Candice Walsh

5 women entrepreneurs discuss their morning routines

It’s taken me an astronomically long time to figure out this whole morning routine thing. I’m still not great at it. I’m more tuned in at night – but I love mornings with a full day luxuriously stretching ahead of me.

The morning routines of entrepreneurs and freelancers has always been so interesting to me. They’re each so different. So I reached out to some women entrepreneurs in my local business circles, and asked them how they kickstart their day. Here they are!

Heather

My morning routine has to be super flexible. I’m a mom of two girls ages 5 and 6 so we are a month back to school and my routine is completely different from when they were home this summer. If there is one thing I’ve learned about morning routines in the past 6 years of being a mom and an entrepreneur – it’s to just go with the flow. When I stopped striving for perfection, my mornings went a heck of a lot smoother!

Heather HowardWhen I’m having an “ideal morning” – I’ve set my alarm to wake up before my husband and kids to go to the gym. This means a 6:00am alarm and I’m at the gym by 6:30am – home by 7:30am. There is nothing preventing me from having this “ideal morning” every morning except for my own will power – I’m still working on that.

When I get home my husband is typically in the shower and my kids are still sleeping. I put on a big pot of coffee and usually eat some overnight oats I prepared the night before or I don’t have breakfast at all if I decide to fast that morning. I will cut up some fruit for the kids or pour them a bowl of cereal so its ready when they wake up. (They always cuddle up together and watch cartoons while they have a light breakfast.)

I usually eat my breakfast or just drink my coffee in my office. I like to work early in the morning because I am the most clear and productive. My children dress themselves when I tell them – and then I take a break to help them fix their hair and to pop whatever they need in their lunch bags.

Mornings can be super hectic especially when I don’t prepare the night before. I’ve gotten into the habit of writing down the 5 most important things for the next day right before I lay my head on the pillow. I use a notebook and pen specifically for this instead of my phone. There is something about putting it on paper that really gets it out there and I typically don’t even look at it again the next day – it just gets done or…it doesn’t and that’s OK in my world.

Heather is former beauty professional turned web designer & social media strategist. She lives with her husband and daughters in Conception Bay South. She loves real food, DIY projects and exploring spiritual growth. Check out her website or follow her on Instagram.

Tonya

As chief wild woman over at Wild Souled Wellness, my morning routine is integral to my entire well being, hell, my entire business and life!  I started a morning routine because a lack of a routine created a life that was based on what everyone else wanted.  My life was everyone else’s priorities, not my own.

Tonya WhittleAfter hitting burnout from working around the clock for years, I found myself barely coping with the smallest of problems, and everything stressed me out!  My energy was lacking, vitality was down the drain, and passion was nowhere to be seen.

Starting a morning routine allowed me to make myself a priority.  And what unfolded from that was unbelievable!  I didn’t do it for success.  At the time I did it for survival, coping, needing to balance my life and reclaim myself.  But it quickly showed me that how we take care of ourselves can help us cope better, be there for others, show up at the level we need to in order to grow the businesses we want to have.  It turned me from an operator to an owner.  I was no longer scrambling through the day but I was a boss babe of my life and business.

  • I start each morning with a 10 minute visualization of who I am and my goals
  • I review my vision board and my mantra’s – I get in state for these!
  • I workout, walk my dogs
  • Then I get showered and start my day

I have found that when I don’t do these things, my days don’t go as well.  So this morning routine for me is a MUST – not a should.  It’s something that’s non-negotiable to my morning that allows me to stay connected to the wild woman I am so I can serve my clients at the highest level possible and still have room for me and my life. I come first, not last.  That’s what I teach, that’s what I do, it’s who I am.

Tonya Whittle is owner of Wild Souled Wellness. She’ll help you uncover The Emotional & Mental Blocks that prevent you from achieving personal and professional success by getting to the root of the problem and turn it around.  You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Stacey

Mornings can be challenging when you’re not much of a morning person. It takes me a while to even become verbal, which might be surprising, since I’m a communications specialist. Mornings can also be interesting when your house is full.

