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

Photo by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Michael Henry on Unsplash

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…

Alone in the house for the first time in more than a year.

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

When I mentioned in a team meeting that my kids will be returning to school full-time in a few weeks, a colleague joked “It’s Parental Independence Day!”

Yes. Very much so.

We have been home with our three kids for 382 days. Our only break was a few weeks ago when my mom was visiting. My husband and I were able to sneak away to an Airbnb for one night and have dinner alone. It was brief, but it was a break.

Now we are on the verge of what our life looked like Before the pandemic. Our older kids…

Finally seeing the light at the end of the exhausting tunnel.

Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

In early 2020, I began watercolor painting. I have never considered myself artistic but fell into the hobby by accident when my 8-year-old son wanted to explore some painting videos on YouTube. Once I learned to wrangle the stubbornness that is watercolor paints, I found myself eager to learn. I elicited some help from an artistic friend, read books on technique, and followed several Instagrammers for inspiration. I would often listen to audiobooks and spend my morning time painting.

Then the pandemic hit. What anxiety often does for me is stifle creativity. It was too hard to feel inspired when…

Taking a moment to recognize the change in my career.

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After nearly a year with my kids at home, I am trying to re-enroll my 3-year-old in preschool. I worked on the application this morning and paused when I got to the line for “occupation.”

I began a new job less than a month ago. Not only that, but I completely changed careers. I had to take a moment to look at that line and think about what I would write.

Honestly, I have always had trouble with that line. I never had a career with a straightforward answer like “teacher” or “dentist.” I worked for a software company for…

My #5amwriters club routine includes poetry.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

For months now, I have been firmly planted in the #5amwritersclub camp. Actually, I usually start to stir around 3:30. By the time I’ve gotten dressed, washed my face, and found my way to the coffee pot, it is more like #4amwritersclub. I sit at the kitchen table with my brew, my journal, my daily planner, and a book of poetry.

For a long time, I have struggled with finding time to read. I used to listen to audiobooks on the way to daycare, but then the pandemic hit, and that daily trek was no longer a thing. By evening…

Anna Burgess Yang

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

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