Whether you’re up-and-at-’em when day breaks or stumbling out of bed, the way you spend the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
That’s why many leaders have crafted morning rituals that maximise their energy, productivity, and creativity all day long.
We asked a mix of high-profile CEOs, authors, investors, and entrepreneurs: What is your morning routine? Read on to find out what they said.
title=”Kara Goldin, CEO of Hint Water, checks email immediately after waking up.”
content=”Goldin wakes up at 5:30 on the dot every morning and heads directly to her inbox, which gives her a clear understanding of what the rest of the day will be like.
After that, she embarks on a hike with her husband and dogs through the Marin hillside of California. While this may seem like a nonessential step in her morning routine, Goldin says it’s absolutely crucial.
‘Without my hike, I feel unbalanced,’ she says. ‘I need this time to clear my head, connect with what I love, and center myself so that I can handle any challenge that might come up in the day ahead.’
Read more about Kara Goldin’s morning routine here.”
title=”Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur and investor, has a three-hour morning routine that gets him ready for the day.”
content=”Vaynerchuk, cofounder and CEO of VaynerMedia, plans his mornings down to the minute.
First thing, he catches up on the news: ESPN, Business Insider, and a news aggregator called Nuzzel.
Next, he communicates with his massive Twitter following: ‘I search my handle and try to find anything I might have missed from the night before, or even that morning, considering my European and Asian bases. I respond to as many people as possible.’
The most unique aspect of his morning routine, however, occurs in the car on the way to the office: He calls his mother, father, or sister, depending on who he spoke with last.
‘I catch up with them. Talk to them. Just learn what they’re up to,’ he says. ‘I really value those small moments.’
Read more about Gary Vaynerchuk’s morning routine here.”
title=”Scott Adams, the creator of ‘Dilbert,’ designed his morning routine to maximise his creativity.”
content=”The first 20 minutes of Adams’ day are exactly the same, every day. Putting his physical body on autopilot ‘frees his brain for creativity.’
Concentrating his creative hours in the morning makes sense for Adams. ‘My value is based on my best ideas in any given day, not the number of hours I work,’ he says.
In his home office, he enjoys a delicious combo of protein bar and coffee. ‘I give myself this ‘treat’ knowing I can be trained like any other animal,’ he says. ‘And I want to train myself to enjoy waking up and being productive. (It totally works.)’
Read more about Scott Adams’ morning routine here.”
title=”Billionaire John Paul DeJoria starts his day the same way, no matter where he is.”
content=”DeJoria, the cofounder of Patrón tequila and Paul Mitchell hair products, starts every morning with five minutes of quiet reflection.
‘Doesn’t matter where I’m at, which home I’m in, or what hotel room I’m visiting,’ he says. ‘The very second I wake up, I stay in bed for about five minutes and just be.’
During those five minutes, he tries to be truly ‘present,’ and is grateful for what he has.
After that, the day begins: He examines his calendar for the day, checks in with his assistants, and makes any pressing phone calls.
One thing he doesn’t do: Email. ‘I know, I’ve been told I’m a bit old school, but it all gets done just the way I need it to,’ he says. ‘It allows me to focus on the most important things that need my attention.’
Read more about John Paul DeJoria’s morning routine here.”
caption=”John Paul DeJoria.”
title=”Executive Brad Lande became a morning person with these five habits.”
content=”Lande, head of Birchbox Man, wasn’t born a morning person.
After a series of life changes — starting and selling a business, getting engaged, going on a meditation retreat, buying a home — Lande realised that the little things, like your morning routine, can have an effect on your health and well-being.
Now his morning routine has five key steps:
- Hot water with lemon
- Face oil
- Breakfast smoothie
‘I did not arrive at them overnight,’ he says. ‘I discovered them along the way, and they have shifted my mornings from a sleepy blur to a clear awakening.’
Read more about Brad Lande’s morning routine here.”
title=”‘Shark Tank’ investor Kevin O’Leary checks the international markets the moment he gets up.”
content=”O’Leary, who is also the chairman of O’Leary Financial, wakes up at 5:45 a.m. to check the Asian and European bond markets.
‘Good investors don’t stay in bed in North America with strings untied overseas, because if something happens in London or Tokyo while they’re sleeping, everything could change,’ he says.
After that, he works out for 45 minutes while catching up on some business TV: ‘Your health is one investment that is guaranteed to pay dividends!’
