Wake up early.
Not all wildly successful people are early risers, but it seems a majority of them are. Richard Branson has said, “No matter where I am in the world, I try to routinely wake up at around 5 a.m. By rising early, I’m able to do some exercise and spend time with my family, which puts me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.”
Branson is joined by other celebrated early risers, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook (4 a.m.), Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (5 a.m.) and Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz (4:30 a.m.).
Research suggests many successful people wake up well before the work day begins. By doing the same, you can make time to exercise, walk your dog, meditate, spend time with family and get a jump on the day before you get worn down by your duties.
start your morning the evening before.
It’s not until the end of one work day that you clearly understand what needs to get done the next work day. So before you log off, make a list of what you’d like to accomplish the following day, like entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary does.
He has said, “Before I go to sleep, I write down three things that I have to get done the next morning before I take a call, write a text or an email or talk to anyone else except my family. And they can be random things, like ‘Call your daughter at school and ask about whether she’s done this or that’ or ‘Close a deal.’ What I found was once you get those three things done, the rest of your day becomes amazingly productive.”
Do the hardest thing on your to-do list first.
Author Mark Twain is cited to have said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The adage suggests completing your most difficult task first, and these words were embraced and demonstrated by overachievers for generations after.
Gina Trapani, founding editor of Lifehacker.com, gave her take on why: “First thing in the morning your mind is clear, the office is quiet, and you haven’t gotten pulled into six different directions — yet. It’s your one opportunity to prioritize the thing that matters to you most, before your phone starts ringing and email inbox starts dinging. By knocking out something important on your to-do list before anything else, you get both momentum and a sense of accomplishment before 10 a.m.”
Tackle the hardest thing while you still have a significant reserve of mental and physical energy.
Drink cold water.
After you wake up, hydrate; you’ve just gone for a long stretch of time without drinking any water. Water perks you up and gets your muscles and organs working, said Rania Batayneh, nutritionist and author of The One One One Diet. “One of the biggest indicators of lethargy or low energy is that you are dehydrated.”
That’s why power players like Arianna Huffington, founder of both The Huffington Post and Thrive Global, and Kat Cole, president of FOCUS Brands (parent company of Auntie Anne’s, Carvel and Cinnabon), start their mornings with a tall glass of water.
Put your phone out of arm’s reach.A 2016 study from CareerBuilder suggests cell phones and texting are the biggest productivity killers at work. Constantly checking your smartphone can seriously impede your ability to focus and finish tasks, so it’s a good idea to limit your access by banishing it to a drawer except for designated times. You can also consider turning your phone off completely and turning it back on during lunch hour.