What These 50 Successful Entrepreneurs Do Every Morning
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Be honest, how much of your morning routine includes hitting the snooze button more times than you'd like to admit and then rushing out the door? If that's the case, then it's time for a change.Check out the morning habits of some of these startup founders and get motivated to change your routine.
Sleep as much as possible.
Name: Matt Ehrlichman
Morning routine: I am more of a night person. I would rather use my nights versus the mornings. So, I minimize the time between when I wake up and when I'm in the office for my first meeting. I will wake up before I have to make my first meeting, which usually starts around 8:00, look at email and delete the stuff that's not important and get back to anything urgent. I then get cleaned up and off I go to work.
(Read more about Ehrlichman : How This Founder Uses His Competitiveness to Succeed in Business)
Check the news.
Name: Richard Pleeth
Morning routine: I reach for my phone to see what I missed while I was asleep. I check all the news sites, my social feeds and do as many emails as possible while in bed. This means I'm fully informed for the day and helps me relax a little before having to get up. Then it's up to the shower where I have some time to think about everything I have just taken in and wake up properly before heading to my first meetings.(Read more about Pleeth: After Flying 74 Times in One Year, This Entrepreneur Developed an App to Make Traveling Less Lonely)
Meditate for 10 minutes.
Name: Jack Groetzinger
Morning routine: Outside of the normal morning routine stuff, the one thing I do before I come into the office is meditate for 10 minutes. I've been influenced by social psychology dysphemism literature which shows that meditation provides the highest return on investment for how you spend your time, increasing productivity and happiness.(Read more about Groetzinger: The Simple Trick This CEO Uses to Prevent Burnout)
Hit the gym.
Name: Aaron Hirschhorn
Morning routine: I have a double cappuccino, then I have an hour-long routine of stretching and core exercise. It is super rejuvenating and recharging. It gives me perspective on the things that are important. So I get that done and then try to have a good hour of bonding with the kids before the craziness of work starts.(Read more about Hirschhorn: This CEO Says the Key to Being a Good Boss Is Getting Out of the Way)
Clear your mind.
Name: Jerrod Blandino
Company: Too Faced
Morning routine: I just recently learned to start my day with this app -- 1 Giant Mind. It has helped me set myself off in a more focused way in the morning. I don't have to think for a few moments and when it comes time to start taking care of everything, I'm more organized and clear.
(Read more about Blandino: This Entrepreneur Found His Way Into the Beauty Industry by Accident and Then Built a Worldwide Brand)
Get physically centered.
Name: Damien Patton
Morning routine: I do light movements to get my brain out of stress. It's simple movements, yet makes the day start way better. I then I go down to the command center in my house, which allows me to see people talking from different offices. I start the day by talking to the different teams and seeing how things are going, the metrics, etcetera. That way when I start my meetings for the day I have a full live view of where the day is beginning.
Experience the great outdoors.
Name: Josh Reeves
Morning routine: My schedule is waking up for sunrise. I usually spend the first 30 minutes in the garden. I find a lot of joy and simplicity in life from nature. It constantly grows without any of my input or contribution. It's a reminder that the world is a lot bigger than anyone really envisions it. It also gives me a chance to clear my head. It's very easy to become reactionary in startup life -- to become tactical and overcome whatever obstacle. But there's always a million puzzles to figure out, so I need the opportunity to just detach and think -- to have my mind daydream. I like starting my day with that mindset.
(Read more about Reeves: The CEO of Billion-Dollar Startup Gusto Believes Passion Should Come Before Revenue)
Put the phone away.
Name: Jeff Chapin
I have a dog named Alta, so I start by running with my dog around 6:30 or 7 in the morning. I try best not to check my phone or email until I at least do that and have breakfast. The reason being is my default is to do many things at once, or rush to the next thing. Real life rarely allows us to get a full eight hours of sleep or an entire hour to run with the dog in the morning, but that doesn't mean we can't use those six hours of sleep or 30 minutes to run and clear the head, right?(Read more about Chapin: Behind a $100 Million Mattress Startup, Casper Co-Founder Shares Advice on Finding Success as an Entrepreneur)
Remember the mind/body connection
Name: Jessica Herrin
Company: Stella & Dot
Morning routine: I start my day with two habits: meditation and exercise. I need strength in mind and body to be able to go do everything else my day requires, so I focus on self-care. It's like putting on my own oxygen mask. I know if I take care of myself then I'll be able to take better care of everyone else.
