40 Apps Marketers and Writers Rely on in Their Morning Routines

Jeremey DuVall
Jeremey DuVall / Published August 6, 2015

My iPhone is an iExtension of my right arm. It's with me nearly 100% of the time, whether I'm doing errands, working, running or, yes, even sleeping.

The not-so-subtle ringtone "Radar" jars me from sleep each morning. After one or two (or seven) snoozes, I'm ready to attack my day—but not before getting a dose of screentime. I prepare for the day ahead while still horizontal with apps like Mail, Wunderground, Mint, Facebook, and Twitter.

It's hard to imagine starting the day without apps. They keep us informed of the weather, what's happening around the world, what the traffic is like across town, and what our agenda holds for the day—and so much more. With apps being so essential to most of our workflows, we wanted to see what apps others were using in their morning routine.

The more powerful apps that power our work days get the most attention, but the simpler apps that help us start our mornings are equally vital. That's why we asked some of our favorite writers and marketers which apps are essential to their morning routine.

From Asana to Zite, here are the best apps to start your day off right.

Shannon Byrne

Shannon Byrne

Shannon Byrne morning routine apps

Chief Content Officer at CloudPeeps@shannnonb • Brooklyn, New York

When I first wake up, I check the Dark Sky weather app, Sunrise, Slack, Mail, Twitter, and Instagram. (Needless to say, it sometimes takes me a hot minute to get out of bed.)

  • I just started running in the mornings again. Dark Sky lets me know what the weather is going to be throughout the day. So if it's going to be 90 degrees or raining in an hour, I'm more likely to get up and get it out of the way before it's too hot or rainy.
  • Sunrise calendar reminds me of any appointments, meetings or crucial deadlines for the day.
  • The rest of HQ is in San Francisco and I'm in Brooklyn, so I check Slack (our favorite team communication tool) to see if I missed out on anything major after signing off for the evening.
  • I have three email accounts that I check every morning to see if there's anything that needs my immediate attention before going for that run.
  • I check notifications for my personal and CloudPeeps' Twitter accounts in the morning and respond to anyone who has engaged.
  • Instagram is currently my favorite social network. I'm always either inspired or entertained by the posts from the people I follow. It's just a nice way to start the day with a smile.
Jacob Sam-La Rose

Jacob Sam-La Rose

Jacob Sam-La Rose morning routine apps

Poet, Educator, Creative Consultant, and Editor • @jsamlarose • London, England

When I first wake up, I check Drafts, UP, Interval Timer, Yoga 15, Loggr, Dark Sky, Fresh Air, Twitter, Flipboard, Reeder and Apple's Podcast app.

  • On waking, the first app I fire up is Drafts on the iPad. I'll draft a journal entry (review the day before, thoughts for the day ahead, ideas to follow up on later and so on) which is then saved to Evernote. I love Drafts' "new blank page" feeling for writing without anything else getting in the way.
  • I'll check in on the quality of my sleep via the UP app, review yesterday's physical activity via UP and Moves, and kick into a daily workout.
  • I use Interval Timer to keep me true to something that looks vaguely like a 20 minute tabata/HIIT workout, with a 15 minute yoga session (with Yoga 15) thrown in every now and then for good measure.
  • I use Loggr to track reps of specific exercises.
  • Dark Sky and Fresh Air currently provide me with the information I need to adjust travel plans (or wardrobe decisions) for the day—vital for London's unreliable climate.
  • Before I sit down to get work done, I'll have a quick browse of updates, news and social media—Twitter, Flipboard, and Reeder help me to stay up-to-date.
  • If I'm working somewhere other than my own home office, Apple's Podcast app provides the soundtrack for my journey.
Andy Orin

Andy Orin

Andy Orin morning routine apps

Blogger at Lifehacker • @andyorin • New York City, New York

When I first wake up, I check Safari, Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • I usually check that the first post of the day on Lifehacker is correctly published. Sometimes I have to do a minor task so that the morning article is correctly displayed on the site. It's a mundane chore, but luckily our platform (Kinja) is designed to work on mobile. And Safari is really the best browser to use on an iPhone.
  • I'll look at my work email in the iOS Gmail app, just to make sure there's nothing crazy happening.
  • While I'm still on my phone I might check Twitter to see if there are any interesting notifications. That's not for work; I just love messing around on Twitter.
  • I'll look at Facebook too out of habit (little more to see than birthday notifications though!)
Janet Choi

Janet Choi

 Janet Choi routine apps

Marketing Manager at Customer.io@lethargarian • Brooklyn, New York

When I first wake up, I use email, Twitter, Radium, and Day One.

