You barely have time to get ready in the morning for work/ school. And on top of that, you have to make time for a morning routine too?
You see all these morning routine ideas on Pinterest, and you might have wondered why it matters if you have a morning routine or not.
What if I told you the time invested in a morning routine can help you save more time in the day for your other activities?
You might have heard the phrase “Manage your energy, not your time”. It’s true because you might have all the time in the world, but what if you feel tired and unproductive and cannot make use of it? You will engage in procrastination.
But not if you have a morning routine. A morning routine makes you more productive by ensuring you have more energy for the day ahead. The more energy you have, the more you get done and more time you have for rest and recovery.
How long should your morning routine be?
I have written in detail on why you should have a morning routine or how to start a morning routine here.
Morning routines can be as long as 1 hour or as short as 5-6 minutes. So lack of time is never an excuse to skip your morning routine. When you are starting out, you can start small. But I would urge you to build it up to at least 30 minutes so that you can truly benefit from the activities. For me, it takes at least 40-45 minutes to complete my morning routine because I include exercise and meditation in it.
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Morning routines of the successful entrepreneurs
I love studying the habits and rituals of successful people because I believe their habits play a crucial role in their success. If the successful people carve out time from their busy schedules for morning routines, they must be benefitting from it for sure.
So let’s see what the morning routines of successful people are and grab some ideas for yourself.
1. they wake up without snoozing the alarm.
Mel Robbins, motivational speaker, and the best selling author says,
More than “when” you wake up you should focus on “how” you wake up.
She advises against hitting the snooze button on your alarm because the snooze button kills at least 4 hours of your productivity.
Human beings sleep in cycles of about 90 minutes. You feel groggy and tired when someone wakes you up when you are in deep sleep. It is because you were woken up in the middle of the sleep cycle.
So when you hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, you are signaling your brain to start another sleep cycle. And you have to wake up when you are barely 10-15 minutes into the cycle again. It puts you in a state called sleep inertia. Sleep inertia causes difficulty in performing even simple daily tasks. Even though it typically lasts 15-30 minutes, sleep inertia can last as long as 4 hours (Source). Therefore, you lose up to 4 hours of productivity.
2. They start their day with priming
Most successful people have morning routines that are more or less similar and it includes different routines packed into one routine.
Tony Robbins calls his morning routine ‘priming’. His routine helps him to set the mood for the day and primes himself for success.
Priming requires only 10 minutes to do. According to Tony,
If you don’t have 1o minutes for your life, you don’t have a life
- His routine starts with breathing. This breathing exercise is done as a set of three – each set has thirty breaths each – with a pause in between.
- Practice gratitude. Think of three things that you are grateful for. When each thing comes to your mind, really feel the gratitude and say thanks for it. Feeling is the key to practicing gratitude.
- Visualize. Next, he visualizes a light coming down and filling his body. He imagines it going down and it goes back up by healing his body, mind, and emotions. And during the visualization, give thanks and say a little prayer to heal your mind, body, and emotions and strengthen yourself. Do this for about 1 min 30 seconds.
- Spread it around. And for the next 1 min and 30 sec, he imagines the healing energy that came out of his body going out to the people he loves and everyone else he meets.
- Visualization of goals. Next, he takes 3 minutes to visualize the 3 things that he wants to achieve in his life. And he imagines those things being already achieved. Not just imagine, but really feel it, breathe it and celebrate the achievement.
This is Tony Robbin’s morning routine every day and it helps him to start his mornings in an energetic way. Here is a video where he guides people on how to do his morning routine.
3. They wake up early
Many successful people like Robin Sharma, Tim Cook, Scott Adams, Michelle Obama, Richard Branson, all wake up as early as 4-5 am.
According to them, it earns them some extra time in the day for creative work or other personal development activities. The morning people swear by the precious hours in the morning, the early hours give them calm and peaceful time before the world wakes up and it has a direct impact on their productivity later in the day.
Scott Adams, the creator of the famous American comic strip Dilbert, uses the first hours of his mornings for creative work because he says, he is at his best productive self in those hours. He starts his day by having a coffee and a protein bar.
In his own words,
By 10 a.m. on a typical weekday, I have written two “Dilbert” comics, a blog post, a few experimental comics posted on Twitter, four clever tweets, a “Dilbert” movie scene, and an email about a new idea for my startup team at CalendarTree.com. By late morning the creativity well starts to run dry.
Waking up early helps him accomplish so much by the time the world has only started bustling.
4. They exercise
All successful people who exercise in the morning swear by it as the best way to start your day. In his book “The 5 AM Club” Robin Sharma teaches the 20/20/20 formula. The first sixty minutes after you wake up, ideally between 5 am and 6 am, is divided into three 20 minute blocks. The first 20 minutes are dedicated for exercise.
