What is your morning routine?
I usually wake up around 7:00am. I tend to have a hard time falling asleep, and an even more difficult time waking up. To make this a little easier I booby-trapped my bedroom with peaceful morning alarms: smart lights that slowly turn on, and a soothing piano alarm. When all that inevitably fails to get me going, my black cat will jump on me and beg for food.
After I’m up, it’s a down to the minute routine that gets me from bed to the office. I know exactly how long it takes to shower and change, when I need to leave in order to catch the light that takes too long to turn green, and when I need to open up the Starbucks app on my phone to order my morning coffee so it’s ready when I pass by on the way to the train.
I use the train time to get ready for the day: I check my email, go over my schedule, and add items to my daily to-do list. I tend to get in before the office starts to fill up so that I can get my (second) coffee and read the news before any morning meetings. Once I sit down at my desk, I pull up that to-do list and officially begin my day.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’ve been doing this for a few years now. The more structured I am in the morning, the less rushed I feel throughout the day.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
Small incremental changes happen over time, but the overall structure of my morning hasn’t changed much in years. The smart lights and soothing alarm are new additions after I received some feedback from my fiancée that she was tired of hearing me hit snooze on my defcon level alarm.
What time do you go to sleep?
This varies drastically. When I’m lucky, I’m asleep by midnight. On the not so lucky ones, I’m still wide awake at 3:00am.
Usually if this happens I head into the living room and pull out my sketchbook. I find that if I can work out the ideas that are keeping me up, I can convince myself to stop thinking about it and fall asleep. To be honest, most ideas that keep me up aren’t worth revisiting in the light of day.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Yes, and always. The snooze is only set for about 15 minutes, so it’s not really worth hitting repeatedly.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I have never been much of a breakfast in the morning person. If I get hungry, I usually eat an apple or something light. Breakfast for dinner, or later on weekends is a different story: Bacon, eggs, pancakes… the works.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I check my messages while I lay in bed. I look for things that I need to address immediately, however most emails aren’t urgent so I get to them when I’m on the train.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Immediately. After skimming my inbox I head over to read the news.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Coffee. After that everything gets a little easier.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Coffee. I usually keep it simple and just get a cup of drip coffee on my way into the office. While a pour over is always nice, in the morning I just need something to get me going. My second drink of the day is usually coffee, too.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
My weekend routine is drastically different than the week. I tend to sleep in a little longer than usual, but not by much. My fiancée, Lisa, and I, usually go out and get breakfast, or if we have the supplies, make it at home.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
When I’m not at home, it’s usually because I don’t need to be anywhere in the morning. If this is the case I tend to let the routine slip away. It’s nice to have a routine, but sometimes, it’s nice to not have one either.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
If I mess up my morning routine, it’s definitely a bit tougher. This morning, in fact, I didn’t get to Starbucks in time and I also missed my train. I try to keep my routine as consistent as possible so I don’t have to think about it, but some mornings it’s really nice to be able to hit snooze and fall back asleep.