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What do Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Sheryl Sandberg, and Jack Dorsey all have in common? It is their morning habits:

  1. They are all leaders in their field
  2. They are all morning people
  3. They all have a set morning routine

As you know, morning shows the day. So it is no wonder that these leaders ensure that they are primed for the day after they wake up so that they are ready to top the challenges the day throws at them.

Most of the leaders have good morning habits for health and productivity-related reasons.

We can learn a lot from the morning habits of successful people.

Morning Habits of Super Successful People
Morning Habits of Super Successful People

So today, let me talk about planning your mornings. Here are the takeaways from studying the morning routines of some leaders in their field- which can help YOU become more productive and make better decisions.

And to start, let us look at some common morning habits that we MUST get rid of. Simultaneously I will keep sharing Good Morning Habits also so that you can learn the ends of the spectrum.

7 Morning Habits that can make or break your day

Morning Don’ts #7 Hit snooze

Do you know how Virgin Group head Richard Branson starts his day?

By waking up at 5 am sharp.

He makes it a point to not dally on the bed- and you should follow his example too. We all have alarms on our phones- and the first thing we do when they wake us up is snooze it.

Avoid snoozing your alarm. One of the best morning habits for success.

Snoozing the alarm affects you both physically and mentally. It is one of the most frequently seen bad morning habits among adults.

  • Physically, you again go back to sleep- or at least doze- which can make you late.
  • Mentally- you are telling yourself that it is ok to delay stuff & break commitments. Before you know it, “Just 10 mins later” becomes “tomorrow”- and eventually- “never.”

Here’s a truth bomb- those precious 10 mins of extra sleep that you snatch after snoozing?
Well, they never make you feel fresh. 10 mins are not enough to complete a nap.

Instead, it puts you in a state of sleep inertia. You will spend the entire day feeling groggy & disoriented instead.

What should you do instead?

Wake up!

Get up, get going. Set your alarm for the right time and wake up when it rings. You will feel better.

7 Morning Habits That Can Break Your Day
7 Morning Habits That Can Break Your Day

Morning Don’ts #6 Check your phone or read newspapers right after you wake up

Well, you may be surprised to know that Warren Buffet is guilty of this. He starts the day by reading newspapers. But before you get inspired by him and start scrolling through your newsfeed- here is some sobering thought.

Research shows that your subconscious is most active during the first 20 mins of waking up.
So what you see or do in those 20 mins is going to leave a profound impact on your psyche for the rest of the day.

When we start checking our phones, we are more likely to come across news or updates that stress us out.

Social media addicts- this especially applies to you.

What should you do instead?

Think positive thoughts & Exercise!

Give yourself a pep talk and think about the positive aspects of life. Think of things that motivate you and affirm the commitments that lie ahead.

Instead of scrolling through your news feed, exercise or do yoga. Whatever be your preferred way of working outdo it. Exercising not only keeps you fit but also clears the mind. You will find yourself with more enthusiasm to take on the world.

Tony Robbins makes it a point to start by meditating and then exercising. Mark Zuckerberg exercises and showers right after waking up so that he has time for his family in the mornings.

They say that this helps them start the day with a clearer, calmer mind- which prevents stress and helps them take better decisions.”

Morning Don’ts #5 Laze around

Yes, there are so many things to do, and yes, you have the whole day ahead of you. It may feel tempting to just laze around and be idle in the mornings- but it is not a good thing to do.

Because when you are doing so, you are subconsciously telling yourself that it is okay to delay stuff and to take things easy. This sets you on a slippery slope for the rest of the day.

Not to mention, idling also makes your mind inactive and less alert. You get this sense of mental lethargy that follows you around.”

What should you do instead?

Accomplish some minor tasks. “To get your mind in the “on” mode, how about you start the day by accomplishing some simple tasks? Arianna Huffington, for example, answers emails in the morning so that her mind becomes alert.

You can start with something even simpler- making your bed. Admiral William McRaven of the US Navy once said, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.”

You will find that setting a small task for yourself in the morning and completing it gets you in the right frame of mind. Why?

Because it inculcates a sense of discipline.

It gives you that sense of pride that your first task for the day is complete.

You will find that making your bed not just puts your room in order but it also declutters your mind.

Morning Don’ts #4 Stay cooped up in your room

The bed always looks tempting when you wake up. Especially on chilly or winter mornings. However, it is important that you get out of your room and get some fresh air to bring your body fully awake.

If you just hang around in your bedroom or avoid getting some fresh air, you are giving your body and mind a subconscious signal that the day hasn’t started yet. This, in turn, will keep you feeling lethargic and groggy. Not to mention- it will make you want to put things off for longer.

