My morning routine

The very first thing I do when I wake up is drink a glass of hot water with lemon, say many highly successful people on that bloody Morning Routines website. How does that work? If you have to get out of bed and go down to the kitchen to prepare it, it’s technically not the very first thing you do upon waking, not to be pedantic. But if you were to put the beverage beside your bed the night before it would be a) not hot, and b) kind of manky. You could keep an electric kettle, bowl of lemons and a knife in the room. Or get a butler to bring it in.

Why do I keep reading that website? Part of me likes to snortle at the green juice and meditations at dawn. But a little part of me longs to kick some arse in this life and make my mornings a whirlwind of productivity.

Here is my current routine:

I rise when my thimble-size bladder sounds the alarm and head to the bathroom. Next stop is the kitchen to make a sandwich for Gareth’s work breakfast. Not because I’m a 1950s housewife but the task keeps me awake, and almost two years into the job he’s still rubbish with the early starts. I yell up the stairs, you need to leave for the brewery 10 minutes ago. I hear a duvet-muffled I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. Five minutes later he stumbles down and mumbles one of the following before departing:

  • If I were any more tired, I’d be dead
  • Brewing is a young man’s game
  • Make sure you’ve figured out how I can retire by the time I get home.

Before I worked from home I blamed my morning slacktitude on the day job. If not for the commute, I’d rise at dawn and write 1000 words and do yoga and prepare a savoury breakfast! 9-5 was the source of all woes!

But turns out without the structure and accountability of an employer I was even worse. For much of my first solo year, as soon as Gareth left one of two things happened:

1. I’d check my phone “just for a minute” to see if things were okay with my clients then feel the need to attend to everything right away lest they think I was a slackarse. At 2 pm I’d still be on the couch in my PJs.


2. I’d go upstairs and put on the workout clothes, a maudlin ensemble optimistically laid out the night before. I’d make the bed then sit on it for “just a minute” to contemplate the universe. Next thing it was 11 am and I’d wake in a panic then have to work late into the evening.

This year I’ve slowly been getting my mornings in order. Top tactics so far:

  • Putting the coffee pot beside the stove ready to go, because coffee is the reason for waking up
  • Resisting urge to check phone until I’ve done 20 minutes of something non-worky (usually reading, or walk + podcast) to make a distinction between work and home.
  • Writing a list of the next day’s tasks the night before, so I don’t waste half an hour deciding what to do then another half hour choosing a pen to write the list.
  • GETTING PROPERLY DRESSED for crying out loud.

When I manage to do those things I feel competent, like the day is not a runaway horse. There’s still a mild sense of unease rumbling away in the background but that seems to be normal for the self-employed.

The next mission is to break the habit of Laptop On Couch. If I can nail that, maybe I can advance to hot water and lemon!

Alarm cat says, blanket + couch is not desk!
I thought I told you to sit at your desk.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for December 2022.

32 thoughts on “My morning routine

  1. Oh, bugger the hot water & lemon – it’s awful!

    I have a day job to go to and I’m still rubbish at mornings, so I have absolutely no advice for you. Hopeless.

  2. “There’s still a mild sense of unease rumbling away in the background but that seems to be normal for the self-employed.”

    Oh yes. Oh very yes.

  3. I checked out the morning routine website when you mentioned it earlier. I thought it was ridiculous. Stick with coffee and whatever works for you and your family. I love that cat.

  4. If I didn’t have a kid to get ready for school I’d never get anything done. The hour of yelling plus the 20 minutes of walking on the school run makes the spawning worthwhile in terms of work. Of course, weekends and school holidays are rubbish, and I suppose eventually she’ll be able to make her own way to school, leaving me to sleep in until lunch.

  5. Oh Aye! To ALL! Frankly I’m in awe. I crawl back into bed after relieving my miniature sized bladder 😀 I did manage the art of dressing properly (mostly because my work space isn’t @ home, otherwise… Oi) Maybe I should start a coffee habit? Word on the street is coffee is a health food now! *mind blown*

    Random idea: Maybe you should start a new service: Shouty Shauna! For all your wake up needs. I’d be your first client 😉

    1. That’s a great idea! I’d like someone to shout at me to get up and MOVE at regular intervals. I’ve tried all the apps but would be great if someone phoned up on the hour and just bellowed MOVE!!!!!!!

