The Power of Ritual and Routine

Nicole Christie

As a creature of habit, a proponent of ritual, and someone with mild OCD tendencies, I’m obsessed with routines. There’s loads of research linking morning routines to success, and it’s fascinating to learn what entrepreneurs and artists do every day to tap their innovative and creative muse (check out this and this).

However, as a solopreneur, I have the luxury of NOT following a routine. At least not one typical for someone with, say, a family or a 9-to-5 job. For many years, I woke up whenever and slept whenever – and for a long time, this worked for me, as I wrote prolifically for clients and passion projects. Then something known as Approaching Middle Age happened and I couldn’t stay up past 11:00 or sleep beyond 7:00. While my body forced me into a morning routine, it was cemented when I got into a relationship with a successful, disciplined musician who rises before dawn (!) to practice.

These days, my morning routine isn’t just key to creating, it’s vital self-care. I love to wake slowly, so I read from bed for a half-hour. Then I make the bed, put my contacts in, brush my teeth, wiggle into workout clothes, and head out the door for a three-mile podcast-narrated walk, followed by a healthy breakfast, before diving into email and deadlines around 9:30.

I’m not one to criticize night owls as I was madly productive by moonlight for decades. But I get pretty jazzed over how much I accomplish – mostly for my well-being – by an hour when I would once have still been asleep. Mornings are when I get centered, move my body, and feed my belly, mind, and soul. As a result, I’m more intentional, creative, and productive. That’s the power of routine – and it’s a gift only I can give myself.

Nicole Christie is a writer, storyteller, and the principal and creative director of NICO, Inc. – a one-woman firm specializing in fresh, honest, engaging employee and marketing communications for Fortune 500 corporations, leading-edge creative firms, and rapidly growing new technology companies. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and at

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