The Morning Routines Of 13 Ambitious Millennial Women

ambitious millennial women


Jan. 15 2015, Published 1:30 a.m. ET

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First off, can I be honest? The concept of having a put together “morning routine” is great and all but when you’re hustling, grinding and you’re not the boss, mornings typically aren’t easy. In truth, most of us are barely making it out of the door. Nonetheless, lately there’s been a lot of talk about morning routines:

A part of me cringes every time I see one of these pieces float across my timeline because I know what I’ll see — super rich people, waking up before the sun rises. What these pieces seem to imply is, if you don’t wake up at 5 am, make an all natural juice, meditate, watch the news and check all of your emails before the sun comes up you won’t be successful or productive. For those of us who aren’t early risers it can make us feel like a failure before even getting out of bed.

Some of us are disciplined and do thrive in the early morning hours–which is wonderful. But let’s keep in mind, some of us can sleep in and still get things done, as highlighted in an Entrepreneur article refreshingly titled “Yes, You Can Sleep In And Still Be Successful.” The article pointed to examples like uber successful and productive creative/artist Pharrell Williams.

Well, a lot of them *do* wake up early, but they often forget to eat breakfast. Their average wake up time is 6:30 am (and they tend to hit snooze!) They make checking social media and email part of their priority, sometimes while still in bed, and many sent along prerequisites with their responses that this is what happens on a “good day.”

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We spoke with a mix of women who are entry-level, and a few who (although millennial) are more senior level. Most are single, but two of those we included are married, and one is a mom. One of our featured millennial women confessed as the temperatures drop, “I have to convince myself get out of my extremely comfy bed. I keep my phone in the living room when I sleep, so I have to get out of bed to turn off my alarm.” She keeps her phone in the living room so she’s forced to get out of bed to turn off her alarm.

Read on to get a peek into the morning routines of ambitious millennial women:

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Darian S. Harvin, Managing Producer HRDCVR

  • 7 am – Wake up. Put on my workout clothes and pack my work clothes for the day. I rarely eat breakfast.
  • 7:30 am – Out the door. Hop on the subway, and reading ensues; anything from the magazine that just arrived in my mailbox to theSkimm or Vox Sentences from the night before. It’s important for me to use my subway time to read.
  • 8:15 am – Workout class (anything from spin to strength training). Some of the busiest, most successful people I’ve ever worked with never had a problem finding time to work out.
  • 9:00 am – get showered and dressed for work.
  • 9:30 am – on the subway and headed to the office! Listening to music and setting the tone for the day!
  • 10:00 am – Finally make it in.
Isa Adney
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Isa Adney, Author and TV Host

  • 5:05 am – Make tea (loose leaf, earl grey) and prep breakfast (lately it’s been a sunny-side up egg over kale sauteed with garlic and olive oil). I love brewing my tea in a teapot and drinking from a teacup. It’s special to me and the ritual of it gets me going.
  • 5:15 am – Eat breakfast while reading something inspirational (I’m always reading 3-6 books at any time and love choosing whatever I’m in the mood for that morning)
  • 5:35 am – Read my goals and journal
  • 5:45 am – Drive to the gym with my husband
  • 6 am – Workout at the gym
  • 7 am – Shower/get ready for the day
  • 8 am – Look at this document I created with my priorities and review my goals for that particular month
  • 8:10 am – Choose the one most important thing I’d like to accomplish that day and enter it into Asana (to-do list program I use)
  • 8:15 am – Look at my Google Calendar to assess any calls/meetings I might have that day and then build a “today” list in Asana where I’ll list the basic things that will lead my day, starting with that most important “one thing”
  • 8:30 am – Time to get to work, focusing on that list I created, altering as I go, but using the list (which is created based on my goals) to keep my mind focused and my output proactive instead of reactive
Kitty Cash Photo by Alex Welsh
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Kitty Cash, DJ & PR/ Communications Manager

  • 6:45 am – Alarm goes off…hits snooze.
  • 7:00 am – Read my emails.
  • 7:15 am – Face regimen/ Start oil pulling.
  • 7:25 am – Shower/Get ready.
  • 8:15 am – Think to myself.
  • 8:20 am – Run out my house because I wasted 5 minutes thinking to myself.
  • 8:30 am- On train.
  • 8:30-8:55 am – Read book, listen to music, scroll Instgram and twitter, all at the same time.
Jamilah Lemieux
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Jamilah Lemieux, Senior Editor –

