A productive day starts with a productive morning.We asked our community of entrepreneurs to share some of the details of their productive morning routines.

One of our biggest takeaways is that it doesn’t matter “what” you do in the morning because everyone does things differently. What matters is that you take deliberate action rather than starting your day in a reactive state. Taking control of your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

The men and women featured below are doing big things in each of their respective industries, and their morning routines have contributed to their success. Enjoy.

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Check out these morning routines.


Dan Lee – Director of NextDesk

Dan Lee
At an early age, I noticed a high correlation between success and rising early. Not only did it increase productivity throughout the day, but it also gave me a significant feeling of well-being. Today I wake up every morning at 3:30 am. It may sound early, but it enhances my quality of life. Here are my tips for starting your own “early riser” program!
1. First, recognize that getting up early or rising late isn’t who you are. It’s what you do. Changing who you are can be a lifetime project. It’s a lot easier to change what you do.
2. A lot of people subscribe to the idea that if you want to start getting up early, you should always turn in early. Not necessarily. If you can’t fall asleep within five minutes or, so it’s probably too early. My personal belief is that you should turn in when you’re tired. i.e. If you are reading and can’t stay awake, it’s time for bed.
3. How can I wake up early and feel refreshed? I write down my plan for the following day’s activities before I retire. You’ll find that your subconscious will go to work homogenizing all of your activities while you sleep. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go!
4. Plan your morning regimen and keep it consistent. Here’s mine to get you started!
Wake at 3:30 A.M. Yes, that’s 3:30! (not for everyone) Drink two liters of water, two cups coffee followed by a healthy smoothie
3:45 A.M. 30 minute mutual appreciation time with my dog. Not sure which one of us benefits from this the most?
4:15 A.M. One hour reading (currently… Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek)
5:15 A.M. One hour at the gym (learn to enjoy the price rather than paying it)
6:15 A.M. Shower, shave and off to campus

7:15 A.M. All cylinders are firing. Time to have some fun!


Vladimir Gendelman — Founder & CEO at Company Folders, Inc.

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Personally, I have to have eight hours of sleep in order to function properly, so I go to bed at 10 p.m. and wake up by 6 a.m. Then, I start each day with an hour of walking or riding my bike, depending on the weather. I listen to business books while I’m exercising, which keeps me updated on the latest trends and management techniques within my industry. I also make sure to drink 48 to 64 ounces of water during my workout.

Next, a healthy breakfast with a fruit or vegetable smoothie puts me on track for healthy eating throughout the day. Breakfast is followed by a shower, which gives me time to relax and think about my goals for the day.

This routine prepares me both mentally and physically for each day. It also jump starts my day so that I am focused and ready to work by the time I reach the office, instead of trying to gear up once I’m already at work.


Jesse Lakes – CEO of Geni.us

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My day starts fairly early, around 6:00 or 6:30 am. I try to start with a run, a good breakfast and spending a few minutes playing with my daughter to remind me what it’s all about. Now that I’m a dad I go to sleep way too early, passing out by about 10:00 pm (usually about half way into Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show).


Adam Milstein – Managing Partner of Hager Pacific Properties

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I go to sleep every night around 12:30 am and wake up at 6:30 am. I have coffee, eat something light, and spend about 30 minutes reading the news each day. This is a very important part of my routine – being successful requires that you know what is going on in the world.At 7:00 AM, I hop on the elliptical machine or treadmill and watch basketball. Then, from 7:30 am until 8:30 am I work out with my trainer while watching Israeli television. The Israeli television analysts provide a unique and sophisticated take on the news. Israeli news is pure reporting, not opinion reporting as you find on many American channels.

I work out every single day, whether I’m sick or healthy, and no matter how busy I am. I have found that if you are not extremely disciplined about exercise, it is a very slippery slope. The moment you start canceling is the moment that you start getting out of shape.


 

Amanda Lovelan – CEO of modbod

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My days go so much better when I take the time to meditate. That quiet time for me in the morning to connect has been so key to my growth as a business owner and as a person. I find that my days go much smoother, I am more clear minded and more connected to the needs of my company but also the needs for myself. I have learned that it’s important to pay attention to my personal needs to make sure my cup is full as my company is such a part of me. I am much healthier and happier as a result, and so is my company. Oh and coffee! Coffee is for sure a must for me every morning.


