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3 Ways Thriving Entrepreneurs Structure Their Morning Routines

Justin E. Crawford

Justin E. Crawford

Justin E. Crawford is the founder of Agents of Efficiency, Inc., author of "Live Free or DIY: The Time-starved Small-Business Owner’s Survival Guide" and the chief architect of the Efficiency Roadmap process, which helps small businesses across the country thrive. As an attorney, entrepreneur and operations consultant, he has more than 15 years of experience launching and growing companies.
Justin E. Crawford

Ever wonder what Bill Gates eats for breakfast? Or what Oprah’s favorite meditation is?

Developing a unique routine that works for you is much more important than copying someone else’s habits to a tee. Different things work for different people. The faster we can accept that our individual preferences and needs have value, we can let go of constructing the “perfect” morning and do what actually works for us.

With that said, there seem to be some common threads in what makes a morning routine work. Specifically, they are: having a regular sleep cycle, getting some form of exercise in, and finding a way to declutter your mind.


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Lasso your sleep cycle

Is your sleep schedule totally wild and out of control? Do you wake up exhausted and always feel like you’re running behind? Time for an intervention!

Being able to wake up at about the same time every morning is paramount for a steady morning routine. Staying up too late or having a sleep cycle that doesn’t mesh with an early morning routine is a surefire ticket to failure.

How can you take back control of your evenings? Aside from the usual suggestions like turning off all screens by 9 p.m. (yes, do that too), consider what activities can be cut from your day. This is especially useful if your schedule is packed. Are all of these things worth the time you spend on them? Can anything be cut down or reduced so that only the most urgent tasks are handled each day?

(If you need some extra motivation, check out some of these statistics that separate early birds from night owls. Hint: Early risers tend to make out better in several areas of life).


Related: Q&A with Christine Hansen on How to Sleep Like a Boss

Pick a movement

In the 2013 book, “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” by Laura Vanderkam, exercise is revealed as the second most common occurrence in CEO morning routines (behind waking up early).

Even those who detest exercise can challenge themselves to find one thing that works for them, like stretching, running, doing some yoga, hitting the gym or talking a walk. Different exercises work for different personalities, so don’t force yourself to do what you hate. As long as you pick a movement and stick with it, you’re good to go. (If the thought of early-morning movement makes you cringe, download the 7-Minute Workout app and just plow through it!)

Centering the mind

Another common theme in entrepreneurial morning routines is mental organization, or some form of decluttering or expanding the mind. The method through which this is achieved seemed to vary pretty vastly. For example, some entrepreneurs cited meditation, while others read from carefully selected books. Others laid out their to-do lists, wrote in journals or worked on specific projects.

Letting your mental activity settle in just one or two areas of focus is a good way to find silence and productivity, especially in the early hours when the world is still asleep.


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Tips and tools to stay on track with your morning routine

What are some other things you can do to ensure your morning routine stays focused, regular and relaxed?

Many professionals swear by avoiding their email inbox until later in the day. This gives you a chance to get your head on straight before any confusing or stressful situations are introduced. Another common citing was the popular app, Headspace, which offers 10-minute meditations that anyone can do. If you’re looking to adopt some sort of writing practice, the 5 Minute Journal might be a good place to start. What about the busy entrepreneur who simply has no time for such luxuries as a morning routine? Try the 24-minute morning routine to get all of your significant tasks completed in under a half hour. Simple as that!

What’s your morning routine secret to success? Let us know in the comments, below.

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