Ask most people what they did before breakfast and the answers are not surprising. Most say they woke up and got dressed. Others share that they often don’t even have breakfast before getting to work. But the most successful entrepreneurs all have something in common. They seize the day by doing a variety of important things in the early morning hours while the world sleeps.
Getting things done early to start the day off right is part of what makes these entrepreneurs successful. Checking the most important things off the list early, before the day gets complicated with unexpected issues and having to put out fires is key. Time-management author and consultant Laura Vanderkam agrees in her new book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. She cites psychologist Roy Baumeister’s controversial but real finding that willpower is like a muscle that becomes tired from overuse.
Roy Baumeister’s argument suggests that one should tackle the daily responsibilities that are the hardest or most important early, while willpower is strong. It’s much too easy to put off exercise later in the day, once a person (and their willpower) is tired.
People who are successful and who create their own success through entrepreneurship don’t underestimate their very human tendency to procrastinate. Those of us who find ourselves overwhelmed are those who at one point overestimated our own willpower. Taking time to plan, setting an agenda that is realistic, are a few ways to avoid time crunch and becoming over stressed. And once over stressed, getting through even mundane tasks becomes extremely difficult. We have spoken to people getting title loans, who described themselves as over stressed. Failure to plan accordingly was the reason sited over and over again.
Those who are can manage their lives without becoming over stressed, such as those who are successful entrepreneurs, all have certain things they do early in their day. While, not every entrepreneur will do all ten things on the list, these tasks are the most common among the most successful of entrepreneurs. Here are ten things successful entrepreneurs do before breakfast:
1. Wake up early
To get your list of important morning tasks done before breakfast, an early wake-up time is essential. Some entrepreneurs that get up early include:
- Xerox CEO Ursula Burns gets up at 5:15 am to catch up on emails
- Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5:30 am to jog
- Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne gets up at 3:30 in the morning to connect with the European headquarters of his company and get tasks done before the day gets too hectic
- Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group wakes up at around 5:45 in the morning, even when vacationing, to exercise before breakfast
Most successful people take a few, quiet minutes in the early morning to clear and quiet the mind. It’s a good time for them to feel gratitude for their life and successes and gain clarity for their present conditions.
3. Plan for the day ahead
The hours before breakfast are the perfect times for early hour strategizing and planning for the day. Prioritizing before problems and situations arise later helps keep entrepreneurs on task, regardless of what life throws at them.
Exercise has many benefits both physical and mental. And exercising before breakfast means that there are no excuses to skip it later. Vital to keep stamina and energy levels up, exercise is a good outlet for stress, while improving sleep.
Catching up on reading, whether it’s the paper, online news outlets, company documentation or personal reading like novels and biographies is best achieved early in the morning when a fair amount of reading can be done without interruption.
6. Check email
Many successful entrepreneurs have a strict, no email policy during the day in order to get tasks done. The hours before breakfast are the time when many catch up and respond to emails from the previous day.
7. Enjoy family time
Getting things done early before breakfast means that when family wakes, a busy entrepreneur can connect with loved ones before heading off to work, sharing breakfast with loved ones or taking kids to school.