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This List Of 15 Big-Shot Executives Who Wake Up Early Will Make You Think Twice About Sleeping In

This List Of 15 Big-Shot Executives Who Wake Up Early Will Make You Think Twice About Sleeping In

Waking up early has become common advice in self-improvement circles. After all, it makes sense. Waking up early gives you time where you can focus and get things done before dealing with pesky distractions. As you rise before the majority, you’ll find a strange sense of tranquility that motivates and inspires you. But why take my word for it? Read on to see how some of the most powerful men and women spend their mornings.

1. GE CEO Jeff Immelt

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    Jeff Immelt has a rock solid morning routine. He rises at 5:30AM and does cardio while watching and reading the latest news. This allows him to get his exercise in (which is important for a lot of reasons), all while consuming information that will contribute to decisions he will make throughout the day.

    2. Xerox CEO Ursula Burns

    Xerox CEO Ursula Burns

      Ursula wakes up at 5:15AM and immediately gets started on her email. She also spends an hour in the morning on personal training. Diligence, hard work, and being an early riser all have contributed to her earning the #22 spot on Forbes’ Power Woman list.

      3. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

      Starbucks-Howard_Schultz

        Of course you know Starbucks. There’s one practically every block, there’s always a crazy line, the environment is incredibly hip, and everyone working there seems to be amazingly happy. Who’s behind all this? Howard Schultz.

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        In order to pull all this off, Schultz starts out early – getting to the headquarters at around 6 or 6:30 AM. Before that, he fits in a workout or even a bikeride.

        4. Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

        MarchionneDec2010__mid

          Bringing Chrysler back from the dead as American car companies struggled to stay afloat, requires time and skill. Sergio Marchionne did it by starting early – he wakes up at 3:30AM every morning. This also allows him to interact with those in European timezones.

          5. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi

          indra_nooyi_OurLeadership

            Indra Nooyi heads up PepsiCo – one of the largest beverage companies in the United States. She gets her day started at 4AM and is at the office by 7AM.

            6. Former General Motors’ CEO Dan Akerson

            danakerman

              Dan Akerson would wake up every morning around 4:30AM in order to stay in contact with GM companies overseas. This allowed him to help resurrect General Motors.

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              7. Hain Celestial Group CEO Irwin Simon

              image (1)

                Irwin Simon may be the king of morning productivity. He begins at 5AM to keep in touch with overseas offices. Then he exercises, walks the dog, and prays all before he arrives at work. Sometimes he fits a meeting in there, too.

                8. Square CEO Jack Dorsey

                jackdorsey

                  Co-founder and co-creator of Twitter. CEO of Square. Wall Street Journal’s 2012 Innovator of the Year. A net worth of more than 2 billion. All of this describes Jack Dorsey, an entreprenuer based out of Silicon Valley. How does he manage to do all of this?

                  Well for one, he wakes up every morning at 5:30AM to meditate and go for a 6 mile jog. This gives him a headstart that allows him to push above the competition.

                  9. Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group

                  richardbranson

                    Richard Branson is sixty years old and still going strong. He wakes up at 6:00AM every morning to get a nice jog in before he starts his day. As a founder of more than 400 companies (under the Virgin moniker), it only makes sense to look to him for wisdom.

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                    10. Apple CEO Tim Cook

                    tim cook

                      Coworkers describe Tim Cook as being first in the office and the last out. He wakes up around 4:30AM. Not surprising for the man running the world’s most valuable company.

                      11. Disney CEO Bob Iger

                      BOB IGER

                        Bob Iger is CEO of Disney, perhaps the most known name in entertainment. In order to keep the company pushing out some of the greatest films he wakes up at 4:45AM. From there he’s off to the gym at 5, and at the office by 6.

                        12. Starwood Hotels CEO Frits Van Paasschen

                        Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, speaks during the Reuters 2011 Global Fashion and Luxury Summit in New York

                          Frits Van Paaschen runs one of the largest hotel chains in the world. He’s running at 5:50AM and starts working by 6:30.

                          13. Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark

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                          image

                            You’ve got to be on your game as one of the youngest CEO’s in the NBA. Brett Yorkmark does this by waking up at 3:30AM to get to the office by 4:30.

                            14. GM CEO Mary Barra

                            marrybarra

                              Taking the reigns of GM as the first female CEO at the company, Mary Barra has to be at peak performance. She’s at the office by 6AM to get started on her day.

                              15. Former president George W. Bush

                              georgewbush

                                He’s not a business CEO, but he did become the most powerful man in the world. Even if you don’t agree with his political views, his work ethic is most definitely present. George W. Bush was known for being at the oval office by 6:45AM and holding meetings as early as sunrise.

                                Convinced you should become an early riser? Check out this article for some tips on how to wake up happy.

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                                Last Updated on March 21, 2019

                                11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                                11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                                Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                                You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                                But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                                To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                                It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                                “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                                The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                                In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                                Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                                1. Start Small

                                The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                                Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                                Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                                Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                                Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                                Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                                It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                                Do less today to do more in a year.

                                2. Stay Small

                                There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                                But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                                If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                                When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                                I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                                Why?

                                Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                                The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                                Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                                3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                                No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                                There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                                What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                                Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                                This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                                This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                                4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                                When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                                There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                                Peter Drucker said,

                                “What you track is what you do.”

                                So track it to do it — it really helps.

                                But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                                5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                                Peter Drucker also said,

                                “What you measure is what you improve.”

                                So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                                For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                                For writing, it’s 500 words.
                                For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                                For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                                Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                                6. All Days Make a Difference

                                Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                                Will two? They won’t.

                                Will three? They won’t.

                                Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                                What happened? Which one made you fit?

                                The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                                No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                                7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                                Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                                But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                                What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                                It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                                The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                                It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                                It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                                8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                                Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                                Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                                When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                                The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                                Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                                9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                                The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                                Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                                You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                                But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                                So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                                If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                                This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                                The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                                Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                                10. Punish Yourself

                                Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                                I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                                It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                                You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                                No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                                The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                                But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                                11. Reward Yourself

                                When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                                Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                                The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                                After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                                If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                                Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                                If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                                In the End, It Matters

                                What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                                When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                                And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                                “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                                Keep going.

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                                More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                                Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                                [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                                [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                                [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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