“I check email first thing in the morning, but I only respond if I can dash off one- or two-sentence replies.” – Tracy Chou Share this quote on Twitter

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Tracy Chou

What is your morning routine?

Caveat: I don’t have a very set routine!

That said, here is what a typical morning might look like: I wake up at 6:00am or 7:00am, before my alarm. From bed, while still groggy and with my phone close to my face because I’m nearsighted, I check for updates on email and all social apps—Twitter first, then Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. After I brush my teeth and put on my contacts so I can see, I eat breakfast. Meanwhile, I tell Alexa to play Spotify so I have some music to listen to as I get ready. After I’ve eaten, I do my makeup and hair, check the weather, and get dressed. Then I pack my gym bag, make my bed, and head out the door, while calling to Alexa to turn off the music.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

Just a few months so far.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

It changes constantly. I’m not terribly deliberate about my morning routines beyond making sure that I take care of everything I need to before I head out for the day.

What time do you go to sleep?

Around midnight.

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Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?

On occasion I’m particularly diligent and pack my gym bag before going to bed. But other than that, no.

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

I always set an alarm, but I almost always wake up before it goes off, unless it’s set for an ungodly hour so I can catch an early flight.

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

I eat right after I wake up. It depends on what I have in my kitchen, but I often make scrambled/fried eggs when I have a little bit of time, or eat an energy bar when I don’t.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

Not on weekdays, but on weekends I book morning workout classes on ClassPass, which sometimes doubles as a weekend luxury. Manhattan is a ClassPass user’s delight! Recently I’ve been enjoying boxing at Gotham Gym Soho, yoga at I.AM.YOU and Sweat Yoga, running at Mile High Run Club, and prison-style boot camp classes at ConBody.

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

I check email first thing in the morning, but I only respond if I can dash off one- or two-sentence replies.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

I use Fitbit to track my sleep. My Fitbit sleep readings haven’t given me any spectacular new insights on my sleep—I generally know when I’ve slept well or not and for enough hours or not without consulting a device—but it’s interesting to see the patterns and cross-check how I feel with the device readings.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Check email and Twitter to make sure I have a handle on anything that might be urgent. Eat breakfast. Make myself presentable for the day.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Either an almond milk latte from a neighborhood coffee shop on my way in to work, or a drip coffee at the office when I get in.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

My weekday and weekend routines are very different, primarily because I work out in the evening on weekdays and in the morning on weekends.

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

My routine is relatively simple and I’m a it, so it’s usually not an issue.

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

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.

Photo of Tracy by Victor Ng.

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