Marie Kondo
Author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

What is your morning routine?
I wake up around 6:30 in the morning. I open the windows to let in some fresh air, and I purify the house by burning incense.

I like to have warm drinks like hot water or herbal tea before I have breakfast. My husband often makes breakfast about an hour after I wake up; it's usually something simple like toast and eggs, or rice and miso soup. We'll then pray before our home shrine together to give thanks and to imagine our days to be good ones. Sometimes, I practice yoga.

How long have you stuck with this routine? What has changed?
I've been opening the windows in my house to let in fresh air since I was a child. I began burning incense about two years ago. Previously, wiping the tataki, a place for removing shoes in a Japanese entranceway, was part of my daily morning routine, but ever since I had my first daughter, I've become busier and have had less of a chance to regularly clean that area.

What time do you go to sleep?
Around 11:30 p.m. Before going to bed, I'll often rub aromatic essential oils on the back on my neck, which helps me have a good sleep. I also tidy the house by putting everything back in their designated places.

Do you use an alarm to wake up?
I rarely use the alarm. I only use it when I'm especially tired and have something that I need to do the next morning.

What happens if you fail?
It usually doesn't influence the rest of my day, unless I have to leave my house before I have finished tidying perfectly. When this happens, it's on my mind the whole day.

Photo: Ben Gabbe/Stringer/Getty Images

Arianna Huffington
Founder of The Huffington Post and Thrive Global

What is your morning routine?
Ninety-five percent of the time I get eight hours of sleep a night, and as a result, 95 percent of the time I don't need an alarm to wake up. And waking up naturally is, for me, a great way to start the day.

A big part of my morning routine is about what I don't do: when I wake up, I don't start the day by looking at my phone. Instead, once I'm awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.

How long have you stuck with this routine? What has changed?
I really began to take my morning routine seriously after my painful wake-up call in 2007, when I fainted from sleep deprivation and exhaustion, hit my head on my desk, and broke my cheekbone.

I've made small changes over time; for example, when I lived in Los Angeles I was fond of morning walks and hikes. I'm very open to experimenting—I'm sure before long I'll learn about something new I'll want to add to my routine.

What time do you go to sleep?
Most nights I'm in bed by 11:00 p.m., and my goal, as we joke in my family, is to always be in bed to catch the "midnight train."

Do you do anything before bed to make your morning easier?
I treat my transition to sleep as a sacrosanct ritual. First, I turn off all my electronic devices and gently escort them out of my bedroom. Then, I take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a candle flickering nearby—a bath that I prolong if I'm feeling anxious or worried about something. I don't sleep in my workout clothes as I used to (think of the mixed message that sends to our brains), but have pajamas, nightdresses, and even T-shirts dedicated to sleep. Sometimes I have a cup of chamomile or lavender tea if I want something warm and comforting before going to sleep. I love reading real, physical books, especially poetry, novels, and books that have nothing to do with work.

Do you have a morning workout routine?
Thirty minutes on my stationary bike on days when I'm home; and five to ten minutes of yoga stretches. I do twenty to thirty minutes of meditation before my workout routine.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning?
I make a point not to answer email right when I wake up, and I avoid the temptation by not keeping my electronic devices charging in my room. But since I'm running a news organization, and the morning is an incredibly important time for conversations with our editors, it's important for me to be reachable. I'm on email as soon as I hit my bike.

Photo: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

Amanda Hesser
CEO of Food52, cookbook author

What is your morning routine?
Because I sleep through any alarm, my husband, Tad, kindly wakes me up. That's usually around 6:45 a.m. I'm glacially slow to wake, so I can't just hop out of bed.

After I finally open my eyes, which takes five to ten minutes (my eyelids feel so heavy!), I like to read the news on my phone to get my brain engaged. Once I manage to slide myself out of bed (which is usually when I hear Tad's footfalls coming toward our room to check on me), I drink a large glass of water. This wakes up my sense. I've also convinced myself that it washes away any impurities from sleep.

Tad makes our ten-year-old twins breakfast and reads aloud to them while they eat; I'm usually ambling into the kitchen at about this time. I make our kids' lunches and listen to whatever story is in progress; right now it's The Lord of the Rings. Once their lunches are packed, I spend five or ten minutes doing yoga and then take a very hot shower. The last fifteen minutes of getting ready usually involve me running late and scrambling out the door with kids in tow and bags and sunglasses not quite on.

What time do you go to sleep?
I used to be such a night owl and wouldn't become productive until about 11:00 p.m., after which I would happily work until 2:00 a.m. That made for some very rough mornings.

About three years ago, this changed suddenly and drastically. I found myself less resilient without a good night's sleep, and I simply got tired earlier. At first, I thought I was dying, of course, but over time I've come to appreciate my new internal clock. It's actually forced me into a much healthier sleep pattern. Now I'm in bed by 10:00 or 10:30 and asleep by 11:00.

Do you do anything before bed to make your morning easier?
Tad makes fun of me for this, but old habits die hard. When I was young, I started picking out my outfits the night before school, and I still do this! I lay out everything from my underwear to my jewelry. I also pack my backpack and purse. This ritual gives me a sense of tranquility before bedtime.

I also make sure the kitchen is tidy and ready for the next day. To me, nothing is more depressing than coming into a messy kitchen in the morning.

How soon after waking do you have breakfast?
If I'm going directly to the office, I pick up a croissant and decaf coffee with soy milk. Let's not discuss the decaf or the soy milk; both depress me but are necessary.

I much prefer breakfast meetings to lunch meetings, so when I meet someone for breakfast I order two poached eggs, toast with butter, orange juice, and coffee. I like blunt, wholesome foods in the morning. Lunch and dinner are for whimsy.

From the book My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander. Copyright © 2018 by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander. Published by arrangement with Portfolio, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.


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