The Morning Routines of Insanely Successful People

Good morning routines can set the tone for your productivity for the rest of the day. So it’s important to start the day off right with the perfect morning routine. But what do successful people do to prepare for the day?

In this article, I’m going to go through some of the best habits to establish morning routines for school or work that set you up for a madly productive day. Then, I’ll finish it off with the actual morning routines of successful people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and more.

Good morning routines start with a good nighttime routine

Successful people know that a successful day starts the previous night.

Whether you’re seeking a serene environment for sleeping or trying to get a head start for the following day, you need a great nighttime routine to wake up the next day feeling ready to be productive.

Here are some nighttime rituals you should incorporate into your daily life.

Properly balance work/family time

For a lot of people, the workday is not over by 5 PM. More than half of full-time workers in America put in more than a 40 hour work week, and a third of working Americans work weekends.

If you want to build a good nighttime routine, you have to find a way to balance your work with quality family time.

Telecommuting and flexible working hours are becoming more common. See if your employer is willing to accommodate you. If they’re smart, they’ll realize that a happy and refreshed employee is the most productive.

When you’re at home, you can designate a workspace for yourself so that members of your family will know when not to disturb you.

Put your phone on silent when it’s family time, so you won’t be tempted to check it every time it beeps.

Adopt good sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is not about keeping your sheets and pillowcases clean. It involves putting efforts into making it easier for you to sleep well.

If there are no cues to let your system know it’s time to wind down, it might be difficult for you to keep your mind quiet as soon as you’re in bed.

It is very important to create boundaries between time to work and time to wind down, particularly for self-employed entrepreneurs, remote workers, or anybody who takes work home.

There are no set rules for what the appropriate method of sleep hygiene is. But here are some practices you can adopt:

  • Stay away from alcohol or caffeine several hours before your bedtime.
  • Have a steady bedtime every night.
  • Drink warm milk or some herbal tea, or eat a light snack.
  • You can try doing some screen-free activities, like reading or meditating.
  • Try to make your bedroom as quiet and serene as possible.
  • Make your room dark and keep the room quiet.
  • Your bed is for sleeping, and your body needs to know this, so don’t linger in bed eating or watching TV.

Get a full night’s rest

I’m sure you’ve heard of super successful people who succeed on little sleep. It was reported that Twitter founder Jack Dorsey had to work for 16 hours daily to concentrate all his attention on Twitter and Square.

Successful people like Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Marissa Mayer, Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, and several others survive on 4-6 hours of sleep every night.

But is it right for you? Probably not. Surviving on nothing other than a “glorified power nap” is more related to a genetic mutation (source) than any form of motivation.

Most people need at least 7 to 9 hours of rest nightly, but they’re not necessarily getting it. But hey, if you’re already up, then you should probably take advantage of it, right? Lots of people who are night owls find they are most productive and creative at night.

The founder of JetBlue, David Neeleman, used to work until 2 AM during his tenure as CEO. It was reported that he viewed his ADD as a form of creativity and energy to maintain the company’s growth.

Working long after his family had retired for the night and sending out the ideas fresh off his mind were very good strategies that helped him launch JetBlue into the world of competitive airlines.

A good evening routine does more than set you up for more relaxing sleep or help you maximize creative working hours. It sets the tone for the entire next day, helping you feel productive from the second you wake up in the morning.

Morning routines that maximize productivity

Get enough sleep

Some people can function on 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night. Others need a full 8 or 9 hours to be at their best.

Forget the rules and forget what others say you should do. Everybody is different. Get the right amount of sleep for your needs. Your body will tell you how much you need to recharge your battery and run at 100%.

Speaking of sleep, you’ve surely heard that the early bird gets the worm. You may think that morning people are more successful, more productive. But that’s not necessarily true.

Some people do their best work at night. If your mornings are a drag and your creative juices are flowing at night, then work into the night and wake up late.

Prepare for tomorrow today

The best way to get a head start on your day is to get a head start on it. To make your mornings easier, spend a few minutes the previous night getting ready for the morning.

Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • Create a to-do list for the next day
  • Pick out your outfit
  • Pack your lunch

It can be overwhelming to start the day with so many tasks. Make your mornings easier by eliminating decision-making to not drain your brain of precious energy.

Establish a consistent routine

If you begin your day with the right morning routine, you can ensure you remain focused on what truly matters. Develop a consistent morning routine that works for you to achieve maximum productivity.

