It’s Day 4 of the Catalyst Morning Challenge. (If you haven’t already joined the challenge and you’d like to learn more about how routines can help you meet your goals, visit this link for instructions and to get your free Catalyst Morning Challenge journal).
Today’s contributor is YouTube content creator and acclaimed food photography educator, Joanie Simon. With more than 150,000 subscribers, Joanie built a loyal audience around the skills she sought when her self-taught photography journey was a challenge.
After reading about Joanie’s routine, think about a third goal. What’s another step you can add to your morning to support it? Joanie has worked at prioritizing her needs to avoid burnout and gets help with creating more balance. How can you do the same?
Why is your morning routine important to you? I’m a creature of habit and I crave structure. If I can start the day in a way that makes me feel good, it will trickle down to good decisions and a better outlook as the rest of the day unfolds.
Are you naturally a morning person? I have become one. Over the past two years, I started realizing that I am the most productive and have the greatest clarity before 8am. At one point I was getting up at 4am and doing half a day’s work before anyone else woke up, but that felt a bit extreme and wasn’t a good long-term routine. In the past six months, my body clock has settled into a natural 5:30am wake up time which feels just right for me physically and mentally. I feel there’s added clarity because no one needs me at that time of the morning. No phone calls, e-mails, or kids needing something to eat so I can do high-level thinking at that time.
What are your “essentials” for starting the day right? The only thing I do the night before is make sure I go to bed at a reasonable hour. Most nights I naturally am ready to fall asleep by 10pm. As far as essentials, I have to start the day with my 32 oz water bottle. I had noticed at one point I was getting regular afternoon headaches and came to the conclusion that I was dehydrated. As long as I start the day with my water, then I continue filling it up throughout the day so that I stay hydrated and avoid the 2pm afternoon headache. Once I finish my first bottle of water, then I brew a pot of coffee, an enjoyable ritual in itself.
My morning routine: Wake up 5:30 am, try not to trip over the dog, grab my water bottle and head to my home office to answer a few e-mails from the previous day and then dig into whatever project I’m working on that requires the greatest amount of brain power. This is many times video editing, storyboard scripting, planning e-mail campaigns, or working on my next launch. I brew my coffee around 6:30am and the kids are up by 7am. Fortunately, my amazing husband runs herd on the kids’ morning routine so I can stick to mine. I kiss them goodbye at 7:30am and finish up whatever I was working on for the morning by 9am. After 9am, it all varies from day to day. Sometimes, it’s hopping on my home bike for a spin class followed by a morning meditation, other times it’s setting up for a video shoot for my YouTube channel. If I’m shooting for a client, generally we’ll start those around 8 or 9am.
Words of wisdom: For me, it was a combination of mindset and creating a habit. I had to finally realize that I can be more productive long-term if I take time to do things for me and don’t rush around like a crazy person doing everything for everyone else. The destination is the same, but I’d rather get there less frazzled and rested and create better quality work in the long run. I also love the predictability of creating habits, like the water, once I had done that for a couple weeks, putting a concerted effort to making it happen, then it became habit and it’s something I do without thinking now. The more good things I can get into my life without thinking, the better off I am.