Then he’s off to the office by the time the markets open at 9:30 a.m.
Read more about Kevin O’Leary’s morning routine here.”
caption=”Kevin O’Leary, a.k.a. ‘Mr. Wonderful.'”
title=”Andrew Yang, CEO of Venture for America, keeps his a.m. routine simple.”
content=”The first Yang does when he wakes up? Push the dog off him.
Next he’ll check on his wife and son. If his son is awake, he’ll spend time with him before heading to the office. If not, he hits the gym.
If he needs an a.m. pick-me-up, he’ll open a memo file on his phone and record three things he is thankful for. ‘The things I’ve typed on other days are still there,’ he says. ‘It’s a long list. Always helps.’
Read more about Andrew Yang’s morning routine here.”
title=”Executive Kat Cole drinks 24 ounces of water every morning when she wakes up.”
content=”Cole, group president of FOCUS Brands, which includes Auntie Ann’s, Carvel, and Cinnabon, has a morning routine that varies depending on whether she’s at home or on the road.
But no matter where she is, she always starts her day by drinking 24 ounces of water, a habit she picked up when she was travelling in eastern Africa doing humanitarian work.
‘We are so lucky to have access to clean drinking water, and I think about how grateful I am for that almost every day,’ Cole says.
Her routine also includes exercise, and often a breakfast or coffee meeting as well.
‘Talking, learning, and thinking with other humans creates a purposeful start to any day,’ she says.
Read more about Kat Cole’s morning routine here.”
title=”NFL Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton has followed the same morning routine for decades.”
content=”Tarkenton, who is also founder of GoSmallBiz.com and Tarkenton Companies, swears by his consistent a.m. routine.
‘Sticking to a routine has always brought me clarity of thought, a positive mindset, and most of all, successful results for the rest of the day,’ he says.
Every morning he consumes a wide variety of newspapers: ‘I’ll read every part — domestic, foreign, business, sports, even the parts that might bore me a little — because feeding my brain is an absolutely essential part of my day,’ he says. ‘And by reading a diverse selection of papers, I get different viewpoints and different perspectives on all the things that affect me, my life, and my business.’
He also takes cares of his dogs, partakes in some light exercise, and eats a healthy breakfast. Each aspect of his routine is important in its own way. ‘And they all have one thing in common — they make me more productive so that, in turn, I can do more for anyone I come in contact with throughout the day,’ he says.
Read more about Fran Tarkenton’s routine here.”
title=”Cal Newport, author of ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You,’ heads outside right when he wakes up.”
content=”After waking up, Newport stops only for a glass of water before heading outside with his dog.
During their walk, he’ll listen to audiobooks and do pull-ups at a local playground.
‘This time of year, it’s dark when the walk starts, but I don’t mind the solitude,’ he says. ‘For me, interesting thoughts have a tendency to emerge when the rest of the world is quiet.’
When he arrives home, he employs a hack that allows him to stay on top of non-work productivity: He’ll dedicate 20-30 minutes to household tasks, like paying bills or researching a contractor for a project.
‘This simple morning habit allows me to stay (reasonably) on top of these obligations while expending a minimum of energy in making decisions about what to work on and when,’ he says.
Read more about Cal Newport’s morning routine here.”
title=”Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, created a morning routine that makes her a better leader all day.”
content=”Bachelder is a self-professed night owl, so she has a designed a morning routine that gets her ‘in the right frame of mind for the day.’
She starts her day with music, a tradition she has continued from childhood, which gives her purpose and reminds her of her family.
Bachelder also spends time reading in the morning, as well as writing on her blog.
‘To have the energy to lead, we need to be restored and prepared before we get to the workplace,’ she says. ‘When I honour these routines, it makes a big difference in the day.’
Read more about Cheryl Bachelder’s morning routine here.”
title=”Nir Eyal, habit-change expert, has a morning routine that starts the night before.”
content=”Nir Eyal, author of ‘
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,’ says that following a morning routine helps him keep on top of what’s important.
‘I’ve learned through personal experimentation that sticking to a morning routine improves the work I do and the life I live,’ he says.
Eyal starts his morning the previous night: A timer shuts off his internet connection at 10 p.m., and he charges his phone outside of his bedroom.
This gives him more time to spend with his wife, and ensures that he gets to bed at a reasonable hour.
Read more about Nir Eyal’s morning routine here.”
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