(Read more about Herrin: How Finding a Single Egg in Nicaragua Inspired the Founder of This $300 Million Company)
Get active early.
Name: Angie Hicks
Company: Angie's List
Morning Routine: The first thing I do when I get up is I go walk on the treadmill. Getting exercise keeps me healthy and balances my life a little bit. I try to do it before the rest of the family wakes up, so it's a little bit of me time. As soon as I'm done with that it's off to the races.
Read more about Hicks: This Introvert Founder Swears by This Management Tip
Get up with the sun.
Name: Whitney Wolfe
Morning Routine: Most of my days are unpredictable and start at different times, so I try my best to keep up a stable morning routine. I sleep with the drapes open to rise with the sun. I think that's a healthy thing to do because even if you don't like to wake up early, your body does adjust.
I have a yoga mat and a huge bottle of water next to my bed so when I get up, I drink that and then try to stretch and do some form of a morning workout. I do my best to avoid the direct-to-phone dive, because once that starts it's nearly impossible to escape.
I spend the first 30 minutes of the morning being cognizant of my family and dog -- taking him for a walk, spending time with my fiance -- before it goes into madness and work mode
Read more about Wolfe: The Founder of Bumble Reveals How the 'Question of Nine' Can Help You Stay Focused
Prioritize by journaling.
Name: Shan-Lyn Ma
Morning Routine: I start by taking my dog out for a walk, and I do The Five Minute Journal (inspirational journal), 10 minutes of meditation and then I think about the top three things I want to move forward at work that day. It helps me focus throughout the rest of the day and not be as stressed out about the hundreds of things I have to do.
Read more about Ma: This Founder Has a 5-Minute Secret Weapon That Helps Her Focus Every Day
Catch up with company leaders.
Name: John Zimmer
Morning Routine: I get up and do about an hour of exercise. It gets me into the physical world, not just in my head. As an entrepreneur we think a lot, and we can think ourselves into tough decisions but by being physical, I feel both more clear headed and healthy. Then I have a quick snack and get to see my daughter before I leave the house.
I carpool into the office with my co-founder Logan. It's a great opportunity to catch up on the last 24 hours without any interruptions. I'm trying to solve this problem, would love your advice on it, that kind of stuff.
Read more about Zimmer: Lyft Co-Founder John Zimmer: 'You Should Never Veer Off the Path of Your Own Values'
Listen to a podcast.
Name: Amber Venz
Morning Routine: The first thing I do when I wake up is either listen to a podcast or read a devotional on one of my apps. I try and do that before I get into any sort of work, because once I start I will never remember to come back.
I usually go immediately to my email to make sure there's no urgent messages. And then check my Instagram account. I'm still an influencer myself, and so I would like to see how things performed over night.
When I get to work, I always block that first hour for myself. It's just for me to sit and think about my priorities for the day and the things I need to accomplish and get organized.
Read more about Venz: This Founder Shares the Mindset That Helps Her Stay On Track
Get right to the office.
Name: Aaron Levie
Morning Routine: I usually start every day going straight into email. I catch up on what I missed throughout the night and shooting off rapid-fire responses. Eventually I go into work within 45 minutes or an hour of waking up, so no other crazy morning routines.
Read more about Levie: Why This Founder Says You Shouldn't Be Afraid to Go Big
Take a look at the big picture.
Name: Jen Rubio
Morning Routine: I meditate first thing. I then spend at least an hour thinking about big-picture strategies and catch up on emails before I do any meetings or into the office. It is really important for me to use those first few hours of my day to get aligned with what I need to focus on.
Read more about Rubio: Use This Founder's Top Tip To Make Your Meetings Work For You
Take time to meditate.
