That's when the alarm sounds for Apple CEO Tim Cook. And Cook isn't alone either, many other successful CEOs have boasted similar stories of waking up early. The old adage the early bird gets the worm isn't a cliché, it's a truism.
There is a popular narrative within the business community that working 100-plus hour weeks, clocking four hours of sleep per night, and waking up at 5 a.m. is an accomplishment--it isn't. Crafting a great morning routine starts with acknowledging burnout--and avoiding it like the plague.
Mornings are full of opportunity, clarity, and energy if your previous night was a success.
5. Realize your routine starts the night before.
If you can't commit to getting at least six hours of sleep per night, you're not committed to your morning productivity. One in three Americans are sleep deprived, and this deprivation could be having serious effects on your cognitive health.
To make sure you're getting the proper amount of sleep, set an alarm for yourself to go to bed every evening. You can also download a sleep-tracking app and start to add notes based on your day to see how different things affected your sleep.
4. Use a smart alarm.
Three years ago, I transitioned to using a smart alarm, one that wakes me up when I'm at the optimal part of my sleep cycle. Doing this will help take grogginess out of your morning equation. The key to this alarm, like all, is your ability to not hit snooze.
Exercising in the morning is an easy win to get out of the way. As your day goes on, you're subject to interruptions and distractions. Exercise increases your energy levels for the day, so take your time in the morning and do it. You can read countless articles on Inc.com and around the Web about successful morning routines, and they all have one constant: exercise.
2. Work on a non-work-related goal.
Your personal development outside of work is important. Take the time early in the morning to work on something you've been putting off. This could be reading, learning a new language, a college course, etc.
1. Find a routine that works for you and write it out.
There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to morning routines. If you search for successful CEOs' morning routines you'll see a mixture, all varying in workout length and the time different people get up.
But as billionaire Richard Branson puts it, "Over my 50 years in business, I have learned that if I rise early I can achieve so much more in a day, and therefore in life." Your morning productivity and mindset is the runway for the rest of your day--make sure it's clear, clean, and ready for your day to take off.
I went from being someone who rolled out of bed every day 30 minutes before work and scrambled to get ready to someone who gets up between 4:45 and 5:00 a.m. and gets after it.
Here is my routine:
5:00 a.m.--Wake up, get dressed, drive to the gym.
5:30 a.m.--Get to the gym.
6:30 a.m.--Leave gym, go home to shower and get dressed.
7:10 a.m.--Cook and eat breakfast.
7:25 a.m.--Commit to 20 minutes of language learning on Duolingo.
7:45 a.m.--Head to the office.
8:00 a.m.--Start of my work day.
You need to audit your current morning routine and see what is holding you back from the morning you want. Is it sleep? Is it the snooze button? Once you audit yourself, you can acknowledge areas for improvement.