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The way you start your morning can greatly impact the way your entire day goes — start off on the wrong side of the bed, and things can quickly go downhill from there. Having a daily routine that works for you can often help you stay on track and ensure a smooth start to the day. We’re always looking for ways to improve our routine, so we asked 11 successful Charlotte women who are leaders in their respective fields to share the secrets of their morning routines. We plan to incorporate a few of their tricks into our own schedule, and we bet you will too!

The Morning Routines of 11 Successful Charlotte Women

Morgan Fogarty

Occupation: Anchor, WCCB Charlotte

Morgan Fogarty|styleblueprint.com

As a true newsie, Morgan starts her mornings reading all the major newspapers.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

The biggest thing I can do to help myself prepare for the day is to be asleep by 2 a.m. the night before. I get off the WCCB TV news set at 11 p.m., have about another 90 minutes of work or so after in the newsroom, drive home and try to keep myself from picking up the TV remote when I walk in the door. Straight to bed!

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I recently heard the “5 x 5 rule,” and it’s been running through my mind a lot lately: “If it won’t matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it.”  I spend too much time worrying about imaginary “what if” scenarios. I call it “catastrophizing.” It’s a bad habit I am trying to break.

How do you choose your outfit?

Depends on the day. For example, if I am interviewing a politician, I go for solid, subdued colors and simple lines and cuts that aren’t fussy or distracting. If I’m covering an animal welfare story and I know I’ll be with animals: jeans, LL Bean boots and a button-down shirt. If I’m covering a court case, I’ll wear a skirt and top or a dress plus flats, because we are usually, literally, running around a courthouse to get interviews and video. Flats are practical and safe. Long gone are the days of all-day high-heel wearing. Gave that up fast during my first pregnancy!

Alarm goes off at:

I don’t usually set an alarm. My kids wake me up.

What do you do for breakfast?

Coffee, coffee, more coffee, with a side of coffee. Sometimes a hard-boiled egg.

First order of business?

Truthfully? Checking out whatever Lego creation my 4-and-a-half year old son has handed me as I am still in bed, and talking to both him and my 18-month-old daughter about their morning, what they’ll do at pre-school that day, etc.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

I check personal and work email, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and then Twitter, then Facebook. If Twitter is exploding with “tick tock” (minute-by-minute) news content, I’ll turn on some cable news for more video and interviews.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I get to talk to my babies. It’s basically the only time I have with them during the weekday.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

I’m a night owl, not an early bird! I’m more likely to ask for morning routine advice than to give it!

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Marlene Hendricks

Occupation: Vice President of Guest Relations and Events Staffing, Hornets Sports and Entertainment

Marlene relies on her morning workout and coffee to start the day on the right foot.

Marlene relies on her morning workout and coffee to start the day on the right foot.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I acknowledge three positive things that I experienced in the current day. I do a run down on the next day, check my calendar for meetings and create a to-do list.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

Once I am awake I pray, then I read a devotional and channel my energy into positive thoughts. On my drive to work I primarily listen to spiritual music.

How do you choose your outfit?

Based on my schedule, meetings, events or just routine office tasks. I then check the weather and make a decision.

Alarm goes off at:

5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

Coffee and some type of protein.

First order of business?

Check my e-mails and respond.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Meet with my team, get caught up on pending items.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I have coffee and do some type of workout.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

Focus on first things first. Do the important stuff that speaks to your mission and values, then prioritize the remaining items.

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Gwen Poth

Occupation: Owner, Gwen Poth Communications

Gwen Poth |styleblueprint.com

Gwen enjoying a day at the slopes with her daughters on a recent trip to Colorado

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I work on setting my goals for the following day. Every minute counts, so I really try to come up with a game plan. I also try to take a few minutes to straighten up my desk and get my office in order. It just makes it that much easier to get the day going the next morning so I can dive right into things and stay focused and productive.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day? 

No, but I’m open to suggestions!

How do you choose your outfit?

It really depends on what I have scheduled. If I have any meetings, I dress professionally, yet comfortably. If I’ll be in my office all day, there is a good chance I’ll be in yoga pants and a t-shirt.

Alarm goes off at:

Depending on my commitments for the day, anytime between 4:45 a.m. – 7 a.m. I am a night owl, so I absolutely need an alarm to wake me up!

What do you do for breakfast? 

During the week, maybe I’ll have a yogurt or cereal while I’m working. On the weekends, breakfast tacos or even migas every once in a while.

First order of business?

Check my email, favorite news sites, Google alerts and anything else that has come up during the night.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

I make sure my daughters get out the door for school. Then, I immediately dive into work. No two days are the same and there are always unexpected issues that pop up, so as much as I’ve tried to map out the day I am also always open to going with the flow, especially when it is beneficial to my clients.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I quickly scan the newspaper.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine? 