According to Robin, sweating in the first 20 minutes have many benefits. Sweating releases BDNF, a brain chemical which helps to repair the brain cells damaged by stress and makes new neural connections grow. Developing new brain cells boost your ability to learn, improve memory, prevent Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, etc. (Source)
Another benefit of making exercise a part of your morning routine is, when you do it as soon as you get up, you don’t have time to negotiate with yourself to procrastinate on it. Also, including exercise in your morning routine makes sure it gets done because your schedule has probably no other demands in those early hours.
5. They meditate
Before getting involved in their busy schedules, successful people take time to meditate, to calm their minds. They know that meditation helps in making important business decisions in a proactive state than in a reactive state.
Oprah Winfrey says meditation helps her in not getting overly stressed due to her busy schedule. According to her, meditation helps her to live with intention and that she is 1000% better with mediation than without it.
In her interview with Dr. Oz, she says, she even paid the Transcendental Meditation fee for all her 400 employees in the company and claims it has changed the quality of life for her and her employees.
6. They visualize their goals
Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor all include visualization as part of their morning routine.
You can see people who use visualization in almost all fields including Hollywood actors and sports personalities. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Michael Phelps all have benefitted from the power of visualization. In fact, the majority of the Olympians visualize their perfect performance beforehand, to the minute detail.
Will Smith says,
In my mind, I’ve always been an A-list Hollywood superstar. Y’all just didn’t know yet.
The successful people have achieved what they want at least a hundred times in their mind before the world got to see their accomplishments.
As for me, visualization is the most favorite part of my morning routine. It helps me increase my self-confidence with regard to my goals. We often have doubts about our goals. But when we visualize to the point of really experiencing and feeling it, our doubts vanish. Honestly, you become happier and more confident.
7. They plan their day ahead
Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, made sure his days never went wasted. He would wake up at 5 am and asked himself “What good shall I do today?”. It is said that at the age of 20, he made a list of 13 virtues that he should live by. He did this to develop his character. He would select one virtue every week and would measure his performance with reference to it, at the end of every day. At the end of each day, he would ask the question “What good have I done today?”. He said it helped him become better and better and those virtues became part of his character.
In addition to his constant effort on self-development, he also scheduled his work hours daily. He had a structure to his days. One of his virtues was “Order” which he defined as “Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time”.
Remember that he shone in various roles; as a writer, scientist, diplomat, postmaster, politician, and a civic activist.
It’s impossible to lead in so many roles without having a plan. Successful people do not sit back and wait for things to happen to them. They plan their days strategically so that they make things happen.
They spend time not only to plan their goals but to review them too.
8. They spend time with family
Successful people might be busy creating their empires, but they make sure they are never too busy for their family. Barack Obama, Richard Branson, Gary Vaynerchuk all spend time with their family as part of their morning routine.
Spending time with your loved ones has lots of benefits. Research shows that it helps to decrease stress, eat more healthy and makes you happier.
Not only for adults, but it’s also beneficial for the kids. When the family members take time to engage in heart-to-heart conversations with each other, they become more confident to go out in the world. If you look at Danes, they spend a lot of time together as a family and for them, it’s a daily ritual. And this is said to contribute to them being voted as the happiest people in the world consistently.
9. They don’t check their email first thing in the morning
James Clear, author and entrepreneur, says he doesn’t check his phone or emails for the first few hours of the day. According to him, his creative brain is the freshest in the morning. He likes to preserve energy in those first few hours as much as possible and use it for his work. So, he leaves his phone in the other room while working.
Tom Bilyeu, a successful entrepreneur and speaker, says he never checks email until he has put in at least 5-7 hours of work in the morning.
This contradicts with the morning routines of several other successful people, where they check email first thing in the morning and answer to them. But, I would recommend doing that only if you can stay focused on it and get done with it in 10-15 minutes.
If your fingers move to other social media apps automatically, then you better off stay from your phone in the morning. Because we all know what happens after that.
Remember that, you pick the morning routines that work for you and makes yourself the most productive.
Mel Robbins suggests you sleep keeping your phone in the other room. Because when you wake up if you have your phone near to you, you will end up checking emails (or social media).
10. They avoid decision fatigue
You have only limited time and energy in a day. Successful people choose to spend it on the things that matter the most.
Have you wondered why does Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, wear the same clothes every day? If you look at the pictures of the late Steve Jobs you always see him in the same black turtleneck t-shirt. Barack Obama and Robin Sharma also can be seen limiting their dress choices.
It’s not because they don’t have a fashion sense. They have good reasoning behind this choice.
Every day we have to make a lot of decisions. Like what to wear or what to make for breakfast, in addition to the other complex work decisions. It drains our willpower little by little, depleting energy. Poor energy and focus lead to poor decisions.
But since successful people like to reserve their energy for important work decisions, they care too little about the latest fashion.
Morning routine is an inevitable part of many successful people’s lives. You don’t have to do exactly what they do. But take inspiration and try for yourself how it fares for you.
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