I spend the first two hours of my morning preparing for the day ahead. This includes some light meditation, gratitude exercises while I make coffee, reviewing my calendar and prioritizing my tasks by urgency and importance. I then get my team started, and might have a client meeting. I’m on an extended weight-loss journey, so on most weekdays I go to the gym in the mid-morning where I listen to podcasts while doing cardio, and answer a few emails between weight-training sets. This is what works for me, and other founders, c-suite executives, and team leaders have morning routines that work for them.
To help you gain insight into the morning routines of founders, we asked successful entrepreneurs and founders how they start their days. From practicing 5-minute journaling to “Zenning out” in the morning, there are several different morning routines that these founders engage in to start their days off right and end feeling productive and content.
Try these 14 founder morning routines to transform your life:
- 5 Minute Journaling
- Watch a TED Talk or Do a Puzzle During Breakfast
- Stretch to Improve Bloodflow and Energy Levels
- Start With Coffee and a Good Book
- Check Emails, Respond to Notifications & Outline Schedule
- I Prepare for My Mornings the Night Before
- Begin With Physical Activity
- I Start on My Terms, Instead of Reacting to Crisis
- I’m An Early Riser – Thanks to My Cat
- Practice Meditation
- Sunlight and Exercise to Improve Focus
- Intense Workout, Proper Planning, and Setting a Vision
- Proper Sequencing Matters
- I Zen Out My Mornings
5 Minute Journaling
I’ve been doing the 5-minute journal every morning for the past 2 years and I have found it to be a huge mood boost during my day and a way to start my day off in a place of peace. Every morning, while I’m sipping my first cup of coffee (and before scrolling through emails or social media), I write the things I am grateful for as well as things that would make my day great. At the end of the day before bed, there is also a nice routine of writing highlights from the day and any learnings.
I use the actual 5 Minute Journal, but this can easily be done in a simple notebook using a gratitude or guided journal template.
Watch a TED Talk or Do a Puzzle During Breakfast
I prefer to start each day with a substantial amount of work. Working on a paper or composing an article might be examples. For my site, it can be some graphic or website design work. Also, ideally, I’ll rise at 7:30 am, scale myself, sip some water, and exercise using an app. Then, if I feel like it, I’ll work out as well. Breakfast and decaf coffee will follow. During this time, I particularly enjoy watching a TED lecture or working on a crossword or puzzle.
Work then begins at 9:00 am and may entail remaining in if it’s an admin day or going outside to complete outside duties on the smallholding. This helps establish the tone for the remainder of the day, so I make an effort to do it consistently. I strive to have one fantastic idea every day in the shower; generally, it comes to me without me having to think about it too much, and it’s actually my favorite part of the morning. There is consistency in what I prefer to do every morning which reflects in my workday too.
Stretch to Improve Bloodflow and Energy Levels
I’ve found that getting up early is a good part of my morning routine as I can get so much more done if I start early and take the later afternoon off. Something else I include in my routine is stretching. Stretching helps get the blood flowing and boosts my energy so I do it right after coffee and before a healthy breakfast.
All of this adds to my quality of life because it allows me a few minutes to focus on myself and get me ready to take on the day before everyone else is up. If I can do a few things before the noise starts, I feel like I’ve accomplished something great.
Start With Coffee and a Good Book
Nearly every successful person I know has a morning routine. I started mine about two years ago and it has totally transformed my life. I start with coffee and a book on a subject I want to learn more about. Then, I’ll meditate for 10 minutes. After that, I’ll check my goals for the day and make a short list of the three most important tasks I want to accomplish. By the time I’m done with my morning routine, my mind is clear, focused, and ready for the day.
Check Emails, Respond to Notifications & Outline Schedule
My morning routine is simple: check emails, respond to notifications and quickly outline my day’s schedule. It’s a great way for me to get into the flow of things and keep myself organized.
I always make sure to do this before anything else because it helps me set the tone for the rest of my day. It lets me get organized and clear my head before diving into anything else. It also gives me targets to hit, which helps me stay focused and on track throughout the day.
It has transformed my life because it helps me stay on top of my game. It gives me a sense of control over my day, which makes me feel more confident and productive overall.
I Prepare for My Mornings the Night Before
A good morning routine really begins the night before. I always make sure my clothes are laid out, my lunch is made and the coffee timer is set. Then, I take a melatonin gummy to help me enter into a deep, restful sleep. By preparing for my morning the night before, my mind feels more organized, and it helps me to be more productive. Getting off to a bad start in the morning can really set the tone for the whole day, so I highly recommend coming up with a morning routine that truly serves you.
