Having an effective morning routine can be the difference between spending the entire day playing "catch up," and consistently staying ahead of the curve.
One astounding trait for many successful leaders is the vital importance of their morning routine, and how the foundation of their day is set long before most people roll out of bed.
Arash Shirazi, CEO of the The Bullitt Agency, is a strong advocate for positive morning routines--and that says a lot coming from a guy who has access to some of the entertainment industry's top tier talent, venues, nightclubs, and events.
For this CEO, his morning routine isn't just a habit. It is the foundation for everything he does.
1. Enjoy the quiet of the morning.
Unheard of in the busy entertainment industry, Arash Shirazi makes the effort to get up earlier than necessary just to perform this daily morning routine. And he starts every day with this simple act: Enjoy the quiet of the morning.
"This industry is always moving. It's a 24-hour gig--if you don't set some clear boundaries. When I was younger, I was much quicker to keep my phone next to me at all times. But that's just not sustainable."
"I have learned over the years that in order to be an effective leader, you are your first priority. So every morning, before the rush of e-mails and To Do lists start flooding in, I take some time to myself."
2. Get centered with meditation.
The discussion surrounding meditation among business leadership is a rising trend, and it's very clear why: meditation is an effective way to gain clarity when surrounded by chaos.
"Transcendental meditation is something I have become a big advocate for over the past few years, as I've slowly adopted it into my morning routine. It is a constant reminder to be patient with decisions and not let the heat of the moment be the driver. I have found that the mornings I don't meditate, I am much less effective throughout the day. For me, it has become a habit--even if it's just for ten minutes."
3. Hit the gym to maximize your energy.
Part of being mentally effective is being physically active. If you don't take care of your body, you will eventually face health challenges that could have been avoided if you had just made a little bit of time in your schedule to stay physically healthy.
"I'm not in my twenties or early thirties anymore," Arash said. "As I get older, I realize that I have to work harder and harder in order to stay physically fit and at a high energy level. But I also know that if I don't take a preventative approach, then I'll end up spending my later years trying to recover from something that could have been easily avoided."
"Especially in the entertainment industry, I have seen a lot of people close to me over-extend themselves or burn out when they were younger, and are now suffering the consequences. Going to the gym isn't just about having a fit physique. It's about taking care of yourself."
4. Read, read, read.
"Before I walk into the office, I've already read the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and an article pertinent to leadership and management in the music industry that I can model," said Arash.
"I think there is tremendous value in reading before the day gets started. It puts your mind in the right state. But more than that, it's important to know what's going on in the world. Especially with our artists, we have them traveling every day."
"I need to know what's going on, so that I can stay ahead of any unforeseen conflict or challenge. If you are in any sort of leadership position, it's important to have a sense of what is going on around you in a bigger scale--not just tunnel-visioning on your business."