Everyone knows the incredible feeling of waking up early and getting a jump start on the day.
It might be difficult to get yourself out of bed, but as soon as you’re up, and you start to get going, you realize just how much you can get done before everyone else is awake. There’s something motivating about knowing that by the time the rest of the world is racing to work, you’ve already gone to the gym, or read the morning paper, or cranked through your inbox and are at the office with a cup of coffee.
Especially if you’re an entrepreneur, your morning routine will dictate a large amount of your success. This is a big theme of mine in my book, All In. Entrepreneurship is all about routine, discipline, and consistency—and if you can practice those habits on a regular basis, morning after morning, you’re far more likely to be successful over the long term.
I’ve spent my entire business career honing my own morning routine. And here are the 3 habits I’ve found that have made me a much more effective entrepreneur.
Wake up early, before the world starts telling you what to do.
For me, waking up early is a critical component of success.
My mind works differently in the morning (and I think this is true for most people). I have a different level of clarity fresh out of bed than I do in the middle of the day, after my brain has been filled with To Do lists and requests.
The first thing I do when I wake up is check to make sure all my To Do list items from the previous day were done or re-tasked. Do I owe anybody anything from yesterday? Did I forget to send any emails? I make sure my calendar for calls and meetings is set, and I do a quick check over my calendar for the day to see if there’s anything I can move around to be as productive and efficient as possible.
Make time to exercise.
For 30 years, I’ve been participating in triathlons.
Now, I’m not saying you have to train for a triathlon too. However, I do believe physical exercise is a key component to staying clear headed, focused, and motivated in business.
For me, exercise was a way to stay healthy and fit with a purpose—and a way to channel my competitive nature. When I’m exercising, I don’t have to worry about all the things I need to “get done.” I’ve learned to make this my personal time, to be uninterrupted and go into deep thought about whatever business issues I’m facing at hand. Exercise is also when I find my best ideas are generated as well.
The one piece of advice I like to give here though is this: if you’re going for an hour-long run, should you be listening to Bruno Mars? Or should you be listening to yourself. Which do you think will be more profitable at the end of the day?
Visualize how you want your day, week, month, and year to go.
One of the biggest benefits to waking up early is having quiet time to imagine the sort of life you want to build for yourself.
This could happen while you’re making breakfast. This could be for a few minutes while you’re driving to the office. However and wherever it happens, the key is to be intentional about your thoughts and the direction they’re headed.
For example, if you wake up every morning stressed, thinking about how nothing is going right, how you’re unhappy with your business and you don’t think you’re going to be successful, then all of those thoughts will start to shape your reality. You’ll stop seeing all the things going right in your business. You’ll stop being able to imagine where things could go, and what amazing opportunities are right around the corner.
Even if it’s for five minutes, make time every morning to get clear about the direction of the day, the week, the year, and even your life as a whole. The more you return to these positive thoughts, and more likely they are to become your reality.