Billionaires did not build their mammoth net worths by being disorganized and letting life slide over them. No, they are highly focused and organized people whose morning routines are practically cast in stone and designed to set up the rest of their day to be as fruitful and productive as possible.
Successful people — or their assistants — create rituals they rarely deviate from. Whether it's waking up at a set time, going to the gym, reading, journaling, and having a nutritious breakfast, their mornings are habitualized to run on automatic pilot.
The great thing is nothing's stopping you from incorporating some of these into your morning routine.
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- Morning routines are important to many successful people, and often include activities like meditation, exercise, practicing gratitude, reading, journaling, and writing to-do lists.
- These routines are not only beneficial for physical and mental health, but also help boost cognitive activity and improve job performance.
- While it may not be possible for you to do them all, you can swap negative habits for positive ones to get your day off to a good start.
It is rare to find someone with an extremely high net worth who doesn’t devote some of their morning to meditating. Why? The practice reduces stress and anxiety, creates awareness, and fosters concentration.
Richard Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin Airlines; Oprah Winfrey, the TV host and media mogul; and Ray Dalio, the co-chief investment officer of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, all swear by one of their morning routines of meditating, gathering their thoughts and focusing on the day ahead.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook; Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter; and Richard Branson are avid proponents of morning exercise.
“Staying in shape is very important," Zuckerburg says. "Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you’re fit.” He works out at least three times a week when he wakes up.
Dorsey starts each morning focusing on his mind and body. His billionaire daily routine includes a six-mile jog, sixty minutes of meditation, and an ice bath to jolt his system to full alertness.
They aren't exercising in the morning just to get fit. They believe that it’s a vital component of a monetarily successful person. Exercise releases tension, clears the mind, and promotes focus and an increased attention span. Completing an exercise routine also results in a sense of accomplishment that carries through the day as neurotransmitters are recharged and rejuvenated.
Without a doubt, there is not one billionaire who rose to the heady heights of financial success without many people’s help, guidance, and advice. They did not do it on their own.
Practicing gratitude is an exercise in humility and shifts focus away from self. In her article, What Oprah Knows for Sure About Gratitude, Winfrey writes, “For years, I’ve been advocating the power and pleasure of being grateful. I kept a gratitude journal for a full decade without fail — and urged you all to do the same.” Who are we to argue with a woman worth over $3 billion?
Many high-net-worth individuals have trouble sleeping because their minds are so active. Others get seven to eight hours per night but get up at dawn or before. This enables them to devote the required time to their morning routines. With their hectic schedules, it is often the only time they can squeeze in to be with their family members.
Richard Branson, the renowned billionaire entrepreneur, says, “In my over 50 years in business, I have learned that if I rise early, I can achieve more in a day, and therefore, more in life."
An interesting morning routine is reading a book or article. Studies have shown that this boosts cognitive activity in preparation for balancing the day’s activities and decision-making. So, before hitting the office, many billionaires will have consumed a word or two.
Warren Buffett, the Wall Street beating investor, starts his days with an assortment of national and local news, and Bill Gates always reads the national papers and digests the daily news. No matter what time of day, there is no one billionaire on any list who is not a voracious reader.
People like Warren Buffet, Ariana Huffington, and Richard Branson swear to write expressively by dedicating 10 to 20 minutes. It has been shown to reduce stress and improve job performance.
They say it’s the elixir of life, but one’s body and mind must be adequately hydrated, so drinking water first thing in the morning jump-starts the metabolism.
A slow metabolism is the last thing a highly successful entrepreneur needs, as it leads to sluggish thought processes and faulty decision-making.
Health and diet gurus tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many billionaires make time to eat a healthy, nutrition-packed morning meal to fuel them for the rest of the day. However, not all follow a healthy diet in the morning.
Jeff Bezos, arguably the richest man in the Western world, supposedly goes to McDonald’s and eats one of the same three things daily: two sausage patties, a sausage, egg, and cheese, or a bacon, egg, and cheese. And Buffett can be found at his local McDonald's every morning. Neither's ability to generate and manage their wealth seems to have been affected by their relatively unhealthy choice of breakfast.
Writing a to-do list
Lastly, many wealthy entrepreneurs know how important it is to physically write down what they need to accomplish during the day. It seems so trivial, but the simple act of writing down a list of what needs to get done creates a level of focus that's incredibly effective.
- Wake at 6 a.m. and avoid looking at your phone.
- Rehydrate with a liter of fresh water. Drink sparkling if you struggle to get it down.
- Read the next chapter in a book or your preferred newspaper (avoid screens).
- Journal for 15-20 minutes to get your mind going. Some use this to write down
- Meditate for 15-20 minutes. Use this time to pray and remember what you're grateful for.
- Organize a list of things you need to get done today.
- Exercise for 30-45 minutes.
- Eat a breakfast that's high in lean proteins.
Tips for busy people
Of course, I hear what you're saying: try fitting that in and get the kids ready for school!
You'd be right. It's not easy. But you don't have to do one thing at a time.
- Multitask (in a good way). For example, drink water while doing something else or combine journaling with practicing gratitude.
- Swap bad for good. Replace checking email with reading a book.
- Cherrypick what works. Don't let it get you down if you can't fit it all in. Do what you can and build around that.