Caroline Beaton is an award-winning writer, millennial expert and brand consultant tackling the psychology of millennials at work.
Self-employment allows you to choose to varying degrees, when, where and how you work. It’s the dream for many millennials who are stuck in nine-to-fives, tired of obeying orders from their bosses. But working for yourself does have drawbacks: freelancers often complain of feeling like they’re constantly on call. When you’re working for multiple clients with demanding deadlines (or websites like Fiverr that enforce deadlines), it can be hard to clock out and turn off work for your well-being.
This is why carving out structured time for yourself in the morning can be particularly valuable for freelancers and entrepreneurs. When I began expanding my own morning routine a few weeks ago, I asked some millennial freelancers and entrepreneurs for inspiration. Below are their replies:
1. Jacqueline Ros – CEO and Founder of Revolar, a sleek wearable safety device that texts select contacts if you’re in trouble
“I enjoy waking up early, anytime between 6-7 a.m. My team normally comes into the office by 8:30-9 a.m., so having that 1-1.5 hours alone jamming out to some wake-me-up music allows me to catch up on emails and try to get ahead of my work. In a startup, each day is different, and no matter how much you plan, some days will throw you off. By getting a good breakfast, some tea and work done before everyone arrives I feel way more grounded.”
2. Amy, supagr8gurl – Business analyst and web researcher on Fiverr
“I usually wake up at 7 a.m. sharp. I am not a fan of the alarm clock so I usually wake up just minutes before it starts blasting. I’ll start making my green tea and glance over the world news online before getting ready for a morning run along the river valley. Mind you this is a bit difficult when you glance outside and all you see is white snow and a -20c temperature in our cold Canadian winter. Nonetheless, I usually make the effort and it pays off by giving me a burst of energy that sustains me for the day. I then head to my office (back at home) where I review my Google calendar and assess my to-do list for the day. I live by the motto that every morning is new day that has never been lived before and will never be lived again so make the best of it!”
3. Billy, bingeclock – Writer and editor on Fiverr
“When I wake up, the first thing I do is meditate, sitting for an hour or so and practicing my focus. After that I respond to any messages I’ve received since the previous night and look over all my new orders. Most days I then head over to the gym to lift weights or run and, when I get back, I take a shower, eat, and do a little reading. I then drive over to one of the libraries around the city where I live and get down to business, writing until I am a day or two ahead of my schedule, keeping up with any inquiries and order updates along the way. At night, Thursdays through Sundays, I go out and socialize. Monday through Wednesday, I stay in for more reading and meditation.”
4. Kyle Wong – Founder of Pixlee, a visual marketing platform that allows businesses to market and sell using real customer photos and videos
“Like most people reading this article, the first thing I do in the morning is check my phone. Are there any urgent emails, Slack notifications, texts, calls, etc. that I need to address ASAP? If there is nothing urgent, I’ll spend a few minutes scanning the news for anything I find interesting.
Fortunately, I live relatively close to work. So while walking to work, I always think to myself, what’s the most important thing for me to do today? Once I get into the office I’ll eat a bowl of cereal and respond to timely emails. Then I’m ready to start my work day.”
5. Jared Kleinert – Entrepreneur, TED speaker, and bestselling author
“On days when I’m at my best, I wake up at 5:30 a.m. Upon waking, I drink one or two glasses of water to hydrate. Then, I work out. If I’m living by a gym (I’ve never had a lease and instead rent only short-term sublets for lifestyle flexibility), I’ll work out there. If I’m not, I’ll run.
After working out, I’ll shower and get dressed for the day. I usually live in Brooklyn but work in the Financial District, so I take a subway into the city. On the subway, I’ll make a gratitude list, schedule out my day into blocks of working time or calls and meetings, and read.
I’m in the office by 8 a.m. or so and have a light breakfast of a protein shake or my version of bulletproof coffee, then start working on anything creative and/or important.”
6. Lauren, laurenmeikle – Video script writer on Fiverr
“7 a.m.. Roll out of bed. Pee. Coffee. Write script. More coffee. Breakfast. Script. Coffee. Script. Coffee. Pee again because I drank too much coffee. Script. Script … Script. Coffee again because I wrote too many scripts. 8 a.m. … here we go again! The best part? I wouldn’t swap my freelance life for the world.”
7. Me – freelance writer, content marketer and millennial expert
“I get eight hours of sleep every single night. My sleep is responsible for my productivity, overall health and optimism. I wake up between 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m., and I drink a glass of water right when I get out of bed. I tidy up my condo—unload the dishwasher, make my bed, light cleaning etc.—so I have an inspiring place to work all day. I stay away from all technology for at least the first half hour of my morning, depending on how early I get up. During this time, I read and plan my day. Since I work from home, I always open my laptop and start work right at 8 a.m. so I have some structure. Then I often take a break at noon to go on a walk around my neighborhood or do yoga.”
As you can see above, mornings set a precedent; they can make or break your productivity for the rest of the day and lay the foundation for your mental health and well-being. How do you start your day? Let us know in the comments below.