How my morning routine has changed (yet again)

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My morning routine is fairly predictable. I am often awake by 4:00 a.m. I write for two hours. The rest of my family wakes, and we begin breakfast.

Until recently, by 7:30 or so, I would return to my computer, and that was my “personal writing time.” That earlier two-hour chunk was reserved for deep work, but at 7:30 for about 45 minutes, I would work on a blog post or write here on Medium.

That changed a few weeks ago. I started taking long walks in the morning. It began as a way to quell some anxiety. I had…

Getting things done with a highly structured routine.

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Last week, I met with a colleague to discuss my daily writing process. He had noticed my very routine-based approach to writing and wanted to chat so we could bounce ideas off of each other.

I really love the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. In it, Currey examines the lives of hundreds of creatives throughout history, from artists to writers to composers to scientists. Through research from the creative’s own writing or what biographers have noted, each person featured has a few paragraphs dedicated to their daily rituals. Some were highly structured, like mine. …

Getting into the writing mindset each time I sit down.

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I used to think that writing was something that would strike me at random times. And while it’s true that ideas will come out of the blue, the actual act of writing is something that has become a daily ritual.

A yoga instructor once said to me, “It’s not called yoga perfection, it’s called yoga practice.” The same is true for writing, and the ongoing practice has led me to be a better writer.

Part of this practice involves setting aside buckets of time where I can tell my brain…

I never know when a new idea is going to hit me.

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I have long since learned that ideas will strike me out of the blue. Whether it is my next blog article, something for work, or an item for my never-ending to-do list, my brain will sometimes turn at the most inconvenient times.

Over the years, I’ve learned that there isn’t a “single way” to keep track of everything. It depends on the type of idea and sometimes the location. …

Making changes to my morning routine to accommodate my early-bird third-grader.

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Mornings are my sacred time. I am usually awake between 4:00 and 4:30 a.m. Coffee, journal, reading, then writing. At 6:45 I wake my husband and by 7:00 we make sure that the kids are moving so that they can be ready for school. But this means I usually have more than two hours of uninterrupted “me” time for focused writing.

About two weeks ago, my 9-year-old son began appearing in my office around 6:00 a.m. After greeting me, he would perch on the nearby daybed. Sometimes he would lie down. He was quiet, but his presence was distracting.


Banning the discussion of politics at work is sweeping your problems under the rug.

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I have been a fan of the project management platform Basecamp for years. I selected the product in 2014 to manage a team of analysts and developers at a software company. Easy to learn, easy to collaborate, it had everything we needed.

I read both books written by co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. I was so enamored with the company culture and their approach to work that when Basecamp HQ in Chicago hosted a forum led by Fried, I attended. I even went up to him after and chatted briefly about remote work.

Therefore, to say I am…

What I did wrong last week… and how I plan to fix it.

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I am a bit of a time-blocking fiend. I start with my to-do list and my Google calendar and “block off” chunks of time in my day. I sync up my personal calendar, work calendar, and shared family calendar to have an overlapping view of meetings and appointments and then fill in everything else on my list. The result is something like a color-coded game of Tetris and making everything fit.

A few weeks ago, as I embarked on a new career that involves writing for a good chunk of the day, I started planning my blocks for the entire…

Adding to my morning routine, in small increments.

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If there’s one thing that I’ve confirmed about myself during the pandemic, it is that I like routine. Of course, the pandemic was often the opposite of this, with constant changes to the remote school schedule and days that felt like a free-for-all.

But as we’re emerging on the other side, I have found that I can recapture some of that routine I crave. My kids are back in school so there is more regularity to the days. I have long been a morning person but recently have tried to add a bit more to my morning routine.

I have…

Around midday, I need a break.

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I wake up earlier than most people think is reasonable. Pre-Daylight Savings Time change, it was around 3:30 a.m. No alarm. I would wake naturally, have my coffee, and do my morning reading and writing. The “spring forward” threw off my natural rhythm a bit, but I’m slowly working my way back to my normal.

On the flip side, I am in bed by 8:30 p.m., at the absolute latest. I start to wind down much earlier than that.

The other effect is that by midday, I’m exhausted. I try to get a lot of intensive writing/focus work done in…

Reaching the end of the pandemic tunnel means more time for movement.

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In pre-pandemic life, I loved hot yoga. There was a studio only a few miles from my house. The classes were 90 minutes in a room that was 105 degrees with 40% humidity, but I found the sweat to be very cleansing.

My husband and I would also take walks, usually several times per week. We both work from home and around mid-morning, we would go for a walk around the neighborhood. There was a nearby park, and we could take a lap around the perimeter and make it back to the house in about 30 minutes.

Pandemic life changed…

Anna Burgess Yang

Writer • Mother • Bereaved • Friend • Documentarian • Finance Nerd • IoT Geek • Collector • Creative •

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