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Don’t you just revel in discovering other people’s biznass? You know, how the make their lives, businesses and relationships actually work? And not just work, but become super duper ΓΌber successful and happy-pants?

Hot damn, I do.

Getting up all in their junk is totally my jam! (do people still say “my jam?”)… Which is why when I discovered My Morning Routine, I was instantly hooked.

My Morning Routine was launched 3 years ago by Michael Xander and Benjamin Spall. It’s an independent online magazine that brings its readers a brand new, inspiring morning routine every Wednesday to help set them up for a more productive and enjoyable day. I first came to it when I was first trying to figure out how the hell to start my day as a freelancer.

I’ll be honest, I hate routine. I hate it. Like a unicorn hates arithmetic. I get bored easily. So I think of my routine as more of a ritual. Something that brings me bliss, results, abundance and a life I love.

Those of you who own your own business or who are blogging for a living know as well as anyone that all day, every day in your jammie-jams and alone, well in the depths of your office doesn’t always = happiness. Or good time management. Or productivity. Or success. Which is why rituals – or routines – are so important. They’re systems that allow us to become happy. Have good time management. Be productive. And totally successful.

Inspired by what they do in their magazine, I’ve decided to share my morning ritual to help you understand what it’s like to not only run your own business but to share part of my process with you so you might feel inspired to create your own morning ritual (or routine, if that’s your thing) that nourishes you and helps you enjoy the moment, the day and your life.

As a creative entrepreneur, cookbook author, cocktail columnist & freelance writer,Β  actress, food photographer, bourbonator and general badass, I’m often asked “Kristy! How do you do it all?!”.

The truth is out there. Actually, the truth is right here.

This is my morning routine.

My alarm usually goes off at 5:00am…

Unless I’m filming on set, in which case it’s closer to 4am. I hate alarms and usually I wake up with the sun, but in the Winter, they’re a necessary evil.

I lean over, slide the alarm to off – I never hit snooze – and immediately take 5 long, slow deep breaths. I clear my mind of all clutter from my dreams and think of at least 3 things I’m grateful for. I finish off the “meditation” with a positive affirmation. Something generic like “This is going to be a great day.” Because I truly believe it is and it frames my mindset for the day.

I pop out of bed, grab my iPhone (which is also my alarm clock) and shuffle to the kitchen.

When I get to the kitchen…

If it isn’t raining (this is Vancouver, after all), I’ll take myself on a brisk 30 minute walk to get the lungs and legs moving.

Coffee. Always coffee. Preferably pour-over coffee. With cream. Lots of it. As the coffee steeps I usually crack open the window (love that fresh morning air), munch on a banana, drink 500ml of tap water, check the weather on my iPhone as well as any Instagram notifications and text messages.

I then promptly plunk my ass down on the couch to read a book for 45 minutes while I drink my coffee and another 500ml of tap water. On non-work days these are fiction books, but on a work day more often than not they’re on leadership, creative living, self development and the like. Often it’s on my Kobo-Glo reader, though sometimes it’s an actual book. I love the tactile (and smell!) of real books.

Once my coffee is finished, I put my book away and turn on my computer. The first thing I open is my MacMail. It takes about a year to load. So while it does that, I make breakfast. This might be some apple cinnamon overnight oats or if I’m feeling ambitious, eggs on avocado toast.

I organize the hell out of my day…

Once I check my email and reply to anything urgent, I update my calendar for the acting agency and check my to-do list for the day which I number in order of attack. I go over my iCal each morning but also physically write out the tasks for the week in a notebook, organized by day. I find it very rewarding to cross things off that list and it also helps me visualize what the day will bring. What needs to be done, who is on the schedule, what appointments I have. I don’t typically worry about meetings because I don’t take them; Most meetings are a tragic waste of time and 99% of communication can be done via email, live chat or if need be, a quick phone call.

Value your time? Stop having meetings. Just stop. #SmallBiz #Leaders Click To Tweet

I then schedule a full 45 minutes for body moving time. This might be a personal training session at the gym, a speed walk, some hoop shooting, a total solo dance party before lunch in the living room or whatever I feel like that day. It doesn’t matter because the idea is to make sure my body – in addition to my mind – is taken care of. If I don’t schedule the time, I don’t do it.

I get down to biznass…

Once I work out, I shower, I dry off, I lotion, I get dressed and I tackle the tasks on my list based on the order I’ve numbered them. Often this is content creation or freelance writing, followed by design work, followed by other Peppercorn Creative work or photography projects because that’s how my brain works best as the day ticks by.

  • I take one full day a week to just answer email and do my own marketing – blog writing, newsletter creation, past client follow ups and promotion.
  • I reserve 2 full days a week for my cookbook creation.
  • The rest of the week is split up between client work, nourishing my community and days off, depending on the week. Because of my lack of meeting-taking and consistent organization skills, I can often work on much of this on set if I’m filming a movie or TV show.
  • I insist on taking Sundays for myself to relax, recharge, paint my toenails and watch Chris Pratt films or bad 80’s movies on AMC.

As the morning comes to a close, I have lunch between 11:00am and 12:00pm which usually consists of either a non-GMO plant protein smoothie or some kind of lean protein like eggs, chicken or fish, grilled or raw veggies and some water. Often that’s followed by a small treat like a small piece of cake I’ve baked for the cookbook or a piece of chocolate while listening to my favourite podcasts.

I’ve been doing this routine for…

3 years. The walking bit changes with the seasons but I always have my “coffee time”. It’s incredibly important to make some time for myself before I give the day my all – you can only give if you have something to give. That time nourishes me and replenishes my stocks for the day.

