Kerri Ough - a work in progress...

My Morning Routine

I posed this question to my friends and family recently and told them I would share my morning routine with them too.  It’s July 12, 2017 and this is how my mornings at home generally go:

What is your morning routine?
I wake up first with Brian’s alarm at 4:45am. I try to go back to sleep until 7 or 8am (I don’t use an alarm, I just wait until my body wakes me up.) Upon second wake up, I make the bed, go downstairs, turn the oven on, start the kettle to boil, drink a glass of water, put on my flip flops and go for a walk in whatever outfit I can find fast (shorts and tank tops these days.) I walk for about 10 minutes to loosen up my legs and breathe fresh air. I work from home so if I don’t go out right away, there’s a chance I won’t go outside for many hours later and on rainy days, maybe not at all!

When I get home from my walk, I pull 2 eggs from the fridge and a container of pre-cut sweet potatoes (that I prepped on the weekend) and throw them in the oven for 17 minutes. I grind coffee beans and drink another glass of water while the kettle boils for a second time. Once boiled I make a single aeropress coffee for me and then I run around the house throwing windows open, tidying whatever needs tidying, washing the dishes, taking out the garbage. When the 17 minute timer goes off, I fry my eggs in olive oil, cut a half an avocado and add sweet potatoes to the plate and sit at my table and eat (maybe listening to a podcast, or part of an audiobook I find inspiring.)

KO-breakfast

I finish breakfast, drink another glass of water go up to my office, open 750words.com and write every inane thought, dream from the night before, petty nuisance on my mind, list my things to do, until I reach my word goal (750 words though sometimes it gets into 1600 or so if I’m on a roll, and I don’t stop myself) and then I get on with “the day.” I start with one project that needs doing – which these days is practising or songwriting. For the first two hours of my office time I try to do that creative thing right away when I’m fresh before opening email and getting to the necessary nitty-gritty work ahead of me.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
Since Feb 2016 – when I’m home. Different/no routine when I’m working on the road.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I used to just wake up and do most of these things, but haphazardly and directionless. Sometimes I would stretch them over an entire day instead of reeling it in. It didn’t have the impact I wanted it to have so now the goal is to do all of that in the first 45 minutes of my morning.

What time do you go to sleep?
My first “go to sleep” episode happens when Brian puts himself down for the night ( 8-9:30pm.) Sometimes I stay in bed and fall asleep by 10, sometimes I get up and draw or listen to an audiobook until I’m sleepy. I’m usually asleep between 10 and midnight.

Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
Yes, typically I want the kitchen clean and my sweet potatoes cut so I don’t have to think about my mindless morning rituals when I’m bleary-eyed.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
I eat within the first hour I’m awake. At home I have eggs, sweet potatoes and avocado. On the road I eat hardboiled eggs, or egg sandwiches (hold the bread.)

Do you have a morning workout routine?
I usually work out between 10 and 1pm to break up my day, not every day, 3 times a week right now. On the days where I don’t go to the gym, I do micro workouts, like planking for 2 minutes or pushup challenges, or yoga stretches or headstands. My friend Ian turned me onto Max Shank’s “At the Desk Exercises” to loosen me up after a lot of sitting.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?
I am two and a half weeks into a morning meditation practise. I used the Calm App to get me started, today I used Headspace for the first time. I like them both.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I prefer when my mornings start with writing, thinking or practising – I like to check email as late as possible so my creative work is done before I invite the outside world into my mushy brain. Usually if I check around 11:30am (which is 10am where most of my work happens) I feel great!

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I try not to check it until I get to my office, but sometimes I want to see what happened overnight on Instagram (since we go to bed so early and a lot of my friends and family are on a different time zone I want to catch up with them!)  I use my phone for meditation so that temptation is nearby all morning. It takes a lot of discipline not to look at it.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Right now while my band is in the process of recording a new album and doing some light touring, my most important work is songwriting, lyric writing, practising and running songs for tour. A close second is staying on top of our band accounting and my personal accounting and all the business of running a band. I find if I knock off a few things early in the day, I’m willing to lose myself more in the afternoon to chores and email work.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Water is my first drink. Then a black coffee made with Pilot Coffee Beans.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
The weekends are different because Brian is home with me, but I make the same breakfast for us and generally move through the same rituals early in the day so we can enjoy ourselves without being too bogged down by chores.

On days you’re not at home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
Not really. I consider this to be a huge disconnect in my brain. I am working on this though and adapting my home routine to the road so I don’t fall too behind when I’m traveling and so I feel normal while we’re moving from town to town. I cut myself some slack when it’s just not possible to get everything done when I’m on the move.

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
I usually feel a bit aimless if I haven’t given myself a purpose for the day. Even if the purpose is “Relax today, it’s Saturday.” I like to write out what my intention(s) for the day is/are and stick to it/them. I also try to pay attention to what my body and brain need on days off.

Anything else?
Yes! I’ve decided to try something different this summer and spend entire days on a single subject or activity. Like a Tuesday will be a meeting and business day – where I knock off all skype meetings / phone calls / appointments and general business related tasks, and then Wednesday is a personal day where I work on personal projects, home projects, self-development, physical challenges – exercise, cooking etc. and Thursday will be songwriting day or practising day. I think giving over 4-6 hours to a single practise on a given day might propel my progress forward faster than allotting only 15 minutes a day to something. I’ll still have time to catch up on emails at the top and bottom of my day, but I want to get into the DEEP WORK (as Cal Newport calls it) and see what I can get done when I really apply myself. We’ll see how it goes! I’m going to give it a go and report back in a month.

Morning Routine Office

 

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