Perfect morning routines don’t exist, however, because everybody is different. Therefore, create a morning routine that works well for you. However, there are a few items perfect morning routines should have, such as:

Be active

Don’t start your day by being a couch potato. Perhaps you don’t quite like the idea of a tough workout to start the day. That’s okay, but don’t just sit there all morning. Give your body the kick in the butt it needs.

If you’re allergic to going to the gym, go for a walk, a jog, or a bike ride. Just do something that gets you up and your blood pumping. All of this while, of course, staying well hydrated to give you the energy your body needs.

Do the most difficult task first

If there’s a task you’re dreading doing, do this important task first. Don’t leave that cloud hanging above your head all day. Just get it over with first thing in the morning.

That’s going to give you a sense of accomplishment to start your day.

If you procrastinate because you don’t really want to start your day with the worst task, try a different approach. Perhaps you’re the kind of person that prefers baby steps.

In that case, tackle all of your small tasks first. With each one you accomplish, you’ll build momentum that will carry you the rest of your day.

Regardless of what your morning routine is, be sure to tweak it to ensure maximum productivity. And remember, what works for others may not be right for you.

Morning routines successful people have in common

The rich and famous have it so easy! They wake up, go on cruises, visit exotic places, eat fancy food all day, go to sleep, and repeat.

It seems like that’s all they do, but they’re actually doing more than just visiting the Caribbean islands. Their success doesn’t come from thin air; they have to work at it every day.

If you would like to know 8 daily rituals that successful millionaires have in common, then look no further.

Great minds need healthy food

How can you think clearly if you feed your brain Doritos and Swiss Rolls all day?

Those who must survive on low incomes make poor food choices because they do not have the money to buy healthy food. But for the wealthy, eating healthy isn’t an option. They can afford healthy foods, and in general, pay more attention to what they eat.

Want to kick old eating habits? Kick the diets to the curb. Eat for a healthy mind and body, not a tiny waist. Enjoy your junk food on the weekends or special occasions.

They don’t watch much television

Too many reruns of Game of Thrones can hinder your ability to get anything done.

It’s estimated that 23% of millionaires watch an hour or more of TV, compared to 77% of other Americans (source). This gives the wealthy more time to focus on getting things done.

There’s nothing wrong with catching up on Game of Thrones, but if it keeps you from getting things done… Well, I think you know what to do.

Self-improvement is a top priority

People will always want to do better, but actually doing it is a different story.

Millionaires like New York Times bestseller Brendon Burchard actively block time for creativity. He refers to it as the habit of the super successful.

Just pick something you’re passionate about and stick to it. Be it yoga, playing an instrument, or starting a business, set time aside each day to complete the task.

Learning is a lifetime endeavor

From YouTube videos to podcasts, TED Talks, or reading business books, learning never stops.

According to Thomas Corley, author of Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, 63% of the rich listen to audiobooks (compared to 5% of the poor) on their way to work.

It wouldn’t hurt to download a video, audiobook, or podcast on self-improvement, business, or whatever tickles your fancy to make better use of your time.

The early bird gets the worm

Getting up at the first alarm can be tough, but start small. Start waking up five minutes earlier than you usually would, then keep decreasing your time until you get up when at your ideal time.

If you’re serious about this, check out The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

The Financial Times is their bible

Well, not really, but it gets read by some rich subscribers. Looking at FT’s stats, the average subscriber’s income is $250,000, with 13% being millionaires (source).

The Financial Times isn’t for everyone, but it’s not a bad idea if you want to learn new business skills to help you make more money. The Wall Street Journal and The Economist are good reads as well.

They exercise

Well, all of them might not, but they can influence income in the long run.

A study on Finnish twin males in Social Science and Medicine showed that those who exercised earned 14-17% more than their inactive counterparts (source).

That to-do list gets knocked out

When rich people were asked by Corley how many kept a checklist, 81% said they did, compared to only 19% in poverty. Two-thirds of wealthy people complete 70% or more of their list (source).

To get started on this, jot down 3-6 (no more) things to do tomorrow before you go to bed. Prioritize, start with the first task, and don’t stop until it’s finished.

Morning routines of self-made millionaires

Millionaires and even those with six-figure incomes have something other than being uber-rich in common. They also have similar morning routines.

Have you ever wondered why some people are so successful, and you’re not? Is it just random luck, are they smarter than you, or do they have more money to invest than you?

