It’s not uncommon to hear about top performers having a morning routine. Most CEOs wake up early to start their morning routine before the rest of the world is awake. But why the morning? What is so important about that time of day? And why should you care? 

morning routine - coffee at sunset

Well, certain things are not coincidences. And in the examples below we will talk about some CEOs routines and what they do and try to see the common in them, so let’s get into it.

Let’s look at Gary Vee for instance. Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and Internet personality. He is that guy who will tell you how things truly are without the bs. In an interview with Business Insider he shared his 3 hour morning routine:

Gary wakes up every day at 6 am, he then takes his phone with him to the bathroom where he digests a decent amount of news from TechMeme, Business Insider and ESPN, Nuzzel, Twitter and Instagram. Being one of the thought leaders in the marketing industry he starts conversations and replies to tweets. 

After that he then will work out with his trainer for about 45 minutes to an hour. 

After that he comes back home to say bye to his kids before school and gets ready to get into the office. On the car ride to the office Gary calls his family to catch up and see how they are doing after which he transitions into his work day. 

Another great example of a morning routine is the one that Oprah Winfrey has. Oprah doesn’t believe in alarms and naturally wakes up between 6 and 6:20 in the morning. She then takes her dogs on a walk and gets some steps in. She likes to begin the day by doing  “a series of spiritual exercises,” so by 7:30am she settles in for a morning meditation. 

After that she moves onto making a cup of coffee. “As I wait for the brew to froth, I pull out a card from my 365 Gathered Truths box. I read five of them each morning; it’s a beautiful way to start the day,” she told the publication. 

After the meditation and coffee it is time for “moving meditation” aka workout. Oprah is a fan of Soul Cycle and has a fairly quick morning workout that she does: “I’ll do 20 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes walking on the treadmill. I start out at the level-three incline setting and then every minute I add to the incline until I get to 12 or 15. And then I do sit-ups.” 

I do personally believe that she has a gym in her home because she’s done with everything by 9 am including breakfast, which by the way consists of whole grain toast and fruit. And some things take less time than the time frame, non the less, I have a feeling that everything other than walking the dogs is done in the comfort of her home.

Let’s do one more shall we? 3 is a good number. Let’s talk about Richard Branson, you know, the guy who owns Virgin airlines. Richard wakes up at 5 am every day! “Getting up and at it early gives me time to get on top of things, and chart my day effectively,” he says. First thing he does upon waking is take some time to sit down, reflect on things and plan his day. After that it’s time for exercise. “Exercise puts me in a great mind frame to get down to business, and also helps me to get the rest I need each night. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing I have applied myself both physically and mentally every day.” He enjoys tennis, going on a walk or a run, biking or kitesurfing. After that he spends time with his family at breakfast. The time with his family is non negotiable for him so he makes sure he gets it in every day. 

So let’s now look at this closer. Of course there are so many more influential people and these are just some of the examples but they are a decent indicator of a few things.  So, what is it that they have in common?

  1. They all wake up on the early side. Having a busy schedule for the day and not necessarily having a lot of time for yourself is hard. Waking up early is the solution. It’s that “me time.” It’s time to gather your thoughts, greet the day and get ready to be the best version of yourself for YOURSELF as well as people around you.  
  2. Working out. I know, I know,… now for the counterarguments of no time or no access to the gym in the pandemic. This is when waking up earlier comes into play. You CREATE the time you otherwise wouldn’t have. Morning exercise has a plethora of benefits-it helps your body release endorphins, otherwise also known as happy hormones, the benefits of a workout are noticeable for 13 hours! after a workout keeping you energized throughout your day. 
  3. Meditation as well as reflection practices are similar but for the sake of this list of commonalities we will put them into one. Taking time to meditate or pray is important because it allows you to be present in the moment. Same with reflection, but we’ll get to that in a sec. You’re probably thinking, but how can I be properly present in the moment? I don’t actually know how to meditate and how do I sit still when I have all the things that I need to do in my brain? Well, I’m glad you asked. You let your mind wonder. You do it every day and as each day goes by it will get easier to clear your mind and just be present and breath and listen to what’s around you. And if your mind wanders back to your to-do list, it’s ok too. Truly. We as humans are born to be storytellers and whatever the thoughts are is your storytelling brain telling you a story of the day ahead of you. Now, when it comes to reflection, I find it to be a great practice that, similar to meditation, makes you take a moment and be present. Think of all the good things in life, and the bad ones too. Did they teach you something? Are you thankful for them and why? Being present is such an awesome power that once you unlock it you keep coming back for more. 
  4. They all have food. That one is more of a joke one, because we have to eat food to survive, but on a more serious note- having a good breakfast can fuel you up with energy for the day and get you excited for what waits ahead, so in all seriousness, breakfast is pretty important unless you follow a more structured intermittent fasting plan. Still, you’re technically having a very late breakfast.  
  5. Last but definitely not least- family time. Gary Vee and Richard Branson alike prioritize morning family time, whether in person or over the phone/facetime to catch up and check on their family. Also, family doesn’t have to be blood family. It’s your friends, people YOU chose to be your family-check in with them, how are they doing? Something as simple as a daily morning text can make someone’s day. Hey, how are you doing today? Copy paste that. It’s so simple yet so powerful. We are created to be a part of society, we crave connection. Connection needs to be nurtured and nourished. If you don’t water a plant it’ll die, same with connections. Show up, show that you care and good things will follow. 

So here are some great examples of the parts of the morning routines that you can use to build your own version of a morning routine. But… What if I told you that there’s a person who did the research of a variety of successful people’s morning routines and discovered 6! That they share and swear by as contributing to their success…

Make sure to tune in soon for part 2

By Co-Author (Primary): Karina Movsesova

Editor: Amanda (Meixner) Rocchio