“If I can feel like the chaos [of the day ahead] is at least known, I can dive in with more composure.” – Wendy McKennon Share this quote on Twitter

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Wendy McKennon

What is your morning routine?

My alarm goes off at 5:00am every morning. Ninety-five percent of the time, my son has snuck into bed at some point in the middle of the night, so I do my best to sneak quietly out of the room. Part of sneaking out includes shutting the window; rain or shine, high temperatures or low, I sleep with the window open.

Then, it’s straight to the coffee machine for me. I wake up with coffee and a cookie (usually homemade - I’m a cookie snob and think I make the best ones) to start the day. While sipping away, I make my list for the day (usually copying over far too much undone work from the day before). Then I spend what time I have before the kids wake up catching up on unfinished work.

Once the kids are up, I switch into mom-mode and get their breakfast on the table while I ask them to get dressed. Most days breakfast is waffles or pancakes - it’s little things like that that make feel a little less bad about not being as involved at their school as I’d like to be. While they eat, I get myself ready for the day. By 7:30am, we’re all out the door. I drop them off by 7:45am and then hop onto Highway 101 for the twenty-minute drive to work.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

Years. I can’t remember when it started. Except the kid part. That started six years ago.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

I avoid change when possible. I tried meditation last year but found that it made me anxious (certainly there is something to analyze there). I have built variance into my routine, though. At least once a week, I go for a run when I get to work. And on Fridays, I pick up donuts for the office!

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What time do you go to sleep?

I’m usually in bed by 11:00pm.

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

I prime myself to go to sleep faster by following a strict pre-bed routine. This includes eating a bowl of ice cream while watching a low-brow TV show. I also pick out the next day’s outfit, make school lunches for the kids, and make sure my kitchen is spotless.

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

I use an alarm, and I hit the snooze bar probably every third day.

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

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I’m less hungry for a full breakfast first thing in the morning. Other than my coffee and cookie, I don’t usually eat until I get into the office.

I usually have a bowl of granola or a piece of toast (famous four-dollar San Francisco toast, if I can get my hands on it, covered in cinnamon and sugar).

Do you have a morning workout routine?

When I can fit it in, I love going for a run near my office. The traffic is minimal and there are interesting houses to look at.

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

Morning is my creative time (no meetings and no children up), so I tend to avoid spending a lot of time in email. I do a quick scan to make sure there is nothing urgent, then put it aside for a couple of hours until I’m in the office.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

First thing, when my alarm goes off.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Honestly, feeling prepared for the day. If I can feel like the chaos is at least known, I can dive in with more composure.

How does your partner fit into your morning routine?

My boyfriend Ben tends to sleep through my morning routine until the kids get up, which I appreciate - it is good to have quiet time in the morning.

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

Weekends are a different story. I try to let myself sleep until 6:30am or 7:00am. But a good run with friends and a visit to the farmer’s market are key.

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