  • 7 am – Alarm goes off (if the terrible-almost-two-year-old #MiniMilah hasn’t already woken up); head straight to computer, begin the day’s work.
  • 7:07 am – #MiniMilah wakes up, destroys work groove; turn on PBS Kids and allow Elmo to parent in my absence.
  • 7:38 am – #MiniMilah sits on laptop, demands that I read to her; grab her a juice box and allow organic fruits to parent in my absence.
  • 8:15 am – Break from work to prepare breakfast (#MiniMilah: grilled cheese on Ezekiel raisin bread with apple slices; Mommy: the cheese that oozed off the sandwich on to the plate, coffee brewed 2 days ago).
  • 8:30 am – Back to work, editing and selecting stories for the day.
  • 8:47 am – #MiniMilah demands viewing of “Happy,” we watch (the Howard University version).
  • 8:53 am – #MiniMilah demands viewing of “Happy,” we watch.
  • 9:02 am – #MiniMilah demands viewing of “Happy,” we watch.
  • 9:07 am – Inform #Minimilah we won’t be watching “Happy” again.
  • 9:08 am – Tears.
  • 9:10 am – “Happy,” again.
  • 9:12 am – Get showered/bathed. #MiniMilah cries over empty tube of toothpaste getting thrown away, because Elmo is on it.
  • 9:40 am – #MiniMilah rolling around on the floor to avoid hair combing. I think back to the article I wrote defending Blue Ivy and feel like both a hypocrite and completely understanding of why she rarely is seen in pigtails.
  • 9:45 am – We both beam with pride looking at her pigtails, because they are cute.
  • 9:46 am – Read emails when I should be putting on make-up and walking out the door.
  • 10:15 am – Wonder why I don’t have any clothes, a flat stomach, new shoes, an au pair.
  • 10:20 am – (Insert weekly tragedy of #MiniMilah playing in lotion, baby powder, the closet, the trash, etc.)
  • 10:30 am – Put on foundation, plan to put on other make-up on the train.
  • 10:40 am – Sad attempt at cleaning the house. Remind myself it’s only 7 more days before the cleaning lady comes back, so no big deal.
  • 10:55 am – Walk out the door, only about an hour or so late, but I have a baby, so leave me alone!
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Emmelie De La Cruz, Founder of The Branding Muse

  • 2 am – Force myself to turn off Netflix (currently trying to catch up on Scandal Season 3. Sad, I know.)
  • 7 am – Alarm goes off and I hit snooze.
  • 7:25 am – Second Alarm (which is Beyonce Partition by the way) goes off. I spend some time in bed, checking my bank accounts and emails for any new sales or urgent matters that occurred while I was asleep.
  • 7:35 am – Of course, I scroll through Instagram like the double tap addict that I am. Afterwards, I read my NetworkedBlogs email digest and schedule my social media posts for the day. I’ll also create any last minute social media graphics to accompany my tweets.
  • 7:50 am – Shower and get dressed.
  • 8:30 am – Read The Skimm on the train so I can be updated on world news and current events.
  • 8:58 am – Arrive at the office and begin to prioritize the day’s projects. Emails are a black hole that I avoid at all costs when I need to be productive.
  • 9:30 am – If I am not on a huge time crunch, I skim through emails and get to work and on a good day, I’ll have breakfast.
kristin harris
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Kristin Harris,  Associate Celebrity Editor at BuzzFeed

  • 7:30 am – First alarm goes off and I snooze.
  • 7:45 am – If I was up late scrolling through Tumblr (I probably was) then I usually snooze again.
  • 7:55 am – Wake up and grab my phone to check my email and socials. The first thing I do every morning is read my daily “TUT Notes From The Universe” email for a little bit of positivity —it genuinely puts a smile on my face every single morning. Then I usually check all my notifications on Twitter/IG/FB, and check my work email quickly to see if there’s anything I need to immediately respond to.
  • 8:10 am – Get out of bed and start doing my hair and makeup.
  • 8:25 am – Make a cup of coffee and relax on the couch while watching GMA. I usually spend the next 40 minutes scrolling through Twitter to see what happened over night and start looking for newsy items I might cover that day, checking Tumblr, scrolling through Instagram, etc.
  • 9:05 am – Get dressed for work and usually finish up my hair.
  • 9:20 am – Head to the subway.
  • 9:45 am – Arrive at work, grab a banana from our snack room for breakfast and get another cup of coffee. I spend the next 45 minutes responding to emails, looking up celebrity news online or finishing up writing an article before my daily meeting at 10:30 where we go over what we’re writing about that day.
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Lauren R.D. Fox, Editorial Assistant Madame Noire

