Morning hacking: the morning routines of successful people

Last checked and updated on January 11, 2021

The most successful people have something in common – their morning routine.

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It’s true – when you look at the way that those among us who lead the way take on those first few hours a day, you’ll find a level of consistency that is, quite frankly, astonishing.

Morning really is the most important time of the day. Truly, it’s not just a tale that we were told by our mothers as they harried us out the door to the bus stop. It’s the time of day that puts us on our path, that sets the tone for what comes after. A bad morning quite often means a day full of struggling to get back on track, while a well-planned and focused morning routine can scaffold our ability to cope with negativity that comes in a positive way.

Enough with why it’s important, let’s dig into how the people who are hacking their morning the right way are making it happen.

1. Eat the frog first

This little nugget comes from a master of words, and of life.

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

There are lots of frog in your life, things like daunting work tasks and huge home projects. Determine what your frog is every day and then start with it.

Your willpower is strongest in the morning, when you’re not fighting fatigue or a brain full of pressures. You haven’t been piled with the cares of everyone else around you yet, and though you might feel like you will be setting yourself up for a day that’s begun on a bad note, it’s actually the opposite – you’ll have found progress on something that you were dreading and you’ll feel much better for having tackled it instead of it being afraid of it.

The longer the day drags on, the more you’re going to be both physically and mentally fatigued. Don’t’ wait – get the big stuff done in the morning. Go ahead, dig into that frog. You might like it so well that you’ll wish you had another one.

2. Eat well, eat something

Besides the frog, you want to put some actual food in your mouth. If junk goes in, you’re going to get junk back out in terms of performance. Don’t be tempted to take the easy way out by grabbing a sausage biscuit or skipping breakfast altogether. Drink a protein shake, hard boil an egg, or put some peanut butter on a banana. In fact, if you don’t feel like eating that’s ok – find something that you can get down consistently and add it to your morning routine. Protein shakes area a great option here, just chug and go.

Fat and sugar will just lead you to a crash later in the day, and they will cloud your brain. Whole grains, protein, or fruit are the way to go. This one might seem small and it might seem like common sense, but it’s absolutely a major thing that will change your whole day. Giving yourself a healthy boost of organic energy will enhance your creativity throughout the day.

3. Think about the good

Ben Franklin is one of the most famous of the Founding Fathers, even given that he was never elected president. He was most definitely one of the first lifehackers. He really didn’t have time to spare, given the meticulous daily planning that he did. An early riser, Franklin put in a two-hour block from 5-7am to get his day going, and in that time he meditated on what kind of good he could do in the world. Think about what you can do to make people’s lives better, then go do it. You’ll feel tremendously better about yourself and for the self that you’re putting out there for others.

4. Look back from the future

What do you want to accomplish today? When you sit down at the end of the day, when the emails stop coming and the phone stops ringing, what are the things that you want to have accomplished? Look at your to-do list from the other side. This tip from author Ron Friedman is amazing, and it will change the day for you. If you start off with what you want to have gotten done from the other end, you’ll feel good about it and stop putting out so many fires.

5. Get physical

Getting moving first thing–and that means very first thing in the morning–will let you start your day with health and a clear head. It doesn’t have to be complex, it just has to be an exercise that you enjoy doing so that you can stick with it. Start off your day like Vogue editor and legend Anna Wintour, who plays tennis every morning from 5:45am.  You’ll instantly be more alert and focused, not to mention you’ll sleep better later in the night. It might be painful and require discipline at first, but well worth the benefits if you do it consistently. Getting physically and mentally stronger can help you out there in the battlefield of freelancing and startup entrepreneurship! Consider the morning exercise and healthy breakfast your training.

6. Reflect on the big questions

Steve Jobs famously lived his life with a vigor that it seems like none of us could ever match. One major thing that drove that daily zest for life was his philosophy to wake up every morning and live through the day with the thought of this being his last day.  And if it was your last day, how would you treat it? You might have to make some changes, and you will definitely do things differently.

Final thoughts

If you want to be successful, you need to hack your morning into a positive force in your day. A good morning is how successful people get it done.

Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl, the bottom line is that this is the time of day when your body is physiologically and mentally at its best, and you’ve got to exploit that if you want to get to the level of success that you want to be at.

Set the alarm, put on a smile, and face your day with the knowledge that if the morning is yours, then the day will be as well.

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