The key to uber-productive days is to start them off right. Your initial actions lay the foundation for mediocre or extraordinary results. Here’s how 10 insanely successful entrepreneurs crush it from the moment they open their eyes.
Related: Why Successful Habits Breed Success
1. Make a to-do list the night before.
I work out for an hour on alternating days and jog to the office. At the office, I review the to-do list I made the night before. I figure out my priorities and do those first. The day has a way of running away from you, so this makes sure the most important tasks get done.
2. Get energized immediately.
I wake up early and play basketball, which starts my day with endorphins and clarity. I shower and eat a three-egg breakfast (protein satiates me and fuels my concentration). I clear my inbox to serve two purposes: Remove any bottlenecks for my team and start the day abreast of any challenges I’ll be facing. I reflect on what I need to achieve during my commute and face the day.
—Tim Draper, founding partner of legendary VC firm DFJ
3. Your personality determines your ideal routine.
Most people have a dominant personality type—Practical, Action, Social or Emotional. Knowing your personality type can determine your best routine. Practical types want a highly structured daily routine. Action people like me need variety. I’ll jog or do jujitsu. Or I read different types of books, not just business ones. Social types need a daily routine built around people. You’ll often see me on Snapchat working out in my gym with 10 to 20 people there. The Emotional type is sensitive and tends to be more introverted, so their routine should have a lot of quiet time and introspection.
The No. 1 concept with all routines is “adherence,” meaning how well you stick to your plan. Everybody has a morning routine plan until life hits you. So create one you can actually adhere to, based on your personality type.
4. Fire up your brain.
Before I get plugged into a busy, unpredictable day, I’ll take a cold water plunge in my pool, spend a couple of minutes honing my slackline skills and fix myself a cup of coffee. I’ll get my brain tuned up by attacking the Los Angeles Times crossword in less than 20 minutes. Only then am I ready to stride into my office and get to work.
5. Take the ultimate brain nutrient when you wake up.
I drink a cleansing mineral in one ounce of water, drink one quart of structured purified water to flush out my system, then do 20 minutes of Turkish getups with a 45-pound kettlebell to wake up every muscle. I have a 36-minute session on my Seqex and take three milliliters of Oceans Alive marine phytoplankton, the ultimate brain nutrient. I use 30 sprays of EASE Magnesium on my abdomen and lower back after my shower, then take a supplement for cellular repair. For breakfast, I eat three different types of fruit and two farm fresh fertilized organic chicken eggs. Finally, I have a green smoothie.
6. Schedule your day with intent.
Before getting out of bed, I take a few minutes to stretch under the covers and express gratitude for my body and health. I set an intention for the day, and usually say it to myself out loud. I drink a full glass of water, make coffee or tea, light some candles and daydream while setting more intentions about my goals. I slowly graduate to checking emails and getting as much work done as I can before leaving the house for exercise.
7. Determine your one or two biggest priorities.
I get up at 5:30 a.m. I drink 20 ounces of water, which jumpstarts my metabolism. Then I write a quick gratitude list of things I’m grateful for that morning. I set my intention for the day, determining the one or two biggest things I must achieve in order to feel I’ve positively moved in the direction of my goals and have an awesome day.
—Jon Braddock, founder and CEO of My Life & Wishes
8. Greatness happens before 8 a.m.
I’m a very early riser: 4:15 a.m. is the first alarm call, signaling 15 minutes of gratitude time before alarm two at 4:30 a.m., when I jump out of bed and head to the gym for a 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. bodybuilding session with a personal trainer; 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. is meditation and visioning time, where I focus on achieving my goals and dreams; 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. is family time. At 8 a.m., work begins.
—Adèle McLay, business growth consultant, author, speaker
9. Work on yourself, others, creativity and mission.
First comes caring for myself. I meditate, use my Five Minute Journal, move and exercise, and drink a protein shake. Then I care for others by helping someone in some way: I post a #PloughShare online, send a written note of gratitude or make a meaningful introduction. I create, usually through a writing session, though sometimes I draw or create images. Finally, I take one worthwhile step toward my mission.
—Chris Plough, entrepreneur advisor and serial entrepreneur
10. Early tranquility creates the blueprint of success.
As a doctor, entrepreneur and father of young children, my days can easily become chaotic if not well executed. I wake at 6:30 a.m. and have at least 30 minutes of peaceful solitude with no distraction. I sip my morning coffee while getting my mind into the correct state via mindful meditation, reviewing my goals for the day, some educational reading and prayer. Positive thinking cultivates immense power in your mind, so I strongly pursue this mental state. If I’m not practicing intermittent fasting, I’ll grab a very light breakfast, take a handful of nutritional supplements based on my latest lab blood tests, then head to work on fire with passion and energy to seize the day.
Photo by verakharlamovaphotography/Twenty20