As I get ready, I love listening to the KGSR app (a radio station out of Austin). The music helps me wake up and instantly puts me in a good mood. And when I need some extra motivation for the day, I keep the following Walt Disney quote in mind: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” It’s a simple but powerful reminder to keep moving and get things done!

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Nesha Pai

Occupation: Managing Partner, Pai CPA and Founder of Pai Networking Group

Nesha Pai|styleblueprint.com

When she’s not at work, Nesha is busy helping business professionals in Charlotte connect.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I put my outfit out, as well as the accessories I am going to wear. I also review my calendar to mentally prepare myself for the next day’s work.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I say a quick morning prayer, mainly to express gratitude for another day to be alive and make a difference in someone’s life.

How do you choose your outfit?

I base it on the weather and the day’s work. If I have a casual work-in-the-office day or a more formal day of meetings and client visits, I choose accordingly.

Alarm goes off at:

7 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

Coffee with something small and healthy that includes a healthy fat and protein.

First order of business?

I check my social media and emails that need immediate attention.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

I shower and dress according to the day and get going.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I have my cup of coffee!

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

Do whatever it is that gets you pumped to take on the world. Whether it is a mantra, exercise, prayer or self-talk.

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Nikita Devereaux

Occupation: Vice President of Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce, Public Speaker and Simply Virtual Consultant

Nikita Devereaux |styleblueprint

Nikita is a fan of the iPhone’s Do Not Disturb settings to get a good night’s sleep.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

Before closing out the day, I celebrate successes from today’s to-dos and make my list for tomorrow.  Doing so means I can hit the ground running the next morning.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I say positive things over my life throughout the day. The past few weeks we’ve been waiting to hear back on a big opportunity, so every morning I say aloud, “Today is the day you’ll win that business.”

Alarm goes off at:

5:15 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

Kind of boring, but I eat egg white and turkey with ¼-ounce of cheese on whole wheat toast almost every morning. When I have an early meeting, it’s a berry/banana smoothie with spinach.

First order of business?

Spending time with my dog outdoors. He certainly must be walked, but I love being outdoors. I use the opportunity to take in the stillness and reflect on what I want to see happen by day’s end.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Whether working from home or in the office, I consider the most high-impact task and plan all else around it.  I tackle smaller “quick tasks” first and then focus in on my highest priority work.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I take my vitamins and get my 12-minute workout in.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

I program iPhone’s Do Not Disturb feature to silence my phone for everyone but “favorites” (my kids, parents etc.) between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. That reduces the chance something will disturb my sleep or morning routine.

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Brenda F.  Anderson

Occupation: President & CEO, Galilee Agency

Brenda Anderson|styleblueprint.com

Brenda makes sure to meditate and give thanks every morning before starting her day.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

It depends if I am traveling out of town or have a very early morning engagement or appointment. Most often I have mentally prepared for the week by reviewing my calendar and planning my attire based on my schedule and activities.  The night before a workshop or presentation, I prepare the materials I must take with me and place them in my roller and material bags by the back door. If required, I put any equipment I will need in my car. I have roller and material bags for different clients and/or engagements. My shoes and my comfort always dictate what my attire will be for the week. If I am presenting or facilitating or have a long day, I prepare my attire beginning with my shoes.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

Yes. Before I do anything substantial in the morning, I begin with a daily meditation from Jesus Always by Sarah Young. This is followed by reading the daily related scriptures. I then do a prayer of thanksgiving and request for guidance. I close by singing a song of affirmation or joy. The daily meditation is focused on finding joy in today’s world.

How do you choose your outfit?

When I am facilitating or presenting and/or have a long day of meetings and events, I dress from my shoes up.

Alarm goes off at:

I rarely use an alarm unless I am away from home or in a hotel. The alarm time is always set to allow for my meditation time.

What do you do for breakfast?

Breakfast is a mandatory requirement for me each day, even if I am attending a breakfast, I will have some form of protein, fruit and coffee before I leave home. For breakfast, I most often have a weekly routine, that includes boiled eggs three times a week, smoothies twice a week, oatmeal once a week and a “gratitude” breakfast one day a week. The “gratitude” breakfast includes a breakfast meat (bacon, ham or sausage) and one egg, a muffin or toast.

First order of business?

My first order of business is 15 minutes on the treadmill to rev up my energy and heart rate.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

I make my bed daily as a demonstration that I am ready to begin my day.

I review emails to determine if there are any critical responses required before I leave for an appointment or engagement. I make any necessary calls or return calls. I take my daily medication and vitamins.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

My morning is not complete without my meditation time.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

I recommend the Tecarta Bible online app. The online app also offers daily verses to reinforce my meditation. The bible is offered in various interpretations/versions.

