On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
As an artist and record executive, Janelle Monáe often has to balance out the creative side and the business side of her life.
On one hand, she’s a successful singer-songwriter, actress and record producer, focused on the artistic side, and on the other hand, she’s the CEO of Wondaland Arts Society, a collective of creative talent that she launched in a joint venture with Epic Records.
I like how my work reveals itself over time. It’s like a letter you wrote yourself ten years ago, but when you open it in the future, things start to make sense.Janelle Monáe’s Afrofuture | The Cut
On a typical day, Monáe wakes up at 9.30am, and the first thing she does is avoid her phone and take 10 deep breaths to calm herself down and prepare for the day. After that, she works out for 30 minutes — “I do Shaun T’s Pure Cardio: Insanity,” she told Fast Company. “It cures my anxiety or any depression I’m dealing with.”
From there, it’s off to any number of different roles she plays in the entertainment industry — whether it’s working on a new album, rehearsing for a world tour, getting ready for her film parts, or running her independent label. When asked how she keeps track of everything, Monáe mentions Slack – “Email used to stress me out. Now I can organize every conversation, and I go into the channel when I need to—I don’t check it every hour.”
As a business leader and an artist, Monáe approaches her work in two different ways, depending on what mode she’s in. When she’s collaborating with people on a project, she’s always looking for ideas and thoughts from everyone else.
“I’m looking for them to persuade me that this is the best idea for the team,” she told Harvard Business Review. “I’m taking in people’s thoughts and asking them to be very transparent about what’s moving them or not. I listen. I compromise more. I look for the greater good. Sometimes these conversations are long.”
But when she’s working on her own project, Monáe takes a much more “insular approach.” She says, “It’s about where my heart is in that moment. I still like to know what others think; I just make the final decision.”
When she’s on tour, the focus becomes all about her health and fitness, to make sure she can get through the gruelling 90-minute shows each night. “I do a lot of heavy sweating up on stage. We do 90-minute shows — I’m moving around and it’s very high-energy,” she told The Fashion Spot.
“That often becomes my workout, just performing and being onstage. I guess you can say I exercise a lot, but really, I don’t realize I’m getting a workout while I’m dancing onstage because I’m always having so much fun. “
She also keeps a close eye on what she eats — “I try to keep a healthy, balanced diet on the road, though it can sometimes be hard. I try to eat a lot of salads while I’m traveling, but when I need a light, fluffy snack, I reach for my pita chips and hummus.” She also drinks a lot of water — “I sip a lot, especially when I’m flying, since airplane travel can dry out your voice like crazy.”
To wind her day down, Monáe likes to put on a documentary to fall asleep to — “something a bit cerebral to wear me down.” If she’s recording she’ll most likely be asleep by 1-2am, but if she’s on tour, the priority is getting in 8 hours of sleep so she’ll go to bed at midnight.
The happier you are, the more your beauty comes out. When you have a good heart and positive energy, you and the people around you are better. And that’s the best beauty and health advice you’ll find anywhere.Janelle Monáe: My On-the-Road Beauty and Health Tips | The Fashion Spot
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.