Successful people have strict morning routines for a reason. Your early waking hours set the tone for the rest of your day.
Finding your morning groove can be tough—especially when your bed is cozy, and your snooze button is well within reach. But small changes to your pre-work routine will go a long way in giving you a happier and healthier lifestyle.
Take a cue from successful entrepreneurs and CEOs who craft unique morning routines to invigorate their days and excel in their careers.
1. Get physical
“Your health is one investment that is guaranteed to pay dividends!” — Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank Investor
Successful people are notorious for their extreme workout routines.
Vogue’s iconic Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, for example, plays an hour of tennis every morning at 5:45 am. For us non-superhumans, more mild forms of exercise are a good way to get your early morning blood pumping.
Strolling around the neighborhood for 10 minutes or taking the dog for a quick jog sounds manageable, right? Develop an exercise routine that appeals to you. Getting your heart rate up in the morning will clear your mind and kickstart your day.
2. Stay unplugged
“Reading e-mails at home never feels good or productive. If something urgently needs my attention, someone will call or text me.” — David Karp, Tumblr Founder
If David Karp, the CEO of a major tech company, can shut off his notifications when he leaves the office, then so can you. Most of our work don’t require constant contact, so it’s a good practice to set a precedent for keeping work and home life separate.
Your morning should be a time to concentrate on yourself. Activate your mind and body so the moment you step into the office, you can tackle your inbox with ease.
3. Turn on your mind
“I’ll read every part [of the newspaper] — domestic, foreign, business, sports, even the parts that might bore me a little — because feeding my brain is an absolutely essential part of my day.” — Fran Tarkenton, NFL Hall-of-Famer
Breakfast with the newspaper doesn’t have to be reserved for Sunday mornings. Give yourself enough time to catch up on information that matters to you, listen to an audiobook, or read a chapter of your favorite book before heading into the office. That way, your mental gears are already tuned up the moment you step into the office.
A caveat: though email technically counts as reading material, try to limit your reading material to non-related work subjects. Your obligations can wait until you step in the door.
4. Be more zen
“Doesn’t matter where I’m at, which home I’m in, or what hotel room I’m visiting. The very second I wake up, I stay in bed for about five minutes and just be.” — John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Patron Tequila and the Paul Mitchell
There’s no better way to start your day than with mindfulness practices. Begin your morning by simply being in the moment, whether that entails lying in bed like John Paul DeJoria, or completing a ten-minute meditation routine with the help of apps like Headspace.
In a similar vein, consider jotting down a few reasons to be happy in a daily gratitude journal. With these mindful practices, you can keep a clear perspective on even the most stressful of mornings.
Find what works for you, and solidify the habits through repetition. Whether it’s a stringent five-stop routine or something as simple as reading the newspaper over coffee, do yourself a favor by starting each day off right.
This article has been edited.
Ken Sterling is the Chief Marketing Officer at BigSpeak Speakers’ bureau – the leading keynote and business speakers bureau in the world. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California and an MBA from Babson College. Ken teaches Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Strategy at UC Santa Barbara. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, business consultant and sales & marketing expert. Connect with @bigspeak on Twitter.