Early bird gets the worm. This tried and true saying may go in one ear and out the other if you’re a night owl like myself. 6am wake up call? No thanks. However, there is truly great value in us millennials rising early and making the most out of our morning as we venture onto our path to success. Author and member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors Laura Vanderkam even wrote a whole book about it – What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. With tips from her and others, you can learn how to maximize your mornings. So wipe the sleep out of your eyes, grab a cup of coffee and tune in.
1. Wake up early.
Once you arrive in the office, who knows what the day holds. You can be met with peace and organization, or absolute, unexpected chaos. The morning hours are all that you have complete control over. So start out by waking up earlier than you usually do. The Business Insider broke down some of Vanderkam’s tips, stating that in a poll of 20 executives, she cites that 90% wake up before 6 am on weekdays. Too much too soon for you? Take baby steps and start by rising 30 minutes earlier than you usually do. Then push for one hour, and so forth. Those extra 60 minutes in the morning can truly make a difference for the rest of your day.
Don’t spend that extra hour scrolling through your Instagram feed. Get moving. Whether it is a peaceful yoga session or high-powered run on the treadmill, morning exercise is key to igniting your day. Vanderkam notes that working out in the morning prevents you from running out of time later in the day, and also helps reduce stress and improve sleep. She found that Starwood Hotels CEO Frits van Paasschen runs for one hour at 5:30 am each morning, while Xerox CEO Ursula Burns knocks out 6am, hour-long personal training sessions twice a week. “These are incredibly busy people,” says Vanderkam. “If they make time to exercise, it must be important.” Even POTUS knows the importance of a good workout in the a.m. The Independent shares that Barack Obama strictly follows his 6:45 am workout routine of weights and cardio before starting his day. This is the leader of the free world, people. If he can make time for a morning workout, so can you.
3. Ask yourself one important question.
According to the Independent, every morning Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs would look in the mirror and ask himself, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” If his answer was “no” too many days in a row, he knew something needed to change.
4. Avoid early-morning meetings.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos states that he prefers to avoid early-morning meetings, and used his extra time to have a healthy breakfast with his wife, according to inc.com, “I wanted her to get the best hours of my day,” he said. If you too live with a loved one, this is a great way to make quality, one-on-one time with them before you both jet off to face the work day. This habit is great if you live alone too. Use the extra time to have a moment to yourself, indulge in your breakfast and reflect on your plans for the day.
5. Plan your day.
Your day will go much smoother if you’ve planned ahead. Forbes recommends outlining your day’s schedule. Forbes says that the morning is a great time to do this, as “it is often one of the only quiet times a person gets throughout the day. The early hours foster easier reflection that helps when prioritizing your activities.” And while you’re at it, create a goals and to-do list as well. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing off that pesky item on your to-do list, and the sense of accomplishment that follows. Visually seeing the progress you’re making throughout the day will give you the needed encouragement to keep pushing.
6. Make time for mental health.
In the midst of planning your meetings, projects and conferences, don’t forget to make time for yourself. Forbes suggests penciling in a quick 10 minute break, perhaps after a stressful meeting or presentation. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the block or giving yourself a few moments of mediation at your desk. Taking this time allows you to regroup, refocus and recharge to take on the rest of the day.
MADE by India McMiller