I think its fair to say that, like many people, I like routines and structure in my day both at work and personally – there are definite pros and cons. In the past I definitely became a slave to the structure, if I didn’t do something in a certain way or in a certain order it would stick in my mind and would potentially even do it again ….. reflecting on this, it was not healthy and added unnecessary pressure and stress.

However, in the last 12 months of living and working with Covid-19 I have seen the benefit of having routines, adding habits in a way that James Clear calls “Habit Stacking” although I was doing it un-intentionally, or I did not have a plan.

My favourite routine is in the morning, it sets up my day, gives me freedom and a real impetus to be effective. Interestingly Covid-19 has extended my morning routine with two significant additions meditation and journaling. My morning routine can be split into six phases which start around 5.45am and finish around 8.30 with each section having its own purpose.

Phase 1 – 45 minutes of Core & Stretching exercise while listening to the newspaper review and Business breakfast on Newstalk, my body and mind get to wake up together. In between exercises I remind myself of things I have to do, people I need to talk to, some lucky friends even get WhatsApp messages or Texts!

Phase 2 – A 3.5km walk with Ellie our “retriever mix”, taking in the morning air with whatever the Irish weather throws, we both get our morning stretch meeting the familiar faces along the way.

Phase 3 – Something new that I started as the Irish lockdown Kicked-in was a 20-minute meditation called “morning Surrender” by Angela Kontgen on the Insight Timer App. Each day I reach a different level of focus, but at the end of the 20 minutes my resting heart rate is always at it’s lowest of the day and I get up feeling good.

Phase 4 – Fuel for the morning, granola, yoghurt and fruit (raspberries, banana’s blueberries and apricots) or porridge & fruit – and a dink of diluted mixed juice, apple cider vinegar and some liquid Curcumin (truth Origins). I also prepare the breakfasts for my kids and lunch if they are going to school!

Phase 5 – I allocate 20 minutes for my journal, reflecting on the previous day, the conversations I had, how I felt during the day, any highs, lows or learnings. I look to track the progress I made  in my MSc and the business to recognise the journey I’m on, and finally I write down what I’m grateful for.

My day is then ready to start