I go to sleep at…

Early pearly! Usually between 8PM and 9PM though if I feel like going b-a-n-a-n-a-s, 10:00pm. My body needs 7 hours minimum of sleep per night. It prefers a solid 9.

I told you I’m a badass.

…Maybe a badass grandma. At the ripe old age of 35.

To make my morning routine easier before bed…

I spend some quality time with my fiancΓ©. Usually that’s dinner and a TV show or walk.

Then I make sure all the clothes and crap from the day are put away – I’m a firm believer in a clean space, a clean mind.

I also pull the coffee stuff out of the cupboard and put everything within arms reach on the counter. I might be a morning person but my head is sure fuzzy before I caffeinate.

Finally I turn on the Relax & Rest app on my iPhone when I lay down. It konks me out within 10 minutes. Every. Time.

To “keep up”…

When it comes to email, I check it only 2X a day! Once in the morning and once an hour before I turn off the computer for the day. Rarely do I check or answer email in the middle of the day. This keeps my schedule clear for the day’s agenda and everyone still gets replied to.

When it comes to social media or building relationships, I’m active 3X per day. I’m a firm believer in showing up so I make sure I block the time to do so. This means actually logging onto social media for a micro-movement amount of time on my respective platforms and sending short, check in emails to people with whom I want to connect.

Let's put the social back in social media! #SocialMedia #SmallBiz Click To Tweet

Then I close the Facebook.

My most important tasks of the morning are…

Ensuring that both I and my community is nourished. It’s important to my business and my heart-soul to make sure everyone is taken care of. Physically, mentally and emotionally.

After that, coffee πŸ˜‰

On napping…

Fuck yes. Right after lunch, usually.

Albert Einstein did it. Thomas Edison did it. John F. Kennedy did it. Leonardo DaVinci did it. Gene Autry did it. And there’s lots of good reasons to do it. You know, if famous people’s habits aren’t reason enough.

I do my best work…

In the AM.

I try to work from the coffee shops most days because it gets me out of the house and creates a clear divide between home and work – something that’s instrumental in my success as a business owner. But I often fall short on that.

If I start going a little nuts, it’s usually because I’ve been working from my couch or bar counter too much. I take that as a sign that I need to check in with myself and check myself out of the house.

Except for lunch. I always try to eat lunch at home because it tastes better and is healthier than cafe food.

If I fail to follow my morning routine…

I get all wirey and cocoon like a Mogwai fed after midnight.

Actually, I get overwhelmed and a bit grouchy. I stay flexible most days – shit happens. So during the times the routine gets blown to high hell, I take a big breath, dive in and go with the flow. And then promptly pour myself a bourbon at 4PM.

But if I consistently ignore or make excuses about why I can’t follow my morning routine, I find I’m unable to present my best self – and my best work – to the world. Self care is so important to every aspect of my life; I need to feel balanced. If I’m not balanced, I’m not productive, successful or happy. My morning routine helps me maintain that balance, feel confident and stay clear on how I can best support myself, my loved ones and my clients.

On non-work days…

I don’t set an alarm – I wake up when I want to. Usually this isn’t much later than 7AM because my body is used to the rhythm of the rest of the week. But I still do the walk, coffee, book action because it’s my time.

After that, I try to do something active and I do NOT turn on my computer. Boundaries, remember?

And then lunch! Because my whole life revolves around the next time I get to eat a meal. Not even kidding.

Do you have a morning routine? A morning ritual? What else would you add to the conversation? Leave a comment below or please shoot me an email and tell me! I wanna hear from you.

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10 Comments on A Day in the Life of A Creative Entrepreneur | My Morning Routine

  1. Darina Kopcok
    March 3, 2016 at 2:08 pm (2 years ago)

    This is great! I’m still struggling with structuring my day and staying focused. Even though I am a pretty organized person, I still end up flying by the seat of my pants through most of the day. This gives me some ideas. πŸ™‚

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 8, 2016 at 3:46 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Darina! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article.

      I think we all struggle sometimes when it comes to structuring our days. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But when I fall off the organization wagon, I take micro-movements to make it better.

      I suggest you do one thing just a little bit better than we did the previous day. Give it a month. You’ll be amazed at the progress!
      Kristy Gardner recently posted…3 Incredibly Specific Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW to Make More Money in Your BusinessMy Profile

  2. Ria
    March 10, 2016 at 1:07 am (2 years ago)

    Oh my, FIVE in the MORNING! Respect. But then again: amazing what you can do in a morning…! Good advice to look at it as a ritual, not a routine. I feel like that unicorn πŸ˜‰

  3. Kirsten
    March 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve been doing Morning Pages for 9 days since I picked up The Artist’s Way.
    Amazing to me how the ripples of this simple task are spreading. When I, too, get up at 5 an amazing amount gets done.
    Well done, Kristy!

  4. Cyndi
    April 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Great article! Routines/rituals are what keep me in focus too. πŸ™‚ I just discovered your blog this morning on the Facebook group, the Freelancer’s Roadmap. πŸ™‚

    • Kristy Gardner
      April 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm (2 years ago)

      Hey Cyndi! It’s great to meet you and be part of your community πŸ™‚

      I don’t know how people get shit done without some kind of ritual or routine. It’s clearly something I need to keep me on track. I’m glad to hear you find them useful too!

      Welcome to the Peppercorn blog πŸ™‚
      Kristy Gardner recently posted…Why You Won’t Make Money Blogging (and how to fix that!)My Profile