Successful people seize the day from the (very early) moment they wake up. A recent poll showed 18 out of 20 executives set a 6am (or earlier) alarm on weekdays. No snooze button addicts here. Whether you prefer getting up before the sun comes out or you prefer staying in bed, your morning habits set out how your day will go. That’s why successful entrepreneurs have discovered what activities work best for them to start the day with energy, productivity and a positive mindset. Be inspired to make the most of your morning with these 10 habits:
1. Get some headspace
Meditation has proven benefits like stress reduction and improved concentration. Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington and Rupert Murdoch are dedicated practitioners. Even five minutes every morning makes a difference. We love the free Headspace app.
Leo Babauta, founder of Zen Habits, drinks cold water first thing in the morning. Entrepreneur Brad Lande drinks hot water with lemon. This has a number of benefits, from helping the body fight diseases to boosting your metabolism and stimulating the digestive system. If you prefer a caffeine kick, do as entrepreneur Chuck Longanecker, who starts his day with his coffee-brewing ritual.
Prepare yourself for the day with a proper shave. Both Dragon’s Den investor Peter Jones and Italian fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli have made this a morning ritual. Shaving immediately after a shower will save time. TIP: Don’t skimp on the post-shave balm or you risk irritated skin.
Take a moment to reflect. Steve Jobs famously asked himself every day for 33 years: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If not, he would decide what needed to change. Co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products and Patrón tequila, John Paul DeJoria, spends five minutes in bed quietly reflecting and being grateful first thing in the morning.
It might be as simple as walking the dog or a quick jog, but get your heart pumping early. Barack Obama lifts weights. Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour, plays a vigorous hour of tennis. Steve Murphy, CEO of Christies, does an hour of yoga. Even Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, starts with a workout or bike ride with his wife before coffee
6. Fuel up.
Richard Branson eats fruit and muesli. Co-CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, might have a smoothie with kale, fruit and almond milk. Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square eats two hard-boiled eggs with soy sauce. Make breakfast a priority, and if time allows, make sure you have breakfast with the family as Barack Obama does every morning before going to the Oval.
Use the morning hours to connect with people who are important to you, whether that’s breakfast with your partner or, like entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, calling your mother on your commute. As executive Kat Cole says: “Talking, learning, and thinking with other humans creates a purposeful start to any day”.
8. Catch up on the news.
Warren Buffett reads six newspapers every morning. While that may be a bit much, have a quick scroll through top headlines, social media feeds, hashtags or websites you monitor. Stay focused on informing yourself and don’t get sucked into the Internet vortex. To help you out, you can do what investor and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk does, and use a news aggregator such as Nuzzel.
Take an audit of your current morning habits. While you might not go to the extent of adopting a work “uniform” like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who is well-known for wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans every day, you’ll likely find something you can simplify to save time.
Before you jump into your day, make a plan and set intentions. Entrepreneur Danny Halarewich reads out loud his business and life mission every day, then writes his tops goals of the day. Like CEO of American Express Kenneth Chenault does, you can write down the top three tasks you need to complete. Tackle the most difficult one first.