Around here, we’re big proponents of getting an early start. First thing in the morning is when your brain is the sharpest, your body is the most energized and your slate is blank, open for you to fill as you see fit.
Early morning is the time of day some of the brightest minds, from Benjamin Franklin to Ernest Hemingway, did their best work. Your morning sets the tone for your entire day, and as a busy entrepreneur you can’t afford to squander it.
Get things started on the right foot and make massive progress toward your goals by crossing these 8 things off your to-do list before 8 a.m.
Exercise is necessary to be the best version of yourself. Starting your day with a workout gets your endorphins pumping, jump starts your metabolism and best of all, gets it out of the way so you don’t have to worry about it the rest of the day.
The Mayo Clinic recommends healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which works out perfectly for a half hour of exercise to start each weekday.
If you’ve never made exercise part of your daily routine before, don’t write it off! Getting started is as easy as going for a brisk 30-minute walk as soon as you hop out of bed.
Once you’ve been doing it for a few weeks it’ll become a habit, and you’ll start looking forward to the great feeling that comes after finishing your workout.
Making exercise a regular part of your life will make your body feel better and your mind feel sharper, and you’ll live longer to accomplish more of your dreams!
No, journaling doesn’t mean recording the minutiae of your life and your innermost secrets, diary-style (although if that’s your cup of tea, go for it!). Rather, journaling is a way to sort out your thoughts on paper, keep track of new ideas and chart your progress toward your goals.
Each day, spend five minutes journaling about whatever’s on your mind, be it a recent victory, a challenge that’s been dogging you, or the contents of a crazy dream you had.
I’ve journaled since I was a kid, and I love looking back at what I’ve recorded through the years. It’s empowering to see how I overcame things that felt overwhelming at the time. It’s also gratifying to see which goals I’ve crossed off my list while getting a reminder of those I haven’t been putting enough effort towards.
Review Your Goals
As we’ve discussed in the past, setting goals on a regular basis is a surefire way to achieve the things you want to get done.
Keep a running list of two sets of goals: your 3-month goals and your 3-year goals. Each day, take out that slip of paper or open the note on your phone and go over it. What actions will you take today to move each item on the list forward?
Goals only work if you work toward them consistently. Reviewing your goals on a daily basis ensures they’re never too far from your mind and you never go too long without taking action on them.
Now that you’ve given your body a good workout, it’s time to provide it with some fuel.
Begin your day by eating something rich in protein, which will help your muscles recover from your workout, and whole grain, which will give you energy and keep you feeling full until lunch. Whenever possible, incorporate fruits or veggies into your breakfast as well.
Some perfect breakfast options for entrepreneurs are:
- Eggs and whole grain toast with a side of sliced strawberries
- English muffin with almond or cashew butter and banana slices
- Greek yogurt with blueberries and chia seeds
- A fruit smoothie with kale or spinach
Shock Your System
This is a bit unconventional, but if you want to achieve incredible things, you have to be willing to try things you’ve never tried before! Shock your system with a quick but effective dose of the unexpected.
An ice cold shower is one way to shock your system. The sudden chill helps your body remove waste built up during your workout and kicks your metabolism into high gear. There’s also evidence it can help make you more productive through the day.
Another way to shock your system is to bite into a wedge of raw lemon, which will zap your senses wide awake, or to down a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar, which has a similar energizing effect and also helps regulate your blood sugar.
Check the News
If you want to keep a competitive edge, it’s important to stay up to date with current events in the world and in your industry. Just ask Warren Buffet, who devours up to five newspapers every day.
Choose at least two news sources to skim each morning: one that’ll get you up to speed on what’s going on in the world (like CNN.com or The New York Times) and one that’ll give you the rundown on what’s happening in your specific field. If you’re in retail, for example, you might check out Retail Wire, or peruse Financial Times if you’re in the business of finance.
Set Your To-Do List
Once you’re up to speed on the news, it’s time to set yourself up for success for the rest of the day with a to-do list. But not just any to-do list—one that’s going to help you power through the most important and impactful things that need to get done.
The most effective to-do list prioritizes items by deadline and order of importance. Don’t assign yourself too much; focus first on the things that absolutely must get done today, then on the steps you’re taking toward the goals you reviewed earlier.
For more on turning your to-do list into a productivity machine, check out this post.
Begin Your Most Tedious Task
Finally, it’s time to get cracking, starting with the least appealing task on your to-do list.
Maybe it’s something that’s going to require a lot of mental energy and you’ll need several hours of quiet time to zero in on it. Or, maybe it’s something tedious you simply don’t want to do, like making an important phone call or running an errand.
Whatever it is that you’re least inclined to do, do it first and get it over with. By tackling something challenging first thing in the morning, you’ll head into the latter portion of your day with a feeling of accomplishment. Plus, you’ll be more than ready to handle the comparatively easier tasks that remain on your to-do list.
What does your morning routine for success look like? Leave a comment below and share your favorite thing to get done before 8 a.m.