The 8 Things I Actually Do Before 8AM

Around this time last year, I wrote a post called 8 Things to do before 8AM. It was all about the morning routine I had, and how I was using it to kick start my day. If you’ve seen that post, or my review of my favourite posts of the year, you’ll know that it got a lot of positive comments.

But when I went back over it, I realised it wasn’t quite accurate to my morning routine now, a year into being a “grown up” so I thought I’d give it a little update. These are the 8 things I actually do before 8 am (the time I have to leave for work – I’m not sure if I would get up quite so early otherwise).


I am such a bad snoozer. I have tried everything, and I have done it for so long that I just get back into bed on autopilot. Currently, I have my alarm on the other side of the room (in a tricky to reach and ever-changing position) so that I give myself the best shot I can of getting up quickly. I have a Newgate alarm clock which is really loud and isn’t as easy to snooze as my phone, plus it means that the first thing I seen on a morning isn’t a blue glowing screen which has to be good for me – right? If you struggle with hitting snooze I highly recommend them.


This was in my last list, but it has remained really important. I always have a glass (or half a glass) or water as soon as I can when I get up. It leaves me thinking much more clearly and I’m always thirstier than I realise when I get to it. This isn’t so much of a “this is an incredible morning routine” post, I’m a normal person, but if there’s one thing you take away from this drink your water folks. I even leave a glass out overnight, so I have no excuses and don’t even have to go into the kitchen (AKA I don’t have to get dressed first)


As I said last year I am never going to be the kind of person who goes on a run or goes to soul cycle before breakfast. I’ve attempted it, more than once, and it just isn’t me. But I do try and have a stretch, or, if I’ve managed not to snooze (so this maybes happens once a week), work my way through this fitness blender video because I have the worst core strength/back issues for a 24-year-old. It’s quite low impact so I don’t get sweaty but it leaves me feeling like I’ve achieved something before I even get to work. Thankfully I’ve done it so many times I can just look at a clock and do it without the video now.

*If you don’t use Fitness Blender it’s an ace source of workouts (of all levels/styles/lengths) for when you don’t want to go out.


It barely takes any time and makes me feel nice when I get home. Plus, I watched this commencement speech and I figured if it had any chance of changing my life it was worth it.


Every night I make my lunch for the next day, pack my bag, and lay out my clothes. I even put my oyster card and passes in my coat pockets. Having all of that work done before I even wake up means my mornings are much more streamlined, and I have fewer panics when my brain is still too foggy to function properly.


Okay, okay hear me out. I know we’re not supposed to check our phones on a morning. We’re meant to be screen free and happy, unburdened by the outside world. But I’m a person in the real world and I do a job where my day can change at the drop of a hat. So I do check my email (not my social media) before I leave for work, if for no other reason than I need to know I’m going to the right office.


I normally write out my to do list for the day the night before, to capture any tasks from the previous day I haven’t done yet. But on a morning, I like to have a quick scan of that list to remind me what I have to do, and to decide what my focus is going to be. At the minute that involves checking my personal kanban board. I’ve found the practice of having just one or sometimes two things as my main priorities for the day makes me a lot more productive and it leaves me feeling better about what I have achieved at the end of the day.


In 2016 when I was a mere London baby, I had not learned the perils of the Piccadilly line. I didn’t realise how a leaf can cause months of disruption, or how an ill-timed trip out can leave you stuck in a mob outside of a closed station. Thus, I have made many mistakes and had far too many stressful commutes. But like a phoenix, I have risen an almost always well-informed traveller. I check TFL and Citymapper a few times before I leave, and on my way to the station to make sure I get the optimal route. When I have time, I like to get off a stop early and go for a stroll before getting to the office to walk off the feeling of being a sweaty human sardine.



    • Natalie
      October 30, 2017 / 6:28 pm

      Thank you!

  1. October 18, 2017 / 9:02 am

    when i first saw this post, the first thing that came to my mind was: “how does anyone even function BEFORE 8 am!?” but i guess you did, haha and that’s really good. i usually wake up around 8.30 or 9 am on weekdays but when i have no work, don’t ever expect me to wake up before 10. that’s impossible, lol. even on weekdays when i’m able to wake up around 9, my soul is usually still plastered against the bed and i take a shower with this zombie-like energy and expression. like you, i will turn off my alarm – which happens to be my phone and that’s beside the bed so i don’t have to walk away from the bed LOL – then rehydrate, take a shower and eat breakfast. sometimes i lay there on the bed browsing through mails and social media for like 5 mins but other than that, it’s basically nothing but wake up > rehydrate > shower > breakfast then go. it’s probably a bad idea because it seems like i’m always in a rush and i don’t have those mellow moments to like, appreciate myself or stretch whatsoever :))

    it’s really great that you’re able to do all these as a routine though!

    • Natalie
      October 30, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      I definitely wouldn’t get up so early if I didn’t have to get to work, and the routine is definitely up to flux if I snooze too long but this is most mornings now. I feel like if you’ve got time for a glass of water you’re still doing pretty well in my book, there was a phase earlier this year where I didn’t even leave myself time to brush my hair!

  2. October 18, 2017 / 10:17 am

    finally, a realistic morning routine that is actually doable! I honestly have no idea how people have time to do some of the things they do in their morning routines. Honestly, some people claim to read, journal, meditate, exercise all in the morning! What are they doing? Waking up at 3am or something?

    • Natalie
      October 30, 2017 / 6:31 pm

      Thank you! I have no idea how they do it – I have a sneaking suspicion they don’t. This is definitely still an ideal morning for me, but it’s one that I can do 4 days a week.

  3. Lidia
    October 20, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    This is very silly – but I have been trying to make a concerted effort to make my bed every day lately. I am known for waking up outrageously early and yet absolutely ignoring the fact that the bed is not made (it helps that I now live in a studio apartment and have to stare at it every time I go in and out the house). I tell myself that making the bed can be a revolutionary act, because it shows your commitment to bettering the space around you. Is that too cheesy? I probably should take a look at that speech you say!

    • Natalie
      October 30, 2017 / 6:33 pm

      Not silly at all! Making your bed really can make such a difference, you should definitely watch the video I think you’d love it

  4. October 22, 2017 / 11:47 am

    This is great, Natalie, feeling so inspired now! Especially the tips on packing it all up in the morning sounds like a really good tip. I should try that! And when it comes to prepping meals, that’s another good one! Plus, be further away from Social Media, feels like I’m learning this at the moment. There are periods when I would love to quit this whole Social Media thing but I guess that’s only from being too close to it. So your tips really sound like a good balancing act. And it’s not that I haven’t heard this sort of advice before but really really good to hear it again, from you. Have a lovely Sunday!
    x finja

    • Natalie
      October 30, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      Thanks so much Finja! I’m glad you got something out of it. I know I’m a little late but I hope you had a lovely sunday too!

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