Morning routines have always fascinated me. I am of the mindset that having a productive morning is paramount when it comes to the rest of the day. I like going into work knowing that I have already accomplished something with my day. What I’ve found when looking at some famous entrepreneurs, business owners, writers, and so on, is that many of them use the first few hours of their day to be ultra productive. Most of us wake up each day, have our morning cup of coffee, check Facebook, or listen to the news. While it can be good to get a dose of what is going on in the world first thing in the morning, our time may better be utilized by being productive before we have our typical social digest.
Two traits that I’ve noticed when it comes to successful people and their morning routines are their abilities to avoid decision fatigue as well as anchor their thoughts in a way that sets them up to be productive.
In this post, we look at 4 very successful people and how these traits apply to them.
The four people we are going to look at have all been interviewed on theTim Ferriss Show. Tim does a great job at teasing out commonalities between successful people in various fields. At the end of each episode, he asks a set list of questions to each guest, one of which being “what do the first few hours of your day look like?”
Below I touch on four of my favorite episodes of his podcast to look at some commonalities as to what makes up a productive morning for some of the worlds elite. The link to each episode is also included as they are all well worth the full listen.
First, let’s first dive a little deeper into the two characteristics I mentioned above…
1. Avoiding decision fatigue
When we wake up and have our menial tasks already planned out (i.e. what we are going to eat for breakfast or what we are going to wear to work) we allow ourselves to conserve mental energy in order to apply that energy to more pertinent tasks
2. Anchoring Our Thoughts in a Positive Way
This is something that can be hard to do. It takes skill to wake up with a clear mind and focus on our pertinent tasks. Whether it’s writing a blog post, studying for a test, or preparing for a business meeting, we need to be able to focus 100% of our mental energy on something important in order to check it off our list. To do this, we cannot be distracted by things like social media or stressful emails as they will ultimately end up cluttering our minds and preventing us from focusing on what needs to be done.
So without further ado, let’s look at how some successful people in various fields attack the first few hours of their day.
Ryan Holiday — Author, Marketer, Entrepreneur, Became Director of Marketing at American Apparel at the age of 21
Wakes up between 7:30am to 8am
Does not check email right away
Prefers to eat breakfast out at the same restaurant each day and orders eggs with 2 sides of bacon
Avoids decision fatigue by eating at the same restaurant and knowing what he wants to order. He also allows his mind to stay creatively free by not checking email right away. This allows him to get writing done before his work day actually starts.
Full Ryan Holiday interview here
Tony Robbins — Peak Performance Coach, author of “Unlimited Power” and “MONEY Master the Game: 7 Steps to Financial Freedom
Wakes up and jumps in a 57 degree plunge pool
Eats fish and salad
Does what he calls “priming” which is similar to meditation.
Get himself into a prime state by shocking his nervous system with a cold bath in a plunge pool right away. For those of us that don’t have our own plunge pools, turning the water to cold in the shower and standing under it for a minute provides a similar benefit. He also goes through what he calls “priming” in order to anchor his thoughts to what is important. This is a meditative type practice in which he focuses on his breath. By taking in his environment and practicing gratitude for all the good things he has going on, he is able to start each day with optimal motivation. Lastly, just like Ryan, Tony avoids decision fatigue by knowing what he will eat for breakfast each day.
Full Tony Robbins interview here
Walter O’Brien aka “Scorpion” — Businessman, founder of Scorpion Computer Services, IQ- 197
Automates any task that is repetitive in order to always have something fresh on which to work.
Scorpion doesn’t provide too much insight on his morning routine but the one thing he did touch on was his ability to automate anything repetitive. Scorpion implements systems using his superior computer knowledge as well as delegating to his employees in order to avoid having to perform those tasks that repeat themselves each day but don’t require any serious focus. This allows him to always have something new on which to work.
Full Scorpion Interview here
Maria Popova — writer, owner of popular blogwww.brainpickings.org
Meditates for 15 to 25 minutes
Goes to the gym where she gets reading done
Maria uses meditation just as Tony uses priming in order to anchor her thinking. She also goes to the gym which is another way we can jump start our days physically and dramatically increase our energy levels. Not to mention that while she is at the gym she gets done her “longer form reading” as she calls it.
Full Maria Popova interview here
As we can see. While these folks attack their mornings differently, they all maintain similar characteristics. They automate repetitive tasks such as what to eat for breakfast to avoid having to choose something different each day. We also find that none of these folks state that they wake up to check emails or answer phone calls. Ryan in particular makes it a point not to check his emails first thing in the morning.
Scorpion delegates menial types of tasks to someone else in order to not have to waste time and mental energy on them.
Tony and Maria use meditative type practices to anchor their thinking. They also jump start their days physically by jolting their nervous systems through cold baths and exercise respectively.
By having a system in the morning that gets us into a prime mental and physical state we can wake up confidently knowing that we will be efficient with the time we have before our work days begin. It’s important for us to have our minds free of clutter as well as find some way to jump start our energy levels. Meditation and automating repetitive tasks are great ways to free up our minds whereas taking a cold shower or working out are great ways to give ourselves that needed energy boost first thing in the morning.
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