The way you start your day sets the stage for the kind of day you have ahead of you. Starting it stressed out or in a bad mood can put you in the wrong kind of headspace for the rest of the day, leading you to make poor decisions or lose focus on the tasks at hand. However, by making a few simple changes and taking charge of your morning, you can start your day off calm, rested and ready to tackle any challenges you may have ahead of you.
Here, 10 business leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council discuss their own routines and how they maximize their time in the morning to not only get in the right headspace for the workday ahead but also improve as a person and leader at the same time. Try implementing one of these habits into your daily routine and see how effective you can really be.
1. Create A To-Do List With Challenging And Simple Tasks
One of the best ways I’ve found to maximize my mornings is to create a short to-do list that includes a blend of challenging and simpler tasks. I make it a point to tackle the most difficult or annoying tasks first. It’s not just about getting the work done; it’s also about leading by example. I’ve found that this approach makes the most of my morning energy and sets up a productive and fulfilling workday for both myself and my team. I also like to have a morning coffee with as little noise as possible, so I usually get out of bed before anyone else. This solitude is critical for me, since the rest of the day is usually filled with interaction from family, friends and colleagues. The silence of each morning is golden, even if it’s just for a few minutes. – David Hunter, Epic Web Studios
2. Write Out Your Thoughts, Plans And Reflections
One practice that has significantly impacted my daily routine and personal growth is waking up early and writing. This quiet, uninterrupted time is a sanctuary for me. Before the demands of the day set in, I commit to writing, pouring out my thoughts, plans and reflections onto my computer. This act of writing isn’t just about organizing tasks; it provides profound clarity and focus. By translating my thoughts into words, I gain perspective on my day’s objectives and broader life goals. This ritual establishes a foundation for a productive day and clears my mind, refreshing it for the new day ahead. – Idan Waller, BlueThrone
3. Exercise Your Body To Free Your Mind
I make it a point every day to do some sort of exercise that will build up a sweat and, ideally, I do it first thing in the morning. When it feels challenging, I have a trainer come to my house at the crack of dawn, making me much less likely to skip the workout. I currently have a goal to run a half-marathon, which is inspiring enough to get me out the door as soon as I wake up. Having a steadfast workout routine is important for all of us as individuals, as it helps us build strength, stamina and resilience and leads to further productivity throughout the day. But working our bodies actually has the extra benefit of freeing up our minds, allowing us to focus on certain issues we may otherwise not have time for and giving us a different perspective on how to approach them. – David Henzel, Love not Fear
4. Get Organized For The Day Ahead
When I started my business nearly 15 years ago, the days started with frantic emails in the morning before I even got out of bed and ended in much the same way. I was always putting out a fire and stressing about every little element of my business. Now, 15 years and two kids later, I start each morning by getting my kids off to school, walking my dogs, stopping for coffee (even if it’s decaf!) and getting organized for the day ahead. Once I sit down to work, I remind myself how important it is to handle the tough stuff first. Starting off with the things I would usually procrastinate on clears my head for the rest of the day. – Rachel Lipson, Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People
5. Dedicate Time To Mindfulness
Each morning, I dedicate time to mindfulness, often through meditation or journaling. This practice aligns my mind and spirit, fostering calmness and resilience. It sets a positive tone for the day, enhancing my leadership by promoting sound decisions and inspiring others. Prioritizing self-care in the morning fuels personal and professional growth. Your mindset is your greatest asset—make your mornings count! – Michelle Aran, Velvet Caviar
6. Check In With Those Who Matter Most
The best thing you can do to start your day is eat a good breakfast and interact with people you love. You could greet your family, a group of close friends or even your pets. Either way, I find having a balanced breakfast and checking on the ones who matter most makes me feel positive and helps set the pace for the day. Many of us get caught up in lifestyle and productivity hacks when we just need to get back to the basics. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
7. Set Clear Intentions For The Workday
Before I start my day, I like to set clear intentions for the rest of my day. I begin by asking myself a few questions. For example, “What do you want to achieve today?” or “What will you do to inspire your team today?” or “How will you lead your team to help them achieve their goals?” This helps me get into the right headspace for the workday ahead. At the same time, it also prepares me to be a better person and leader for my team. – Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP
8. Set Electronic Reminders For Important Tasks
As a parent of a 1-year-old, I’ve had to become more efficient with my time each morning to maximize the workday ahead. One habit I’ve adopted is to look at my calendar and see what the day ahead is going to look like. I then electronically create a few tasks to ensure I don’t forget the important things I need to accomplish. Having reminders later in the day is incredibly helpful for keeping me on track. Staying organized is imperative to managing my time effectively. I also make it a point to exercise early in the morning. It not only clears my head but also provides some much needed “me” time! – Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc.
9. Visualize Your Personal And Professional Goals
Starting your day with visualization is one of the best ways to get yourself where you want to be both personally and professionally. Whereas meditation is meant to clear your mind of thoughts, visualization works on instilling vivid and detailed images in your mind of a desired outcome or scenario. It’s important to keep in mind that visualization isn’t just wishful thinking; it’s a focused and intentional exercise where you mentally rehearse a situation or a goal, imagining every detail and emotion associated with it. Starting your day with visualization not only sets an optimistic tone but also amplifies motivation, sharpens focus and builds self-confidence by letting you mentally rehearse successful outcomes, thereby reducing anxiety and even improving actual performance. – Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute of CPAs
10. Take A Relaxing Walk
One of the first things I do in the morning to prepare for the day is go for a walk. Fresh air and sunshine are important for achieving mental clarity, maintaining a steady sleep cycle and improving productivity. If I miss my morning walk, I often feel sluggish by lunch. I believe the exercise and daylight help make me a better leader and a happier person. It doesn’t take long either. I suggest taking a 20-minute walk tomorrow morning and experiencing the benefits for yourself. – Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit