Originally Posted at: Medium
What is one thing most successful people have in common? They get up extra early and make the most of the morning. Here’s why:
Waking up early gives you time to think before the buzz of the day begins. To put it simply, the early morning is “you time” — a time to lay out your priorities for the day and make progress against them, before others are demanding your time and attention. It puts you firmly in control of each day.
Of course it is awfully hard to get out of bed, but that’s exactly why early risers have the competitive advantage over everyone else. They tackle the day while others hit the snooze button.
Here are just a few examples of ultra-successful early risers:
- Virgin Founder Richard Branson wakes up at 5:45am, even when he’s on his private island, and uses the morning for exercise and breakfast before starting work for the day
- First Lady Michelle Obama starts her day at 4:30am for a workout before her kids wake up
- Apple CEO Tim Cook gets up at 3:45am every day to catch up on email, hit the gym, and make a Starbucks run before heading to the office
- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz gets up at 4:30am to get a workout in (often a bike ride with his wife) — and of course to make some coffee to get his day going
- Disney CEO Bob Iger rises at 4:30am and uses the early morning to read the paper, exercise, listen to music, catch up on emails, and even watch TV
- Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour wakes at 5:45am to play an hour of tennis before work demands hit
- GE CEO Jeff Immelt wakes up at 5:30am and gets in a cardio workout while reading the paper and watching CNBC
Did you notice another consistent trend among all of these ultra-successful people? Everyone’s morning ritual includes exercise as a key component.
In addition to the overall health and fitness benefits, studies have shown that moderate-intensity exercise for 20+ minutes produces a mental and emotional boost for the following 12 hours! This means that these business leaders are likely more clear-headed, effective, and productive at work as a direct result of their morning workout. The exercise time also allows them to think and problem-solve without interruption, so they hit the ground running once they get into the office. Morning exercise is an incredibly efficient use of time.
In addition to waking up extra early and exercising, here are a few more morning habits to get your day moving in the right direction:
- Drink 16 oz. of Water Upon Waking — Rehydrate after your 7–8 hours of sleep
- Make Your Bed — Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity throughout the day
- Eat a Healthy Breakfast — Fuel your body for the demands of the day (led by energy-packed fruits and vegetables)
- Drink 1–2 Cups of Coffee — Give yourself a morning boost while reaping the proven health benefits
- Catch up on the News — Use the quiet time to know what’s happening in the world around you
- Prioritize Your Day — Establish your top priorities and think about how to tackle them
All of this sets you up for success before your “work day” even begins, whatever form that may take for you. Being a morning person isn’t reserved for just C-level execs. Everyone will benefit from implementing these good habits.
Think it’s not possible for you because you need the extra sleep? The experts would say to get to bed earlier the night before to make the early wake-up call tolerable.
These tips and success stories help motivate me to get out of bed when all I want to do is sleep a bit more, and hopefully they also inspire you to make the morning your secret weapon!