a.m / p.m – Ada Polla


I wake up between 4:45 a.m and 5:15 a.m, the alarm blaring from my iPhone. I do have an actual alarm clock, but I use to mainly check the time vs. setting the alarm on it. The first thing I do every morning depends on how I’m feeling. If I feel like I’m in a really good state of mind, I get up, go make coffee, and then jump in the shower. Or I get up, go make coffee, and go to SoulCycle or running. Those are my two options. If I wake up and I feel off, I immediately I go through all the things I have to do in my head. I sit for a couple of minutes and try to focus on what I’m grateful for. I then think about the important things I’m going to work on today, and what I want to accomplish. I’ll do that for about 3 minutes – not really meditation, but just focusing on the day ahead. For those 2 minutes I think about three things I’m grateful for and three things that I’m going to work on today and then get up and out of bed. Once I’ve done that, I’m no longer feeling anxious or off.

I don’t eat breakfast, which many nutritionists will tell you that is terrible thing, but I don’t. I get to the office early – 6 a.m if I didn’t work out, or 7:30 if I did. I like getting in early. It’s so quiet and peaceful and I can organize my day and do my work with Europe or plan for doing all the things that I meant to do yesterday that I didn’t get a chance to before the rest of the world wakes up. If I’ve just got home from a trip, I’ll spend the first morning home unpacking, doing laundry, getting my life organized, and then go to the office.

I like my mornings to be as silent as possible. I don’t listen to the news, I never turn on the TV, I don’t listen to music. Instead, I review my game plans. On Sundays or Monday mornings, I plan out everything per day and my top priorities for each day of the week. I even plan a sixth day for just the weekend. I will spend a few minutes every morning looking at my game plan, reviewing the previous day’s plan and what I accomplished, and what I have to do today. This ritual helps me focus on the things that I need to get done today, the order I plan to get everything done, and any new tasks I had to move over from the previous day.


If I’m on the road, the first thing I do when I’m back from work is a bath. I’ll take a long soak and put on the hotel bathrobe. I try to read in the evenings, whether it’s the constantly growing pile of magazines and newspapers or the current book for book club. If I’m so wiped that I can’t even read, I’ll watch TV. My guilty pleasure is NCIS, and the only thing I ever watch. I also reflect on the day. Did it go according to plan? Did I accomplish the things I wanted to? What could I have done better? I find that if I actively reflect on the day and what I could have done differently, I’m able to let it go and not obsess over it when I’m trying to fall asleep. I’ll also think about what I’m going to wear and have my outfit mentally selected. I’m usually in bed by 10 p.m and asleep anywhere from 10:05 to 11, depending on how I feel.

See how Ada Polla packs and travels, and why she always sits in the aisle.