On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
Behind the New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and, Dare to Lead is the renowned author, lecturer, and podcast host Brené Brown. Her extensive knowledge is dedicated to the study of courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.
On an average morning, Brown begins her day at around 6:30 to 7am. She believes that it’s “healthy” and “smart” to establish and maintain boundaries between professional and personal time and that to have a successful routine, the first person you need to hold accountable is yourself.
She begins each day with a gratitude practice to set the tone for her day ahead. In an interview with Goop, Brown said that she believes that practicing gratitude is about leaning into the feeling of joy. She stresses that the practice has truly changed her life. “It’s more than just thinking of things we’re grateful for—it’s verbalizing them”. Her gratitude practice can vary, anything from mantras to little reminders of “I’m grateful for…”.
Another one of Brené’s regular habits is the practice of reclaiming belonging. “When you are really struggling with someone, and it’s someone you’re supposed to hate because of ideology or belief, move in,” she said. “Get curious. Get closer. Ask questions. Try to connect. Remind yourself of that spiritual belief of inextricable connection”
In the mornings, Brown usually just drinks water, she typically doesn’t eat anything before 11am – she finds that’s the time when she’s most hungry, regardless of if she has had a meal beforehand or not. Though when it is time to fuel at 11am, she will turn to cloud bread (a bread made from whipped egg whites, often baked with sugar) topped with avocado, mayonnaise, and finally seasoned with Trader Joe’s “Everything but the Bagel”.
Also in the mornings, (and usually after fuelling) Brown keeps up a relatively fit and active lifestyle. Whether it is with a trainer a couple of times a week, or going for a walk or swim, she actively tests her strength and movement. Brown also admits that this time dedicated to movement and physical activity helps her manage stress.
Being an introvert, she says that having the alone time in the pool or outside taking a walk is beneficial for her needs in order for her to recharge. She schedules in at least half a day a week to simply have time devoted to being alone. Admittedly, she loves being alone and defines it as her happy place.
On her scheduled alone days, hobbies are always on the table. Brené enjoys photography, which she also ties into her gratitude practice. When she takes photos of even the littlest of things, she is reminded that the really simple things are there and around her everyday – almost like a grounding exercise.
She also goes the extra mile to sit down and edit the photos she takes, looking back to notice all of the little details. This hobby is executed less routinely like her other activities, but serves more like an outlet she can turn to when needed.
Other than her morning routine, Brown grinds all day to get as much work done as possible. Something that helps keep up her productivity levels is her office supplies. She confesses that she can never have too many pens or Post-it notes, describing that they excite her to tap into the realm of possibilities ahead of her.
In the afternoons, she picks up her two kids from school and schedules her work around her carpool duties. In an interview with Susannah Conway, Brown’s work-life balance is crucial to her wellbeing, describing that she loves her work life but is an extremely private individual.
I love my online life and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my work with the public, but I am an intensely private person and a homebody. I drive carpool, volunteer at the school store, sit in the front yard and talk to neighbors, do art with my kids, and sneak in as many date nights with Steve as possible. I schedule my downtime and family time just like I schedule my work events – they are nonnegotiable.My Creative Life: an interview with Brené Brown | Susannah Conway
From filming podcast episodes, to partaking in interviews and lectures, she undoubtedly has a lot on her plate to get done. Brown has no set time on finishing work. “I work till I go to bed. Yes, I’m going to get eight or nine hours of sleep, but I’m going to work until that time is up.” From what is suggested in an interview with The Cut, Brené Brown doesn’t seem to have much of a night-time routine due to her fluctuating workload.
Before you go…
Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Joe Rogan, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.