Early risers always seem like they have it all figured out.
By the time you show up at the office they’ve already hit their 5am spin class, caught up on what the Asian markets are doing and have read the Wall Street Journal front to back.
It should come as no surprise then, that some of the most famous and successful business leaders today get their engines running at an hour that most of us would consider obscene. To help kick start your day, Ivy Exec has learned from the best of the best to get you up and at ‘em.
9 Tips That Will Make You a Morning Person
Many of the most successful business leaders start their day with a sweat. Apple CEO Tim Cook starts his day at 3:45am, sends out a flurry of company e-mails around 4:15am and then hits the gym by 5am. Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5:30 AM for meditation and an ambitious jog. Even the President of the United States reportedly hits the gym for cardio and strength training before 7 AM every morning. President Obama has even said that his morning workout makes him more productive for the rest of the day. So how can you adopt this daunting routine?
Tip #1: Make it easy. Set your gym clothes out the night before and leave your sneakers by the door.
Tip #2: Hold yourself accountable. Plan a morning run with a friend you won’t want to let down—even if that’s just taking the dog with you on your jog.
Tip #3: Find your motivation. Stock up on some favorite breakfast items or splurge on some fresh workout clothes. Either way, find something to be excited about before you hit the gym.
Masters of Preparation
For some, the morning grind begins early so that they can get the day planned before distractions start to creep in. Disney CEO Bob Iger wakes up at 4:30 AM to read the papers and churn through his e-mails. Former CEO of Pepsi Steve Reinemund is also an avowed newshound. He jumps out of bed by 5:30 AM to read the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and several other papers before heading into the office. So how can you start your day with a heavy dose of information without packing on the stress?
Tip #4: Find your Zen. Listen to quiet music while you work or open the curtains to enjoy the early morning sunlight you would otherwise miss.
Tip #5: Indulge in a morning beverage. Take the time to brew a favorite coffee or tea. Drink plenty of water. Make sure you start the day hydrated.
Tip #6: Focus on the positive. By the time you get to the office, you’ll have a jumpstart on everyone else there and be more focused by not having to play catch up with your e-mail.
Focus on “Me Time”
Not every leader who wakes up early uses the time for work. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos avoids scheduling meetings early in the morning—often a hallmark of hard charging tech culture. Instead, he stays with his family for breakfast before starting his day. British Prime Minister David Cameron enforces a strict no TV policy in his home when spending the mornings with his family. However, all bets are off when he hits the road: then he spends his mornings catching up on the news. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs famously would start his day with a motivational pep talk. He would look at himself in the mirror and say “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” He would then reflect on his answer and plan accordingly. So how can you reclaim your mornings for more than just sleeping in as late as possible?
Tip #7: Find what’s lacking. If it’s family time, set aside a morning breakfast ritual with your household. If it’s getting a chance to read more books unrelated to your work, leave a tome by your bedside to start your day meeting that goal.
Tip #8: Be realistic. Set small, simple goals for what you want to accomplish in the morning to better yourself. If it’s taking time to simply reflect ahead of your day, give yourself the space to do so. Don’t attempt to tackle a home renovation at five in the morning—especially if you don’t want your neighbors to hate your new routine.
Tip #9: Start with something pleasant. When you begin a new morning routine, it’s not the time to face your deepest, darkest fears and ambitions. Get started by picking something you enjoy giving time to.