12 Unusual Morning Routines Successful People Swear By
The idea that how our morning unfolds impacts the quality of the rest of the day is a common one. Oversleeping, for example, will leave many feeling stressed, having had to rush through the morning’s activities to get to work or school on time.
But what is the best way to spend our mornings if we want to set ourselves up for a successful day? We dug into the book My Morning Routine hoping to find the ultimate strategy for how to start the day, and came out with more ideas than we thought possible. What we learned is that there’s no one secret recipe to mornings, but many, and it all starts with what works for you.
Now for some this is great news, and for others, not so much. The idea of there being one ultimate diet, workout, partner, or routine that will fix everything is an appealing one. But, don’t worry, we’ve got your back! To give you some inspiration for finding your ultimate morning routine, we’ve collected an eclectic mix of 12 successful people’s routines from My Morning Routine. Enjoy!
1. Tyler Cowen
Professor of Economics at George Mason University, author of Average is Over
“I wake up around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., drink some mineral water, munch on a green pepper, along with cheese and smoked trout.”
Personal trainer, television personality
“My alarm clock is my five-year-old. He jolts me from slumber at about 6:10 every morning for cuddles. Then we get up and feed the animals (rabbit, pig, dogs, bird, chickens, ducks, fish, etc.). Yes, I am serious.”
3. Ed Catmull
President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
“I wake up, go downstairs, and start making a cup of coffee. I use three shots of espresso, mix in three tablespoons of cocoa powder (not Dutch process), and two sweeteners. I’ve heard this helps you think better; I have no idea if this is true, but it tastes good.”
4. Aiste Gazdar
Founder of Wild Food Café in London’s Covent Garden
“I use an alarm clock as an aid and a backup but I usually get up just before the alarm rings and spend 10-15 minutes resting and preparing to get up until the alarm goes off. The moments before fully getting up and jumping out of bed are really important to me. I say to myself ‘I am awake’ – and that goes to all levels of my being, not just the physical, but mental, emotional, and spiritual as well. I become aware of myself, stretch my body from head to toes, massage myself, take a deep breath, and then get out of bed.”
5. David Kadavy
Author of The Heart to Start, host of Love Your Work podcast
“I am not a morning person. This is exactly why first thing in the morning is my most critical creative time. Research shows that your off-peak times are the best for insightful thinking, so my one goal in the morning is to make the most of that still-slightly-groggy time.”
6. Jenny Blake
Author of Pivot, speaker
“I love reading non-fiction books, with a candle lit, for one or two hours until the sun rises. Afterwards, I meditate for 30-45 minutes before starting the day.”
7. Nir Eyal
Behavioral designer, author of Hooked
“I use a smart timer every morning that wakes me up around 7:00 a.m. It comes with a little device I attach to my pillow that communicates over Bluetooth to a little receiving station. When it detects that I’m stirring at around 7:00, it wakes me up within thirty minutes of that time.”
“A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: when I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.”
9. Marie Kondo
Author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
“I wake up around 6:30 in the morning. I open the windows to let in some fresh air, and I purify the house by burning incense.”
10. Brad Feld
Venture capitalist at Foundry Group
“My morning routine is simple. I go to the bathroom, weigh myself, brush my teeth, and make a cup of coffee. I sit with my wife, Amy, wherever in the house she and the dogs are (they usually wake up before me). We like to do a ritual we call “four minutes in the morning,” where we just sit with our coffee, talk a little, and watch the day open up and the birds sing.”
11. Biz Stone
Cofounder of Twitter and Medium, author of Things a Little Bird Told Me
“My five-year-old son, Jake, wakes me up at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. The first thing I do is play with him. Our go-to for a couple of years has been Legos. However, he recently discovered Minecraft on iPad. We can play that together over our local area network (LAN), so it’s just me and him in the game. We often like to play in creative mode, which means nothing bad can happen to us and we have everything we want to build amazing things.
After playing with my son for about an hour or so, I get dressed. This takes very little time because I have a uniform of a sort. I wear jeans, a black T-shirt, and blue Converse every day so there’s no need to spend time selecting an outfit.”
12. Elle Luna
Artist, author of The Crossroads of Should and Must
“Right now, the first thing I do when I wake up is try to remember my dreams! Do you remember your dreams? 60% of people say they don’t dream at all, which isn’t actually true, and of the people who admit that they dream they forget 95-99% of those dreams within the first ten minutes of being awake.”
Learn more about how to create your morning routine — and why there’s no one perfect catch-all — in the blinks to My Morning Routine.