How Does Your Morning Routine Compare to Business Leaders Like Tim Ferriss, Martha Stewart and More?
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Whether they are household names or people making a big impact in their industries behind the scenes, successful leaders all swear by morning routines that set them up for a productive day.
Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.
In an interview with The Cut, she explained: "I have no shades on my windows, so I usually wake up with sunrise, which has been around 5 a.m. I generally read the New York Times right away. I have my iPad right next to my bed and I do the mini-crossword puzzle — if I haven’t done it before I go to bed, because the new one is posted around midnight. It’s sort of a habit I have. Then I get up and I take my shower. Then I go back and I read the New York Times, and I might open the doors to let the cats out."
Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur, author and speaker
In a podcast, the writer, speaker and thought leader explained why he starts his day by journaling: "It's easy to become obsessed with pushing the ball forward as a Type-A personality and end up a perfectionist who is always future-focused...The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention, for me at least, because I am that person. That allows me to not only get more done during the day but to also feel better throughout the entire day, to be a happier person, to be a more content person — which is not something that comes naturally to me."
Sonali Divilek, Head of Digital Storefront for Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Divilaek told Entrepreneur: "Each day starts the same — my husband wakes up before 5:00 a.m. and I usually follow around 5:30 a.m., which gives us about an hour and forty-five minutes before our daughter wakes up. We sit together as I go through the news and selectively read or respond to emails. I typically don’t answer non-urgent emails because I want some separation from the workday and to level set my intentions for the day. Then I go to the gym and once I get back—it’s go time. I feed my daughter breakfast while we chat, get us both dressed and then we are out the door by 8:10 a.m. to start our days. It may sound simple, but my morning routine is one of if not the most important part of my day. To me, showing up in the right headspace is critical for being effective at work and the time I intentionally spend to make sure we have quality family time helps that."
Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group
In a blog post, he explained his love of getting an early start on the day, writing, "...I find the period of quiet, before most of the world logs on, to be a great time to catch up on news and reply to emails. These early hours give me the opportunity to start each day with a fresh and organised slate." He continued: "Being an early riser isn’t about trumpeting how hard you work. It’s about doing everything within your power to help your business achieve success; and if that means you have to get up at an hour not known to most, then you might as well enjoy the sunrise."
Daymond John, Shark Tank and serial founder/investor
The Shark told CNBC Make It: “When you wake up in the morning and look at emails, you’re going to be consumed by everyone else’s emails of people asking you what they need to be done. You don’t get an email in the morning that says, ‘All those problems I had last week, I solved them, and the check is on the way to you for a million dollars.’” He continued: “I don’t look at Instagram because everyone there is skinnier and sexier and richer than me,” John says. “So if I wake up in the morning, looking at everyone’s problems from an email, and then also thinking about how everyone is living a great life, then I walk out of the room depressed.”
John says he prefers to schedule positive things for himself in those first early hours. “What I do is I start to set up in the morning all the time I want to spend with my family, with myself, focus on my goals,” John says. “And when I walk into the world, I’m concentrating on what I want to accomplish.”
Deirdre Latour, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Pearson
For Latour, it's all about structure, explaining to Entrepreneur: "I basically break my morning routine into three important sections: me time, work time and family time. I do a few small exercises to warm my body up like cat/cow and roll-ups. After that, it is time to read the news. Since I am a Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for a British company, it is critical that I have an understanding of what is happening in the UK, US and in the business world. With my first batch of work finished, I focus on my family. I think doing small, nice things for your partner is good for the relationship, so I also always take the time to make a pot of coffee for my husband — he likes my coffee better anyway. After breakfast, I argue with the kids for what feels like ten minutes for them to get their shoes and coats on and then I take them to school on my way to the subway. Once I drop them off, it’s off to the races."
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
In a televised interview, Cook described his crazy-early start: "I wake up at 3:45, I do e-mail (at 4:30), I'm in the gym by 5 a.m. And I work straight until 8 or 9 at night. And then I do it all over again the next day. But I love it, it's my life."
Sean Kell, CEO at Blue Nile
Kell builds his day around his early energy: "I’m a morning person, so I like to make the most important decisions/meetings before 1-2 pm in the afternoon. I arrive at the office by 8 a.m. My first hour is spent walking around to catch up with folks and say good morning. It’s also a good time to get a few emails done before my meetings start at 9 a.m. I usually have meetings booked from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, so keeping 8-9 a.m. open is nice – and allows me to have impromptu meetings if something urgent comes up."
Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO at Aruba Tourism Authority
The head of Aruba tourism is mindful of enjoying her surroundings: "I get up at 5:00 a.m. and I use nature as my alarm clock. I like sleeping with the curtains open, so I wake up naturally at sunrise each day. The first thing I do is check my phone, emails and social media (if time permits!) I work with people across many different time zones, so I need to keep on top of my emails. I generally also exercise each morning. I start my day with a jog at Tierra Del Sol and twice a week, I like to mix it up with an activity like Hot Hatha Yoga at Happy Buddha Yoga. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also call out one of the most important parts of my morning — playing with my dogs. I’m a big dog lover and I have two American Bulldogs, Zeppo and Zazou. Spending time with them each morning helps relax me and gets me ready for the day."