  • I check my email first thing to scan what new messages came in but then it's all about the newsletters—I go through my news digests (from the NYTimes and BuzzFeed), this newsletter called Poncho (for weather and subway status), and listen to my daily pick from A Song a Day.
  • I scroll through one particular Twitter list I have to keep up with news and my friends' tweets.
  • Radium is an internet radio player app. I like to tune into KEXP in the mornings while I make coffee and breakfast and then while I work.
  • I use Day One for journaling and, if I feel like I have enough time, I use it for morning pages.
Belle Beth Cooper

Belle Beth Cooper

Belle Beth Cooper morning routine apps

Co-founder of Exist, content crafter at Ghost@bellebcooper • Melbourne, Australia

When I first wake up, I check my email app Spark, Twitter app Tweetbot, and the App Store.

  • My inbox is usually where the most important messages hit overnight. I have a combined inbox so I check Spark for Exist support emails, updates on client work, and anything else that might have come in while I was sleeping and the rest of the world was at work.
  • I check for new Twitter mentions or DMs in Tweetbot for my own account as well as the Exist and Hello Code accounts. I haven't read my timeline regularly for months, as I don't get much out of Twitter anymore, but I like to check if anyone's asked me a question or asked for Exist support that I should follow up on.
  • I always check the Updates section of the App Store first thing in the morning (and usually a couple of times throughout the day as well). What can I say: I really love apps. I read all the release notes and look forward to seeing new features or big updates. Once a week the featured apps change in the App Store, so I check those each Friday morning, too.
Gregory Ciotti

Gregory Ciotti

Gregory Ciotti morning routine apps

Content Strategist at Help Scout@gregoryciotti • Wilmington, Delaware

When I first wake up, I use Trello, Simplenote, and Gmail.

  • My personal Trello board gives me an at-a-glance look at what I should be doing. I pick out to-do's the night before, then in the morning I check it again to remind myself what's on deck, or make any quick changes needed.
  • While getting ready for the day and preparing more eggs than Gaston, I often have a few ideas show up. I open Simplenote to jot them down, and add random thoughts to upcoming drafts.
  • I check Gmail in the morning just to see if there are any emergencies. Serious red alerts only, otherwise I ignore email until lunch.
Alex Turnbull

Alex Turnbull

Alex Turnbull morning routine apps

CEO and Founder of Groove@alexmturnbull • Newport, Rhode Island

When I first wake up, I check Groove, Mail, Slack and Twitter.

  • It's probably not the best habit, but my first move when I wake up is to check email.
  • I dive into Groove, and then Mail, to see if anything needs my immediate attention.
  • I check in on Slack to see if our team members in Europe and South Africa—who have been up and working for hours—need anything from me.
  • Finally, I check to see what's happening on Twitter while I have my breakfast. By the time I finish my bowl of cereal, I'm caught up and ready to get started working for the day.
Alyce Currier

Alyce Currier

Content Strategist at Wistia@notalyce • Somerville, Massachusetts

When I first wake up, I check Gmail, Twitter, Sunrise, and Dark Sky.

  • Since I'm a slightly later riser than some of my coworkers, I usually check (Gmail) right away to make sure there aren't any fires that need to be put out before I get ready to leave the house. This also helps set the tone for the day and gives me things to think about during my shower and bike commute!
  • Twitter is usually how I find out about actual news. If there's something I need to know about happening in the world, Twitter will alert me to it before anything else.
  • Sunrise easily syncs up my personal and work calendars so I know what I have coming during a given day.
  • Dark Sky gives me a great simple overview of the weather for the day, and also helps me decide when to leave the house since it offers a graph of when to expect rain in the next hour.
Jimmy Daly

Jimmy Daly

Jimmy Daly morning routine apps

Freelance Content Marketer • @jimmy_daly • Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

When I first wake up, I check Mail, Fantastical, Instagram, Timehop and Podcasts.

