By Sasha Mills
The first thing I do is check my calendar for the day, which is really annoying to people because I only deal with what I’ve got on in a timed order. If it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist. I live by my calendar religiously. I’ll also look at any emails.
I programmed a morning routine on my Amazon Alexa, which is my proudest life hack ever.
It sets the volume to 6, and then it plays Solange’s ‘Cranes in the Sky’, which has been my morning alarm song for probably 6 years. Then it plays the news – the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Sky News. And then it plays The New York Times’ The Daily Podcast, and after that a quote from The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Depending on how tired I am, I will lie in bed until it’s finished. I do some stretches to support my lower back and the psoas muscle.
Before I get in the shower I have to wake Roman up. I go into Roman’s bedroom, and I’m like, ‘get up!’ And then he lies in bed for another 20 minutes, so I have a shower.
I jump in the shower, because I cannot function without a shower, even though I have a bath every single night. I just can’t get it together unless I’ve had a shower.
I use L’Occitane almond shower oil – it leaves my skin feeling insane. I tend to use a body brush every single day all over my body. I don’t dry brush because it hurts my skin too much, so I use it wet in the shower. Then I cleanse my face – I always wash it about 10 million times, with the Skinceuticals AHA cleanser, and then the Cerave SA cleanser.
I take my Invisalign out in the shower, and put it on the side and brush it properly after. I’ve had Invisalign for ages – because of all of the Zoom meetings, I’m always taking it off.
I go into Roman’s bedroom again to check that he’s out of bed.
I have a really efficient routine. I put my serum on, which is Skinceuticals C E Ferulic. I brush my teeth while the serum is soaking in with the Philps sonicare electric toothbrush, which was left by an old boyfriend.
I use Fenty foundation in the shade 390 – I apply all of my products with my hands, I don’t use any brushes, I just rub it in my skin like a moisturiser, and then I do my brows with a Rimmel dark brown mascara. It’s so cheap, I’ll buy like 10 at a time. I have my brows microbladed by Rachel Pitman, so my brows tend to be quite defined already. I always use sunscreen, the Heliocare oil-free gel-based sunscreen.
Then I use the Byredo black eyeliner. It’s hands down the best eyeliner I’ve used in years. I use Charlotte Tilbury highlighter down my nose, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Medium lipstick, and then a concealer called Black Opal in the colour Nutmeg. That concealer’s changed my life, it’s basically the thing that makes me look great.
That’s it – I’m not big on makeup, but I’ll use perfume like Loewe’s musk, Esencia.
I finish by going to my drawer in my towel, and I oil my body with L’Occitane milk moisturiser, and then I put on my underwear and get dressed.
This whole time I’m listening to The Daily podcast.
I go downstairs, I make myself a black coffee and a bowl of porridge with pear and cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
While I’m waiting for my porridge to cook, I check TestFlight. When you’re developing an app, you have a test version of the product called TestFlight. The first thing I’ll do is refresh my TestFlight, to see if there are any new developments in the app that the engineers have done, and then I’ll comment and leave my feedback. I’ll send screenshots, circle it, stuff like that.
Then I look at the social media accounts, check if there’s anything I should feed back to.
What I’m good at is responding to multiple things all at one time. I tend to have 3 or 4 things on the go. I might be standing by the porridge, and in that time I can respond to 2 or 3 messages and emails.
Because the summer months have been so lovely, I’ve been eating breakfast on my balcony, and what I tend to do is read a few pages of a book, or look through my extensive bookshelf and pick out a book I haven’t read for ages, and simply just flick through it to get my mind into a different space. I would rather read half a page and then put the book away than be like, ‘Oh, I don’t have time to read’.
I usually will have made breakfast for Roman at this time. While I’m doing all of this, I’m getting Roman ready for school. I’m ironing his uniform on the dining table, because I’m terrible at doing it the night before. I’m making sure he’s brushed his teeth.
Because he’s now vegetarian, it’s harder for me to get him protein for breakfast. I usually put a croissant in, and put scrambled eggs and avocado in it – he kind of has a Mexican breakfast. I’ve checked about 5 times that he’s brushed his teeth, and then we leave the house.
I get in the car, and we play rave tunes the whole way to school. We do a back to back DJ session – I have one song, Roman has one song, and it gets us in a really good mood. My top productivity hack in the morning is to play all of the songs that you listened to when you were 16 years old. It’s wonderful because he’s using that time to learn music – I’ve recently been playing Daft Punk and French disco, and now he loves Justice and Daft Punk.
I drop Roman off at school, and I do my first set of calls from the car. If I’ve got an anxious day, I might listen to a meditation from Sam Harris’ Waking Up app while driving to work.
Anytime between 9:00 and 9:30 I’ll be back at my desk. And then I’m pretty much on calls all day until 12:00.
I compartmentalise my days.
Mondays, they’re exclusively for updates and feedback meetings internally.
Tuesdays, I do administrative stuff – anything payroll, operations.
Wednesday is our company IRL day. All of the different teams come into the office, it’s a mixture of meetings and catching up with colleagues.
Thursday, I have a clear morning to do writing, deck-making, anything like that. Thursday afternoons tend to be meetings with partners, meeting up with investors, as are Friday mornings.
Friday afternoons are exclusively for team ceremonies – sprint, retrospectives, product demo, and company all hands.
I find that by compartmentalising my days, I’m in a better headspace, I’m more efficient, my outfits are more efficient.
I eat my lunch at 12:00 on the dot, every day. If it’s past 12:00 and I’ve not eaten lunch, it gets really bad. On some busy days, I have to work all the way until 2:00. But my lunch break between 12:00 and 1:00 is blocked out. I tend to go for a walk, listen to a podcast, or read. I eat the same lunch every single day to keep it really simple. Chicken breast, avocado, gem lettuce, that’s it.
Sharmadean Reid takes us through her morning routine and how she ensures efficiency in everything she does.
By Sasha Mills
The ‘Pure O’ or ‘purely obsessional’ type of OCD is characterised by distressing, intrusive thoughts and mental rituals to cope with them. Rae Elliman shares her experience of living with – and learning to manage – these hidden compulsions