When you work for yourself, establishing routines can be hard — but they become even more crucial without a deadline of getting into an office. Here’s what my mornings look like since I left Corporate America to help set me up for a productive day.
I pride myself in being really disciplined (maybe too much so?). I’ve worked hard to create habits that serve me well, like not being addicted to caffeine (anymore, ahem!) and having a consistent workout schedule. By no means are my habits perfect, and my routine changes all the time, but the key is that I’m always attempting to make good habits. I’ll adapt where necessary and give myself some grace when it just doesn’t happen one day. And it’s worth noting that when I first published this post, I wasn’t a new mom! Becoming a mom has drastically changed my productivity and schedule in the last year, but it’s SO worth it.
As with all habits whether it’s eating healthy, working out or staying focused at work, creating routines that stick all starts with a plan and consistency. It’s also important to recognize when a plan you’re trying to implement just won’t work and pivot!
I get asked what my morning routine looks like pretty frequently since I often post early coffee shots on IG. Since I left Corporate America I have a completely different schedule than I did a few years ago. For about 9 months I worked 80+ hour weeks, and then I had to adapt my schedule to life post-Corporate America, working for myself. And now, I’m adjusting to everything all over again now that Thomas has changed our lives in the best way and my work-mom life is very different. Like I said, things change all the time.
5 Things I Do Every Morning for a Productive Day
I do have a pretty consistent morning schedule, though. And I have five habits that are part of my day, every day.
1. Read the news
2. Move my body
3. Eat breakfast
4. Don’t reply to emails on my phone
5. Block social media
These things helped me navigate the craziness that was 2020, and helped reduce my anxiety. And now they help me stay on top of my responsibilities!
My Morning Routine
Here’s what my mornings look like most days:
6-6:30 My alarm goes off and I grab my phone
I try to grab my phone right away since that helps me wake up to engage my brain and helps me wake up. I know lots of morning routine or productivity experts say not to start your day by looking at your phone, but it helps prevent me from hitting snooze! However, I don’t get on social media or Voxer (which I use for Beautycounter work) – I only triage emails — deleting, starring or forwarding to an employee. Answering emails on my phone typically takes too long so I save those for when I’m in front of my computer.
I also read the news in the morning but I try to stay away from Instagram as it can become a stress inducer if my DMs are full. I often delete Instagram in the evening so I don’t get it on it too late in the evening or too early in the morning.
6:30 Get out of bed and have a little quiet time
After laying in bed waking up for about 10 minutes, I get up, get coffee, read more news, read a short devotional. Tommy has been bringing me coffee in bed recently which I love. Or, if I wake up before him, I’ll take him coffee in bed. It’s nice to spend just a few minutes together before we both get into work mode and get Thomas up. Sometimes I’ll head downstairs to work for 30 minutes or so.
7:00 Get Thomas up
If Thomas isn’t up yet, I get him out of his crib, never past seven to keep his sleep schedule on track. Sometimes he wakes up early but he stays in there until 7 and just plays in the dark. It’s kind of hilarious to watch him on the monitor. I nurse him in our bedroom around 7:15 and we all have family/coffee time together in bed. This is one of my favorite times of the day!
7:30 Eat a preworkout snack
I make a piece of toast with peanut butter (Costco has the best PB of all time) for my pre-workout snack and eat that while I pump if necessary. Sometimes I also work on my laptop while I pump. Then I put on my workout clothes.
My workout varies each day, but either I workout at home doing a 30 min Peloton bootcamp, head out the door for a run or I drive to the gym for heavier strength training. I also do a five minute core class and a five minute stretching class after my main workout (using the Peloton app). While I stretch, I upload my workout to Strava. If I’m doing a shorter workout (30 minutes or less or taking a rest day), I’ll go on a walk first to warm-up my body and sometimes I’ll answer Voxers while I walk.
9:00 Eat breakfast while I start work
After my workout, I snag a quick breakfast, almost always a Daily Harvest smoothie these days – it’s quick and helps cool me down. I nurse Thomas at 9:15 and put him down for a nap at 9:30.
For breakfast if I’m not having a smoothie, I like Ezekiel English muffins or sprouted bread, an egg or two, fruit, and some avocado. I’ll watch the news while I eat breakfast and triage emails again. Noticing a pattern? I know some people hate the news but I love it. I like knowing what’s going on with national current events, politics, and things around the world. Tommy and I are both news junkies!
Usually I’ll grab my laptop while I eat breakfast to start to work through my Star Box in my two work inboxes. (The Star Box is something I learned in this Digital Clutter course, which is worth EVERY penny).
9:30 – 10:00 Get Ready
I like to eat breakfast first to kickstart recovery and to give myself time to cool down before I shower (especially if I ran outside in the summer!). I always do my hair & makeup, even though I work from home. Since I just feel better when I do. I also get dressed in real clothes every day – I save athleisure for the weekends since I’ve learned I don’t really love athleisure in the warmer months. And getting dressed in “real” clothes helps me be more productive. While I get ready I’ll listen and reply to Voxers from my Beautycounter team.
10:00 Head into my home office to work
I NEVER work from the couch or in the kitchen for more than 20 minutes. To really focus, I head into my home office so my brain knows that it’s time to really focus. And, when I get there, I know exactly what I need to work on first. Before I end work every day, I list out everything I need to accomplish the next day and throughout the week using TeuxDeux (again, another Digital Clutter lesson!). So when I sit down at this point in the morning, I already know my top priorities. And that helps me stay focused. At this point, I often put my phone on Do Not Disturb or at least put it in another room so I’m not tempted to look at it. If I need to get notified of a call, I’ll put it in another room and just let my watch alert me.
My mornings are certainly different now that I don’t head into an office with a Corporate America job and it’s took some getting used to the flexibility after 13+ years of heading out the door for work (sometimes as early as 6:30 AM when I worked at Goldman Sachs), but I LOVE the routine I have right now. If you’re feeling a little scattered while working from home, juggling kids and are craving a schedule, a simple step is to outline your ideal morning.
Write in detail how you’d like to start your day. (If you’re not a morning person, read this post about how to wake up early.) You may not be able to implement all of it overnight but you could start to take steps towards it. I did that when I was struggling to figure out how to workout, get ready, nurse and still enjoy time with my family in the mornings! It helped me land on my routine now and THAT sets me up for productivity.
Here are a few products that I enjoy in the morning