In all of my years of blogging, there has been one post that resonated more than any, and that was when I shared my morning routine a few years back. Somehow it popped up in my head the other day, and I reflected on how things have shifted since I wrote it, but also how a few key things have remained the same. Mornings have always been an important time of day for me, but more recently I’ve found value in not just mapping out my first three hours, but my entire day. This way I can prepare myself for what’s ahead and eliminate that feeling of overwhelm that always seems to creep in.
Since writing that post, I’ve moved my studio around quite a bit — from a co-working space, to renting a desk in a friend’s studio, to renting my own studio — eventually landing back at home and working from of a designated office space. As with all things in business, I’m a firm believer in the “test and change” mentality, and have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t by trying on a few different scenarios. All that said, I thought it due time to share an update on my routine and lend a few key tips for crafting your own.
7 – 8am
The first hour of the morning is pretty precious. The sun is just creeping in through the windows, no one is requesting your attention just yet, and there is a quiet in the air that tends to dissipate as the day progresses. I like to take advantage of this time by filling it with all of my self-care needs, like stretching, meditation, exercise and journaling. A few of my favorite practices include:
• Drinking a bottle of water first thing when I rise to start the day hydrated.
• Oil pulling for 20 minutes (I like to use sunflower oil).
• Sipping a cup of ginger, fennel, turmeric tea (which you can find in this post).
• Some light yoga poses, followed by guided meditation (I’ve tried a few variations, but have come to love the Calm app the most).
8 – 10am
If I don’t have plans for afternoon yoga, I like to use this time for a walk or run around the neighborhood, which doubles as an opportunity to catch up on a few of my favorite podcasts. After exercise, I’ll spend the rest of this time making breakfast, showering, and getting ready for my day.
10am – 1pm
I like to be hunkered down at my desk my 10am, ready to tackle my to-do’s. My routine used to start an hour earlier, rising at 6am and working by 9, but I’ve found my body feels more rested by shifting that schedule a bit. During this 3-hour chunk, I tackle my inbox in its entirety, then close up all distractions to dive into client work. I’ll usually accompany this with some music, or more often, an hour-long news broadcast so I can stay connected with what’s happening around the world (it’s pretty easy to live in a bubble, especially working from home).
1 – 2pm
I’m mindful to take a lunch break every day around 1pm, usually warming up leftovers from dinner the night before, or tossing together something simple like steamed rice and veggies. This is also a good time to connect with my boyfriend (who also works from home) and share what’s happened so far in our days. After lunch, I dive back into it.
2 – 5pm
Once I return to my desk, I assess my remaining to-do’s for the day and continue to work away. I’ve found that the sweet spot for me is a maximum of four actionable items. Beyond this, I tend to get overwhelmed and end up finishing far less than what I set out to. A 3pm cup of tea (and a bite of something sweet) is almost always a part of my day as well. Ideally, I aim to wrap up at 4pm so I can head to yoga class, but if I’m pushing for a big deadline or the day just seems to be escaping me, I’ll keep working to 5pm. At this point, the mouse stops moving, I close my laptop, and shut the door to the office. It’s really important for me to separate my work zone from my living zone, and I usually don’t enter my office after 5pm on weekdays, and not at all on weekends. This way when I am here, I know it’s focus time (and the sofa in the other room serves as a good end-of-day incentive).
5 – 10pm
Similar to the morning, the end of the day is always a time to reconnect and unwind. Sometimes it’s meeting a friend for dinner, sometimes it’s trying out a new recipe at home, but it almost always ends with a cup of tea on the sofa with my boyfriend, and a good book before bed (right now I’m in the middle of Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock and am very much enjoying it).
So that about does it! While this wasn’t the traditional format of our Elysian Being posts, I hope it still provided you with a few valuable takeaways. Are you a lover of routine? If so, how do you like to craft your day? As always, feel free to chime in on the comments below.