Sriya Chintalapalli

Today I had the best morning ever, and it set me up for a stellar day.

But it took me a really long time to get here.

Structurally unstructured systems & routines are what I’ve noticed to love most in 2020.

However, my nature to fall into rabbit holes fast & to leave 2-minute conversations with a bunch of loosely related ideas curious to delve into (I got 4 new ideas to write articles about while writing this one already) means I’m paying for this constant exploration — the price of which happens to be gaining deep understanding & consistent practice.

If you remember, both of which are crucial to creating compounding effects.

And so logically to understand how I’d create structurally unstructured systems for myself, it really comes down to how I’d spend my time.

Spending Time💲

When we refer to time, we refer to it as a currency that keeps on being spent, that we can never get back, that no one has an obscene abundance of…yet (*human longevity research picking up the pace🧪*).

But since we cannot truly gauge how much time we have, it’s easy to presume we have an average human lifetime (79 ~ 80 years). And well I mean if I’ve got a good 60+ years under my belt, I’ve got all the time in the world do to the things I actually want to do, right?

That doesn’t make sense.

If I had $2 in my bank account, I’d be very intentional about how I chose to spend it. Likewise, if I knew I only had 2 minutes to live, I’d be very intentional about how I’d spend that too. Choosing to presume abundance leads to neglecting the specialty of the present. Living either in the past or the future, but never truly in the present.

This morning I was present.

Okay that word has been said 3 times, let’s move on.

How did you truly be in _____? Good question. I’m intentional about how I spend my time — aware that how I wish to, will evolve over time.

I put my time into two places

  • To enjoy it
  • To invest it

But optimize for the activities which are intersections. My good ‘ol whiteboard help me lay it all out via a Venn Diagram. I now prioritize these activities.

Feel-good daily habits

Pretty self-explanatory but I am using a habit tracker to keep myself accountable to prioritizing the daily habits I know make me feel good + keep me healthy.

Aim is to keep this going until it becomes so normal to not neglect these practices, that a reminder isn’t required.

Best practices for me📑

  1. Use my whiteboard to jot down ideas, thoughts, curiosities to compile at the end of the day and decide if/when to delve into them.
  2. Game plan how I want to approach my day/get done the night before + daily self-reflections before that.
  3. Slow + quiet morning on my own, fast day of execution, slow + quiet night with family.

My Morning

I woke up around 4am. Have been sleeping on the floor for the past couple months as a stoic practice, so made my floor bed and cleaned up the area.

While I replied to emails & messages, I did a new stoic exercise I was recommended (listening to music I don’t like — here’s how that went). Grabbed my yoga mat + water bottle and headed to the gym on my bike.

Listened to these podcasts:

I watched the sunrise as I bicycled around the neighborhood for 30 minutes, just breathing in the morning fresh air. A feeling quite indescribable — perhaps, pure.

I love physical activity and have tried my hand at almost every sport there is growing up — even got my black belt Karate & won state championships (in Karate, Swimming, & Basketball).

Making it serious at that level is a full-time commitment, which I never happened to do but as an athlete, I happened to enjoy training just as much as competition day. I loved the feeling of pushing my body.

But over the past couple months, well really, the past 10 months (quarantine), I’ve neglected it — just wasn’t something ‘I had time for’. After coming to the realization while making my Venn Diagram that it fell under the intersection of ‘enjoying’ and ‘investing’ my time, today I made it time.

I’ve also really internalized that health truly has to be my number 1 priority recently — something that I used to not mind putting in the backseat for short-term wins. You can’t do anything without it — for yourself or others.

I ended with a lovely stretch and meditation on the roof & then bicycled my way back home, taking in the air & post-workout energy. My body and mind at ease, fully present, appreciating each breath in made me feel open, present, and free.

After earning my cold shower, I made a healthy smoothie breakfast, read my book ‘Feel The Fear & Do It Anyway’ and set intentions for the day.

Ps. Remember the ‘use my whiteboard to jot down ideas…’ so I don’t fall into the trap of jumping into 10 rabbit holes at once? My mornings thoughts were collected on there as in when they passed by.

Overall: This may seem simple. But I love simple. There is so much noise & clutter outside, and filtering right through it becomes easy when you look at things with simplicity. Experiencing the world bright and early + learning something new + boosting my health before 7AM = great start.

It’s now about consistency, and keeping it up tomorrow🌄


  • Owning your morning is the first step to owning your day.
  • Reflect on what you can do to set yourself up to have the best morning you’ve ever had — day over day.
  • After all, your morning is the start to Day 1 of the rest of your life.

Action Items

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investing in moments