Name: Carrie Dorr
Company: Pure Barre
Morning Routine: I start my day by meditating, I've been meditating daily for a few years now. I just find that paying attention to my breath in the morning -- I do about 10, 15 minutes a day -- really helps stabilize and create space in my mind. I think you can train your brain to see the world from a bigger perspective by meditating.
Read more about Dorr: This Founder Shares How to Tailor Your Schedule to Fit Your Brain
Name: David Bladow
Morning Routine: By nature I'm a night person, but I morphed myself into a morning persons, because I think it's more effective. I wake up and chug a full glass of water to make sure I'm hydrated. I try to find 10 to 20 minutes to read and meditate, get an hour of work in before I drink a cup of coffee and walk the dog. Then it is breakfast in the car with my wife as we commute into work and and then it's into the day.
If I don't make the time from 6:00 to 9:00 to do what I need to do and get my mind right, I find that I'm at the mercy of other people's schedules and demands. This way I put myself on the right track for the day.
Read more about Bladow: This Founder Has 3 Simple Tips to Achieve Maximum Productivity
Head to the gym.
Name: Bastian Lehmann
Morning Routine: My best friend picks me up at 6:15 in the morning. Then we play basketball, lift some weights and get to the office by 9:15. My first meeting is my chief of staff, where we go over the schedule for the day. I do this five times a week. I grew up borderline hyperactive as a child, so a routine is important for my body and my mind. It levels me for the day, allows me to be smarter, and I don't have as much anxiety, because exercise helps with that.
Read more about Lehmann: This Founder Shares the One Trait He Looks for in Every Hire
Take a minute to connect before the day gets crazy.
Name: Julia Hartz
Morning Routine: I start the day by carpooling into work with my husband and co-founder, Kevin, which gives us a chance to discuss what's on our mind in relation to our family or our business. It's a great opportunity to connect, because once we get to work, we're off and running in two totally different directions. We typically come home together as well since eating dinner as a family is a huge priority to us.
Read more about Hartz: The Day This Eventbrite Co-Founder Learned When to Speak Up
Check on what’s happening in other time zones.
Name: Gavin Armstrong
Company: Lucky Iron Fish
Morning Routine: I open my phone and look at my emails to make sure nothing jumps out as urgent or an emergency. Our company is global and operating in different time zones means a lot can happen when you sleep.
Read more about Armstrong: This CEO Has Helped Thousands -- and He's Just Getting Started
Find a mantra that works for you and stick with it.
Name: Randi Zuckerberg
Company: Zuckerberg Media
Morning Routine: I start my day with a little bit of a cheesy mantra that I've been using for about 10 years. It says, "work, sleep, fitness, family, friends -- pick three." There is a lot of pressure, especially on women, to do everything well, every single day. I like to give myself permission to do three things really well each day, and it can be a different three tomorrow, as long as it all balances out in the long run.
Read more about Zuckerberg: Why Everyone Can Use Randi Zuckerberg's Number One Focus Tip
Get your schedule together.
Name: Tim Chen
Morning Routine: I am not a morning person. If you picture the scene from the Exorcist, that's me. That said, I find it helpful in the morning to reflect on my goals for the day. I'll schedule morning to evening, and if I don't pause to think about what I want to accomplish, I won't make time for the [most important] things.
Read more about Chen: Nerdwallet's Founder Shares the Worst Advice He Ever Got
Workout in the comfort of home.
Name: Heidi Zak
Morning Routine: I wake up usually around 6:00 and try to get a quick workout in. I have two little kids. Before my second baby, I would go to a bootcamp or a cycling class, but now I just tend to do cycling using Zwift. It's a cool new startup that allows you to use your own bike and work out with the TV. I also use Daily Burn, a platform for online fitness videos That way I can just work out from my basement. Working out is something that really energizes me and makes me feel much more focused and efficient. The days I don't work out, I feel it.
Read more about Zak: What This Founder Learned at a Farmstand Helped Her Bra Startup
Name: Daniella Yacobovsky
Morning Routine: I read my emails in bed; it helps me ease into the day. I can't just shoot out of bed, I need a way to ease into it. Usually by 7:00 the marketing emails have started to hit. I like to browse through those, see what other people are talking about and then I start to get up and move around.
