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5 Morning Rituals Shared by the Most Successful People

5 Morning Rituals Shared by the Most Successful People

While many of us are slamming the snooze button or silencing our phone’s alarm, successful entrepreneurs are cashing in on a not-so-well-kept secret: Morning is the best time to get stuff done.

That’s because willpower is strongest in the mornings, before we’ve zapped our physical and mental energy for the day. That means making big decisions, clarifying thoughts and feelings, executing tasks, and even feeling optimistic comes more easily in the first hours of the day. Plus, morning rituals set the tone for the rest of the day — if you’re grumpy, rushed, and stressed every morning, that’s likely to bleed over into the rest of your life.

Want to start the day on the right foot? Transform your morning routine — and hop aboard the success train — by adopting any or all these morning habits.

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Wake Up Early

In a poll of 20 executives, 90 percent reported waking up before 6 a.m. on work days. Some of the most extreme cases? PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi wakes up at 4 a.m. and arrives at the office by 7 a.m. every day, while Disney CEO Bob Iger is up by 4:30 every morning.

Even if just contemplating waking up that early makes you miserable, you can still take advantage of the day’s most productive hours by setting the alarm just an hour or two earlier than you’re used to getting up. The great thing about being up early is that most people aren’t, so you’ll be able to control what you do during that time without distractions or external demands.

Exercise

Early-morning exercise is one of the most common habits shared by successful people — including the POTUS, the First Lady , and Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. Working out in the morning ensures that you actually find the time to exercise, which is critical to maintaining physical and mental wellness. Plus, it’ll help keep you energized and focused for the rest of the day.

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Create an Action Plan

Ensure you’re productive for the whole day by crafting an effective to-do list that clarifies which tasks need to be given highest priority. This is also a good time to analyze how successful you were at completing yesterday’s to-do list and note any productivity issues before they become major problems.

While you’re at it, take a few moments to remind yourself of your ultimate goal for these and other projects. Is it to support your family? Grow your business? Make the world a better place? Or, make like Steve Jobs and ask yourself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

Reinforcing your value system will help you make decisions that are aligned with those values for the rest of the day, making it easier to prioritize certain tasks and say no to others.

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Eat the Frogs

Yep, this is a real thing — but don’t take it literally. The idea is drawn from a Mark Twain quote: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In other words, do the day’s most unappealing task first (sending faxes, anyone?). After that, it’s all uphill.

Bonus? Without the distractions of emails or coworkers, it’s likely the task will take you less time to complete — so you can get it done and get on with your day.

Get Centered

Simone de Beauvoir reportedly started her day with a cup of tea. Gwyneth Paltrow wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to do yoga. Disney CEO Robert Iger catches up on what’s happening in the world by reading papers and surfing the net. Whether it’s hanging out with your kids, connecting with your spouse, meditating, or pursuing a hobby, claiming some quality “me” time in the morning is a great way to feel centered and practice self-care. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, so long as it helps you feel more grounded, calm, and ready for whatever the day brings.

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It may take some time to turn these routines into habits, but doing so is worth it. Each of these morning rituals will help you stay healthy, get focused, and approach each day from a place of clarity and poise. That’s worth skipping the snooze button.

Featured photo credit: Ben Stanfield via flickr.com

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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