Advice? I recommend finding a song of praise or of joy to sing or hum during the day (even if it is a love song) to fill your spirit when facing the daily adversities and challenges of life. A song of joy pushes out those thoughts and ideas that drain your spirit and replaces them with thoughts and ideas that will energize you.

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Laresa Thompson

Occupation: Public Relations Manager, Carowinds

Laresa Thompson|styleblueprint.com

Laresa prepares for the day with a dose of local and national news.

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I recap all of the good, positive things I accomplished for the day, and set my sights on ways to make the next day even better. In addition, I take a quick glimpse at what’s ahead for the next day.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I wake up every morning and my first thought is that of gratefulness, thanking God for allowing me to see yet another day (this is moments before my dogs pounce on me, alerting me of a much needed bathroom outing). I will then read some words of inspiration from that of Joyce Meyer, Steven Furtick, T.D. Jakes, etc.

How do you choose your outfit?

My outfit depends on what I have on my calendar for the day. There are times when I have meetings, TV appearances, etc., that determine my dress for the day.

Alarm goes off at:

7:02 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

It varies, but some my favorites include a bagel with cream cheese, bacon or cheese toast.

First order of business?

Upon my arrival to the office, I typically greet my co-workers with a “jolly” good morning! Then it’s off to email land!

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Listening to voicemails.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I have my bottled water in hand (not a coffee or tea drinker, and yes, I’m from the South).

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

I encourage everyone to always stay abreast of current events. As I am preparing breakfast for myself and my two dogs, I catch up on the latest news via my Google Home device. I also watch local and national TV news outlets in the mornings as I’m getting ready for the day.

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Ivy Robinson

Occupation: Owner, Ivy Robinson Events

Ivy Robinson|styleblueprint.com

Ivy’s been the mastermind behind celebrity weddings including Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Emily Maynard Johnson. Image: Piper Warlick Photography

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

Every day and night are different for me. I love going out to dinner, so that’s where you’ll normally find me during the week, and I’m a bath gal and enjoy baths every night.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

If there is a big meeting or event, I’ll go to yoga, which I need to do more of anyways.

How do you choose your outfit?

I’m a last-minute dresser and never plan my outfits. It really just depends on what mood I’m in.

Alarm goes off at :

Normally around 6:45 a.m. so I can be at the gym 7:15 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

Coffee, coffee and coffee. Not a huge breakfast gal — maybe a protein bar or shake unless it’s a Sunday then I’m all over some brunch!

First order of business?

Give my dog Waylon kisses! Then we grab coffee, go on our walk and think about the day and what needs to happen.

Next, I must complete the remaining items

Texts and emails — all day, every day.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I have my coffee, my workout and my walk with Waylon.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

I use the Wunderlist app, and it keeps me organized.

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Nicole Sodoma

Occupation: Attorney at Sodoma Law

Nicole Sodoma |Styleblueprint.com

You can read more about Nicole on her blog, The Sodoma Way

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

Calendar. Calendar. Calendar. And when I say calendar, I don’t just mean look at a calendar. I have a kids calendar, a client calendar, firm calendar, a court calendar — all maintained on a paper calendar, a virtual calendar and a whiteboard calendar.  And, they don’t all sync! With young children, a law practice and clients, all who count on me to be “in the know,” I review each of my calendars to make sure that I am best prepared and ready.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I wish I did! I love receiving and sharing inspirational messages to get my day started. But nothing gets the day started like the yell (or text) that I receive every morning (even when you know it’s going to be a tough one), that says: IT’S GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY!

How do you choose your outfit?

I just learned about the Stylebook app. I am hoping it changes my life! Otherwise, my good friend Sherrard Georgius with Paul Simon provides me guidance for my professional clothes. Most think of lawyers in a suit and tie. No more. No longer. Lawyers can be as fashionable and trendy as they want so long as it is professional and confident. After all, isn’t confidence the best accessory?

Alarm goes off at:

6 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

Despite the sound advice of friends, during the week, I typically have coffee for breakfast. I tend to stick to a large cup of Circle K coffee filled with delicious creamer. Or, as some may think, delicious creamer with a little coffee.

First order of business?

I sometimes work late in the evenings – with the practice or through our philanthropic efforts for the Sodoma Law Foundation. So, if I am not scheduled to be in court in the mornings, my first order of business is to spend time with my children to make sure they are ready for school before I am off to the races!

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I have had my Circle K coffee.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

Identify your goals (weekly) and remember it may take a village. Every week, I establish 10 items that must be prioritized. Even if I am able to only tackle three of them, I can weed through the others – using tools, resources and sometimes delegating what I miss. What I often learn is that those that I don’t reach weren’t as important as I thought they would be. I don’t have an app, but I live by Shinola notebooks that are full of these lists, ideas, visions, goals, routines and anything else that supports the success not only of the firm but also each member of my family.

