Dolly Parton Breaks Down Her Morning Routine—and It Starts at 3 a.m. Every Day

Kayla Blanton
·4-min read

From Woman's Day

At 74, Dolly Parton is still writing music, funding vaccines, acting, performing, and running various business ventures. Ever wonder how she’s accomplished so much? The country music legend “stumbles out of bed” every morning at 3:00. Yes, 3 a.m. In a new interview with RuPaul Charles for Marie Claire, she shared her entire morning routine—so get your pen and paper ready.

She does her best work before the world awakes.

“I’m always, almost always up for good around 3 a.m. So I do some of my best spiritual work, some of my best writing, and some of my business work—call-ins and letters that I’m writing or whatever—between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m,” she explained. “I get more work done during that little period of time when the world is calm, energies are down, and I just feel like a farmer. They say the early bird gets the worm. Well, they also get a lot of good ideas too.”

There’s one step she never skips.

Before she can record any of those good ideas, as “a very spiritual person,” there’s one practice Dolly never skips. “Every single day, before I do anything, I wake up and I thank God for the night and ask him to bless the day and to bring all the right things … all the wrong people out of my life, and bring all the right stuff in,” she said. “And just to guide me, lead me. And I always pray that he’ll let me uplift mankind and glorify Him."

Then, it’s on to breakfast.

Most of the time, she’s joined by her husband of 57 years, Carl Dean. “This morning I made breakfast for my husband and me,” she told RuPaul. “I made some sausage patties, and I baked some biscuits, and I made some milk gravy. He likes that once in a while. Now, I can’t eat like that all the time, but I enjoy eating it when I do.”

In previous interviews, she’s proclaimed her love for “soul food cookin’,” but admitted that it’s not always the healthiest. “I’m a really really good cook,” she told Wired in October. “My food is not pretty, but it’s good. I cook like my mom, my grandmas, and my aunts. I’m still one of those people that really can cook like the old days … [but] it does have a lot of calories in it.”

She pairs breakfast with “a cup and a half of coffee,” she told Wired. “After that I’m ready for the day.”

She takes a nap if needed—but work usually keeps her energized.

By 9:00 a.m., Dolly has already been awake for six whole hours. How does she maintain her energy? “I don’t require a lot of sleep,” she said. “Three to five hours I can work on … But usually, if I’m on the job, I’ll take a little power nap.”

She doesn’t always need the break, though. “I’m energized by just what I do,” she explained. “It’s like, work begets work, energy begets energy. I just really stay alive because I just live on creative and spiritual energy. I’m like the little Energizer Bunny. I’m just recharged by the excitement of being able to still be active and to still be able to create stuff and to be still in demand.” She continued: “That’s exciting to me, that I have all these fans that care about me, and I love us sharing that kind of love and that kind of energy. You know how that feels. People love you. And that’s a great feeling to know that people care about you, and so it kind of generates its own kind of energy.”

She gets dolled up every morning, even if she’s staying home.

“I have to always stay ready—street ready,” she said. “I have to keep my makeup on and keep my hair done. But I actually do wear high heels most of the time.” Why wear heels at home, you might ask? “I have to wear [them] in order to reach my cabinets,” she quipped. “But I always enjoy wearing the shoes too, and I just feel more like me.”

That might be Dolly’s best tip of all. Don’t have a step stool? Just throw on some stilettos. Clearly, in her eyes, there’s always a way to get things done.

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