee and a tiny bite of breakfast (I’m not much of a breakfast eater, but our office has an entire floor for snacks and drinks!), then I hunker down for a day of work. Voila!

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

We just brought Fievel home three weeks ago, so it’s pretty new. Before, I’d wake up at 8:45am, get ready in fifteen minutes, and be out the door. I value sleep more than preparation, I guess.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

I’ve been out of college for four years now. When I got my first “real” job (an internship and then full-time job at Wired magazine), my routine was the most consistent it had ever been; in bed every night by midnight, up at 8:00am on the dot, out the door at 9:00.

My next job (at Lifehacker) allowed me to work from home a lot, so my routine got thrown to the wind. I also went through a long bought of insomnia, so my sleep habits and morning routines were all over the place. I’m getting back into a more consistent routine now (thanks Fievel!).

What time do you go to sleep?

Usually around 11:30pm or midnight. If I’m really tired, 9:30 or 10:00pm. I used to be such a night owl – up until 2 or 3:00am every night, but I value sleep now more than ever. I’m usually editing copy pretty late though (writers are a bunch of night owls), so most nights it’s midnight.

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

Before we had the puppy, I’d let my alarm go off for an hour. I could hit snooze all day long. My poor boyfriend.

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

I barely ever eat breakfast! It’s bad, I know. I’ll sometimes have a snack around 11:00am, but it’s usually just coffee or juice.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I don’t work out either! Man, this is bad…

How about morning meditation?

I like to meditate at night. I’m pretty rushed in the mornings, and I don’t like to set a time limit on meditating. It helps me wind down before sleeping too, so I’m not awake for hours worrying about mindless stuff.

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

I usually glance at email first thing in the morning, but I don’t reply until I get to the office (unless it’s an emergency).

I used to answer emails all day, every day, no matter the time. But I’m trying to get better at work/life separation (trying is the key word).

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Immediately. It’s a terrible habit.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Work-wise? Doing my edit plan and reading the news. I like going into my morning meeting knowing exactly what’s on my plate. Life-wise? Spending time with my guy and my pup.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Sometimes an orange juice or seltzer water during our 10:00am meeting, then coffee by 11:00. Sometimes I can’t drink that much caffeine (upsets my stomach), so I switch to tea.

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

As long as I have my laptop, I can adapt to most environments.

When I go home to Chicago, I’m surrounded by laughing, running, dancing, crying babies (two nephews and a niece), and I still manage to stay productive. Cute babies are the ultimate distraction, so I think that shows how flexible I am!

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

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.

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