What's the ideal morning routine? Well, it works differently for everyone. To some, it starts with creativity, catching up with the latest news while to others it's about enjoying a cool breeze. In all the routines, it takes discipline and practice to stick to a routine that helps your day become more productive and successful. We asked entrepreneurs and business owners what they do at the beginning of the day to remain successful and here are the responses.
#1- State my intentions
One thing I do in the mornings to make sure I am going to be successful and productive for the day is to state my intentions. So many times when people wake up they go with whatever they feel and drag on the rest of the day. I decided a long time ago that every morning I remind myself “future over feelings,” that means that no matter how I feel or what I think, I am going to act based on how I choose for my day to go. I tell myself how I want my day to go and then I go forth and make it happen. Future over feelings!
Thanks to Cassandra Freeman, Thoughtful Inspirations!
#2-Read a book
Every morning with my coffee I read a book to stimulate my brain. People think that because you woke up your brain isn’t ready to work, but the opposite is true. It’s when you just wake up when your brain can handle big tasks. That’s why I read first thing every morning, reading with my morning coffee is like pouring gasoline on a fire, it energizes me for the day. I would suggest that if there’s something ambitious but difficult that you’ve always wanted to do, I suggest you start working on it in the morning because that’s when your brain can handle it.
Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!
#3-Read my planner
Being pretty consistent with my planner. I have sections for the main areas of my life and business. I keep lists, things to do, and goals listed. It's my go to at the end of the work day and the start of my day. I rely on my digital calendar for appointment setting, but my paper calendar is my life planner where I can see the big picture. I love technology, but paper is my best friend when it comes to planning.
Thanks to Margaret Brown, SocializeLA.com!
#4- Starting with the most important task
I like to start each day working on my most important task. How do I know which task is most important? Well, I simply look at my to-do list and ask which of these to-do’s, if completed will have the biggest impact on my business and 9 times out of 10, it’s the task that will bring in more revenue and sales. I then work on that one task and ignore all the rest. I find when I work on my most important task first, it creates positive energy for me in the morning and this energy carries over to the rest of the day as positive momentum. This momentum allows me to work on the more mundane, day-to-day tasks like replying to emails, customer support requests, meetings etc..
Thanks to Jonathan Gorham, Engine Scout!
When you think of morning habits, you probably think of exercise and meditation. Those are wonderful ways for a business owner to start the day, but I discovered something more unusual that works for me. A year ago a friend introduced me to bouldering. It's indoor climbing—basically a short climb of 4 to 10 moves, no more than 5 or 6 meters high, without a rope. The goal is simply to get to the top. Now I'm obsessed with bouldering, and go almost every morning before work for a couple hours. It’s not so much the exercise that helps me as a business owner, but the problem-solving. Bouldering problems help me get in the mind-frame of breaking down issues and solving them. I quite like working with other climbers on the problems, as it’s a bit of a warm-up for the brain. It’s also a bit of fun to start the day in a positive way.
Thanks to Jason Morjaria, Commusoft!
#6- Feed the dogs then expand my LinkedIn network
I wake up at 6 am every morning to feed the dogs and let them out. While I drink my morning coffee I go to LinkedIn and send out a connection request to 20 people my network suggests, then send out messages to all my most recent connections. This creates a constant flow of interest in my profile, along with consistent engagement. Unlike other social media sites, almost anyone you meet on LinkedIn can help you grow your business. Not only as clients, or friends of potential clients, but partnerships, sponsors, and even friendships, since business can be quite lonely if you don’t have those. My advice is to get in the daily habit of checking LinkedIn, and looking at your network as more than just numbers. Reach out to them, ask them about their life, see if there’s anything you can help them with, and worst case scenario all you did was make a new friend.
Thanks to Ari (R.K.) Goldfarb, Follow the Hummingbird Consulting!
#7- Reading on trends, language, and research
Every morning, I spend time staying up to date on trends, language, and research by reading from a diverse breadth of sources. The thoughts of my peers and other experts gets my mind going better than coffee! Staying in the conversation is essential to our success.
Thanks to Hilary Blair, ARTiculate: Real&Clear!
The most important part of my morning is my workout. I wake up, grab coffee, read for 15-20 minutes, then either lift weights or do cardio. It wakes me up and puts me in a positive mental state. Jordan Peterson says the first thing you should do is make your bed in the morning, so that you can at least say you accomplished something. But if you hate making your bed, workout. That's something too, and arguably much more beneficial to your health.
Thanks to Michael Mignogna, Minyona!
#9- Two things
To make sure I'm successful for the day, each day I start with a healthy bowl of oatmeal and a Pilates class. It gives me time to nourish myself and to stretch. During that time, I also think and plan for my day. Once I'm out of my class by 8:45, I'm ready to GO! It makes me feel ready for the day with my head on straight!
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!
#10- It starts the night before
As a small business owner, everyone knows you wear many many hats and perform the daily duties of a staff of 10 people:-). The motto I live by is Prepare for Tomorrow by Leaving Bread Crumbs Today! As one of my morning habits which I do to ensure a productive and successful day ahead actually starts the night before. The habit is to prepare for tomorrow and how this is achieved is by setting out bread crumbs the night before. Those breadcrumbs come in the form of making a list of priorities I would like to achieve the following day, by setting alarms on my smartphone that act as reminders as well as my time management and accountability system. The crumbs also consist of choosing an outfit ahead and placing all important items such as mail, documents, anything that I will need the next day in the same highly visible place so they will not be forgotten. It is about packing my makeup, hair and wardrobe kit in the car the night before so no stress on the day of a job. By incorporating this habit into my daily life, it keeps the stress out of a hurried morning and well as saves me time because I already know what I need to accomplish!