  6. Sometimes when I read your posts I think we are the same person! Many chuckles were had by me reading this.

  7. “Put the coffeepot by the stove, ready to go.” Are you making coffee on the stove? I can’t imagine. I have an electric drip coffee pot, and also a remote control switchy thing, so when I wake up I just reach my arm out from under the covers and turn it on from upstairs. By the time I drag myself out of bed, wee, and make my way to the kitchen it’s almost done.

    When I worked from home, I almost NEVER dressed in normal clothes. Pajamas, workout clothes, and loungewear all became one and the same. I’m still that way on weekends. I am a disgusting human being 😀

    1. Oh that sounds like a glorious invention! I’m kicking it old school with a Moka pot. Now I want a remote control!

  8. Hot water and lemon first thing in the morning is the worst. It’s really acidic and eats away at the enamel on your teeth. I have a terrible morning routine too ~ although I live the closest to work of all of my colleagues, I’m usually the last one in. Morning’s are just too hard!

    1. Ah ha! I will stick to staining my teeth with coffee then, hehe.
      You are bloody right about mornings. When I lived 10 mins walk from work I was always last in too! The shorter the commute the greater the lateness. We could write a mathematical formula for that.

  9. My mum used to drink hot water, cider vinegar & honey in the morning. A very distinctive smell that reminds me of childhood! I make my coffee (on the stove, like you), cup of Earl Tea (I reject the false ‘coffee or tea’ dichotomy and drink both in the morning, but in ‘coffee then tea’ order) &, recently, reach into the fridge and fetch my fridge oats out. I have realised that in the morning the best thing for me is not to have to think, so I reckon whatever you do, as long as you can do it on autopilot, is the best thing to do.

  10. I started reading that Morning Routine website and had to stop after a while, as it was making me feel utterly depressed. All those shiny people, getting up early, drinking green juices, doing an hour of yoga, instagram-ing their perfect life writing a book and inventing a new app, all before 10am. It left me feeling utterly inadequate.

    With some distance from the site, I’ve decided I don’t believe a word of it. It’s the ambitious, glamorised version of what they do. I think it’s like most Food Diaries I used to come across when practising – the version of eating people would think I wanted to read and they maybe managed once a month, when the stars were aligned and the moon was in Jupiter.

    There is no way I’d be taking Instagram photos of myself at 7.00am even if I was able to muddle a green juice together.

    Having said all that though, I do find a morning routine very useful. It’s something I’ve been working on and I am better – happier, calmer, more productive and less anxious – on the days when I do follow the routine. Mine is along the lines of get up 6.30; spend some time reading and / or writing Morning Pages and / or exercising; R gets up at 8.00am and I then have breakfast and fluff around until he’s ready for work and we go out for coffee; back home get showered and dressed and put some washing on and / or do last night’s washing up; start work at 10.00am.

    If I can do all that, the day runs more smoothly, but even that half-arsed, long winded and slightly shambolic routine is hard to follow. There are days when things go awry. When I start reading, the cat comes on my lap and it feels more warm and comforting to sit there than to go outside for a walk. If R goes to work early it stuffs up my routine. If R goes to work late it stuffs up my routine.

    I reckon on average I manage the routine 3 times a week, which probably makes calling it a “routine” highly questionnable . . . For a while that bugged me, I felt I *should* be able to do it more often, but I’ve noticed that even following the routine 3 days a week is better than none. It’s a work in progress and may always be a work in progress, but that’s okay.

  11. “Half an hour choosing a pen” lol! That would be me too. Nothing like a good list to create the illusion that you’re not procrastinating.
    As it is, I usually wake up, try not to move so as not to aggravate the bladder, and spend 15 mins lying in bed trying to imagine the contents of my wardrobe and deciding what to wear. It’s all an excuse not to get out of bed, of course!

  12. I feel your pain. I work from home these days and it’s such a struggle to give my life some semblance of order. I keep telling myself I need to plan more and stick to a routine but I’m usually wandering around in my pyjamas and putting off work til as late as possible.

  13. If I get up too quickly, my blood pressure drops and I’m dizzy so I spend a while lying in bed reading emails on my phone to know if anything needs answering straight away. But one day last week, I had to go out for an 8 o’clock meeting and I had to dress suitably smartly. I had a load of paperwork at home to do afterwards so I kept my business clothes on until it was all done. It seemed to help.

  14. This post made me smile – I am a morning person and am generally “with it” as soon as the alarm comes on. I know, a strange breed. Your description of Gareth though sounds not unlike my Mr which made me smile even more.

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