Read more about Yacobovsky: This Co-Founder of BaubleBar's Secret for Inspiration?
Check the analytics from the day before.
Name: Chris Wanstrath
Lesson: When I wake up, I try to get a lay of the land by checking emails from last night. I read tech news before any other news I look at the calendar and see if it matches up with the most recent information in the news. Even when we first started, we were checking all the stats first thing, asking ourselves, does the day that we planned for line up with the day we have now?
At the end of the day you have to ask, did I spend my time correctly? If not, I'm going to change it to spend it correctly tomorrowRead more about Wanstrath: This Founder Believes He Found the Answer for Burnout
Read through customer comments and inquiries.
Name: Alex Friedman
Morning Routine: I make coffee and eat breakfast at home. I do stretches, and I typically have time to read through news headlines -- usually from The New York Times and Twitter. I start that way because I need a coffee to start the day and I like to be informed before I step out of my apartment.
Also, I like to be prepared for whatever the day will throw at me, so I spend time each morning both reviewing Lola's key metrics. I often I see something in our data, customer inquiries, or even news events that has an impact on how I prioritize my morning activities.
Read more about Friedman: How You Can Use Your Computer Password to Make Your Aspirations a Reality
Spend time with family.
Name: Katrina Lake
Company: Stitch Fix
Morning Routine: I have a 10-month-old so my day starts when his day starts. One of the things that has been an adjustment being a new mom is that the morning is some of the most valuable time I have with my son. It used to be that I would check email and Instagram first thing in bed, and now as soon as he's up, I'm up. I've really appreciated the clarity and being able to start the day in a more organic way with my son.
Also, one of the tricks I have figured out in motherhood is that it's really important for me to feel present when I'm at work, that I'm totally listening and paying attention and not worrying about what my son is doing. On the flip side, I try to bring that same level of being present at home. I want to feel totally present in everything I do.
Wake up early.
Name: Deepak Chopra
Company: Founder of The Chopra Foundation, co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing
Morning Routine: I start my day around 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning. I meditate for two hours; it's a practice of reflection and also of transcendence and experiencing the simplicity of awareness. Then I do 45 minutes to an hour of yoga either in a class or by myself depending on where I am. I then take a shower, get dressed and do a daily podcast on Facebook which is put on YouTube, answering people's questions. Then I'm done. The rest of the day is whatever comes along, and I live it to the fullest with no resistance.
Read more about Chopra: Deepak Chopra Has 3 Simple and Surprising Productivity Secrets for You
Check metrics from the previous day.
Name: Luis von Ahn
Morning Routine: I wake up pretty early between 5:00 and 6:00. First thing I do is check my email, and the second thing I do is check the Duolingo metrics from the day before, like revenue and active users. I don't know if that is a good idea or not because my mood for the rest of the day is correlated to that. Then I work out at maximum speed for 16 minutes; it is a time saving device. The working out really wakes me up and gives me a lot of energy; I feel pretty refreshed after that.
Read more about von Ahn: Why This Founder Says the Worst Advice He Ever Got Was to Listen to His Users
Think about what you’re grateful for.
Name: Scott Harrison
Morning Routine: When I'm not on the road, I try to let my wife sleep in and make my son breakfast. While he's eating, I dive into my phone to triage emails. This usually only takes a minute or two, but there's a certain release I find when I can delete the evening's non-actionable emails, forward the few that can be delegated immediately and know I'm headed to work with only a five to 10 email debt. I take my son to school, and we count off all the people and things we're grateful for on our walk. This helps put me in a positive mindset.
Read more about Harrison: Everyone Can Adopt This Founder's One-Step Productivity Advice
Focus on lifestyle data.
Name: Harper Reed
Company: Modest, now PayPal Commerce
Morning Routine: I try and wake up relatively early. I listen to some music, and check Twitter. I also make sure I weigh myself and check how long I slept. I do that because knowing that data seems better than not knowing it. That's been my routine for the last five years. I also try and get to the gym in the morning a few times a week because I think it sets a good tone for the day. I started working out because it makes my mind clearer during the the day.
