What is your morning routine?
I’m going to tell you about my ideal morning and let you know right away that I fall into short spurts where it falls apart, for various reasons, mostly to do with work or social things in the evening. But I always return back to this.
Step 1 - Wake up with the light, somewhere between 6-6:30am (in the winter I set the alarm for 6:30).
Step 2 - Drink water, meditate for fifteen minutes, and write down three things I am grateful for.
Step 3 - Prep breakfast (usually baked eggs, slide them into the oven).
Step 4 - Do my exercises (think, an adjusted 7-Minute Workout, for about twenty minutes).
Step 5 - Eat breakfast while looking through my calendar for the day.
Step 6 - Go to my office, a meeting, or a shoot, depending on the day.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I have been iterating this routine for the past two years.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I’m currently mostly trying to find consistency in a phase of my life where I travel a whole bunch for work.
When I’m in Brooklyn, I am pretty good at keeping it going, but it’s easy to let it falter when I travel, which is sometimes more than half of the month. I am starting to keep yoga mats in different cities, at friend’s houses, to give me a semblance of routine for the meditation and exercise part of the morning.
What time do you go to sleep?
When I’m really on top of things, I try to do 10-10:30pm, ideally with twenty minutes of fiction reading, but it often ends up skewing later, especially when I travel, and I hit the 11:30-midnight mark.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
Just the basics of not having a heavy meal too close to bedtime, not trying to look at my phone too much (I fail this one often), and reading some fiction to get out of my own head.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
No snooze, rarely an alarm. I naturally wake up very early, even when I don’t want to. It’s great/sucks.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I tend to go for proteins, which usually take the shape of baked eggs with some veggies and/or meat. I also love a cup of tea in the morning, and lots of water.
For more of Wesley’s photos, follow him on Instagram.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
Yes. It’s very basic. Push ups, planks, dips, and some complimentary things. My focus is health, not so much getting bigger.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
The meditation part of my morning routine is only about six months old and happened when I found the Headspace app, which finally allowed me to get started on a habit that I’ve wanted to develop for years.
I’ve really enjoyed it, even though it’s not necessarily always easy. Sometimes I fall of the wagon for a few days at a time. The longest consecutive run I had was 54 days in a row, and then I overslept on day 55, planned to do it at night, and forgot.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I try to save it until I get to the office. If I check it too early, my brain starts racing because I’ll be excited to think of ways to solve a client’s problem through photography and writing, and once it starts it’s hard to stop.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Far too soon. I’m trying to work on this.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Exercise and meditation.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I don’t do well with interruptions, so I keep my morning routine going on weekends too. Luckily, my body doesn’t let me sleep in anyway, so it’s not like it’s a sacrifice to get up early for me.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
This is a challenge I deal with a lot due to the nature of my work.
Sometimes I feel it’s silly that it’s even a challenge, because it doesn’t seem that hard, but time zones, hectic travel, and work schedules do often lead to my morning routine being interrupted for a day or two. I’m still looking for ways to make it better, or maybe I just need to relax about it a bit. If anyone has any ideas, please do let me know!
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
It impacts the rest of my day pretty significantly. I will get less done, I might be more tired, and feel generally dissatisfied about not having followed the routine. I try to remind myself that I will just have to try again tomorrow, and not get too hung up on missing a day.
Photo of Wesley by Patrick Michael Chin.