How Jonathan Batista’s Disciplined Daily Routine Sets Him Up for Success

October 12, 2022

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Jonathan Batista is masterful at time management. The Rio de Janeiro native, who recently made history as the company’s first Black principal, follows a regimented schedule that allows him to not only stay on track with his career goals, but also carve out leisure time and grow personally. “I was searching for a certain kind of discipline to my routine,” says Batista, who developed his regimen over several years. “I was always exhausted from work and didn’t know how to rest or maximize my time.”

The result—early mornings and bedtimes, meditation and journaling time, pre-prepped meals, and a disciplined relationship with his smartphone—has been life-changing. “Now I can be more present and productive,” says Batista. “It eliminates a lot of stress. And one of the greatest things I was able to find through this discipline is gratitude.”

While it may seem contradictory, diligently mapping out his days allows him to find freedom and flexibility in his busy dance life. “My goals change from time to time, and I can adjust because I’ve built in time to rest,” says Batista. “I’ve learned how to say yes to me, which opens me up to new possibilities.”

Below, Batista shares his daily routine, along with the tools and apps he uses to stay on track.

Jonathan Batista performs a saut de chat to his left during a performance while other dancers stand behind him and watch. He wears a white long-sleeved shirt and tan vest, coral colored tights and brown ballet boots.
Batista in Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake. Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy PNB.

4 am: Wake up. “It’s very important for me to have four hours set aside as me-time in the morning,” says Batista. During theater weeks, he shifts his daily schedule to accommodate a later rehearsal and performance schedule, waking up at 7:30 instead.

4:05 am: Meditation and breathing exercises

4:15 am: Journaling. “I write about my previous day, including any challenges. It helps clear my mind before I go to work.”

4:30 am: Breakfast number one: 6 eggs, 1 cup of cheese, 4 sausage links, 2 slices of seeded bread, Greek yogurt with granola and honey, and a half-cup of coffee

5:15–6:15 am: Work out at the gym. “My goal is to put on weight, so I do a heavy workout during rehearsal weeks. Sometimes I go Monday, Wednesday and Friday, other times I do every day. During theater week, though, my workout is very light—it’s more to wake up my muscles.”

6:30 am: Breakfast number two, usually a smoothie

7:15–8:10 am: Catch up on email, review the day’s schedule and make a cup of coffee before heading to work

8:15 am: Stretch and warm up in PNB’s Pilates room

9:15–10:45 am: Company class

11 am–6 pm: Rehearsals. Batista keeps his iPhone on Airplane or Do Not Disturb mode so that he’s not distracted by notifications. “It’s important to remind yourself that you are working—that this is not the time to relax, go on TikTok or Instagram. My phone is quite often in my bag or in a jacket.”

6:15–6:30 pm: Arrive home, shower and prepare dinner. “I do meal prep for the week on Sunday mornings to save time.”

6:30 pm: Dinner number one. “I eat burgers at night—two of them—and I prepare my own patties. I lose weight really fast, so it’s important for me to eat a high-calorie, high-fat diet. I also eat a lot of greens for nutrients.”

Jonathan Batista dances onstage during a performance, doing a passé relevé with his right leg up and his arms stretched above his head. He wears a white unitard and looks up toward the ceiling, bathed in a spotlight on an otherwise darkened stage.
Batista in Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Door of Heaven. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy PNB.

6:45 pm: Cool down and stretch

7:15–8:10 pm: Content creation, marketing and social media. “I set a specific time to go on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok so that I can stay focused during the day,” says Batista. He uses a laptop instead of his phone to create a boundary between work and leisure.

8:15–8:45 pm: Dinner number two and dessert. He often listens to podcasts during mealtimes.

9:10 pm: Reading in bed with sleep-meditation sound. “I often read self-help books about healing, growth and love to help calm me down from my daily activities,” Batista says. “I try to put my phone down 30 to 40 minutes before bed to let my mind unwind.”

9:30 pm: Bedtime (11:45 pm during performance weeks)

Weekends: Batista wakes up between 6 and 8 am on Saturdays, which he leaves relatively unstructured. “Saturday is the one day I truly allow myself to be open,” he says. On Sundays, he’s up by 5 am and spends the morning grocery shopping and preparing meals for the week. He finishes his to-do list by 9 or 10 am—freeing up the rest of the day. “I could go to brunch with friends or go to church or go to the park. All the work I do during the week sets me up to have free time during the weekend.”

Batista’s Tools for Success

  • iPhone alarm app: Batista uses alarms throughout the day to stay on track.“When you’re just getting started or making changes to your schedule, it’s important to set alarms so that you don’t get carried away.”
  • Microsoft To Do: This time-management app allows him to list tasks for the day and check off action steps.
  • Legend Planner: “This is one of the most fantastic things I’ve ever bought on Amazon,” says Batista. “You write your goals for all different areas of your life—work and personal—and then at the end of that week or month you report on the things you’ve accomplished.”
  • Fidus motivational water bottle: The times of the day are written on the bottle, along with positive messages, to encourage drinking enough water throughout the day.