Time Management

People often ask me what my routine is and how I seem to get so much done a day. I have always been an early riser, so it is normal for me to wake at 4 AM or earlier. Before I leave my bed, I offer gratitude for the things in life that bring me joy. It’s hard to be grumpy with a smile on your face. Next, I start the coffee, drink a glass of filtered water, and do a few stretches to maintain balance and flexibility.

The workday begins at about 4:30 while I have coffee (no more than 2 cups per day). I answer emails, write a blog post, or pack orders until around 6:30, when I usually have breakfast (recipe here). When the weather is decent, I go for a long brisk walk around the neighborhood. After a shower, I get dressed and work until I break for lunch, which always includes light and healthy (examples here). I do not eat more food for the remainder of the day unless it is date night.

I return to work at around 3:00 and will continue until about 7:00. Work may include research, problem-solving for employees or customers, bookkeeping, ordering or receiving products, photo editing, a photoshoot, or an administrative task. I own two companies, four websites, and commercial property, in addition to blogging, so there is always something that requires decisions or attention.

Exercise can be part of every activity. I am very active throughout the day, going up and down the stairs as I walk at a fast pace. Mornings may also include errands such as going to the bank, Post Office, and grocery store or cleaning something in my home. I do not watch TV. At about 7:30 PM, I turn off my phone and computer screens and all overhead lights and start to read a book. I will read for about an hour before unwinding enough to fall asleep.

Cutting down on interruptions and prioritizing tasks allows me to accomplish more each day. For example, I try to check my Facebook feed and other social media no more than once per day, but I check messages and respond to questions three times a day. I am careful to control my time on Facebook and YouTube since it is too easy to fall into the “rabbit hole” and come out three hours later with nothing to show for it.

My wardrobe helps to save time as well. I wear the same classic separates all year round in various layers and with different accessories. It rarely takes me longer than five minutes to chose what to wear and get dressed for any event.

The look shown here was thrown together in about three minutes at the end of a full day. Mr. Mickey took me out to dinner, so I wore a black tank top and duster length cardigan from White House|Black Market from a few seasons ago. These are the Nic & Zoe pants I purchased at Nordstrom while I was recently on vacation in Florida. The shoes are by Sam Edelman a couple of years ago. The bag is also about three years old.

On date nights, I enjoy wearing more dramatic makeup and heels. My evening looks are often all black with a lower neckline than I would ever wear during the day, with a dramatic necklace or long earrings. My skincare and makeup are always from Beautycounter. My website is here. (I am a manager at Beautycounter.) I will receive a small commission if you purchase from my links.

  1. You are amazing Susan! It just goes to show that you don’t have to slow down as we get older!

  2. I love these healthy lifestyle posts as much as the fashion ones. Time management after years of full-time very structured employment is still a struggle for me.

  3. I have to wonder, if you don’t watch TV, how do you get your news, know what is happening in our country and the world? I know there is plenty of brainless stuff on TV, but there is also some very good programming such as Victoria, The Crown and (when it was still on) Downton Abbey. I love to read too, but I would feel terribly cut off from the world, not know what is going on.

    I remember you mentioned this sometime during the last election and I wondered, she doesn’t watch any of the Presidential debates, town halls, etc.? This is not meant to be a criticism, I am just curious.

    1. I do listen to NPR as I am cooking and sometimes while I am working. I also look to reliable sources online to read news about what is going on in the world.

  4. Susan, your cardi is divine. I have always loved tiny buttons as an accent on anything! I hope you two had a wonderful evening out.

  5. Susan,
    What a wise woman you are. Not only in terms of style and health — but in emotional outlook too. As a professional journalist, I once felt obligated to follow ALL the news, read every reputable newspaper, listen to as many news stations as possible, etc. But over the past year I got so stressed out about the state of the country that I had to limit my exposure to news. (This past year has been more divisive than any I can recall — and I am your age.) All the posturing and arguing on social media doesn’t help the situation.

    So, in my view, you are wise to go about your business just as you are doing — and getting your news in small doses. Limiting the time you spend on social media is also a great call. I’ve spent the last several years covering midlife and aging topics, and most experts agree that it’s important to keep a positive mindset and to fill ourselves with good books, uplifting messages, and healthy activities. You’re living a wonderful example and sharing it with us. Thank you.

  6. I like what you were saying about wearing the same separates. I do this too, just not so stylishly as yourself. I have found that blogging does require discipline, and regularity. And that, working from home does have it’s own pitfalls!!

  7. I’m with you and go for days without watching TV. I get news when I am on line and do not need to waste time listening to talking heads going over the same thing all day. To each her own!

  8. I can’t say it enough. My life is just wonderful since I started following your blog. What type of filter do you use for your water?

  9. Hi Susan. I was just wondering if you keep a daily planner or something similar to help you stay so focused and organized. I am thinking of purchasing one to help me with goals and time management.

    1. I don’t use a planner, but I do have a large calendar on my desk to keep up with appointments. As a new business owner in 1989, I learned very quickly that self-discipline and a strong work ethic was imperative. I have also been single for many years, so I am very self-reliant and independent.

    1. There is protein in quinoa, beans, lentils, oats, and many vegetables. Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

  10. Hello Susan,
    I like the way you begin your day. I finish mine in a similar way, then I sleep easy. I have learnt many things from your blogs which I have also enjoyed tremendously especially the last series Better on the hanger. Thank you and please keep it going.

  11. This post is exceptionally helpful Susan. I eat on the run a lot, due to my part time job so I look forward to trying this breakfast and I can pack up a salad to take with me – instead of eating out all the time. Thank you! Thank you!

  12. Thank you Susan! I am going to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s book. I already love all the foods you talk about eating for breakfast and lunch but know I need direction to get started so I will read this book! I’m impressed with your determination to turn your eating habits, etc., around and that you are enjoying your weight loss and improved life! I’m excited to get serious about this! I would like to loose 10 pounds!

  13. I have really enjoyed and learned so much reading your blog. Side note… my husband, daughter and I moved from Johnson City 6 years ago for my husbands job! Question, I purchased the book eat to live. I had been thin all my life until menopause. Now I have an extra 50#and joint pain and I’m pretty unhappy with myself! Did you follow the book exactly to start with? Did it take a long time to notice positive results? They say losing weight when your older is so much harder. Thank you for answering these questions!

    1. I started losing weight right away. In about eight months, I had lost more than forty-five pounds. After learning about the problems processed foods and meat cause for me, I have not found it difficult to stay the course. I feel best when I eat grains, nuts, seeds, greens, beans, fruits, and vegetables. I avoid all condiments including butter.

  14. Hi
    I do like your choices in clothing
    I am however 74 so some styles I have to be careful of.
    But I do like to look classic
    Do not wear clothes that I think age me

  15. I have been looking for a blog like this, Thank You, I’m lost with when I shop since I’ve turned 72 and this has really helped me. Lynda

  16. Do you have a new routine now that you’re retired? This is very helpful. Thank you so much! I benefited many times from your packing tips.

  17. What time do you eat lunch please? Dinner? And, more important, what time do you go to bed at night? If you’re out for a late evening..theater, etc., do you sleep in? Thank you!

    1. I eat lunch late in the afternoon, usually, around three, if I am at home. I am flexible about the times I eat. I wait until I am hungry to eat rather than at a particular time. I go to bed to read an unwind at about 9 pm.

  18. This is fascinating. I do not own any companies, but your routine matches mine at 80%. I am surprised you also arise at 4AM, but I think that is key for several reasons.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.