Successful people do these 7 things every morning

From taking cold showers to finding time to meditate, successful people do these 7 things every morning before work...

What time do you usually wake up? Since working-from-home became the new normal, we’d wager it’s not early. But those precious pre-work hours should be treated like a gift. Before we clock-in, we have the chance to tick off jobs and indulge in pleasures that we wouldn’t otherwise have the time for. And nobody knows that better than the world’s most successful people.

That’s why we’ve looked to Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Tim Cook and Jack Dorsey to discover what a meticulously-organised morning routine can do for us. So, from waking up early and taking time to meditate to cold showers and healthy breakfasts, here are seven things successful people do every morning…

They wake up early

You probably guessed this one, right? A common thread, from athletes to CEOs, is an early start. 5am, allegedly, is the perfect time to set your alarm. Researchers from the University of Toronto found that those who rise earlier are both healthier and happier than those who sleep in. 

Published in the journal Emotion, their study revealed that by waking up earlier, our biological clocks are set to a more beneficial schedule, and early risers have a higher satisfaction overall with their lives. You should, however, still aim for your full eight hours — which may mean bringing your bedtime forward. 

Who does it?

  • Sir Richard Branson reportedly gets up at 5.45am
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook sets his daily alarm for 3.45am
  • Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz gets to the office by 6am

They work out

Once you’re up, exercise should be your first priority. Invigorating and rejuvenating, a brisk workout will set you up for the day ahead — getting your blood pumping and ensuring you’ve got enough endorphins racing around your body to cope with your morning commute.

It’s proven that a pre-breakfast workout can alleviate stress later in the day — as well as counteracting the effects of a high-fat diet and boosting your metabolism. It’ll also increase the chances of a sound sleep when your head hits the pillow again later that day.

Who does it?

  • Twitter’s Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5:30am to go for a jog
  • Alan Sugar squeezes in a bicycle ride before breakfast
  • Vogue’s Anna Wintour plays tennis every morning

They take cold showers

This one may sound unpleasant — but its frosty benefits are not unfounded. A study in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE found that early-risers who take cold showers are up to 29% less likely to call in sick for work than those who go for the steamier option.

And that’s not the only proof backing this one up. A similar study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that cold showers also have beneficial physiological effects on the human body — including strengthening the heart, controlling blood pressure and elevating your respiratory rate.

Who does it?

  • Twitter’s Jack Dorsey also does this — after his daily six-mile jog
  • Will Ahmed, founder and CEO of WHOOP, swears by them
  • Joe Wicks also showers cold, a tip he learned from Wim Hof

They meditate

Don’t believe in meditation? That’s okay, neither did Bill Gates — until he tried it. The Microsoft co-founder admitted that, at first, he believed the concept of mindful meditation was “a woo-woo thing” and that he “didn’t buy into it”. But, after dabbling, he meditates for ten minutes, three times a week.

And the benefits are palpable. From mood-boosting and improving your focus to lowering stress levels, meditation is a perfect way to prepare your mind and body for the day head. And the morning — when you are said to be most aware of your thoughts — is the perfect time to do it.

Who does it?

  • Bill Gates uses Headspace to guide him through meditations
  • Ariana Huffington, CEO of The Huffington Post, also meditates
  • Podcaster Joe Rogan meditates to ‘refocus’ his mind

They check their emails

Many of the world’s most successful people are global players — meaning they’ll work across a number of different time zones, and likely wake up to a slew of new emails. Instead of letting them stew in their inboxes, however, most high-fliers make email sorting the first order of the day.

It’s a good practice to get into. If you wait until you open your laptop post-breakfast, or get into the office to sift through and sort your emails, there may be too many to deal with — and you’ll lose the first hour of your day. Delete any spam and surplus correspondence early on, and you’ll be free to face your workload head on.

Who does it?

  • Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg begins her day with email admin
  • Peter Jones sorts through his inbox on his daily commute
  • AOL CEO Tim Armstrong organises his emails at 5am

They make a to-do list — and stick to it

Some people swear by to-do lists. Others find them counter-productive. But there’s no denying that, if you do have the time to jot down your daily tasks, there’s something innately satisfying about crossing off assignment after assignment as the day goes on. 

The key here is to find what works for you. Richard Branson’s to-do list reads like a list of pros and cons. He lists what he could do that day, then ticks off only what he needs to do. Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner, similarly, writes himself a daily schedule; but factors in all-important relaxation time, so he doesn’t forget to decompress.

Who does it?

  • Richard Branson has been making to-do lists since he was 22
  • Jeff Weiner’s list includes 30 to 90 minute blocks of downtime
  • Michelle Obama organises her days using to-do lists

They make themselves a healthy breakfast

How we fuel ourselves in the morning not only tells us something about our own health, but also our overall mindsets. From green smoothies to Danish pastries, some of the world’s most powerful people begin the day with gastronomic gusto (except for Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who eats two boiled eggs with soy sauce).

But, Dorsey aside, there are multiple benefits to eating well every morning. Water is key, and drinking a litre before you leave the house will set you up well for the day ahead. Aside from that, look to ingest as many vitamins, nutrients and minerals as possible. And, if that means supplements, then so be it.

Who does it?

  • Barack Obama avoids coffee for green tea or orange juice
  • Elon Musk starts the day with a protein-packed omelette
  • Whole Foods CEO John Mackey opts for a green smoothie

Want more ways to make the most of your day? These are the best desk plants for increasing productivity in 2022…

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