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Alyssa Wilen

Occupation: Owner, Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen

Chef Alyssa|styleblueprint.com

Chef Alyssa’s days are typically really long, so getting off to the right start with quiet time in the morning is a necessity. Image: Justin Driscoll

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I have a notebook next to my bed, and to unwind, I write down my schedule for the next day. I give myself time slots to get things done and have an ongoing list of goals for that week.

How do you choose your outfit?

I’m lucky enough to have a sort of “uniform” for my job. I have a stack of comfortable yet nice looking work pants and branded t-shirts and pull overs to wear in the afternoon before I wear my a short-sleeved chef coat to teach class in. In the morning and early afternoon I’m in athletic clothes.

Alarm goes off at:

6 a.m.

What do you do for breakfast?

Usually half a granola bar because I’m pretty hungry in the morning and need something with my coffee to tide me over. Then after my morning workout I make something more substantial. A staple for me is a slice of whole grain bread with U.A.V. cottage cheese, salt and pepper and an egg on top. It’s filling, savory and delicious! I also go for scrambled eggs with some sausage and veggies.

First order of business?

Kiss my husband. Then make coffee in my French press and sit at the kitchen island reading a cookbook (my form of a textbook), a local magazine or the newspaper. I try to take this time to stay off technology, wake up and gather my thoughts.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

Go over my to-do list and make sure I get out the door in time for my scheduled workout class.

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

I’ve gotten a workout in.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning routine?

I always try to wake up at least an hour before I have something on my schedule. I have very long days and a fluctuating schedule, so I find that even if I’m exhausted, if I get myself up early enough to keep my morning routine uninterrupted, it leads to a much calmer day.

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Vicki Graf

Occupation: Meteorologist at WSOC-TV

Vicki Graf|styleblueprint.com

When Vicki isn’t on air she enjoys working out. | Image: Piper Warlick Photography

Do you do anything the night before to prepare for your day?

I make sure I’m caught up on the latest forecast. Check my calendar for any meetings or school visits the next day. Lay out my outfit (I actually write down what I wear every day so I don’t repeat outfits). I batch cook meals early in the week so I can make sure I have healthy meals on hand and ready to go for work. I have that ready to go for the next day.

Do you have a mantra, moment of prayer or visualization ritual to prepare for your day?

I try and set aside 15 minutes in the morning for devotions. A friend gave me Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and I like to read that. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to meditate in silence for five minutes in the morning for one month. I haven’t started that one yet though.

How do you choose your outfit?

I’m a planner by nature. Working in TV you have to have a very colorful wardrobe to wear on air. I color coordinate my closet so it is easy to find things. I check the forecast and make sure I’m wearing something appropriate (people tend to not like you wearing short-sleeve or sleeveless outfits in the middle of winter, even though our studio is usually set to 70 degrees). I write down what I wear that day in my calendar so I don’t repeat outfits — I have actually been called out on social media before for wearing a dress twice in a month. I have learned you just can’t please people, but I have a tough time remembering what I wore the day before, so this helps me not wear the same thing two days in a row!

Alarm goes off at …

I have several. On my days off — 8 a.m. On a normal work day — 6 a.m. On a day I’m working the morning show — 1:45 a.m. I set several alarms when I work the morning show. One of my biggest fears is sleeping through my alarm and missing work!

What do you do for breakfast?

I always try and make a healthy breakfast. Usually it is two eggs over easy with sautéed spinach and salsa. If I am working the morning show I will make a frittata early in the week that I can just reheat at work. I am currently trying The Whole30 though and would like to give overnight chia pudding a shot this weekend!

First order of business?

Coffee! Lots of it.

Next, I must complete the remaining items:

I hate being rushed in the morning because it makes me anxious for the rest of the day. On a normal work day I wake up, make some coffee and watch the news for a bit and then work out. When I’m doing the morning show I wake up, shower and get ready and drive into work. I try and get there before 3 a.m. On those days I usually don’t have a minute to spare!

My morning doesn’t feel complete unless:

On top of coffee, I drink 32 ounces of water. It is so important for me to stay hydrated throughout the day. This guarantees I start my day off right.

Is there a key piece of advice or a must-have app that is essential to your morning?

I never was a morning person, but I forced myself to become one. I never hit snooze on my alarm. I read somewhere that if you hit snooze, it messes up your sleep cycle and makes you more tired throughout the day. Now if I sleep past 8 a.m., I feel guilty and feel like I have wasted part of my day!

Thank you Morgan, Ivy, Vicki, Gwen, Alyssa, Nicole, Brenda, Marlene, Laresa, Nesha and Nikita for the insight on your morning routines! For more great advice from women around the South check out our FACES interviews by clicking here.

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