My approach to everything is iterative. Because I started programming at such a young age, when I think about behavioral changes, I think why did I do this in the order I did it? Why do I think this helps me be high performance? I constantly am in the process of saying that didn't work, what would make this better? I don't always have standard routine. I'm constantly reevaluating if this [routine] is going to get me through the day and inspire me.
Read more about Reed: This Entrepreneur Shares the Most Important Factor of His Success
Focus on what is important.
Name: Oren Frank
Morning Routine: I make my wife coffee, bring it to bed and open the curtains so that she can see the light of the new day. The ritual is about starting the day with a focus on the important people in my life. Only when the ritual is complete, I'm ready to move my attention to work.
Get energized with green tea.
Name: Jennie Ripps
Company: Owl's Brew
Morning Routine: For me, work-life balance means being with my children in the mornings -- no cell phones or computers and a family breakfast. I also love genmaicha, a savory green tea made with popped corn and toasted rice. Green tea provides enough caffeine to wake me up and has of lot of health benefits. Coffee comes a little later, around 10 am.
Read more about Ripps: The One Thing This Entrepreneur Does Each Day to Stay Productive
Name: Kara Goldin
Morning routine: I start each day with a 45-minute hike through the Marin hillside with my husband and two dogs. This is an essential part of my morning routine because it allows me to get centered and reset before diving into my day. Exercise is very important to me and starting my day with it ensures I don’t have to worry about fitting it in later. Plus, I feel refreshed, energized and ready to take on any challenge that comes my way.
Stretch it out.
Name: Katie Rodan
Company: Rodan + Fields
Morning Routine: I wake up and meditate for 15 minutes, then check the news. I also do a high-impact 25-minute workout and stretch before heading out for the day. This routine helps me get energized and stay focused throughout the day.
Read more about Rodan: The 2 Simple Ideas That Helped Rodan + Fields Build a Billion-Dollar Business
Organize thoughts with exercise.
Name: Bruce Poon Tip
Company: G Adventures
Morning routine: I start my day with exercise; it’s very important to my routine. I do it to clear my head, to organize my thoughts and to set my priorities for the day. I love hot yoga, but I do mix it up.
Read more about Poon Tip: I Was About to Shut Down My Business but I Changed My Mind. Here's Why.
Hold off on checking phone and email.
Name: Jeff Chapin
Morning routine: I have a dog named Alta, so I start by running with my dog around 6:30 or 7 in the morning. I try best not to check my phone or email until I at least do that and have breakfast.
The reason being is my default is to do many things at once, or rush to the next thing. Real life rarely allows us to get a full eight hours of sleep or an entire hour to run with the dog in the morning, but that doesn't mean we can't use those six hours of sleep or 30 minutes to run and clear the head, right?
Make sure to laugh first thing in the morning.
Name: Vicki Fulop
Morning routine: I start it with a cup of tea and by watching last night's recording of What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. I love Andy and his antics on the show, and it makes me laugh first thing in the morning. Then I read the news on my phone for 20 minutes. After that, I start getting ready for work, get dressed, shower and walk our dog if it's my turn, and then go into work.
Read more about Fulop: Use This Founder's Simple Email Strategy to Keep Burnout at Bay
Focus on getting kids ready for the day.
Name: Nirav Tolia
Morning routine: My wife and I both work, so we really cherish the time we spend with our kids -- and some of that time has got to be in the morning. I would say three or four times a week I'm with my children in the morning, getting them ready, cooking breakfast and enjoying morning time with them. As much as I love my job, my happiest times are with my family. Spending time with my wife and three sons every morning puts me in a great mood and grounds me before the hustle and bustle of the work day.
Limit technology and focus on family.
Name: Jennifer Hyman
Company: Rent the Runway
Morning routine: My husband and I created a “Good Morning” song for our baby Aurora who is 8 months old. We start every day by singing it to her and seeing her huge smiles. Then we pick her up out of her crib and give her a million of kisses. In the morning at home, I'm not functioning as an entrepreneur - I completely limit technology and any work. I'm functioning as a mom and a wife. Aurora has made me happier than I've ever been in my life and to start my day with such pure joy makes me the very best version of myself as I enter the Rent the Runway offices.
