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Why You Should Start Your Day Like Jocko Willink

Make a dent in your daily to-dos by the time other people are just waking up.

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No matter where you’re at in your business venture, there’s a good chance you’ve at least once buried your face in your hands and wished there were more hours in the day. Sure, it would be nice to have more than 24 hours to take care of your to-dos, but the reality is that we’re all powerless against the laws of time and space.

That’s no reason to get discouraged, though. After all, business luminaries like Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook are subject to the 24-hour day, but they still manage to run and grow their respective empires, right?

The reality is that 24 hours is plenty of time to crush your goals—you just need to get smarter about how you spend that time. If you could use some help making the most out of your 24 hours, you might want to take a page out of Jocko Willink’s book.

For those not in the know, Willink is a retired Navy SEAL who has co-authored a number of books on leadership and discipline (Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership), co-founded the management consulting firm Echelon Front, LLC, and even co-hosts a weekly podcast called (you guessed it) the Jocko Podcast. 

If it’s not clear already, Willink is an absolute beast when it comes to getting stuff done, and one of the things he credits to his success is his famously hardcore morning routine, during which he gets up at the ungodly time of 4:30 AM, snaps a photo of his watch to post on social media and hold himself accountable, and proceeds to crush a workout in his home gym before settling down to work at about the time most of us are just hitting “snooze” for the first time.

Now, starting your day the Willink way might sound intimidating, but we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up a few essentials that should help set you up for success. Read on for details:



Get Some Blackout Curtains

What’s the first step to waking up even before the early bird stretches its wings? How about getting some good shut-eye the night before? While the sun probably won’t be up at 4:30 AM, ambient light from outside (street lights, passing cars, etc.) can spill into your room the night before and make it harder to fall asleep. These curtains can block it out and help you sleep better so you’re refreshed and ready for that 4:30 AM start time.

Buy a Watch

If you follow Willink on social media, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with his watch. As mentioned above, Willink has made a habit of posting a photo of his watch to social media in the morning to let the world know he’s up and getting stuff done while the rest of us are still wrapped up in our sheets. We’re not saying you have to spam your Twitter followers with photos of your timepiece, but it could help with holding yourself accountable initially or, at the very least, make sure you get out of bed on time. While Jocko’s particular watch model is discontinued, you can grab a similar one from Timex here.
Thrive Market

Remember to Energize

Look, we get it—crawling out of bed at 4:30 in the morning might be tough and proceeding to hit the gym even moreso. These caffeinated hydration tablets can give you a much-needed energy boost as well as precious electrolytes to get you through that early workout.
Thrive Market

Recover, Recover, Recover

After all that hustling is said and done, you’ll want to make sure your body has the nutrients it needs to recover and take on the rest of the morning (which there will be plenty of left). This protein shake should do the trick and it’s even certified organic!