In my case, the other occupants are on four feet. I don’t have to get anyone dressed or on a school bus, but I am occasionally met with what was once a mouse before I’m fully coherent. But I have a soft spot for rescues, so the morning routine changed about eight years ago. There’s an order to events (murdered rodents notwithstanding) so I can run on autopilot until my head clears. I make my bed every day. It gives me the satisfying feeling of Getting Things Done. It’s not about the size or complexity of the task — it’s the sense of completion, plus the clean lines of a freshly made bed.

I open the bedroom door to a flood of enthusiastic greetings. I pretend the affection is all for me, and has nothing to do with everyone wanting food.

I always eat a good breakfast: protein, carbs, and healthful fats. No sugar. No coffee. When the weather is warm enough, I eat on the back step and enjoy the morning sun. Unless conditions are truly foul (read: pouring rain or wind chills below -20C), I get myself out for a walk. It’s not about exercise, although that’s part of why I do it. It’s the part of the day I enjoy most. Walking is a perfect way to ease into consciousness, and invigorating without feeling forced, even in the middle of winter. I’m outdoorsy. I need scenic or creative physical pursuits. You’ll never catch me at a gym. I observe the changing landscape while we’re out. It helps fuel my creativity and keeps me grounded so I’m ready for the analytical work I do later.

I take a few snapshots, some of which end up on Instagram: landscapes and colour and texture studies that mark the evolving seasons. Selfies are rare. I’m far more interested in the environment around me than the place I occupy in it. When we get home, I’m itching to get to work. First up is usually research and blog or newsletter writing, content creation for social media, and the first social media check-in of the day. I have a to do list, which I make at the end of the previous day. That clears my head for sleep, knowing I can start my mornings fresh.

Writing, especially content and social media, isn’t just a creative activity. Everything you do has a purpose, and has to fit into a larger strategy. You need focus to do that well. My housemates bring joy to my life, and my morning routine brings me health and clarity. It’s a combination that works perfectly for me.

Stacey Cornelius is a communications specialist who holds a BFA from NSCAD University and diplomas in information technology and graphic arts. She’s an experienced writer and social media manager who also teaches workshops and webinars on marketing, branding, and social media, and is a seasoned solo business owner. In addition to her communications skills, she knows how to strip a roof down to the ceilings, re-insulate, re-sheath and re-shingle it, but never wants to do that again. Stacey lives near the woods in Nova Scotia. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter

Anna

Today I woke up tired but with a smile on my face. Stretched as I rose out of bed, hoping the sun is shining I start my day. No time for a shower so I do the quickie routine, teeth, face, hair, etc…you know. The only difference is that I must stop and check my blood sugar, two insulin needles and a quick breakfast. Diabetic for almost 40 years. You would think it would be easier by now but its not.Anna Ross

Its 7:15 am and I am off to school. The weather is beautiful, so I can walk. Headphones on. Music blaring. Thinking about everything due today. But first a joy like no other. Volunteering. I am the Volunteer Club Coordinator for the Vanier Elementary Breakfast Club. I volunteer five mornings a week during the school year to ensure that each child gets a healthy breakfast. The smiles on their faces as they line up to ask what we are serving makes you feel so good. Each taking a bowl with fruit, an assortment of grain products and a milk back to their classrooms.

As they finish their breakfast and start class for the day, we collect up the dishes and head back to the kitchenette. Six volunteers daily plus myself. We have a quick chat about life while we clean up and put the leftovers away. As I stay and wash the dishes, most of the volunteers scurry off to work laughing as they leave the building. I make one more stop on my way home. At the school office I place an order for milk. I discuss with the office staff anything special I may need or events going on that involves my volunteers.

My morning routine has ended, and my busy day begins. With a quick walk home, I smile knowing that the children at Vanier are ready for a wonderful day at school.

Anna Ross is a bookkeeper with 25 years experience in the non-profit industry, government, small business, airlines, construction and banking. She decided in September 2016 to start her own business so she could work with small business owners maintaining their books as they grow. CORE BOOKKEEPING has a Facebook page and will have a website soon. Contact can be made by email at anna@corebookkeepingnl.com.

