The Highly Productive Morning Routines of 10 Badass Women

Here’s how newscaster Mel Robbins, fitness entrepreneur Natalie Jill, early Twitter employee Claire Diaz-Ortiz, and more get ready to greet the day.



Wouldn’t it be amazing if every morning was spent rising well-rested at 6 a.m., hitting the gym, drinking a healthy green smoothie, and then meditating for an hour – all before even starting work? Sounds great, but who actually achieves this instead of hitting snooze a couple of times and scrolling through Twitter for 30 minutes?  


Life is rarely perfect – and true #girlbosses know how to overcome obstacles and make the first 90 minutes of their day best work for their busy lives. These are the very real, completely honest, and totally attainable AM routines of 10 badass, goal-setting women in the tech industry and beyond. If you’re in need of some morning inspiration to optimize your own routine, read on.


Mel Robbins, Speaker, Author, & CNN Contributor

In the morning, when I wake up, my phone is nowhere near me. If you wake up next to your phone, you have a tendency to check email in bed. Do not do this. I also never hit the snooze button. My alarm goes off and I get up right away. After getting out of bed, I get ready. As I do, I let my mind wander. I actually keep post-it notes in the bathroom. While brushing my teeth, I’ll write down 1-3 priorities for the day. Then, I’ll stick that post-it note on the back of my phone as a visual reminder.


Then, I’ll make a cup of coffee, some breakfast, and help get the kids out the door. Once they leave, usually around 7 am, I sit down at my desk with a notepad and my coffee. This is the most important part of my morning, when I spend 30 minutes planning my day. I call it the 30 before 7:30. During these 30 minutes, I focus on getting my day organized and planning either when I will accomplish my top priorities – or actually making 30 minutes of progress on one of them. After this 30 before 7:30, then I allow myself to look at my phone and check my inbox.


Natalie Jill, Fitness Entrepreneur


The first 90 minutes of my day is typically reserved to my own mindset. So before I check email or check text messages or anything else that people would want from me, I typically do a brain dump of, anything that’s going on in my life. Not just my to-do list, but just anything that I wake up thinking about what’s bothering me or that I’m stressed about or that I forgot to do. Then I will move into some type of learning while I’m getting ready and making breakfast. So I’ll listen to a podcast while I’m doing that. Then, the next thing I do is make a priority list. I write a list of the three main things that I have to accomplish today that’s going to push my goodness forward.


Vanessa Van Edwards, Behavioral Investigator & Author


This is brain warm-up time! I find that if I jump straight into emails my whole day is wrecked. I try to start by reading some great non-fiction books–I read EVERY book that has been recommended to me 3 times by 3 different sources. I have lots of reading material. Then tea from my garden, a bowl of fruit and classical music.


Jess Ostroff, Director of Calm at Don’t Panic Management


Every day is different, but generally, I try to start the day with some kind of activity that’s not related to work. If it’s raining, I might listen to a podcast while I’m making coffee or have breakfast, or whatever. If it’s nice out, I’ll take my dog out and listen to a book or a podcast while I’m walking. I make sure it’s not a business book or a podcast so that I can kind of wake up and get my brain moving before I dive into work.


Lauren Zander, Co-Founder & Chairwoman of Handel Group®


Every morning, yes, every, I write down what I call a daily design (DD) and send it as an email to a group of my closest friends, who hold me accountable for it. Not only does this practice of designing my day, each day, keep me connected to my nearest and dearest, but it also has me at the source of my day’s creation, and not simply in response to it. What you put in your DD is an accounting of how you want your best and most fun day to unfold, equipped with attitude and aspirations. Whether you told the truth at a meeting and inspired others to do the same, completed all the work you set out to accomplish, had zero traffic, got the best gift ever from your mother-in-law, lost a pound, etc. you get to create excellence that is on point with your dreams. You get to manage and inspire yourself, keep promises, and talk to your life, directing it and practicing the art of authoring it.


Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Author, Speaker, & Technology Innovator


I have three little kids, so productivity has changed dramatically for me in the last 3.5 year. The old adage of doing my morning routine first no longer applies. These days, I typically spend the first 90 minutes of the day dealing with family stuff. Then and only then do I shut myself in my office, start my “real” morning routine, and get done to work.


Camille Ricketts, Head of Content at First Round Capital


I’ll generally get to work, brew a huge thermos of tea and sit down in front of my email. I do my best to relegate email to only 3 times a day – morning, lunch and evening – so that I’m not continually distracted. In the morning, I will only reply if taking action on a message will take 2 minutes or less. The rest I snooze for appropriate times or leave unanswered. Then I try to dig into some writing while I still have my first-wind creative energy.


Celeste Headlee, Author & Journalist


I wake up at 4:30am and take care of the dog, get dressed in workout clothes, and eat breakfast within an hour of waking. Then, I go to the gym, shower, and get dressed for the day. I’ll do a quick meditation then and work on my planner to make sure I know what my day looks like. Then, I start writing and I’m off. If you take my driving time out of that, it’s about 90 minutes or so.


Amy Blankson, Author & Co-Founder of GoodThink


To be honest, the start of my day is always a bit of a circus. I have three little girls and two dogs, so my mornings are filled with brushing hair, slinging pancakes, walking dogs, and eventually sitting down for a brief time of reflection and connection before everyone goes their own way. Someday in the future, I will start my day with a zen practice of yoga – but for now, I’m embracing the moment and trying to make some memories.


Jocelyn Glei, Writer and Host of the Hurry Slowly Podcast


I like to feel the day as soon as I wake up. So I walk to my local coffee shop and do about 45 minutes of brain-stimulating reading while I stand at this huge picture window or sit outside under a Japanese maple. Then, I come back to my home office and to work. I try to get all my “deep attention” work done in the first 3 – 4 hours, which is my prime time for tackling challenging projects. This usually breaks into two 90-minute sprints, with a break in between.