Read more about Hyman: Rent the Runway's Jennifer Hyman Shares Her Worst Advice Ever: 'Shut Up and Act Sweet'
Write in a journal.
Name: Christene Barberich
Morning routine: Writing in my journal has been incredibly helpful. Sometimes it isn’t some elaborate, thoughtful diary entry but rather a list of things to do for the day. My journals really are this incredible evidence of what's happening in my life and what seems to be important in terms of what I document.
I also make the bed. Apparently there are studies that show people who make their bed tend to be happier in life and in their jobs.
Read more about Barberich: Why Your Done List is Just as Important as Your To-Do List
Go through email and address any concerns.
Name: Sarah Kauss
Morning routine: I start my day with a strong cup of coffee and my email. It's my routine, because I am not a morning person and can't survive without coffee. And the email, I want to know what I am missing, what I need to address. I don't answer everything immediately; I just scroll through quickly to see if any of my priorities have changed from the time I have gone to bed.
Take 15 minutes for yourself.
Name: Barbara Corcoran
Company: Forefront Venture Partners
Morning routine: I start my day focused on my daughter. Then I sit on my chair and make a quick cup of coffee. That's when I get my luxury 15 minutes. Then I go downstairs, meet [my trainer] Margaret and work out for an hour and then go to work
The coffee gives me a prize of sitting by myself for 15 minutes. I do not have my phone with me. I daydream. The workout is in lieu of a psychiatrist. I find that when I work out, I like my husband more, I appreciate my life more. What seems to be an inordinate amount of pressure doesn't seem so bad at the end of the hour.
Read more about Corcoran: Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran Explains Why You Must Make Time in Your Schedule For Fun
Get lost in a book.
Name: Tristan Walker
Company: Walker & Company
Morning routine: I spend the first hour and a half of my day reading. I try to read three to four hours a day. I don't have too much time, so I just try to find those little nuggets to learn something and get into a working mindset.
Absorb wisdom from the experts.
Name: Payal Kadakia
Morning routine: For years, I’ve started my mornings with a cup of green tea and an inspirational quote to begin my day filled with purpose, optimism and positivity. As an entrepreneur you’re constantly solving what’s never been solved, running head first into thick brick walls along the way. It’s so easy to get stuck in the nos. Starting my day with a warm cup of tea and a positive outlook helps me approach each morning believing I can solve for yes.
Read more about Kadakia: This Successful Entrepreneur Explains Why You Can't Succeed Unless You Invest in Yourself
Listen to customer feedback.
Name: Melanie Perkins
Morning routine: Every morning, the first thing I do is log on to Canva’s social media channels and see what our community has been up to. I find it very motivating to hear their amazing design stories and also hear their feedback on what they’d like to see improved on our platform.
Rad more about Perkins: She Was Told 'No' 100 Times. Now This 30-Year-Old Female Founder Runs a $1 Billion Business.
Get an early start.
Name: Marco Zappacosta
Morning routine: I start the day at 6 a.m. with a workout. Often my wife and I will work out together. It is a great way to wake up, get physical and sweat. I love it. Regardless of what I'm thinking about, it clears my mind
Read more about Zappacosta: The Productivity Secrets of an Entrepreneur Whose First Business Idea Turned Into Multimillion-Dollar Company
Set priorities first thing.
Name: Zach Sims
Morning routine: I usually try to wake up around the same time every morning. I'll make tea, meditate for a bit and write out priorities for the day and then usually I exercise. I find having that hour and a half in the morning where I'm not working really helps make it easier to stay focused the rest of the day and get started in the right headspace.
Read more about Sims: The Surprising Reason Why This Young Tech Entrepreneur Swears By Pen and Paper
Jump start the day with a run.
Name: Karlie Kloss
Company: Kode With Klossy
Morning routine: I like to start my day with a workout and a healthy breakfast. I usually work out with my trainer, Kirk Meyers, or go for a long run outside and follow that with an egg-white omelette or smoothie. I always feel energized afterwards, which is great for productivity and preparing myself for the day ahead.
Read more about Kloss: Model and Entrepreneur Karlie Kloss Shares the Importance of Always Learning