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The writers at University of Venus have dedicated many posts to the integration of work and life. An important part of that integration is often making sure that you get a good start to the day.

We asked our readers to share the secrets of their morning routines:

Mary Churchill, Salem State University, Salem, MA, USA

I’m usually up before 5am to grab a cup of coffee and check the weather. Then I head into my home office and I’m on to e-mail, Twitter, and the news. I try to limit the amount of time I spend online as it’s currently kind of a black hole of negativity and despair. I’m also trying to improve my Spanish so I spend a little time practicing on Duolingo, and then I’m back in the kitchen eating breakfast and making myself a cup of green tea with jasmine (such a happy aroma!). At this point, my son has usually headed downstairs and we get to spend some quality time together before I shower, get dressed, and head out the door. My commute begins with a brisk 30-minute walk accompanied by the latest audio fiction book I've checked out from the Boston Public Library. It’s all about multi-tasking when I’m alone and then, switching gears and making the time with my family more intentional and meaningful and less chaotic and stressful.


Meg Palladino, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

I wake up to an alarm at 6:30, to do a quick 20-minute workout.  My 4-year-old son usually “coaches” me: “Faster!” and “You are wearing the wrong color shirt!” and “Can I do it too?”  He plops himself onto the mat with me.  I do my best to work around him.  I take a shower, get dressed, and drink a cup of coffee while I make breakfast for my family and pack school lunch.  I wrangle my son into some clothes, which inevitably includes a fight about the right pants,  and then we brush our teeth together, put on our coats, and walk to his preschool.  During the walk, we talk about the day and what we will do that evening, and discuss whatever else is on his mind.  After I drop him off, I walk back to my car and drive to work. The early morning quiet of my office welcomes me. My mornings are a little chaotic, and I am always trying to balance my needs with those of my family.


Denise M. Horn, Simmons College, Boston, MA, USA

My mornings are usually very calm:  I wake around 6:30, make myself a cup of tea and spend some time reading the news (my students are quizzed on international affairs every morning, so I need to be up to date, too!). If I don’t need to be on campus for an early class, I walk my dog around the Arnold Arboretum, which is a beautiful park here in Boston. Then I either head to campus, or get ready to spend the day at my desk at home.  


Rachel L. Ellett, Beloit College, Beloit, WI, USA

My mornings with my three year old daughter are calm until she wakes up. Then it is barely controlled chaos as I try to feed her, make myself coffee and get us both dressed and out the door. My favorite part of this routine is our 12 minute drive to daycare, where we listen to music and sing songs together. Right now, she is obsessed with a protest song about Nelson Mandela and insists that we listen to it every day. Although annoying, this does add a healthy dose of perspective on the upcoming daily travails. After dropping my daughter, I have to drive 50 minutes to work. I like the downtime away from email. I might catch up on the news with NPR, getting ready to teach Political Science. Or I might listen to an entire album of music from beginning to end and let my mind wander. Or I might just lose myself in my own thoughts with silence.


Bonnie Stewart, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada

I’m more of a night owl than a morning person, so while the alarm goes off at 6:45, I usually stay in bed a couple of extra minutes. My ten year old often slips across the hall and in with me for those few minutes, and we snuggle and talk about our day. Then, I’ll get up and head downstairs to my eight year old’s me, she sometimes has a hard time getting going, so I’ll put on music for her and help her get started with her own routine. Then I shower, get dressed, help the kids get their lunches together if my partner hasn’t already covered that, and see them onto the bus (or sometimes drive them to early chess or gymnastics practice). Then, sweet glorious coffee...and either to my office or - if I get to work at home that day - to my couch!


Jaime O’Connor, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA, USA

I reside with a crotchety 17 year old cat who is more consistent than any alarm clock could be.  Her strident meows for breakfast are usually my wake up call.  After that, all of the normal morning activity -- breakfast, coffee, making myself professionally presentable -- are framed between the two rituals that keep me balanced on a daily basis. My partner and I meditate together for 15-20 minutes every morning, and he accompanies me on my walk to work. My commute is a 25 minute walk through the historic district of downtown Savannah: arching live oaks draped with Spanish moss, brick streets lined with gas lit antebellum mansions and colorful cottages, and the iconic fountain at the center of Forsyth Park. It’s light jacket weather this time of year, and the camellias are in full bloom. Nature, exercise, companionship -- this sets the tone for my day and helps me connect to my work in a more meaningful way.


What does your morning routine look like? How do you make it work?


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