 

Samuel Strauch – Principle at Metrik Real Estate

Samuel

Early morning meditation – What I found very useful is a combination of easing the mind along with positive projections. Set intentions for the day – I put aside a few minutes after meditation to think about the things that I have to do. First things first – I prioritize the tasks that must be accomplished for each day and complete them.

Emails – I set aside 2 or 3 blocks during the day to go over emails and try to resolve situations as pragmatically as possible. Social media and news – One quick review over breakfast and then late in the evening when I am more relaxed. Exercise – This is a BIG ONE. Not only is it awesome for your body, but also for the mind and soul. I cannot say how many extraordinary ideas were born on the bike, in the pool or just walking! Be social (not looking at the phone) – When I am interacting with people, the phone is off limits, unless It’s something CRITICAL. It builds rapport and shows respect.

In summary, the antidote is simple – set specific times each day for actionable items, and enjoy life. It’s all about working effectively, and the result will be a much happier life!


 

Kornel Kurtz – Owner of WebTek

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I find if my mornings have structure, the rest of my day follows suit.  I front-load my mornings with many tasks in the first few hours.  This helps set the pace for the rest of the day and gives me a feeling of accomplishment as easy tasks get completed.  This usually starts with making my bed, doing my morning grooming, so I am presentable to the general public, catch up on the news while enjoying a light breakfast and off to work.  At work numerous other easy tasks are waiting for me to check off the list, including catching up on overnight email, doing some quick reading and organizing my thoughts and tasks for the day.  By the time I’m ready to start work, I feel like I got so much done and am eager for more, as the pace and accomplishments (although minor) fuel and help structure the rest of my day.

 


 

Mike Glanz – Founder and CEO of HireAHelper

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I despise being rushed. I want margin in every aspect of my life. With four kids and a company that means including extra time into my mornings, so when something goes wrong – and it consistently does – I can successfully adjust without my entire day being affected.

After exercise and family time, I walk into the office – usually around 7:30 am. I’ve recently made a conscious effort not to check email before getting in the office, so reading and responding to email is the first thing I accomplish. The new habit has allowed me to increase my morning productivity, while also giving me a period of relaxation before the work-day begins.


 

Alex Morehouse – CEO of The Gypsy Shack

Alex

For me, mornings are a time of organization and planning for the rest of my day. My weeks differ when it comes to scheduling, but I try to maintain a consistent morning routine no matter the time I wake up (which typically is around 6-7am). I start my day by rolling out of bed, sauntering towards the kitchen to start up the Keurig, and then make my bed/tidy up my room, so I have a clean workspace. I go through my calendar on my phone, map out where I need to be at what time, touch base with people if I have meetings/interviews scheduled to make sure that things are still going as planned, and I start knocking things off of my to-do list.

For me, organization is key. If I have errands to run, three meetings, and a photoshoot I cannot just wing it – I need to plan out how much time I can spend at each interview, how much time it will take me to drive from point A to point B, and I need to make sure that I account for things such as traffic, or people cancelling/changing plans. We live in a world of uncertainty, so we should try our hardest to control the things we can. By having that organization time or “one-on-one” time with myself each morning, it allows me to tackle all the projects on my list without missing anything or suffering from an anxiety attack!


 

Leo Kanell – CEO/Founder at Fundwise Capital

Leo Kanell

I try to go to sleep by 11 pm or midnight so I can wake up energetic and alert. My world begins with exercise, there is no better way to begin your day than by taking on a challenging strength or cardio workout. I prefer P90X 3 and T25, both workouts take 25 to 30 minutes and can quickly be done in my home. With my blood circulating and my mind sharp I am able to execute on my tasks for the day. In the shower I will meditate and envision what I need to successfully and aggressively attack in order to succeed massively for the day. A clean liquid meal with some energy and supplements is also vital. In my car I do not listen to the radio, but instead listen to books on audible from those who have achieved greatness.


 

Shaliza Somani – Founder of One Star Media, Inc.

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A friend of mine bought me a copy of a book that inspired her entitled “The Artist’s Way.” We had a discussion about how I was feeling creatively blocked, and she thought this would be a great way to unlock my fears and creative blocks. The first chapter of this book is focused on what they refer to as “morning pages.” I like to call this your morning brain dump. You wake up and write three pages of whatever is on your mind. Anything at all. It could be about the most trivial things, but the intention is to get whatever is on your mind onto paper. I have found this so profoundly therapeutic. Not only does this help me get organized for the day, it helps me let go of all the things that may not be as important but still need to be addressed because they can become distracting.


