Smart business leaders understand that how they start their day has a significant impact on how the rest of the day goes. When people start off on the wrong foot, they may not accomplish much at all. On the other hand, a day that starts well often means productivity for hours to come.
Leaders know that productive days do not happen randomly. Successful people build meaningful morning routines that speak to their needs as people and accommodate their professional strengths and weaknesses. Having a routine ensures that each day has a positive start and puts people in the mindset for proper time management.
A great start does not guarantee that the entire day will be productive. However, it puts people on the right path. Below is a look at how some of the brightest minds in history began their day.
In 2005, Steve Jobs gave a commencement address at Stanford University and talked about the simple technique he used to motivate himself every morning. He stood in front of the mirror and asked himself if he would perform that day’s tasks if that day were his last day of life.
While we all have days when the answer is no, if that response becomes a pattern, then we know that it may be time to make a change. Asking a question along these lines can help leaders keep their lives in perspective and keep their eyes fixated on the larger goals in life.
When she was prime minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher would often be up late attending to political issues and having meetings. Regardless of how late she was up the night before, however, she would consistently rise at 5 a.m. to listen to Farming Today, a radio program on BBC that talks about the country life, from farming to food.
Sometimes, leaders can gain perspective through ritual and by doing something entirely for themselves first thing in the morning. Listening to Farming Today put Thatcher in the right mindset to tackle the rest of her day.
Head of Birchbox Man, Brad Lande admits that he was never much of a morning person. Over the years, he slowly evolved his morning rituals to include tasks that will actually get him out of bed and get him energized to handle the rest of his day.
First, he first drinks a mug of hot water with lemon. Then he spends time meditating and practicing yoga before applying face oil and drinking a breakfast smoothie. At the end of this morning routine, he feels clear, alert, and motivated.
This same routine will not work for every person. However, it shows the importance of experimentation and figuring out exactly what each individual body and mind needs to stay focused and lead effectively.
Known as Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary is an investor who is featured on the show Shark Tank. Unlike the others on the list so far, he throws himself into work the second that he wakes up.
When his alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., he unlocks his phone and checks the Asian and European bond markets. By doing this, he can react quickly to any sudden shift in the international markets.
Once he has tended to this immediate need, he works out for 45 minutes while simultaneously spending time watching some business television. By 9:30 a.m., when the domestic markets open, he is comfortably seated at his desk. Some leaders need to feel that they are always in touch, and it is important to embrace rather than fight this impulse.
David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, understands the importance of putting a barrier between himself and work. After waking up, he purposely does not look at email, trusting that people will call if anything urgent happens.
He takes a leisurely walk to the office and then sits down at his desk. There, he first checks a folder that contains emails from his significant other and employees at Tumblr. Next, Karp works through a folder of all other emails. While he does this, he sketches out a to-do list in his notebook.
Some leaders need time apart from their work. This gives them the breather they need to dive right in once they are at the office.
Successful investor and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has an extensive three-hour morning routine. After waking up, he reads ESPN, Business Insider, and Nuzzel, a news aggregator. Once he feels caught up with the news, he searches his Twitter handle and responds to anything that merits his attention.
Then, on the way into the office every morning, he calls a member of his family. Whether it is his mother, father, or sister, he focuses on catching up with them during a time allotted for that specific purpose. Vaynerchuk uses his morning to feel caught up with news, both global and personal, before starting another day at the office.