What do some of the world’s most successful people have in common?
They get out of bed early and allow time for daily goal setting, exercise, meal planning (in order to eat healthily), and they may actually have a decent conversation with the family before heading their separate ways. See, it’s all about making the most out of our day, and when we’re rushing, or starting off the day late, it can be difficult to stay present and be our most effective. We’re told that we are the most productive and proactive in the morning, and therefore by increasing those hours we have more time to accomplish our goals. We can identify those daily goals first thing in the morning and then set about ticking them off our lists.
From Michelle Obama to Tim Gunn, there are lots of famous people who believe that the early bird catches the worm, and make it a point that they live out their mantra.
Let’s look at 10 people that do just that:
Apple CEO Tim Cook is known to wake up brutally early. His typical daily routine is thought to start at 3:45am and usually begins by working through his emails - he is known to get about 700-800 emails a day, you’d need the extra hours in your working day just to get through those! He hits the gym at 5am but doesn’t waste any time getting straight back into work after that. In order to maintain those early starts, its’ reported that Cook hits the hay by 8:45pm.
Sheryl Sandberg also starts her day early in order to fit in an hour of emails, a morning workout, and school drop off, all before 7am! That’s a pretty substantial start to a productive day if you ask us. Oh, one more tip from the chief operating officer of Facebook - keep a spiral bound notebook with you at all times so your ‘to do’ list can be physically ticked off and discarded when complete!
Dr Dennis J Maddern, Founder and CEO of Maddern Private Wealth wakes at 5am every day to classical music, gets up, showers and eats a healthy breakfast while perusing business and personal emails without actually answering (as no one else is likely to be awake at that time). But this approach ensures that by the time he gets to work at 7am he has the issues of the day in mind and is completely prepared. The early bird catches the worm as they say!
Dame Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, is said to be up at 5:45am every morning for a spot of tennis before starting her work day. After her 1 hour tennis match, she heads into the Vogue office at One World Trade Centre for a full day of meetings and appointments. She is notorious for always being on time.
Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin group, wakes up at 5:45am every morning, even when he’s staying on his private island. He keeps the curtains open while he sleeps, allowing the sun’s first light to wake him naturally, and then he uses those early hours to exercise before an early breakfast and work day.
Arianna Huffington, media mogul and author of The Sleep Revolution, is also a fan of making the most out of her morning, although in comparison to some of the other early birds, her morning starts at a more reasonable hour (i.e. she waits for day to break). It’s worth paying attention to what she doesn’t do first thing in the morning: ‘When I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.’1
Tim Gunn, fashion consultant and host of Project Runway is also said to start his day at 5:30am with an espresso - He's a big fan of those early morning hours. 'I love getting up before the sun's up,' he explains - he even starts his Sunday’s with 50 sit ups, in bed. Now that’s commitment.
Kayla Itsines, personal trainer, author and fitness entrepreneur unsurprisingly starts her day early by exercising. Her alarm goes off at 5:30am, the lights go on to ensure she is fully awake and she starts the morning off with a brisk walk...but not before spending 15min on instagram! Having built her business through social media, and managing it on her own, she takes a few minutes to make sure she hasn’t missed any work related queries and comments.
Michelle Obama, former FLOTUS reportedly starts her day at 4:30 or 5am in order to get an hour of exercise in before the kids get up. The idea is to wake up early to take care of yourself. With busy lives that include family needs and work commitments, it’s easy to run out of ‘you’ time.
Tim Armstrong, former Google executive and current CEO of Oath Inc. wakes at 5am every day to work out, read, tinker with the site and hang out with his middle daughter, who is also an early riser. He too, tries to refrain from sending emails before 7am but will then ensure that he does most of his emailing in the morning on the commute to work, and in the evening.
If these inspiring examples haven’t yet convinced you, just take a look at the science. Studies have correlated early-rising larks with traits such as optimism, stability and conscientiousness2. Similarly, Harvard biologist Christopher Randler found that people whose performance peaks in the morning, are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening. Morning people anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They're proactive. A number of studies have linked this trait, proactivity, with better job performance, greater career success, and higher wages3.
Not to mention the fact that being awake and accomplishing things before others have even rolled out of bed, is a highly satisfying indescribable high that everyone should experience at least once. And once you’ve tried it out, it’s well worth thinking seriously about making it a habit.
Just remember your mantra….in the words of Robin Sharma, it’s all about ‘mind over mattress’.