  • I check Mail for fires that need to be put out early in the day. Our team spans several continents, so there are people working nearly 24 hours/day and emails being sent at all hours. If there is nothing urgent, I forget about email for at least a few hours.
  • I check Fantastical to get an idea of how my day is going to look. If I have meetings or calls, I arrange other important tasks around them.
  • I check Instagram purely for entertainment value.
  • Timehop shows me something funny or interesting every day, so I always look forward to it.
  • I download new podcasts to listen to while I go about my morning routine (breakfast, coffee and a long walk with the dog).
John Collins

John Collins

John Collins morning routine apps

Managing Editor at Intercom@jaycee001 • Dublin, Ireland

When I first wake up, I check Outlook, Tweetbot, Sunrise, Slack and Evernote.

  • I use Outlook for iPhone because its Focused inbox is great for surfacing anything important that has cropped over night.
  • Tweetbot is my Twitter client of preference to catch up on news and events. It has a nice UI for handling multiple accounts on your phone but makes it hard to mistakenly post from the wrong one!
  • Sunrise (yes I'm using two Microsoft products) has a great mobile app which makes it really easy to get an overview of the day and quickly move appointments around if you need to.
  • We use Slack for internal messages and I scan the channels directly relevant to my team to see if there is anything I need to add to my list for the day.
  • Evernote is pretty old school now but I still use it to jot down anything important that has come up at home.

Note from John: I used to keep my iPhone beside my bed and reach for it straight away, catching up with what happened in our US office while I was sleeping. My wife has adopted a no phones in the bedroom policy, so I'm trying to follow suit and create a few minutes headspace in the morning before I jump into work mode.

Carrie Melissa Jones

Carrie Melissa Jones

Carrie Melissa Jones routine apps

Community Consultant and Director of Content at CMX@caremjo• Seattle, Washington

When I first wake up, I check Sunrise, Twitter, and Asana.

  • The first thing I do is check my Sunrise calendar when I wake up to figure out how to structure my day. Sometimes I have early calls with the CMX team or clients.
  • Next, I'll check Twitter to see what's on people's minds that day. I try to step away after a few minutes, otherwise I get sucked into the Twitter vortex.
  • Finally, I look through my Asana tasks to see what projects I need to complete for the day. The night before, I curate the list to make sure everything is manageable and can fit into less than eight hours.
  • I keep Asana and Twitter open all day, but I turn off push notifications so I can control when I get messages.
Dan Levy

Dan Levy

Dan Levy morning routine apps

Content Strategist at Unbounce@danjl • Montreal, Quebec

When I first wake up, I check The Gazette and then open Downcast.

  • The Gazette is my local paper and it gives me a snapshot of what's going on in my city (weather, hockey scores, traffic, major news stories). It's pretty light reading, which suits me well in the morning.
  • Downcast is where my podcasts live, and I usually listen to something while getting ready for work. It's a passive content consumption experience that puts me in the right frame of mind for a day of content creation. Some of my favorite morning listens are Startup, On the Media and Slate's Culture Gabfest.
Connor Fee

Connor Fee

Connor Fee morning routine apps

Vice President of Marketing at UserVoice@connorfee • San Francisco, California

When I first wake up, I check Inbox, Zite, Dark Sky and Sunrise.

