What I do everyday matters. Period. To remain consistent and maintain discipline, I’ve learned the activities and things I participate in on a regular basis is more important than what I do once in a while. I am fascinated with the habits of others, especially those I admire and in an effort to better my own routine, I’ve turned my gaze outward as a trampoline for inspiration. Recently I discovered a website called, My Morning Routine, where over 161 artists, writers, entrepreneurs, yogis and others offer a glimpse inside their morning routines.

I am particularly interested in whether what I do in the morning is the overriding factor in cultivating a more contented life. By excavating some of same questions other writers and people have answered it provided a blueprint to spot patterns that are vital to my morning routine and well-being. Here are my answers and I hope you choose to participate too:

1. What is your morning routine? I try to wake up early, at least an hour or two before my family rises. In this time, I head for a run in my neighborhood or choose to take time to write or read. Before I sit down at my computer to begin my work day, I’ve unloaded the dishwasher, made the bed and taken my daughter to school. My other companion at my desk? Always coffee.

2. How long have you stuck with your morning routine? I love routine. For the last 7 years I’ve been wedded to this particular way of shaping my morning.

3. How has your morning routine changed over recent years? When I was a practicing attorney, I’d barely have time for a shower or breakfast. Every part of my life felt like a flash of hurry. Since leaving the legal practice and giving birth to my little girl, my mantra is to interject more mindfulness in the morning. That means slowing down and savoring my environment.

4. What time do you go to sleep? I usually sleep between 10:45 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Through the years, when I’ve tried to sleep earlier I wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling asleep again. This bedtime seems to work best for me.

5. Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier? I make my daughter’s lunch, glance at my calendar and make a to-do list of at least three items I need to complete for the next day.

6. Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button? Yes. Sometimes, I will catch a few more minutes of sleep.

7. How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have? I will probably wait an hour or two after I wake up to eat breakfast. Usually it is a bowl of oatmeal, accompanied by some fruit and nuts. When I feel particularly adventurous and naughty, I will treat myself to a cinnamon roll.

8. Do you have a morning workout routine? Yes. I try to workout, either via a run or an exercise class at the gym in the morning.

9. Do you have a morning meditation routine? I haven’t cultivated it in the past, but because my word of the year is pause, I am trying to implement a few minutes of meditation in the morning.

10. Do you answer email first thing in the morning, or leave it until later in the day? I tend to read my email first thing in the morning and respond a few hours later.

11. Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine? No.

12. How soon do you check your phone in the morning? Too soon. I am actively working on trying to put my phone out of reach in the morning.

13. What are your most important tasks in the morning? My most important task is to understand the privilege of waking up and the gratitude of beginning a new day. I adore the quiet of the morning to ease into my routine.

14. What and when is your first drink in the morning? Coffee and usually 30 minutes after I am up.

15. What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day? Unease tends to creep up during the day if my morning routine isn’t going as planned. I am learning to embrace the interruptions and trying to handle the uncertainty with a more sensible perspective. Sometimes you have to let go in order to welcome the unexpected.

What about you? How does your morning routine influence the rest of your day? I would love to hear your answers. 

Image: Arizona Sunrise by Mark Smith via Flickr.