 

David Taran – CEO at Sunstar Capital

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My morning ritual starts at 6:00 am, and it’s very intentional. Before checking my email (which can draw you into a reactive rather than a proactive mindset), I begin my day with a gratitude practice. This is pretty simple and includes going through a few things that I appreciate about my life. Next, I do my morning meditation and 45 minutes of yoga. This clears my mind and gives me energy and focus for the rest of the day. Then I have breakfast, equipped with bulletproof coffee, and jot down my top 3 objectives for hours ahead. At the end of the day, I always try to reflect on one thing I learned and make a note of what I want to follow up on the next day. Then, I leave work behind to be present for my family. Having enough sleep is very important to increase effectiveness, as it clears away the neurotoxins that accumulate during the day. So, I go to sleep at around 10:30 pm.


 

Sherrie Suski – Chief Administrative Officer and VP of Human Resources, Bluecava

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I am usually online by 5:30 am answering questions from our East Coast offices. In the morning, efficiency and multi-tasking are key. If I can talk to a team member on the East Coast while driving in it frees up additional time in the office. Without fail, the first thing I do is say “good morning” in person, through IM or e-mail, to my team members. Management is not just about getting things done, but about getting things done through others. Keeping personal relationships strong and letting others know you care is key to a productive environment. Next, I will send out all my follow ups to allow others the opportunity to work on them throughout the morning. I like to start my meetings as close to 8 am as possible as it is easy for the 8-9 hour to become an extended coffee break and not super productive. I try to schedule all my meetings back to back as there is a tendency for meetings to run long, unnecessarily if everyone knows they can. In between meetings I will block time for focusing on the longer-term deliverables and catch up with my team. I always leave 30 minutes somewhere on the calendar for the unexpected. With nearly 500 employees in 17 locations, there is never a day without a crisis. Late morning, I will take a status check to ensure that I am on course for what has to be accomplished that day and make adjustments if necessary.


Alexander Christodoulakis – CEO of PBS SA Capital Group

AlexanderChristodoulakis

The mornings structure depends on a monthly or seasonal general structure of a ‘general master plan.’ Your mornings are structured depending on how well can make the repetition program to stay within the master plan that you have structured in your mindset. But, the truth is that there is more to it than your own structure and how well go about it. There’s another ‘master plan’ that your “structured mornings” depend on. If you are worthy of withstanding and surviving challenges, mishaps, setbacks, criticisms and remain sane and well about your wits, to be and call yourself an ‘entrepreneur’, then you may consider yourself lucky if your mornings are actually “structured”. Any morning which can be called ‘a structured morning’ and repeated by you every day in first place, is an achievement. A true entrepreneur knows well the two twin siblings for life and business, called ‘adaptation’ and ‘improvisation’. The species that survives is not the strongest or fastest, but the one more receptive to change and constant changes. Keeping up and ahead in today’s constantly moving landscape, in a world of political uncertainty, volatile global markets and questionable socioeconomic truths; Then my mornings are structured within the actual foundations, functions, and dysfunctions, to a general master plan for governments and the financial markets of the today’s world. I only exist, wake up early and sleep early, to have a little more working hours, to better adapt and improvise on my next -“Structured Morning”.


Pepper Rutland – Founder, President, and CEO of MMR Group Inc.

Pepper Rutland Headshot

My morning is pretty consistent. I usually go to bed around 10 PM, but stay up reading until 11 or 11:30 PM. I wake up between 6 or 6:30 AM. I get my green tea (I don’t drink coffee), check my phone for my 7 AM update from the office, read the local paper, the Wall Street Journal, and watch the morning news. I also review my calendar for the day and future days of the week. I travel a lot, so this is my home routine. Road travel means you adapt to wherever you are and what you have scheduled. You are always a slave to the schedule you create. Interestingly, when you create difficult schedules, you always find a way to get it all done.


 

Tavio Hobson – Co-Founder – MTT Development

 

Tavio

Really what time I go to sleep depends on the day I can go to bed from anywhere between 11 pm to 2-3am depending on how busy I am. My morning routine is more concrete. I can’t start the day without meditation, especially when I am at my busiest, it keeps me balanced and ready for the day when I have that time to myself. Then after that, I grab my coffee at Starbucks and my laptop, and it is off to the races. Every day fluctuates but I just started meditating about seven months ago, and it has been a game changer to approaching a very long day where I usually am up by 530am, and a lot needs to be done.


 

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