Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up few minutes before 4:00 in the morning to start his busy day. Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo's CEO, arrives at her office by 7 a.m. while Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is up before 6 a.m.
You might think these practices are a little extreme, but what you might not realize is that your morning routine impact your entire day. Studies show that using early morning routines improve your ability to take action and change a situation to your advantage, amongst other benefits.
Not to mention it's tough to achieve exceptional success and wealth if you're stumbling out the door and barely able to make it to work on time.
The idea of sacrificing few hours of your precious sleep may entail a big adjustment for a lot of people, but as a converted morning person who now runs two companies, trust me when I say that the effects will pay off in big ways.
You don't necessarily have to go jogging at 5 a.m., either. Try these small tweaks to your morning routine that can make all the difference:
1. Get your brain working
When Tesla CEO Elon Musk was asked how he knew so much about science and rockets, he responded by saying, "I read a lot of books." A slew of studies and other billionaires who are voracious readers back Musk up.
Since mornings are usually quieter than the rest of the day, it makes perfect sense to use them for some reading time. Your brain can focus more, you'll be able to absorb information quicker, and you'll jump-start your cognitive engine before the workday begins.
2. Engage in positive self-talk
Even U.S. Navy Seals swear by the practice of positive self-talk, because it empowers you to do greater things and far more than you could even imagine, while warding off any negativity.
Start the day by making it a point to feed your mind with positive thoughts. It will boost your spirit and drive you to become better at what you do.
3. Jot down your to-do list
Once you're done establishing a positive mindset, plan to conquer your daily battles.
Just by writing down tasks that you need to accomplish within the day, you will impose order on your life. Instead of haphazardly multitasking, which is wildly unproductive, you're prioritizing and giving your full mental attention to the most important things first.
It is difficult to function when everything seems to be all over the place, but when you actually jot down responsibilities one by one, you will be able to carefully assess each item and categorize them accordingly. Ask yourself: Is this actually urgent? Could you delegate that?
That's a secret to jump-starting productivity that many tend to skip.
4. Find inspiration
Inspiration will do more to get you out of bed than the most heavily caffeinated coffee product ever will. Even if I'm sleep deprived, thinking about the change I'll make that day through LexION Capital gets me amped up.
Some people find inspiration by watching motivational videos, some just need a short pep talk with a loved one or a friend, and others prefer meditation.
There are countless ways to get inspired. Regardless, the effect is the same: It will give you reason to work harder and stay at your best form, no matter how challenging the day gets.
5. Choose paper, not plastic
It can feel so rewarding to make a budget, only to see all that effort go to waste when we starting overspending because we're distracted during the busy workday.
To avoid that, discipline yourself first thing in the morning by putting just enough, ideally the bare minimum of, money in your wallet that you'll take with you for the entire day. Then, if you can, leave behind credit cards so you can stay debt-free for as long as possible.
Instead of paying-off exorbitant interest rates, you could allocate your funds to other platforms like investments where they have opportunities to grow.
6. Be grateful
Practicing gratitude brings about an immense slew of scientifically proven benefits. Those include better performance, increased happiness and reduced stress, amongst others.
Take a cue from Tony Robbins, who suggests a morning "Fifteen Minutes to Thrive." He spends some time thinking about what he's grateful for as soon as he wakes up.
7. Eat up and get your sweat on
The first meal of the day is the most important, and successful CEOs from Branson to Zuckerberg have all said that a big, healthy breakfast benefits them throughout the day.
Science backs them up. Breakfast can do everything from boost your mental power to getting you in better shape. And for those who cry in protest that there isn't enough time to make a big breakfast in the morning: You can always set it up the night before. I do.
In that same vein, before 8 a.m. is the perfect opportunity to get some exercise as well, which also brings a plethora of mental and health benefits. This doesn't have to be an extreme workout, either. I simply walk to the office around 8 a.m.
8. Take the time to think
Thomas Corley found that wealthy individuals devote at least 15 uninterrupted minutes towards thinking daily. They use that time to hone in on specific ways to improve their life, such as how to make more money. "When the rich need money, they don't wonder if it's possible, they simply begin creating new ideas that solve problems," according to Corley.
This might seem obvious, but during a hectic workday, how often do you spend time thinking, versus just doing?
That's why the crack of dawn is a great time to utilize this habit. Without any interruptions, you can think about the day ahead, and what you'll do to inch closer towards your long-term goals. Over time, those few minutes can turn your dreams into realities.
Elle Kaplan is the Founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the Chief Investment Officer and Founder of LexION Alpha.
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