Many of us have the habit of taking a hot shower in the morning.

Avoid it.

Of course, when it is cold outside, you should take a bath in lukewarm water. But those hot showers that you take will only end up making you feel lethargic.

Not to mention, hot showers may lead to problems for people who have low BP.

And if you are one of those who don’t take your bath in the morning- well, you are more likely to feel sluggish and groggy throughout the day.

What should you do instead?

Get some sun and get going “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gets his daily exercise in by walking 5 miles from his home to his office. This serves 2 purposes:

  1. He gets his workout
  2. He soaks up the morning sun.

The second point is something you should really prioritize. Pull your curtains back the moment you finish your bed. Sunlight has a significant impact on you.

  • Firstly, it kills germs and keeps your room fresh.
  • Second, studies show that the early morning light helps you stay alert throughout the day. So, soak in that morning sun. And the morning is the best time to get some sun. The later it gets, the harsher the light- and the greater is the damage done to your skin.
    Not to mention, harsh sunlight also drains you and makes you feel fatigued.

Studies show that cold showers help you stay more alert.

They also energize the body.

Also, don’t take a bath just for the sake of it. Take your time. This is important for hygiene purposes, and feeling the water cleanse your body puts the mind in a positive place.

Make sure that you take care of your body’s needs before you leave the bathroom. When nature calls- go. Otherwise, you may spend your entire day feeling uncomfortable and out of sorts.

Morning Don’ts #3 Spend too much time getting ready

Don’t you feel annoyed when someone takes a lot of time getting prepared before you go out?

Well, guess what? The same applies to yourself.

In the morning, if you spend too much time deciding what to wear or searching for that one shirt you want to wear- you will only stress yourself out.

This sets the wrong tone for the day.

Not to mention, this leads to unnecessary delay. And to make up for this lost time, you tend to skip breakfast or rush through other things- which again leads to problems.”

What should you do instead?

Plan your outfit the night before” “Steve Jobs got this down pat because he always wore the same outfit. He developed a uniform of black turtlenecks. After him, Mark Zuckerberg has become famous for developing this simple work uniform which has become his signature look.

You must think why some of the most successful people choose to stick to a look? Well, it lets them avoid spending too much time in the morning. Developing a work uniform is great because it prevents you from stressing out in the morning.

Just pick what you want to wear the following day, and set it aside. Whatever field of work you have has a set criterion for dressing up so set some templates for your looks.

For example, if you are working in a corporate office, a full sleeve shirt in a light color and dark-colored pants can be a template. You can change the color of individual items but follow the same theme for more than one day in the week. You will find that wardrobe management, too, becomes much easier when you follow the formula.

Make sure to pack your bag in advance, too- so that you don’t miss out on anything.

Morning Don’ts #2 Skip breakfast

Oprah Winfrey never skips her breakfast- and attributes that to her wellbeing. And it’s not just a breakfast for the sake of it- she insists on having a nutritious breakfast.

She has science on her side on this.

A good breakfast ensures that you have the fuel to power through the rest of the day. Remember, your body has remained without food while you slept. In the mornings, you must replenish yourself.

Studies show that eating a good breakfast is good for your metabolism and also improves cognitive functions.

If you skip breakfast or just munch some snacks or food devoid of nutrition, you will find yourself feeling hungry throughout the day and will probably crave junk.

Not to mention- unhealthy eating habits come with a host of health complications.

What should you do instead?

Have a nutritious breakfast and drink water When you have a healthy meal, you are treating your body right. This means that you also have to hydrate yourself. Have plain water after you wake up rather than going for tea or coffee or any lemon water.

Morning Don’t #1 Leave everything unplanned

Don’t just wing it in the morning. Plan ahead. Not planning your commute or routine may lead to many untoward things.

Instead of knowing what to do, you will end up feeling flustered and just keep hopping through tasks aimlessly.

This may lead to delays and missed deadlines- and create other problems.

What should you do instead?

Plan your day ahead “Set a routine for yourself, and outline your tasks for the day beforehand. Not only does it help you stay organized- it gives you a sense of direction.

Creating to-dos for the day ahead is a great way to plan the day. This is something Arianna Huffington is known for. She says that she has todos set, and starts working on them right away- which ensures that her tasks get completed and her day goes as planned.

Advance planning also helps you with time management. You will find that you can organize your thoughts better and take the necessary actions.

Planning ahead helps you avoid nasty surprises- and you will find that your performance has improved substantially over time.

Just take 5 mins to note down your tasks for the day- you will find that your days will get better.

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