Tracy

Let’s start off with be clear that I am not a morning person, but I have set up a routine for myself that certainly helps! If it wasn’t for this, I would be snuggled in bed until at least 8:30am.Tracy Gaudet

My alarm goes off at 6:00am, with some built in snooze button time. The coffee pot is set automatically for 6:20 so the smell of that sweet bean water gives me a reward for getting up. I have a stationary bike in my bedroom, so I hop on that for 20 minutes before I even get to my coffee. I have my shower and get dressed. By the time I hit my second cup of coffee, I sit and do some reading or writing in my favuorite chair and set some intentions for the day. By the time 8am rolls around, I have had lots of personal time to reflect and amp up for my work day to start. I also shuffle my oracle cards every morning and pick one for an intention for the day.

Tracy Gaudet is the lead consultant/owner at Squish Consulting, which operates as a ‘COO for rent’. Squish Consulting focuses on helping growth stage companies hone in on their strategic goal setting, creating accountability, and streamlining operations and providing facilitation of strategic meetings, planning meetings, and other similar events where ideas need to be drawn out and documented. Tracy is also the owner of Squish Film and will be producing her first short film in 2019. (Website coming soon.)

Candice (me!)

Straight up: I am not a morning person. I have constant insomnia (especially when seasons change), so on the off-chance that I’m snoozing peacefully, I will sleep in.

But when I’m having a good few months, I set my alarm for 7:30 or 8am every morning. I do not linger in bed; I leap out feigning morning enthusiasm and immediately make my bed. When my bed is unmade, you know I’m having a real bad day.

I put on a giant pot of coffee and settle in with my book for an hour or so. My mornings are for reading – it’s the only time of day when my mind isn’t overwhelmed by work tasks and household tasks and “what should I cook for dinner?” So I allow my mind to settle on a few good pages of my latest read (currently: Two Brothers by Ben Elton), and enjoy a peaceful morning with a cup of coffee in hand.

Then I spend an hour or so working on my own stuff – the guidebook, or a blog post, or whatever article I’m currently writing for a travel publication. Despite being a night owl, my mind for writing is sharpest in the mornings. Even when I’ve only slept a few hours. Then I pack a lunch and head off to my co-working space for the rest of the day, or I change into some real clothes (I get out of my pyjamas) and plunk myself at the kitchen table for the day. Mostly, I cannot work in my home environment. Having a co-working space forces me out of the house even when I don’t wanna go (I’m paying for that shiz). My work-outs and gym time don’t come until later in the day, generally when I need a break away from the computer.

***

It has taken me a long time to iron out this morning routine, and although it’s simple, it keeps me on task. I’ve only been doing this for a few months now; for most of 2018, I failed miserably at sticking to my goals and would often be working every evening until 11PM or later. Now I have my evenings to binge watch Netflix, read, or hang out with friends.

What’s your morning routine like? How long did it take you to figure out what works for you?

  • October 22 2018

    I’m just figuring out my new morning routine because I’ve just transitioned to telecommuting full time – I think I will also be incorporating a coworking space at some point!

    But the one thing I’m pretty religious about is making my bed… just feels so nice to have it done, and then to get into a made bed at the end of the day!
    Allyson recently posted…bite-sized goals for october (+ a big life update)

    • November 09 2018
      Candice

      RIGHT?!! Plus it kind of wakes me up. And sure it’s not like I strip down the bed and remake it, but it gets the job done. Haha. I highly encourage the co-working space. They’re always such good environments, too.

  • October 24 2018

    Omg everyone in this article is so impressive! Right now my morning “routine” is sleeping until the last possible second and then quickly getting ready for work and sprinting out the door. My one consistent ritual is having a cup of hot lemon water when I wake up. And this morning I did 10 minutes of yoga. Baby steps!

    • November 09 2018
      Candice

      LOL! Yes. WheN I first started freelancing I just slept whenever. I also find it super hard to get out of bed during the winter months. I just wanna stay cocooned in my bed forever.

  • November 09 2018

    This is fun to read! People often tell me (told me) they think I must have a very exotic life because I live(d) in exotic countries, like Ghana, West Africa. And then I tell them I get up when it gets light, go for a run/walk around the neighborhood, have a shower, have granola for breakfast, and head up to my home office to work. How exotic is that? And it works in the US as well as anywhere else, at least now that the kids are grown.
    Miss Footloose recently posted…Expat Foodie: Stupid in the Kitchen

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