  • 6:30 am Wake up, shower and create an outfit based on my mood. My clothes are usually pressed from the night before.
  • 7:00 am – Do my hair and facial care regimen. During this time I listen to Gospel music or watch Good Morning America to catch up on pop culture and lifestyle news.
  • 7:15 am – I make a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with Trader Joes 3 Oats-Honey Bread. I usually drink Orange Juice. I also take Vitamin B for energy. (If I’m running behind schedule my mom makes it #perksoflivingathome.)
  • 7:45 am – Catch the bus or a cab to the train station. Usually I’ll read a devotional to get my emotions in check for the day. (Working in the entertainment industry news circuit can be overwhelming so I like to start my day grounded and sound minded.)
  • 9:15 am – Arrive at work and begin to research business news and related entertainment news. During this time I will have breakfast at my desk and listen to the latest musical releases by various artists or I’ll listen to a sermon while I write. I have to watch a lot of reality television so I try to keep a balance of what is real for work and my personal life.
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Ndidi Obasi, College Senior – Temple University (Media Studies and Production major)

  • 6:30 am – I normally wake up around 6:30am. Somedays it fluctuates give or take half an hour, but usually around this time I get up and make coffee. If I know I have some extra time I’ll always fix up a simple breakfast of eggs and toast.
  • 7 am – At this point, I’m on my computer. I normally start by checking in on my social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to see what’s been going on around the world since I went to bed. I also check my e-mails and reply to any important messages I received overnight.
  • 7:30 am – I open my planner and go over my schedule for the day. I usually have a set schedule between work and class for the semester, but everyday there’s 1 or 2 unique things I’m doing that day. These tasks range from getting lunch with a friend, meeting with a professor or helping someone out with a project. Having a planner is a must for me, it’s the only way I can keep track of my hectic life!
  • 8 am – I turn on the TV and check out the morning shows on NBC and ABC to see what’s going on and what the networks are doing. I want to pursue a career in the TV industry so it’s important for me to engage with this content.
  • 8:15 am – While watching the morning shows, I typically work on homework or assignments that are due later that week, or writing pieces for various websites or newspapers. My mind is most active early in the morning, so I try to take advantage of this.
  • 9:30 am – Once my work for the day is completed, I try to fit in a little exercise if possible. Health is important to me, so if I don’t get around to working out in the morning I try to get to it later in the evening once my activities are completed for the day. I also take this time to plan out my outfit keeping in mind the obligations I have for the day.
  • 10 am – Just as everyone is starting their day, I’ve already finished all my work and I’m off to conquer the day!
kate wilson
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Kate Wilson, Writer

  • 7:35 am – Alarm goes off.  Blearily reach for phone and check text messages, emails, Whatsapp, Facebook. Pick up the news from Twitter. Maybe my news app if I’m feeling ambitious.
  • 7:50 am – Second alarm goes off, time to actually get out of bed and stumble into the shower.
  • 8:05 am – Drink coffee and get dressed (always simultaneously). Even though I’m just writing all day I can’t concentrate unless I feel like I look presentable. Hair, makeup, and a blazer all day, every day. Except the weekend. That’s just silly.
  • 8:45 am – Make breakfast for myself. Usually eggs, pita, hummus, yogurt, and a banana. I just snack throughout the day so I try to consume a breakfast of Herculean proportions. While eating I either blankly stare out the window (at the scenic brick wall), pick up where I left off in whatever I’m currently reading, or continue with the next episode in whatever series I’m binging on.
  • 9:15 am – Clean the kitchen and organize my apartment.
  • 9:45 am – By now I’m heading  to one of my favorite writing haunts – the local library or a coffee shop that isn’t already packed.
  • 10:00 am – Answer emails and figure out what I’m writing for who. Create my schedule for the day.
  • 10:30 am – Writing, editing, blogging – basically pounding away at my laptop for the next 8-10 hours. I have a few steady gigs but also spend a lot of time freelancing and doing personal blogging.
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Whitney Barkley, Marketing Coordinator for Education at Work

  • 6:00 am –Wake up to a pleasant, cell phone alarm, press snooze. Say a prayer and then immediately check my personal and work email.
  • 6:15 am – Visit social media accounts, primary Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to look for interesting articles to read and respond to any messages/tweets that may have been sent overnight. Afterwards, I check blog stats on my website.
  • 6:25 am – I prioritize my tasks for the day – outside of work. This can include date night with my husband, volunteering, writing, Zumba, meeting with colleagues, or allotting time to do my coding homework on
  • 6:30 am – My second cell phone alarm goes off. I turn on Pandora and find an outfit for work; if I am proactive the night before, then I will use this time to write blog ideas down for 15 minutes.
  • 6:45 am – I watch the local news and look for PR opportunities for Education at Work. I also check for weather and traffic.
  • 7:00 am – The third phone alarm goes off as a reminder to get in the shower. I shower and use 2.5 songs on Pandora as a guide to keep me on track for time.
  • 7:10 am – Get dressed, put on make-up and accessories (on a good day) and prepare to head out the door.
  • 7:15 am – I check e-mail and social media (again.) Then, I proceed to have a short conversation with my husband about our plans for today.
  • 7:20 am – My husband usually rushes a granola bar, snack, or fruit in my hands to encourage me to eat breakfast before I fly out of the door. (I have a bad habit of not eating breakfast in the morning.)
  • 7:25 am – I enter my car and turn on the radio to listen to trending topics in the hip-hop or in entertainment industry. If I am feeling inspired or motivated, I call my mother, mentor or career coach to discuss ideas before I get to work.
  • 7:50 am – I arrive at work, check e-mail, and go talk to students before I begin marketing or recruiting projects, whichever has most priority at the moment.
Alison Castiglie
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Alison Castiglie, Junior Consultant

