How successful people start their days
If one were to take a wild guess as to the things successful people do each morning, you might assume their days start pretty chaotic and full. Do they jump right into their huge to-do lists, check emails, and run out the door with their phone in one hand and a protein bar in the other?
It might surprise you that some of the world’s most successful people start their days with a very calm, low-key routine. Sounds boring, huh? The key is not necessarily in copying someone else’s specific routine, but in creating time in your morning to start it well. Waking up to chaos and rushing to the office doesn’t get your productivity off to a great start.
Here are a few things you can do to start your day well and put you on the road to greater success.
1. Start the night before
A productive morning routine starts the night before. If you’re going to the gym, have your bag ready to go. Get your clothes picked out for the next day. Take care of any meal prep or lunches you need for yourself or your family. Having these simple things ready to go prevents “decision fatigue.” Save the first part of your day, when your mind is sharp, for your important decisions rather than burning all your energy on menial ones.
2. Early to bed, early to rise
Many of the world’s most successful people get up early — we’re talking like 5 or 6 a.m. This is because that early start gives you the ability to set the right course for your day free of distractions.
“But I’m not a morning person!”
As it turns out, most of us don’t really struggle with getting up. We struggle with going to bed at a reasonable time. It’s a matter of setting your body clock to an earlier schedule on both ends. As a travel specialist, you know very well that a sleep routine is not really related to the number on the clock, but what your body is used to (hello jet lag!). So discipline yourself to go to bed early (at least 7-8 hours before you want to rise). Eventually, you will adjust to the new schedule.
3. Natural light
Still feel like you’re going to struggle with the morning thing? Ditch the blackout curtains! Your body’s circadian rhythms were designed to respond to light and darkness. That is why stepping out for some sunshine late in the day can help you prevent an afternoon crash. Letting the morning sun inside will help your body gently accept that “it’s time to get up,” whereas a dark room and a blaring alarm clock will interrupt your sleep cycle abruptly. This can be difficult in seasons with less daylight. If getting natural sunlight in your bedroom isn’t possible, you can buy a special “sunrise alarm clock” that wakes you up with gradual lighting.
4. Don’t reach for your phone
If you’re not buying into the sunrise alarm idea, at least make sure you’re waking up with an actual alarm clock and not using your phone alarm. The temptation to start your morning scrolling social media or checking emails is just too tempting. Former Google employee, Tristan Harris, calls himself “an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities.” He says this about waking up with your phone:
“When we wake up in the morning and turn our phone over to see a list of notifications — it frames the experience of ‘waking up in the morning’ around a menu of ‘all the things I’ve missed since yesterday.’”
Do you really want to start your day bombarded with requests, bad news or by playing the comparison game? Keep your phone on the other side of the room if you need to. Start your day by filling your mind with something encouraging and uplifting instead.
5. Drink water
I’m not brave enough to tell a bunch of hard-working travel professionals to cut out coffee, so we won’t even go there! You can keep your coffee, but before you reach for the good stuff, drink at least one large glass of water. Water clears your body of toxins, revs up your metabolism, increases alertness and supports brain function. If you want to take it a step further, add a squeeze of lemon to the water. According to Business Insider, top executives such as Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post) and Brand Lande (Birchbox Man) always start their day with a glass of lemon water. Lemons and other foods high in Vitamin C can help increase nutrient absorption, balancing your energy for the rest of the day.
6. Eat a healthy breakfast
Don’t skip breakfast or settle for a drive-thru donut on your way to work. Making the right choice for breakfast can have a huge impact on your energy levels and mental acuity for the whole day. Paleo, Whole30, Keto… Sometimes the recommendations on what to eat can be overwhelming. But whatever your dietary preference, almost everyone can agree that a great breakfast should include foods with high nutritional value. This includes protein (brain food), complex carbohydrates, and colorful produce. Avoid empty calories such as refined sugars and highly processed foods.
7. Get in a workout
Whether it’s pilates or Zumba, laps around the neighborhood or laps at the pool, the important thing is to get moving! Long-term, a daily habit of physical exercise keeps you strong and healthy. But a morning workout routine can also help boost your daily productivity. You will find yourself feeling more energized, focused, and confident. People who work out regularly also experience lower stress levels and a stronger immune system.
8. Write a list
Don’t waste your brain space trying to mentally store and organize everything you need to do in the day. Write things down and cross them off as you accomplish them. Writing down your goals at the beginning of the day will also help you prioritize and tackle the things that are most important. Without a set plan, we are likely to brush off our large, uncomfortable tasks until they’re absolutely unavoidable.
The secret of self-discipline
“Discipline is remembering what you want.” -David Campbell
While not all successful people share the exact same morning routine, the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and influencers usually have one thing in common: self-discipline. They know what they want and they go for it, guarding themselves fiercely against distractions from all sides.
Do you work from home? Creating a productive routine and minimizing distractions can be a little more challenging for the telecommuter or self-employed travel professional. Learn how to create a highly productive environment in your home office!