They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, for entrepreneurs, mornings are the most important work period of your day.
A strong morning start can keep you invigorated for the rest of the day. And while far too many of us hit that snooze button and roll around in bed for another hour, many of the world’s top entrepreneurs sit right up and prepare for the day ahead.
How do they accomplish this and boost daily productivity? It takes more than a cup of coffee. Many exercise. Some meditate. But whatever they do, it invigorates them enough to put in the long hours which their businesses and interests demand.
Here’s a look at five famously successful entrepreneurs and how they make sure they are ready for whatever challenges await them.
Ariana Huffington – Intense Focus
Huffington will turn 65 this July, but she and the “Huffington Post” are still going strong. It is one of the 30 largest websites in the United States (Alexa.com). Meanwhile, Huffington’s 14th book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, came out in paperback last March.
Huffington believes in the power of meditation, the practice of “turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment (Psychology Today).” So much so that she starts every morning with 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Even 5 minutes a day, she said to Everyday Health, can make a profound difference.
And while being early to rise is important, so is sleep. Huffington does not use mobile devices at night and takes a warm bath before bed. A strong morning can lead to a strong night, which can then lead to another strong morning.
Michelle Gass – Get Moving
Early morning exercise is a very common theme among successful individuals. Oprah Winfrey does 45 minutes of cardio six days a week in addition to other workouts. So does Barrack Obama. Anna Wintour plays tennis for one hour every day starting at 5:45 am. But Michelle D. Gaas, a former Starbucks executive who is now the chief customer officer at Kohl’s, does even more.
She goes on a run at 4:30 am every morning. She has done this every day for 15 years. “Morning runs clear my mind” Gass said to Forbes. Anyone who has woken up at an early hour to practice a sport can attest to that. Waking up early is just like exercise. Make it a habit, and it will become easier for you.
Jack Dorsey – Eat Healthy
Like Huffington and Gass, the co-founder of Twitter gets up at an early hour, meditates, and then exercises early in the morning. But there is an additional element which makes Dorsey’s morning ritual useful to learn from. Every day, he eats two hard-boiled eggs with soy sauce and berries. Then he tweets about his breakfast to his mother.
In late 2013, Dorsey told 60 minutes, “I am someone who tweets about what I have for breakfast, what I have for lunch, what I have for dinner,” Dorsey told Logan. “And for 99.99999 percent of the world, it’s useless. It’s meaningless. But for my mother, she loves it.” By sticking to the same routine, he ensures that his body will be ready for the day’s labors. Tumblr’s co-founder David Karp, also eats the same meal every day.
Mark Zuckerberg – Grab the Uniform
“Ever notice how Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Kors, and countless other pioneers all seem to experience fashion deja vu on a daily basis? They must know something we don’t. Perhaps it’s the fact that the more decisions we make, the more we’re stressing our brains out and killing our productivity,” Fast Company writer Rachel Gillett explains.
While we waste time worrying about whether our suits are too fancy or casual, Zuckerberg has 20 identical gray T-shirts. He wears them with jeans and thus knows every day what he is going to wear.
Mark Cuban – Get to Work
Routines that include exercise, a healthy breakfast and daily uniforms help, but sometimes, the best way to get started is to – just start. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban is actively involved in running the Dallas Mavericks, appearing as a cast-member on the “Shark Tank” television show, and more. Yet, Cuban does not start off his days with the usual “morning mantra” of choice – instead he gets up and works from his bed, just like Winston Churchill.
While the practices are varied, the value in developing a morning routine is the result – the invigoration you feel that leaves you ready to tackle the day. Adapting these habits won’t turn you into a successful entrepreneur overnight. The most important thing is to stick to a goal or a routine and work to keep at it morning in and morning out.
Becoming an elite business leader can be no different from becoming an elite athlete. But with a willingness to put in the work and do the same thing day after day, you can start out with a strong morning.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Simon Crompton is an entrepreneur running several online businesses. Currently focusing on his marketing firm, Threecolors.blue, he is also a trained journalist sharing his knowledge via several internet blogs. In his spare time he’s an avid programmer and videographer. Connect with @PermanentStle on Twitter.
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