By: Martina Sanchez
Mornings can be a difficult time to get motivated. Often we hit our stride just before lunch time and lose that determination that keeps us going in the afternoon. Here’s how the most successful leaders in business power up their mornings to maximize their productivity.
1. Wake up once
It’s easy to become reliant on the snooze button to ensure we get ourselves to work on time, but once we’ve left it to the last possible minute to get up, we’ve already set our attitude.
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Media, leaves his curtains undrawn so when the sun comes up he knows his day has started. If you have trouble with your snooze button, follow the example Nir Eyal, a leading behavioral designer who uses one of the myriad of smart timers available to ease him into the day.
2. Fuel up
It’s a time-honored saying that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ Well, successful business people know that cliches are often built on truth. There are those who insist upon a protein-rich diet, such as Tim Draper, founder of DFJ, who, after an energetic bout of basketball will eat a three-egg breakfast.
Many entrepreneurs will espouse the benefits of drinking mineral water first thing, something which most of us know is important but all too often forget.
“While there are those who swear by nutritional supplements to get started, even making sure of time for your morning coffee is important, according to Ed Catcall. The President of Pixar and Walt Disney starts his day, like many of us, with a big hit of caffeine, a triple shot espresso with cocoa powder. Studies have indeed shown that coffee improves your cognitive functions and even decrease[s] the risk of depression,” explains Bertha J. Guy, a freelance writer at Last Minute Writing and Researchpapaersuk.
3. Get your body ready
A common theme amongst the high-flyers of the business world is the need for exercise. Both Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey famously work out on the treadmill for an hour, while Richard Branson and Tony Robbins advocate swimming first thing as a way to kickstart your metabolism.
Once you’ve developed this self-discipline over your body, you can start the day with a focus and drive.
Countless successful professionals swear by mindfulness, yoga and meditation, entering a state of relaxation so you can take the morning’s tasks in your stride with a steady mind.
4. Activate your mind
Warren Buffet, widely regarded as the oracle of modern business, advocates activation of the mind above all things. He famously will read 500 pages of a book every day! You may not have time to read this amount in your morning, but it cannot be overstated how important it is to get your mind into a place where it can engage in problem-solving tasks.
For some, like Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and Medium, this is as innocent as playing Minecraft with his son. For others, like Mark Sisson, Founder of Primal Blueprint, it’s important to hit the brainteasers. He starts his day with a crossword, which he challenges himself to complete in 20 minutes.
This point may well seem obvious, but the ways in which you prioritize before your day actually starts will dictate how well you perform.The maxim ‘start with the hardest task’ is one effective way that business leaders get their work done.
Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, prioritizes tasks he thinks are the most important, which will often mean axing the tasks that come lower on the list. This ruthlessness regarding your time can allow you to make the best of the morning and take these other tasks at a more natural, leisurely pace in the afternoon, reducing the risk of burnout.
John Langford, a business enthusiast and author at Draftbeyond and Writinity, said: “Prioritizing doesn’t just relate to the tasks of your working day. Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon, is known for his strict time-management, and won’t schedule meeting early in the mornings, as well as Tuesdays or Thursdays, so he can utilize his morning time effectively.”
6. Use the morning to your advantage
It’s important to remember just how productive one can be in the mornings. How many times have you had that post-lunch ‘lull’, where a task that seemed within reach before noon suddenly seems insurmountable?
David Kadavy, host of the Love Your Work podcast, recognizes and embraces the grogginess of waking up early. Acknowledging that he is not someone who finds mornings easy, he uses this to his advantage and claims to do some of his best work in the mornings. Indeed, research shows that your willpower is at your optimum in the mornings, meaning you can get more done at a quicker pace.
Once you’ve gotten into a routine, turning up for work before everyone else – even by half an hour – can have an amazing effect on your productivity for the day. Oprah Winfrey gets into work as early as possible, ready for the two shows she films every day. Arriving early means that by the time your team arrive and everyone catches up with one another, you will have hit your stride.
Keep to a schedule!
We’ve seen how people at the forefront of the business world start their day, but what’s important is that there is a routine. As Tai Lopez, investment advisor to multi-millionaires, acknowledged in a recent interview, everyone has a different personal rhythm, but that adherence is the key.
So what’s important then is not always what you do in the mornings, but that you have a routine you can stick to!
By Martina Sanchez