  • I'm a nerd when it comes to mail apps and most are terrible (yes, that includes Mailbox!) but Inbox is easy to use and has a nice clean interface. I'm also an inbox zero guy so it's good to know what's piled up since I've been offline.
  • Zite is my favorite way to spend the first 15 minutes of my day—more often than not still in bed. It may not be getting many updates these days, but for my money ($0) it's the best way to catch up on tech and business news.
  • Dark Sky tells me what I need to know about the day's weather. If I'm in SF, it's generally pretty easy to guess, but when I'm traveling Dark Sky's forecast is indispensable.
  • Sunrise is my last check before I get going and reminds me of how many meetings I have on any given day and whether I'll be traveling—it's a great way to make sure I'm dressed for whatever occasions are in the day.
Jory McKay

Jory McKay

Jory McKa morning routine apps

Editor at Crew@jorymackay • Toronto, Ontario

When I first wake up I check Instagram and Twitter and open Spotify.

  • I like to start my day off on an inspirational level, and staying away from anything work related for the first half hour has done wonders. Instagram lets me connect with what friends have been up to while Twitter lets me catch up on news and see what's trending that day.
  • I spent half a decade touring in bands and music still plays a huge part in my life from morning until I go to bed, so Spotify is a must. Interesting fact: I'm an album guy and rarely listen to playlists.
Nathan Ellering

Nathan Ellering

Nathan Ellering morning routine apps

Content Marketer at CoSchedule@njellering • Moorhead, Minnesota

When I first wake up, I check Gmail, Twitter, and Stitcher.

  • If there's anything pressing that I can knock out in the comfort of my bed, that's beyond awesome. This gives me a chance to take care of a few quick things before I get into the office so I can dive right in to work instead of replying to emails (in Gmail).
  • On Twitter, I like to reply to people who ask me questions and get in touch with some of the latest posts shared around. I'll sometimes read a couple posts right away in the morning to get the inspiration flowing.
  • After I get out of the house on my way to work, I like to listen to marketing podcasts (with Stitcher). It's a great way to use the time I'd otherwise spend listening to the radio to learn what other marketers are doing successfully, to help me grow our blog and business.
Kate Stull

Kate Stull

Kate Stull morning routine apps

Copywriter and Content Strategist at Urban Influence@katestull • Big Lagoon, California

When I first wake up, I check Mail, Gmail, and Instagram.

  • I keep my personal mail and work mail separate, so I start with Mail, where I keep my personal mail. I check for notes from friends and family, and always read theSkimm to keep up on what's going on in the world.
  • I use the Gmail app to organize my multiple work email accounts, and I check in on all of them after my personal mail.
  • I rarely check Twitter or Facebook anymore, but my go-to is Instagram for my daily fix of friends' baby & pet photos. :)

Note from Kate: When I first wake up, I actually don't check any apps because for some reason, my bedroom is an internet dead-zone in my house, so these are the apps ​I check once I ​actually get up and move around.

Becky Kane

Becky Kane

Becky Kane morning routine apps

Marketing at Todoist@19kane91 • Saint Paul, Minnesota

When I first wake up, I actually try to use as few apps as possible, but my three go-to's would be: Morning Routine, Google Now, and the NPR app.

  • I've learned that Morning Becky cannot be trusted to get out of bed on time so I use the semi-sadistic Morning Routine alarm. It forces me to get up and scan the barcode of my coffee bag before it turns off.
  • Then I usually swipe over to Google Now. It's so addicting. I love seeing what new info Google pulls up for me: random articles from sites I visit, how long it'll take me to get to workplace (aka my favorite coffeeshop), weather, my Google Calendar agenda for the day, and other random tidbits.
  • Then I use the NPR app to listen to news while I eat breakfast. That's about it.

Take Back Your Morning with Zapier


Exercise. Breakfast. Coffee. Those are the tasks that should consume your morning hours; not processing your emails or copying to-dos from one app to another. For that, there's Zapier. It's an app integration tool that you can use to automate repetitive tasks.

For example, use Zapier to create Trello cards from emails, or to-dos from Slack messages. And the best part is: it all happens automatically, leaving you to enjoy your morning routine.

Here are a few ways that you can automate your morning with the apps that our marketers and writers mentioned above:

Start Saving Time with Zapier!

How do these marketer and writer app collections match up to your own? Are you using similar apps, or do you have other tools to help you start your day? Let us know your morning routine apps in the comments!

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