We all have a morning routine in some capacity. For some, a morning routine means waking at dawn, checking emails with a cup of coffee, looking at social media, getting that morning workout in, and setting intentions for the day. For others, their morning habits consist of a 15-minute scramble to get up and get ready for work in as little time as possible. Whether your morning rituals contain the stuff of success books or not, it’s a routine all the same.
The way we start our day can have a drastic impact on our mood, level of fulfillment, and even our sleep. It sounds counter intuitive. How does my sleep have anything to do with my mornings? In fact, every move in your daily routine has the potential to interrupt – or enhance – your sleep. Waking up and falling asleep are more connected than you’d think.
We explore some of the morning routines of highly successful people—CEOs and business leaders—to find inspiration on new ways to kick start our day.
Elliot Weissbluth, former CEO of HighTower Financial Services
This high-powered Chicago business leader begins his day at around 4 am (yikes!), and works his productive morning around setting goals and intentions for the day. He’s very intentional with his time. The first step in his routine is black coffee, followed by deep thought and intention-setting, which he claims helps him focus on where he’s at for the day and what needs his attention. He then gets some early morning exercise in to clear his head and prepare for the day, before getting ready for work.
Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO of VaynerMedia
Planning a productive day down to a set to-do list, self development guru Gary Vaynerchuck reaches for the news as soon as he wakes up at 6 am. Then, he responds to his Twitter followers and any other communications he’s missed while he’s been sleeping, and cites checking in with what his friends are up to on Instagram as an important part of his morning, a sweet work-life balance activity.
Gary then works out with his trainer for 45-60 minutes, before getting ready to head off to his first meeting. Never one to waste a single second, Gary explains that he uses his commute time to call his family and friends. He dedicates this part of his morning routine every single morning to reconnect with the important people in his life.
After all that, he’s at his first meeting before 9 am. Wow.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google
Surprisingly, Google CEO Sundar isn’t an early riser as some of his other highly successful counterparts. Noting that he’s not a morning person (and he knows it!) Sundar wakes between 6:30 to 7 am each morning. Then, he reads the news – on a physical newspaper – to keep him up to date on current affairs.
Continuing with his surprisingly calm morning, it’s time for breakfast. Yep, food! No intense cardio or crazy to-do list – just a good old omelette for his vegetarian protein. He then skips coffee and opts for tea, before planning his day with ‘big picture thinking’ to which he credits much of his success.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft
The big man himself, back when he still headed the tech-giant Microsoft, was known for a packed morning to start his day. After a definite and indispensable seven hours of shut-eye, he didn’t hit the snooze button on his alarm clock. He went straight to exercise, famously loving tennis and regularly running on a treadmill while watching educational videos.
Once he’d broken a sweat, he mad sure to get the latest news digests and headlines from top news publications like The Economist, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. His reading would then help him with a tight schedule, divided into five-minute intervals. With such a fast-paced and strong to his day, Bill Gates never lost to any obstacles in his way at the time.
What Can We Learn from the Morning Routines of these Successful CEOs?
One common theme in their daily morning rituals is that they wake early. Many claim that training themselves to be somewhat of an early bird has contributed to their success, mental clarity, and overall productivity. Studies have also shown that even those of us who would consider ourselves night owls, actually do our best thinking first thing in the morning, after our body has been rested.
While everyone’s morning routine is personal, starting your day with endorphin-boosting exercise, reading the news, listening to motivating podcasts, and setting intentions for the workday are good beginner steps to setting a productive day like all the other CEO morning routines.
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