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Our mornings are precious. They are one of the few moments of sacred silence before the outside world bleeds noise into our day. If you haven’t given thought to how you spend those first few hours, it might be worthwhile. A glimpse at the routines of successful women suggests creating a habit can help you quell anxiety, take charge of your to-do list, or power toward whatever your goals might be.
Building a routine that gives you a calm, efficient, and fulfilling morning can take trial and error, though. If you haven’t nailed down your own productivity-inducing routine yet, don’t fret. To discover the best morning routines, we tapped 13 successful women from different industries to find out how they navigate the start of the day. From Arianna Huffington's goal-setting trick to Anna Wintour’s go-to morning workout and Mindy Kaling's secret to a healthy glow despite a lack of beauty sleep, there’s plenty of inspiration ahead. And although we can't all afford some of these daily musts, finding a routine that works for you can help get you in the right mindset to tackle whatever lies ahead that day.
Set your alarm early—these 13 smart morning routines are worth getting up for.
Who: Co-founder and CEO of The Huffington Post
First Thing: Practices yoga and meditation
Routine: “A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: When I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.” Huffington radiates positive energy and has been setting the pace for the digital media industry for the last decade, so we think she’s a great woman to emulate.
Who: Actress, comedian, and writer
First Thing: Applies a face mask
Routine: In her memoir, Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling shares a few sneak peeks into her daily routine, which starts with a 5 a.m. alarm. She then takes a quick shower before driving to work and heading into hair and makeup by 6 a.m. Her secret weapon to looking well-rested even if she hasn’t gotten enough beauty sleep? A facial sheet mask. “It can be a calming mask. I keep mine in my fridge, because if there are two things Mindy Kaling likes cold is: Beer and beauty masks,” she writes. We agree: It’s the perfect way to start the day feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
Every morning, I sit down to create, review, or post something while the coffee is brewing.
Who: Actress and model
First Thing: Spends quality time with her action star husband, Jason Statham
Routine: By mid-morning, Huntington-Whiteley has already walked her miniature dachshunds, made breakfast (a “preferably Paleo” meal), spritzed herself with perfume, and endured a major sweat session. “I’m addicted to Body by Simone and Ballet Bodies in L.A.,” the lithe blonde told Harper’s Bazaar. By the time most of us settle into our office chairs, Huntington-Whiteley has already sipped her green juice, replied to emails, and had her hair and makeup done for the day’s shoot. The one non-superwoman morning ritual we can get on board with? Coffee. “I’m totally useless without coffee,” the model admits.
Who: Founder of ClassPass
First Thing: Checks her smartphone
Routine: As a fitness maven, Kadakia unsurprisingly loves to get her workout in early. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, she goes for a 30-minute run or—if really pressed for time—squeezes in a 10-minute core workout at home. So we guess feeling “too tired” to exercise is not a legitimate excuse in Kadakia’s world. Her longest-lasting morning activity: Stopping by Starbucks for a venti citrus green tea. “It’s been a part of my routine for over 10 years!” the innovator recently said.
Who: CEO of Kid Made Modern
First Thing: Makes wardrobe decisions
Routine: Kohanzo’s morning routine has been masterfully edited down to a mere 30 minutes—“just enough time to get dressed and drink as much coffee as possible,” she told Women Who Work.
Who: Editor in chief of Vogue and artistic director of Conde Nast
First Thing: Plays tennis
Routine: Every morning at 5:45 a.m., Anna Wintour arrives at New York’s Midtown Tennis Club for one hour of tennis. The arbiter of taste might run into other tennis playing fashion stars, like Hilary Rhoda or Sean Avery. Then it’s a quick primping process at home before the editor in chief goes to her office at One World Trade Center to take an endless set of meetings. Long meetings are “anything that runs over seven minutes,” according to The September Issue’s director, R.J. Cutler.
I wake up, I read, I meditate, I work out, I face my day.
First Thing: Has a cup of coffee
Routine: “Every morning, I sit down to create, review, or post something while the coffee is brewing,” she writes on her website, Illuminada. If she’s starting a new project, Allende’s morning routine is a bit more elaborate. “I come to my office very early in the morning, alone. I light some candles for the spirits and the muses. I meditate for a while. I always have fresh flowers and incense. And I open myself completely to the experience that begins in that moment,” she says.
Who: Fashion designer
First Thing: Drinks a cup of tea
Routine: After donning her uniform—flat shoes, a tight pair of jeans, a cashmere sweater, and a jacket—Marant drives her scooter to the pool in St. Germain for a set of 35 laps. “I need this to breathe and to handle my stressful days. It’s a pool from the beginning of the last century,” the designer told Harper’s Bazaar. “I love that you get your own cabin, so you don’t have to go into a locker room.” After showering in her cabin, Marant stops by a juice bar for a carrot-and-ginger concoction on her way to the office. Once at the office, Marant has her coffee. “I have a black coffee—American style, not espresso… It’s not very French.”
Who: Actress and founder of Goop
First Thing: Drinks warm water with lemon
Routine: After the kids are dressed, fed, dropped off at school, and even read to, the Oscar-winning lifestyle guru takes an hour to respond to work emails before exercising from 10 a.m. to noon. Yes, that’s a two-hour daily Tracy Anderson Method workout.
Who: Co-founder and CEO of Clique Brands
First Thing: Exercise
Routine: “Exercise wakes me up and gets my juices flowing. I get my best ideas working out or on a drive back from the gym to the house,” Power tells Self guest editor and Honest Company founder Jessica Alba. Her post-workout breakfast usually consists of “one egg on a piece of toast and some avocado.” Power puts her sweat session ideas to action immediately. “Well, I obsess on them the whole class. And then I go to my car and I open my Notes on my phone, and I either type it or make a call to somebody who will listen to me at 7 in the morning.”
First Thing: Meditation
Routine: Lupita Nyong'o reveals her morning routine in her “73 Questions” video for Vogue. “I wake up, I read, I meditate, I work out, I face my day,” she reveals. And while she may not be able to pack all of that into the wee hours of the morning, being able to do something that gets her body moving or clears her mind will prepare her to face the day ahead.
JULIET DE BAUBIGNY
Who: Partner at Kleiner Perkins
First Thing: Checks emails
Routine: Mornings for de Baubigny include the Tracy Anderson Method Perfect Design DVD or a home visit from a trainer. If she’s spinning or on the elliptical, de Baubigny will get her daily digital download on her curated iPad. After a good workout, the partner always carves out a little time to sit down with her kids for breakfast. She keeps her primping time down to a 15-minute affair, thanks to weekly blowouts. Before the investor hits the office, she drops her two children off at school. “Our 15-minute drive together is treasured time, and I really feel that we all start our day on the right foot,” she told Goop.
Who: Fashion designer
First Thing: “Me” time
Routine: In the half-hour before her kids wake up, Beckham showers, washes her face, checks emails, and has a modest fruit breakfast with green tea followed by a double espresso. If only we could look that put together after so little sleep and such a hectic morning!