“I’m the kind of person who wakes up slowly in the morning, so I always need a cup of coffee by my side.” – Veerle Pieters Share this quote on Twitter

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Veerle Pieters

What is your morning routine?

I usually get up around 7:30am; sometimes it’s a bit earlier, sometimes a bit later.

The first thing I do when I get out of bed is a few stabilisation exercises, together with a few suppleness exercises for my back and neck. This usually takes about 5-10 minutes.

Then I have a shower, get dressed, and have breakfast. I’m the kind of person who wakes up slowly in the morning, so I always need a cup of coffee by my side.

If I’m going for a bicycle ride in the morning (depending on the weather and the season), I’ll skip the shower. During the autumn and winter I tend to ride in the afternoon due to the better weather conditions. This is especially true during winter when it freezes, as the temperatures are slightly better, and the roads are safer. Plus it’s still dark in the early hours.

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If I don’t go out for a ride, after breakfast I’ll head for my office. The first thing I do is check my email. I’ll answer the most urgent and important ones, before hiding the Mail app and starting working on my projects. I’ll get back to my email later in the morning to answer the messages that remain.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

Eight years now!

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

It has changed me in a very good way.

I like to keep a healthy routine, and frankly I think I need it. Years ago I didn’t stick to fixed hours with regards to when to go to bed and when to get up. I had the bad habit of working way too late because I was in direct contact with a few clients based in California (over iChat), which is a nine hour time difference with Belgium. When I worked late I usually got up late too.

Other times I got up very early, like 5:00am, to meet a deadline on a project. The past couple of years I’ve stuck to a regular bio rhythm, which is way better and healthier.

What time do you go to sleep?

Usually around 11:00pm.

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

Usually it’s my boyfriend who sets the alarm. I’m bad at waking up :) I need someone to wake me up and kick me out of bed.

In the summer he wakes up with the daylight, but as soon as the days become shorter we need an alarm. We never hit the snooze button.

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

We usually have breakfast about 20-30 minutes after waking up. I tend to switch between bread and granola, depending on my preference.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I’ve been doing a few stabilisation exercises for a couple of weeks now, together with a few suppleness exercises for my back.

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

I usually pick out the most important and urgent ones, leaving the others for later in the day.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Sometimes during breakfast, but not always.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Not sure if you can call them tasks, but I always make sure I have breakfast and coffee.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

As soon as I’m in the kitchen after I’ve dressed and showered I drink a glass of water before breakfast.

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

It’s the same routine, except for me going to the bakery to get fresh Belgian croissants. They’re not the same as regular croissants, but there is no English translation. They’re called boterkoek in Dutch.

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

I definitely try to stick to the same bio rhythm by getting up at the same hour and, if possible, sleeping the same number of hours. I also try to do the exercises.

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

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.

Photo of Veerle by Jef Boes, for Veerle's excellent interview on The Great Discontent. If you enjoyed reading about Veerle's morning routine we can't recommend this interview enough.

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