While perhaps some of this is true, we should also look at other reasons why people are so successful.

I think one of the reasons why some find success is a positive mindset. I know it takes a lot more than just the right attitude, but it’s a great start.

Speaking of starts, I always wondered what successful people do first thing in the morning. I mean, do they work late and thus wake up late? Do they sleep less to work more? Do they eat breakfast or skip it?

There are lots of life choices we can make in the early morning hours that can shape our entire day. It’s possible that if we make these changes, we too can find that success that so eludes us.

Just what does the right morning routine have? Well, in the morning, your routine should maximize your energy for the day, help improve your productivity later, and should give your mind a boost of creativity all day long.

So just what do the most successful people do to start their day? That’s the topic I’m going to dive into today. Here now are the carefully crafted morning routines of successful self-made millionaires.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was a minimalist who chose not to spend (or waste) time on meaningless things. His minimalism was evident in his Apple (AAPL) product designs and how he ran his business down to even the clothes he wore.

In the mornings, he would ask himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And if he answered “No” too frequently, he knew there needed to be a change in his life.

Warren Buffett

The CEO of the wildly successful investment firm Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) has a daily routine that anyone would envy. He is an avid reader and advocates reading 500 pages per day.

He lives very modestly and doesn’t waste time on social media. It seems like he tries to take advantage of his time by improving himself, which is a common theme of millionaires (and billionaires).

Richard Branson

What does the founder of the Virgin Group do every morning? This one is interesting. Richard leaves the curtains open at night so that when the sun comes up, it hits him right in the eyes.

He rises at 5:45 AM with the bright light because, according to Richard, he loves “bouncing up early.”

His mornings also consist of swimming or kite surfing before eating a healthy breakfast.

Jack Dorsey

The CEO of Twitter (TWTR) has a simple morning routine he sticks with. He gets up every morning at 5:30 AM to meditate. That’s right; he starts off his day with meditation. After he clears his mind, he goes for a run and runs several miles every morning.

If this sounds like a daunting task, to run for a few miles every morning, maybe you don’t have what it takes to be successful. You have to be very practiced and very disciplined to pull off this morning routine.

Marissa Mayer

What does the CEO of Yahoo! do every morning? Well, it starts with sleeping only 4 to 6 hours a night. That sounds a bit on the low side, but every person is different.

Marissa likes to maximize her productivity by utilizing the 130 possible working hours available to her in the week. It’s the passion that she has for the job that motivates her to stick to such a tough sleep schedule.

Jeff Bezos

The founder and now former CEO of Amazon (AMZN) is worth a whopping 145.4 billion dollars (as of 2020).

So what’s his morning routine? Well, it starts with a good night’s rest. He sleeps 8 hours a day. You see, sleep is very important to him, so important that he has a sleeping bag in his office for those late nights.

Meetings are inevitable in the business world, but he tries not to schedule any meetings in the mornings and schedules no meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Elon Musk

The CEO of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX is known for his time management and productivity. He often will skip breakfast and eat during a meeting instead.

Even though he’s busy running multiple companies, he still finds time to exercise once or twice daily.

Oprah Winfrey

As you might expect, Oprah Winfrey makes use of all her morning time. It starts with some meditation, followed by hitting the treadmill for a workout. Then she has a healthy meal afterward.

Then it’s off to work early in the morning. But she doesn’t waste time once there. Oprah was known to record two shows in the morning. At that rate, she’d have the afternoon/evening off and some extra days during the week.

Mark Zuckerberg

The founder of Facebook (FB) knows that at his job, he is faced with making many decisions. So his mornings are as simple as can be. He doesn’t have to make decisions because he adheres to a simple repetitive routine.

Mark rises every morning at 8 AM (that is, unless he’s pulled off an all-nighter at the office). He is also known to wear the same t-shirt every day to avoid making any extra decisions.

Bill Gates

The ex-CEO of Microsoft (MSFT) is one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth of around 79 billion dollars.

His mornings start with a one-hour workout on the treadmill. While on the treadmill, he doesn’t listen to music or watch the news. Instead, he takes advantage of this time to educate himself. He watches educational videos from The Great Courses to learn something new every day.

You can’t possibly implement all of these morning routines in a single day. Take a few of your favorite tips and incorporate them into your daily habits. With time, you should start seeing your productivity improve, and more success should follow.

I hope these tips have helped you start thinking about how to modify and improve your morning routine. Thanks for reading!

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