As a successful entrepreneur, what does your morning routine look like? What is your best tip for starting your workday off right?
To help you develop an effective morning routine, we asked successful entrepreneurs for their best advice. From brainstorming new ideas and assigning priorities to allowing flexibility, there are several tips to draw from the morning routines of successful entrepreneurs to help you tailor your own for a successful workday.
Brainstorm new ideas and assign priorities
Brainstorming has quickly become an essential part of my mornings, giving me the time and space to put my thoughts onto paper and etch down ideas that I ruminated on during the night. After all, entrepreneurs are highly motivated people. It’s hard to make them switch off — even while they’re sleeping. When concepts come to me during a dream, having a pen and paper handy prevents me from forgetting any important ideas that arise as a result. I make sure to take at least 10 minutes to recount the tasks I’d like to explore for the day, jot down new ideas, and organize each of them in order of priority. For me, this has been a game changer in terms of structuring my morning routine and being maximally productive from as soon as I wake up.
Aaron Gray, Agency 101
Sort out and tackle emails based on priority
For a successful workday, I like to use my morning routine to ensure that I am prepared and planned for the day. Because email is so huge for us, I start in my inbox, organizing and filing away emails as I read through them. I find that sorting my emails helps keep my inbox clear and not so overwhelming. If an email requires a small task, I try to just knock it out then. If it requires a larger task, I flag it and file it away until I am finished reading through all of my emails. This way, if something flagged important comes through I know I won’t miss it. Then I return to my flagged emails and I sort the tasks from most to least urgent and begin tackling them that way. With this practice, a zero-inbox is a real possibility and not just corporate lore!
Guna Kakulapati, CureSkin
Get a good night’s sleep to stay fresh for the morning
My best tip for starting your workday off right is to be well-rested. I’m a firm believer that having a productive morning starts with the choices you make the night before. Getting enough sleep is so important because it helps you keep your mind clear for the day ahead. I always try to get a full night’s rest and wake up around the same time so I can maintain my circadian rhythm. By giving my mind and body a chance to relax, I always feel sharp and ready to go.
Lisa Odenweller, Kroma Wellness
Start with the most time-consuming tasks
As a fellow CEO or executive, your to-do list could cross over into multiple other days if you allow overwhelming to set in. But I’ve found that starting with the most complex, time-consuming tasks helps to clear my mind for whatever responsibilities I have left afterward.
If you’re a morning person, you’ll find that you work best in the early hours of the day, so it’s more strategic to tackle tasks that require the most mental energy in that time. Your ideas will flow better and you’ll feel more satisfied with the quality of your output. The great thing about doing the hardest part first is that everything else feels minuscule for the rest of the day. That descending sequence can help you wind down and beat burnout.
Brian Nagele, Restaurant Clicks
Set goals and break them into tasks
I start the day with a primary objective. This objective will be my driving goal throughout the day. As I go on and continue with my morning routine of getting ready for work, I create a mental checklist consisting of actionable tasks derived from the primary objective. Goal-setting significantly helps my outlook for the day. As soon as I know that I have a goal to conquer, I am more motivated to go about and perform my tasks to help achieve that goal.
Debbie Meeuws, Nature’s Arc Organic
Dedicate mornings to mental and physical health routines
As the owner and operator of my writing business, Fleurish Freelance, I can’t take care of my clients unless I take care of myself first. That’s why I dedicate my morning routine to my own mental and physical health. After the typical morning self-care (e.g., brushing teeth, stretching, etc.), I wake up my mind with Wordle, followed by Quordle. Guessing five-letter words each morning is a great mental exercise for wordsmiths. I also accomplish 1-2 small chores, such as unloading the dishwasher or folding towels. Light activity engages my body, plus it gets those annoying little chores out of the way early so I can focus on work. After dropping off my kids, I head to the park and briskly walk two miles. I use this time to talk on the phone with my family so they’re not calling me during the workday. After my walk and a shower, I’ve cleared enough mental space to start working on my clients’ projects — starting with my least favorite task. Take care of yourself first — work comes second.
Alli Hill, Fleurish Freelance
Spend quality time with the family
When you think of a successful entrepreneur, I’m guessing most people imagine a childless, highly motivated individual. In my case, this is half right. I am highly motivated, but I also have a young child, possibly more on the way. So there is no “dream morning” of reading mind-opening books, cold showers, Instagram-worthy breakfasts and invigorating exercise.
My dream morning starts at about 7:30. Usually, it is much earlier. I then take my little one for a walk around the park, ensuring I get some quality time with my family before I start feeling the pressure of work. If I can get a shower before opening the laptop, that is a real bonus. The battle between work and life is a tough one, and getting that time in the morning with the family allows me to relax a little during the day, knowing I banked some early on.
Luke Smoothy, Get It Made Ltd
Exercise and meditate to build focus
I always start my morning routine with exercise and meditation, followed by some strong affirmations to instill in me what I want my life to be. It may take 20 to 40 minutes altogether. I have been doing this morning routine for over two years, and it’s crucial to start the day on the right path: without distractions and with a clear focus on my goals. When I have too much work, this helps me control my stress levels and create balance throughout the day. Also, meditation trains my mind to shift focus whenever I want effortlessly, and the ability to concentrate on a task increases.
Vasco Lourenço, Vaslou
Visualize and align plans for the day
I keep my phone turned off while I feed my cats, exercise, and visualize a successful end of the day before it starts. By imagining what a successful day will look like and imagining it in detail, I start my day knowing my outcome, eliminating fear of failure and gaining immediate traction. Once I’m fully aligned on my plan for the day, I turn on my phone and make it happen!
Ryan Draving, Muhlenhaupt + Company
Follow a flexible routine for each morning
Morning routines are sacred to some, a replaceable ritual for others and both for many. This is why it helps to have a set of activities that you consider a part of your morning routine and decide which ones you feel like doing when you wake up. A rigid morning routine adds unnecessary pressure and can be counterproductive in many ways. On some days, you can meditate and do yoga, on others you can sip a cup of coffee and read a book. It all depends on how much time you have and what your mind and body need. The key is to set some time aside nevertheless and simply go with what you’re feeling.
Benoit Lacroix, Portmoni