Begin With Physical Activity
My morning routine is: Wake up at 5 am and immediately go for a run. I listen to podcasts while I’m running, and I’ve been trying to stick to a habit of listening to one podcast per week, so that I don’t get overwhelmed with information overload.
After my run, I make coffee and check my emails. If there’s anything urgent that needs my attention, I’ll deal with it then; otherwise, I’ll get started on my day’s work.
My morning routine is a big part of how I’ve been able to build the company. It helps me start the day relaxed and focused—and it helps me get more done than if I were just waking up at 8 am and starting work right away.
I Start on My Terms, Instead of Reacting to Crisis
Wake up at 5 am, drink a full glass of water. Do a quick morning gratitude and set my intention for the day. Either go for a run or go to the gym. Listen to a guided morning meditation while recovering post-workout in the sauna. Shower, make breakfast, drink coffee, and start my day full of energy, and ready to crush it.
This morning routine guarantees victory before most people even get out of bed. Every day I start the day on my terms, and instead of reacting to the crises of the day I start out on the offensive and allow that early positive momentum to carry me throughout the day.
I’m An Early Riser – Thanks to My Cat
Adopting a cat turned me into an early riser after thinking I was forever destined to be a night owl and chronically tired throughout the day. My cat forces me to wake up and feed him every morning and once I’m up, I’m up. It’s become the best alarm clock I never asked for but all the extra time it grants me has allowed me to get centered before the chaos of the day has its way.
My morning routine is to practice mindfulness with a session of meditation every morning. Every morning, I spend ten minutes practicing mindfulness, which helps me in getting started in the day. Meditation helps to relieve stress and anxiety of the day’s activities, and helps me to stay focused, regulate my thoughts and mood, and make better decisions throughout the day. Mindfulness has also helped me remain productive throughout the day as it tunes the mind and body into the right balance.
Sunlight and Exercise to Improve Focus
My current morning routine looks like this:
1. Wake up
2. Meditate for 10 minutes
3. Exercise outside for movement and sunlight
4. Take a shower with a few minutes of cold at the end
5. Read goals
6. Note down special tasks in daily to do list (planned in advance)
7. Start work
I used to do just whatever I felt like doing in the morning (and get nothing done). However, my current morning routine is a game-changer for a few reasons. First of all, the sunlight and exercise really wake you up and improve focus.
Meditation helps you focus on the right things and reduces stress. Cold showers improve your mood thanks to things like releasing endorphins. Reading my goals keeps me motivated by reminding me why I do what I do. Making a plan in advance allows me to go straight to productive work.
Intense Workout, Proper Planning, and Setting a Vision
I start my day by waking up early and going to the gym for an intense workout. This energizes me for the upcoming hours as well as helps with my mental and physical well-being. After this, it’s time for breakfast and the rest of my day’s itinerary. I prioritize my tasks as per their importance, delegate certain tasks, update my calendar, schedule necessary calls, and check my inboxes. This process helps me set my vision for the day and gear up for the tasks ahead.
Proper Sequencing Matters
My morning routine has come together through a lot of experimentation. Daniel Pink wrote a great book, called “When”, that describes the importance of timing with habits and activities.
I’ve discovered that I’m a morning person (75% of people are, while the other 25% are more nocturnal), so I’ve tried to optimize my day around this.
First thing in the morning, I take my dog out for a walk. It’s very beneficial to get proper sleep, and to get sunlight in your eyes early in the day. After the walk, I make coffee and have a vitamin drink (Athletic Greens), before going over to my computer to start work.
I am most productive in the mornings so I rarely allow for early morning meetings to be scheduled, so I can do deep work in this time period. Once my focus is fading, I take a break and go workout (cardio + weights). After the workout, I have my first meal of the day (usually around 11am). Fasting has a wide array of medical benefits, so delaying the first meal is an important goal
I Zen Out My Mornings
My business is about creating a peaceful retreat for me. And that is how I start my mornings everyday.
10 years ago, I decided to Zen out my mornings and create a peaceful routine. I have to say, it has completely transformed my life. Now, instead of hitting the snooze button five times and rushing out the door with a coffee in hand, I take my time getting out of bed. I stretch and do some gentle yoga to start my day off on the right foot. Then I sit down with my cup of coffee and enjoy a few minutes of silence before starting my day. This simple routine has helped me to feel calmer and centered throughout the day. And it only takes a few minutes out of my morning to make it happen. Zenning out your mornings can transform your entire day – give it a try!