The way that you start your day can have a significant effect on what you get done afterward. The most successful entrepreneurs and CEOs take charge of their days by starting the morning in ways that help them become more productive. A few of the ideas that have served them:
1. Get up early.
Richard Branson starts his day at 5 a.m. every day. He explains that this early rising allows him to dedicate time to exercise and spend time connecting with family. With these important personal goals out of the way, he is able to get to work in the most effective frame of mind.
2. Put on a uniform.
Highly successful entrepreneurs who include Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and art director Matilda Kahl have all assembled look-alike sets of clothing to wear to work. The uniform allows them to eliminate one decision a day and get down to business. In many cases, a uniform look can also become a calling card in itself, as did the black turtleneck Steve Jobs made famous.
Meditation may sound like New Age nonsense, but research indicates its value. People who meditate regularly are calmer, have better memories, and perform better on the job. You don’t need to pick out a hokey mantra or sit in a lotus position for an hour. Even 20 minutes spent keeping your mind clear, quiet, and calm can have a significant impact on your performance throughout the day.
Set aside an hour or so a day that you can use to answer emails, respond to comments on social media, and listen to voice mail messages. After that, do not look at your email for the rest of the day. If you leave your inbox open in a tab, it will constantly interrupt whatever you are doing. Worried that people will get worried if they do not hear back in minutes? Include a signature line that states that you look at email once a day. They’ll know when to expect an email reply and whether they need to call or Skype to get in touch with you more quickly.
Elon Musk starts his day by talking to journalists on the phone. This allows him to get this commitment out of the way early while also assuring that he has the sort of regular press that is a boon to building a reputation.
5. Get some exercise.
An hour of yoga, a five-mile run, or a lifting routine can help wipe the cobwebs out and get you ready for the day. People who exercise regularly are more confident, less stressed, less likely to get ill and more on the ball throughout the day. Your workout does not need to be extensive and exhausting. As long as you do something to get the blood pumping early on, you will benefit. Not used to getting active? Start with a five-minute walk. It’s enough to help you feel more alert. Over time, you will find that you crave that bit of early morning activity and want to add more to your routine. It does not matter whether you work out with a partner or alone, as each have benefits. Working out alone gives you time to focus and prepare yourself for the day. If you work out with a partner, you have the advantage of accountability, as well as the opportunity for socializing or networking before you start the business day.
6. Take time to connect with those who are important to you.
It doesn’t matter whether your connection rituals include breakfast with the family, a run with your dog or a chat on the phone with your best friend. Making connection the first thing in the morning priority ensures that you get the chance to spend some time with those who matter most. This can help you stay in touch even when you are extremely busy running your business. Contact with your people also helps you recharge and face the day more calm and contented.
7. Read the news.
An informed entrepreneur is one who is able to spot trends as they begin and capitalize on them before the crowd. You can choose to look at news from all over or just focus on your specific industry. Many people physically read on their computer or tablet while others have Siri or Alexa read the news to them. An informed business owner also looks more educated and competent, helping others feel confidence in your abilities.
By including some or all of these rituals in your day, you can waste less time and get more out of your working hours. Pick the routines that work best for you and make them a regular, valuable habit.