  • 6:45 am – My alarm goes off, I immediately hit snooze
  • 7:15 am – After another couple of snoozes I finally get up & out of bed and make my way to the shower.
  • 7:30 am – Get out of the shower, brush my teeth, put lotion on and put contacts in.
  • 7:40 am – Do my make-up. (If I’m on time it’s the works, if I’m rushed its concealer and mascara!)
  • 7:50 am – Dry my hair (if I didn’t the night before) & get dressed.
  • 8 – 8:15 am depending on how the above go: collect my things, grab lunch (if I made it the night before) & run out the door!
  • 8:15 am – take a bus to Port Authority, walk a block to the subway. When I get to my stop I walk 2 blocks and head up to the office. I usually arrive around 9am.
  • 9 am – Get a coffee & have breakfast and start the work day!
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Anuli Akanegbu, Junior Analyst, Planning – Edelman

  • 5:30 am – It feels good to start the day with prayer and meditation, so I can get my mind right for the day ahead.
  • 5:45 am – Reading is a must for me. This is when I browse through my Feedly or read a bit of a book. I usually have a Songza station playing or one of my Spotify playlists going.
  • 6:30 am – Either I’m still reading, or I take time to do a little strength training. I tried running in the mornings for a while which was great because I live by the beach, but in all honesty running isn’t my thing. Every once in a while I might run to catch the bus, but that’s it. I’ve since gone back to strength training. But, if we’re keeping it 100 percent, most days I’m probably super absorbed in what I’m reading, so I’m still reading (perhaps even writing) at this time.
  • 7:00 am – Get ready for work, pack lunch, eat breakfast.
  • Sometime between 7:45 am – 8:00 am – Leaving for work and praying that my bus will come at a decent time. Spoiler: It won’t.

Anulekha Venkatram, Associate Product Manager Digital Products

  • 5:20 am – First alarm goes off. Sometimes, it takes me 3 alarms to get out of bed. Bottom line: I have to be out of  bed by the third alarm, which goes off at 5:30am and has a loud, ominous ringtone.
  • 5:35 – 5:45 am – I’m up and about.
  • 5:45 – 6 am – I drink a glass of water and eat a banana. Then, I make myself a nice, strong cup of coffee. While I take small sips, I put together my snacks for the day: a combination of fruit, nuts or raisins, granola & yogurt, and veggies (baby carrots or cherry tomatoes).
  • 6 – 6:30 am – I shower, get dressed, and pray.
  • 6:30 – 6:45 am – I eat breakfast – either a savory Indian meal or cereal/oatmeal.
  • 6:45 – 7 am – I pack lunch and snacks in my lunch bag, put on my coat & shoes, and head out of the door.
  • 7 – 7:15 am – I drive to the train station while listening to recordings from my most recent music lessons.
  • 7:18 – 7:56 am – Train ride. I either read the news or study during this time.
  • 8:05 – 8:25 am – I stare aimlessly while being squished in between strangers in the subway and sigh dejectedly when there are delays because of train traffic, a sick passenger, etc.
  • 8:30 am – I’m finally at work – assuming I had no problems with public transportation, of course.
  • 8:30 – 9am – I grab a hot cup of tea and check my e-mail. Then, in my marble notebook, I reflect on the previous day and write down my priorities for the current day.

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By: Rhonesha Byng

Rhonesha Byng is the founder and CEO of Her Agenda— a digital media platform bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. The site provides access to content and community that gives millennial women access to information and inspiration to help them get started or to move to the next level of their career. Rhonesha is an Emmy award-winning journalist and entrepreneur whose philosophy in life is established by her acronym of N.E.S.H.A. No one Ever Slows Her Agenda. This motto served as the inspiration for Her Agenda. Rhonesha was named to the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list and ESSENCE magazine named her among 50 Founders To Watch. Rhonesha is also the co-founder of the newly formed nonprofit org The Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute (BOMESI).

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