It’s a battle for the ages; a lifelong fight between people vs the bed, coffee pot vs pyjamas and alarm clock vs hand. Almost everyone has, at one point or another, struggled with waking up and ultimately failed to get the most out of their day.
Whether you’re a morning person or not, there’s no debating the science behind the benefits of starting bright and early. After all, the morning bird catches the worm first!
To get you out of your bed in record time, we’ve compiled a list of the most effective morning routines practised by successful entrepreneurs to inspire you.
1. Start with the Worst
It was the late great writer Mark Twain who once said, ‘eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.’ Of course, Twain didn’t mean it literally. He doesn’t expect you to catch a live animal and savagely ram it down your throat.
Rather, his point was: if you start by tackling the tasks you dread the most, then the rest of the day won’t be as, well, dreadful. So, if you have a task you’ve been putting off, it’s best to get it over and done with.
If you hate doing something as simple as filing – why not do it once you step into the office? You can get it out of the way and will feel way more productive afterwards. Once you do, there’ll surely be nothing left in the day that you can’t beat!
2. Just Do It
Speaking of exercise, did you know that Anna Wintour wakes up at 5:45 am just to play an hour of tennis? But she’s not the only successful businesswoman to spend 60 minutes working on her fitness; media mogul and beauty entrepreneur, Kim Kardashian, starts her day with a cardio routine, too.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, research shows that willpower is at its peak in the morning and that our capacity for self-control diminishes throughout the day. So, if there’s any time that you should exercise, morning is definitely the best time to do it.
Exercising in the bright and early has loads of benefits, too. According to Japanese researchers, fat oxidation is more likely to happen in the morning, especially if you work out before breakfast since it mimics the fasting state and forces the body to burn fat. People who exercise in the morning are also generally happier and more relaxed because of the endorphins that are released by the brain during physical activity.
3. Take Time to Reflect
Steve Jobs, one of the most popular and powerful visionaries in the world was actually – believe it or not – a morning person. The man behind two of the most successful companies in the world, Apple Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios, began his day by reflecting on his life’s true purpose.
In his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, he shared how he would look in the morning every morning to ask himself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
Through the simple habit of reflection, you can dramatically change how you too can approach each day of your life. In Jobs’ case, it made him more conscious of the choices he made and the time he was given. By instilling this routine in your day, you will undoubtedly have a better and more positive outlook towards whatever comes your way at work.
4. Have A Great Cup of Coffee
Okay, we know. On a scale of one to ten on how revolutionary this idea is, you’ll probably give this tip a solid two. But hang on, when we say coffee, we don’t mean the kind you normally get, we’re referring to the type of blend that someone like Ariana Huffington takes. That’s right. The founder and CEO of Thrive Global doesn’t drink just any ordinary cup of Joe, she takes Bulletproof Coffee.
What is this power coffee, you ask? It’s a drink that is primarily made of low-mould coffee beans, two tablespoons of grass-fed butter and two tablespoons of medium-chain triglyceride oil. It’s also supposed to provide a multitude of benefits including suppress hunger, increase metabolism, strengthen mental clarity and improve one’s overall mood.
But if you don’t have all these ingredients available in your kitchen (and let’s face it, who does?), you can now take your morning brew – ala Ariana Huffington – by simply ordering your Bulletproof coffee online.
5. Write Things Down
One of the habits shared by most successful people is their penchant for writing things down. Benjamin Franklin is known for this, he even has a famous to-do list that includes a 3-hour long morning routine. Celebrated writer Umberto Eco was also a big believer in writing. He uses it to ‘make sense of the world’ and in one interview, described making lists as an ‘irresistible magic.’
Then again, you don’t have to look that far back to see other influential personalities who loved writing. Legendary Queen of Talk, Oprah Winfrey, is a known fan of journaling and considers it a ‘life-changing’ activity. Meanwhile, supermodel Cara Delevingne starts her morning routine by filling three pages of her diary with her thoughts.
Writing down is a cathartic experience which also allows you to have better control of your day. By creating a list of things, you want to do and achieve, you’re better equipped to use your time and efforts, making sure that you work towards accomplishing those goals.
6. Make Your Bed
This might not sound as compelling as the other tips you’ve read but making your bed is one of the best things to include in your morning ritual. It’s a simple act that requires discipline, foresight and commitment. But it’s also one that can make a huge difference to your daily routine.
Just ask decorated veteran and hero, Admiral William H. McRaven. In his 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas, he urged graduate students to incorporate this small habit and how it could make a world of difference in their lives. He said, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another... Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
By incorporating these small and manageable habits into your morning routine, you’ll be one step closer to having a better day at work and ultimately having the perfect work-life balance. And, who knows? Someday, you might end just up like one of the successful people mentioned in this list, too.
What do you enjoy doing during your morning routine? Let us know in the comments section below.