Most of us claim to be “morning” or “night” people – those times when we feel most energized and most productive. But successful people, for the most part, claim to be morning people. And I am suggesting that all of us can be morning people too. It’s a matter of what you choose to do when you wake up. If you are tired because you stayed up too late, and you then become a “couch potato” until the afternoon, of course you will see yourself as a “night” person. If you want success, though, you will need to change your routines.
Here’s what successful people do with their mornings:
1. They Wake Up After a Good Night’s Sleep
The day begins after a good sleep. If you want a personal testament to getting a good night’s sleep, check out Arianna Huffington’s own experience with lack of sleep. She has even written a book about the importance of a good night’s sleep and how it impacts every aspect of our lives. Successful people like Huffington understand the importance of sleep. “Night people” do not seem to get this. They stay up late, wake up sluggish and have little motivation to get going and accomplish things.
2. They Practice Their Own Priorities Before the “World” Steps In
To do this, successful people must wake up early. This is when they have their own time to complete those activities that are “me” focused rather than “they” focused. It is before families and colleagues begin demanding time and attention. This time may involve any number of activities, but all of them promote increased productivity throughout the day. Read on to see these priorities.
3. They Determine What They Can and Cannot Control
Successful people spend time in the morning looking at the challenges they face. They separate out those things that they can address and dismiss those that they cannot. In this way, they do not waste time ruminating on irrelevant issues and focus on taking personal responsibility for those things they can impact.
4. They Drink Water
Before reaching for that first cup of coffee, successful people tend to drink water first. According to many successful people and to some scientific evidence, water rehydrates the body, stimulates metabolism, and helps to stimulate “alertness.” The coffee can come after that, of course, so don’t feel like you have to forego that cup of “jo.” Just get the water in first.
5. They Get in Their Exercise
Once the real workday begins, and even after it ends, there is not a lot of time or motivation for physical exercise. So, many successful people build exercise into their early morning routines. They have appointments with personal trainers as early as 6 a.m. If this is not in your budget, then choose another less expensive exercise routine. Run, use in-home machines and/or videos, or join a gym and make it a habit to go at least three times during a workweek.
Physical exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, “feel good” chemicals that are released into the body. They serve to increase a sense of optimism and positivity, and this is certainly a good way to begin a day.
6. They Spend Some Time Being Grateful
I have a sign on my refrigerator door – the word is “Gratitude.” When I get up in the morning, it is there to remind me of all that I have to be grateful for. After all, I have a roof over my head, food in the frig, and a sound body and mind that can accomplish a lot today. I am grateful for family, friends, and colleagues that are supportive and encouraging. Just reminding yourself of all of these things can serve to be a motivator for productivity as the day begins.
Mark Murray, Managing Director for Wow Grade, has this to say: “I grew up in poverty, in a scary place where food insecurity was a daily issue. Today, I have an amazing life with comforts I never dreamed of as a child. Every day, I am grateful for my home, my family, my friends and colleagues, and for a future that is nothing but bright. Reminding myself of this each morning puts me in a great mindset for my day.”
7. They Take Time to Meditate or Reflect
Successful people usually have Type-A personalities. They demand a lot of themselves and the others around them. It becomes tough to get their minds off of what must be done and who needs to do what. This all contributes to what is known as a “busy brain,” and it can result in an inability to focus on an organized approach to what should be accomplished. Many successful people find that taking time to disconnect from the “world” of demands clears and calms their minds. The practice leads to better focus capabilities on the priorities at hand.
8. They Set Their Priorities for The Day
Once the water has been drunk; once the physical exercise has been done; once the meditation is finished; and now that the quiet is still in place, it is time to set the priorities for the day. This is also the time for some focus on major or critical projects that may need your attention. The early morning quiet time is when work on these can occur – you are ready to focus and to make real inroads – no interruptions and no distractions. Many successful people say that they make their best decisions and progress on projects in the early morning hours.
While lots of successful people make their “to do” lists the night before, the early morning is a good time to go over that list and to prioritize the tasks for the day, based on your larger picture. With a clear head, it is easier to do this prioritization.
9. They Make Their Beds
While this may seem laughable, it is not. When you get up in the morning and make your bed, it starts your day well. There is actually some research to support this habit. Making your bed puts you in a mindset of productivity – it’s a psychological habit that sets the tone for the day.
10. They Spend Some Time on Personal Passions
Many successful people have personal interests or hobbies that help to relieve the stressors of work responsibilities. When they pursue these, they realize personal satisfaction that work tasks do not always give. Some are working on books or novels; some are engaged in physical projects – artwork, home improvements, etc. The morning is a great time to spend some time on these. They foster a sense of satisfaction that work tasks cannot always provide.
Jane Scott, Marketing Director for Studicus, has a personal passion for painting. “I always have a canvas in progress,” she states. In the early morning hours, I do my best work – my mind is uncluttered and I can focus better. Plus, painting just puts me in a great mindset for the start of the rest of my day.”
11. They Read the News
Successful people do keep up on current events. While they may not relate directly to their careers or their priorities, they do see a need to understand as much as possible about the world around them. Successful people understand that they need to be “well-rounded,” that they need to have an understanding of their world because they never know when those events and circumstances may directly impact their lives. Staying informed is just the smart thing to do.
12. They Check their Emails
The morning is the perfect time to go through that inbox. It can be weeded out before the workday begins – deleting those that are inconsequential and responding to those that need attention. Having this done before the workday begins provides a great sense of accomplishment and one thing off of your plate before the actual workday begins.
13. They May Plan for Quality Time with Family
Early morning is a great time to connect with a spouse or partner. In those early morning hours, taking time to meditate, exercise, cook breakfast together, and just sit over coffee is high quality time. Successful people prioritize quality time with those who are dear to them. Sometimes this may occur in the evening after the workday is over but the morning can be better, before the stressors and demands come into play.
14. They Plan Early Morning Networking Meetings
In-office meetings during the workday can be problematic. There are interruptions; the atmosphere may be more formal, etc. Lots of successful entrepreneurs and executives like to plan more informal meetings early in the morning when they are “fresh” and can pose ideas. And they often form networking groups that meet once a week or month for breakfast and discussion.
15. Speaking of Breakfast
Many people skip breakfast or grab it on the run – cruising through a fast-food drive-thru or counting on coffee to give them the energy boost they need. Successful people usually focus on a healthy breakfast, composed of protein, whole grains, and fruits that will provide both short- and long-term energy for the day ahead.
Are You on the Path?
Take a look at these 15 early morning activities of successful people. Do you practice any of them? If not, pick several that you will begin with. If so, what more can you add to your routine? While these are no guarantee of success, they can start you on the right path.