So, this is a thing, is it? Morning routines, shared? I’m game. Morning has been the one time of day when I can carve out sanity and peacefulness for myself. I am an early riser on purpose so that I can ensure I’m able to get into the right headspace for dealing with life and achieve my goals.

I work from home, and I haven’t had an office outside the home since 1998. It allows me more flexibility in creative pursuits while being a mom.

As a mom, my mornings have ranged from horrifically sleep deprived to amazingly wonderful and centering. Since moving to Mount Shasta, I’ve really committed to keeping a morning routine. I think it’s been critical to my happiness.

What is your morning routine?

For the past 5 years, this is what morning looks like to me, especially in the summer.

5:30 – 6:00 awake. No alarms. Some days it is earlier, rarely later. I go through the first floor of the house and open all of the windows and doors to let fresh, cool air into the house. In the winter, I sleep in until 6:30-7, and my initial activity is starting up the wood stove.

6:00 am – 6:50 am. Write. Before I check emails, check social media, or check analytics/reporting, I check inside to see what wants to come out. I write the following:

  • 5 things for which I am grateful.
  • 5 things I want to accomplish.
  • 5 things that scare me.
  • At a minimum 1,000 words for whichever book, website, or character wants to come out.

I use Day One App as a place to collect my thoughts. I used to use a variety of Word/Pages documents, but it became too cumbersome. Having an app as a one-stop place to collect thoughts privately has worked well.

I write for a number of places online as well as newsletter mailings, so I need to continue generating words as much as possible. The best way to generate words is to write as much as possible. This is a nifty site that encourages making writing a daily habit.

Summer: 7:00 am – 8:30 am. Run, walk, hike. Every single day. I love being out in nature early in the morning, and there is something wonderfully meditative about being alone with my dog hitting the trails (or the pavement) when there is no one else around. After the first 30 minutes, I start to feel a real shift in my energetic state. Walking also helps me mitigate back pain I’ve had for years. If I walk, I have no pain. So, it is a daily ritual.

I get home around 8:30, fire up the coffee, let the cats out of Max’s room, feed the dog. I start reviewing emails and social media about this time. I manage a number of social media presences, but I make sure I am connected with the Big Mind before I connect online. The kids and Mark start getting up around 8:30-9, and my day begins in earnest.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

With Claire getting older, my routine has become much more regular. When she was younger, she’d sometimes awaken before me. With young children, routines are out the window. I’m glad they’re older and more able to manage their own needs.

What time do you go to sleep?

I start winding down around 9 and usually asleep by 10. Mark usually stays up much later than me, so I sleep in a different room. There was one point where I had both kids and the dog sleeping in my room; it felt like a huge slumber party every night. Max moved to his own room a few years ago, and now it’s just Claire and the dog. Claire has her own bed, but isn’t quite ready to move to her own room yet.

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

Alarms in the wintertime only, and only if the kids need to get to school at a certain time.

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

I have coffee after my walk/run, usually around 8:30. I don’t actually eat anything until at least 10:30 or 11, and then it’s usually eggs and veggies.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

Meditation has been a huge practice for me. I feel like my morning walks are meditative in many ways. I don’t listen to much while I am walking other than the sounds around me (no music or podcasts) in quietude, alone.

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

Later, and this is important to me. Unless it is absolutely critical, I wait to respond to requests. As someone who has done a lot of client work and has fallen into the trap of hyper responsibility more than I’d like to admit, I find having boundaries of what can be requested of me and when to be incredibly important. I won’t answer anything outside of 9-5 unless it’s important.

I need to ensure that my own flow is established before I can support anyone else’s flow. If I get pulled into too many directions, I end up losing my flow and resenting the people doing the pulling. I try to make clients set appointments for my time rather than just calling on a whim and taking up an unscheduled hour of my time that ends up throwing my entire day out of whack.

That being said, I really like talking to people. It just throws my entire morning off.

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

I’m one of those freaks who sleeps with a fan. Because Claire was such a light sleeper when she was a baby (any by light sleeper, I mean not much of a sleeper at all), I started using a fan to keep the noise at a minimum. Now neither of us can sleep without a fan. If I do need to set an alarm, I use Rise. It makes waking up on someone else’s schedule a little less unpleasant.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Getting centered, getting moving, getting into a positive mindset. From there, I can handle just about anything (and often have to).

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Usually coffee, sometimes water. I always have coffee. I am a big fan of Hypnotic Buzz Deep Trance Blend.

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

I follow this routine every day, except on Saturday I allow more social media for non-work-related activities.

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

If I am traveling, I am usually traveling with kids in a hotel. Getting time for myself isn’t quite as easy, but I seem to manage.

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

This weekend, for example, I was not able to get my exercise in nor was I able to write much. But I managed. The key, in my experience, is to make the morning routine as habitual and as pleasant as possible so that when it doesn’t quite go as planned, it’s easy to get back into the routine.