Behind the most successful entrepreneurs is often a motivated morning routine. According to researchers at The University of Nottingham, self control, willpower and task-performance all peak in the morning. This means business owners who can max out this crucial time are off to a great start for the day. In this spirit, here are five essential morning habits collected from case studies and best practices in the sports and entertainment industries.
1. Consult a tomorrow list.
Start your morning the night before. In doing so, you will immediately create a sense of purpose and anticipate potential problems. With a plan in mind, your day will already be timely, organized and more effective. Scott Cullather, CEO of inVNT, a live events agency in New York, schedules a meeting with his key support team before the close of business in order to review the following day’s agenda. Cullather says “we review and forecast what tomorrow is going to look like and how we’re going to get through that. It gives us an opportunity to re-prioritize. It also allows us to go to bed at night. Your mind does a lot of work for you while you’re sleeping. You get there the next day and are much more efficient and productive.”
Another example is athletics, where training schedules and game plans are the norm. Head coach for Team Running USA, Terrence Mahon, says the “benefits of preparing and executing a training plan come in so when the pressure mounts, athletes will feel reassured that they’ve done enough.” The same is true for leaders in business.
2. Practice morning mindfulness.
Entrepreneurs should focus on meditation or exercise in order to pre-establish focus for the entire day. Tim Ferriss engages in both meditation and exercise prior to his workday. In meditating, “you’re practicing focus when it doesn’t matter so that you can focus better later when it does matter.” Former MLB great and now Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter lists one hour morning meditations as a regular part of his routine.
3. Focus on the morning nutrients.
A healthy breakfast fuels your day. The Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has a healthy fruit salad and muesli to start his day. Twitter’s co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has two hard-boiled eggs with soy sauce every morning. For elite professional athletes, nutrition rituals exist as a very specific, and often superstitious, routine to begin the day. Professional tennis player Novak Djokovic follows a long, detailed order beginning with a large cup of room temperature water and ending with muesli or oatmeal, to provide his body with what he needs to perform at peak levels.
Rachel DeMita, host/producer for sports highlights network Overtime and a digital content creator, told me in our recent interview that “eating healthy and getting in a good workout are important for me. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I make sure to continue to stay active for my work. I’m still able to hang with some professional athletes and hold my own in a way.”
4. The quintessence of positivity.
Envisioning success will help you realize success. Olympic gold medalist and author Katie Ledecky writes “think of something else, something that doesn’t cause you stress.” Take Ledecky’s advice to radiate happiness and suppress anxiety.
I recently sat down with Jack McClinton, former NBA player and current CEO of Active Dreamers, a company innovating sports retail with its unique blankets and pillows that resemble player likenesses. He told me in our interview that he always tries to “wake up and win the day.” The athlete turned entrepreneur added “I always try to keep my energy at a positive level and vibrate at a high level because I understand this elevates your mindset.”
5. Track results and review goals.
Most entrepreneurs are already goal-oriented people, but where many of them fall short is in writing down their goals and tracking their progress. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals — SMART goals — is the secret sauce for successful entrepreneurs.
With the proper and consistent application of these five morning essentials, entrepreneurial success is well within reach.