Thanks to Cristy Guy, On the Set Styling, LLC!
#11- Creating a to-do list
My workday can often be overwhelming. Dealing with orders and answering dozens of customer questions by calls and e-mails So, the first thing I do each morning to help stay focused is write a to-do list starting with the most important task of the day. I put it on a neon yellow sticky note and place it by computer keyboard. By writing down all my many tasks, I make my workday much more manageable and it helps me achieve all my daily goals. Creating a to-do list also makes my work day less stressful, knowing I won't forget anything important. So, when I am pulled away from desk numerous times a day, I can come back and pickup right where I left off. There little question that a simple to-do list helps me run by business better, helps me be more productive and plays a key role in running a very successful business.
Thanks to Tara Langdale-Schmidt, VuVatech!
Out of all of the things in my daily morning routine, the one absolute non-negotiable is meditating. Even if I can only squeeze in 5 or 10 minutes, it makes all the difference. We're bombarded all day by things clamoring for our attention and it's easy to drain our energy with all of the online noise. We also can't do it all so we must be mindful of where we choose to focus our efforts. Meditation helps me to clear my mind and get centered on what is absolutely crucial. After that, I am less reactive, more intentional and I can easily decide what deserves my attention and what can fall to the wayside.
Thanks to Swati Davidson
I have always been a morning person since childhood. My husband sleeps later so I shower and dress while listening to NPR to get caught up on any news then go to my home office and check e-mail until about 730am. Then I wake my husband, we make the bed then have breakfast together (toast and green tea). Every morning starts with exercise; either gyrotonics, Pilates or Tai Chi. I go back to my office for calls, e-mails or jump into my car to meet with clients or prospects in town. It is a great start to each day, I feel productive and can enjoy breakfast with my husband knowing no emergency waits in my inbox. I feel energized and refreshed so that I can start knocking things off my to-do list right away after breakfast. I try to take the most creative and toughest things off the list first while I am fresh and save the more routine tasks for later in the day.
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!
#14- Work down my emails
Getting an early start on emails reduces inbox anxiety for the rest of the day. Throughout the day, I always try to work down emails as they come in, if possible. Since I primarily handle business development, the habit of staying on top of my emails helps push the business forward. I’ve found that my productivity has soared. I suggest using a tool like Boomerang, which is an email plug-in that – among some other functions – allows you to easily set emails to pop back into your inbox at specific times. It helps to keep the inbox clean, to be very productive, and to never miss following up on anything. Use of Boomerang is mandatory in our company.
Thanks to Christoph Seitz, CFR Rinkens!
#15- I follow a morning ritual
After honing my morning routine for the past year, I have landed on the following ritual. I first note whether I've woken rested or need additional sleep. If so, I figure out when I can add a power nap (or full sleep cycle if necessary!). I then move to mindset calibration in an effort to keep myself grateful and positive. From there it's at least 30 minutes of light cardio through swimming, walking or yoga. Exercising before eating burns fat instead of sugar, and promotes human growth hormone which drives cell regeneration and production. Following exercise, I eat a nutrient-packed breakfast, often of eggs, spinach, and avocado. Then it's time to get to work on the most meaningful task which I believe will drive my business forward. Right now, that is crafting my first book.
Thanks to Clare Kumar
#16- A good laugh
I’ve tried everything from early workouts, reading, meditation, and being more regimented, but nothing has improved the outcome of my day like a good laugh in the morning. I still believe in the benefits of these other approaches and still incorporate them into my morning routine, but I’ve found that 20-30 minutes of an uplifting or funny TV show or Podcast allows me to reset and recharge my day like nothing else. How can anyone have a bad day after watching 20 minutes of Michael Scott? Other approaches tend to feel more like chores. Why not reward yourself at the beginning of the day instead of waiting until the end to decompress? Don’t worry, you can still be productive working on simple tasks such as working through your inbox or setting an agenda for the day. If you’re not an early riser and scrambling to get out the door, then try a podcast on your commute. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you start the day with a good laugh.
Thanks to Tad Herrington, John E. Sestina & Company!
#17- Slow, deep stretch
I start every morning with a slow, deep stretch. Stretching in the morning unlocks our joints, lengthens our tendons and ligaments, and gets the blood pumping, preparing our bodies and brains for the day. Animals know to do this instinctively (ever seen a cat wake up from a nap?) but as humans, it's an important physical ritual we often overlook. This is even more important the older you get to stay at the top of your game mentally and physically.
Thanks to Cindy Brehse, Fitness!
#18- 20 minutes of music
One thing I do every morning before I head into the office, is 20 minutes of music while I drink my coffee with no phones or computers. I need the time to relax, organize my thoughts and make sure I am not rushing out the door. Often I find that if I just get up, grab things and run out the door my nervous system freaks out with anxiety, I forget things, like my coffee I just made or an important paper. If I allow my brain to wake up, and think, the rest of the day flows very nicely. I do alternate music and no music. Sometimes I like the silence to really allow my brain to wake up and process everything it has going on without the distraction of my phone. It really only takes 20 minutes for my day to be set up.
Thanks to Alex Hanifin, Alpine Start!