my morning routine

Updated: Jun 26

6:30 A.M., the alarm goes off. I’ve been trying to stop hitting snooze -- hit snooze on your alarm and you hit snooze on your life, the gurus chide -- but lately I’ve been mostly unsuccessful.

Luckily, I have a fool-proof backup who is anticipating the next series of events. His howls begin as soon as he hears the bedsheets rustling: FEEEEEEED MEEEEEE.

I fumble around for my glasses before getting out of bed to begrudgingly comply with our cat's demands. Rather than calm him down, opening the door makes him increasingly desperate. “HIIIIII I’M HEEEEEEERE AND STARVINGGGGG!”

Cat alarm.

Ok, I think, time to hit snooze on this alarm ASAP. I follow Boba down the stairs, head to the fridge and scoop his chow out as fast as humanly possible while holding my breath (cat food stinks!). He finally shuts up.

Whew. I can breathe now.

I pour myself some coffee and look out the window. It’s still dark outside if I’m close to my target wake-up time that day. On many days, I can start to see the pink and orange hues of a beautiful sunrise break through the clouds behind townhomes in the far corner of the window.

My brain is still a bit foggy and I sit down to attempt meditation. If I made it downstairs too late, then I can be assured a disruption when hubby gets out of bed and stops at the bottom of the stairs to pointedly stare at me until I open my eyes and giggle with him before he proceeds to fix himself breakfast. Listen to the sounds around you but don't get involved in them, the meditation app reminds me.

Next, I head to the writing desk in the living room and pull out two boxes of “Affirmators.” These are slightly snarky cards with unicorns emblazoned on one side and positive intentions on the other. I generally dislike anything too “woo woo,” but I do find these cards are a fun and encouraging way to start the day. Today my card topics were “Limits” and “Worthiness,” a reminder to set boundaries and value my time and talents.

Morning desk.

Next, exercise. This is still something I half-ass in the morning because I do a full workout in the evening, and who works out twice in one day?! But I quickly stretch and do some jumping jacks, air squats, or pushups to get the blood going a bit.

My favorite part is next: reading. I either sit down with a real book, watch Masterclass, or listen to a podcast while I tidy up around the kitchen.

The final step of this Miracle Morning routine is writing. Most days I get away with jotting down a few things in my gratitude journal or win log, but on other days it’s a script for video, a workbook with story ideas, or an important email I’ve been dragging my feet on. Today it’s this blog post.

With the prescribed routine complete, it’s time for a couple of other things I added on via habit stacking (thanks Atomic Habits!). I look at my bank account, business expenses, and immediately categorize any new transactions or miles in Quickbooks; I address any discrepancies right away.

Then I get up and water all the plants -- last year, I killed almost all the plants I got, so this year I didn’t let myself buy any new ones until I had solidified this new habit with the few remaining plants we had. So far, so good; maybe “Slayer of Plants” won’t be on my tombstone after all. The basil's looking a little sad today, though-- pray for it!

The latest habit I’ve stacked on is 15 minutes of French through Duolingo, a cute language-learning app with an animated owl for a teacher. Il est chéri.

After that, I’m ready to get to my “real” work based on a to-do list I made the day before, and I try to tackle the most challenging task first. Many mornings I’m not successful at this either. But each day, I like to think I get a little braver and do a little more.

The two most annoying yet lovable guys I know.

By this point, if he hasn’t attempted to get a second breakfast out of Eric, Boba’s usually done with his own morning hijinks -- he’ll crouch and burp from eating too fast, head to the litter box to do his business, and then sprint up the stairs before settling into an 8-hour nap.

I used to pooh-pooh routine. People with ideas don't need barriers, they need freedom, I thought. But in fact, having structure has bolstered my creativity, increased productivity, provided clarity of purpose, and helped me get through difficult days. If I skip a day, the effects are immediate: The entire day feels messy, chaotic, and lost to the whims of nature.