The Early Morning Habits of Highly Effective People


With the widespread use of email, social media, and other types of instant communication, it’s easy for the day to get away from us. Often, it seems like our typical 9-to-5 workday is constantly interrupted by urgent emails, phone calls, and meetings. And a hectic schedule like that leaves us little time to work on important, long-term projects.

It makes sense then that many of the world’s most successful people have one thing in common. They all wake up early and get as much done as possible before the workday begins. 

So, let’s dive into some early morning habits of highly effective people… 

Great Morning Habits of Highly Effective People

If you’re looking for ways to become more productive and make time for the things that truly matter, consider these early morning habits of highly effective people. 

By getting out of bed a little earlier, you may begin to notice some big changes to both your personal and your professional life.

1. Catch Up on Email

If you’re like most people, waking up in the morning, looking at your smartphone, and seeing an inbox full of emails can give you a sense of panic. You’ll likely feel that you need to respond to every single message as soon as possible. This is especially true if you have a Type A personality. 

That’s no way to start your day, which is why it’s beneficial to wake up earlier than you normally would. Instead, give yourself plenty of time to respond to messages.

This allows you to take your time with your replies and give you a fresh start when you get to the office.

2. Get Some Exercise

In our busy lives, it’s easy to let our health and well-being become the first thing that falls by the wayside. 

After all, how is it even possible to make time for going to the gym when you have to worry about 12-hour days and the demands of family life? 

The fact remains that regular exercise is one of the most important habits of highly effective people. An astonishing number of the world’s CEOs and other successful people prioritize physical activity. They know it helps them maintain energy throughout the day and sleep better at night. 

Tim Cook, CEO at Apple, wakes at around 4 a.m. and works out in the gym to keep his “stress at bay.” And if Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, can find time for a 6-mile run each morning, the rest of us don’t have much of an excuse.

3. Think Long Term

Most business professionals must spend a good portion of their day putting out fires and responding to phone calls and emails. This leaves little time to think about the long term, which can negatively impact the future of your business and career. 

The morning hours are a great time to reflect and think about where you want to be in the next year, in five years, and in 10 years—and set a strategy to get there.

4. Clear Your Mind with Meditation 

Woman doing yoga surrounded by arms holding various devices to demand her attention.

One of the habits of highly effective people may surprise you. It’s meditation. The act of meditating is a great way to set yourself up for the day, especially if you're anticipating a stressful day ahead. 

Here’s what to do…

That’s it!

The Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington, for example, makes meditation part of her morning routine. Meditation allows you to free the mind of your worries and encourages your body to relax by reducing stress hormones such as adrenaline. 

With just 10 minutes of quiet meditation each morning, you’ll be in a much better place when it’s time to tackle your to-do list.

5. Spend Time with Loved Ones

Man wearing a tie enjoys breakfast with his family of four in the kitchen before work.

Morning in the average household can be chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Successful people have taken to using the morning hours to spend time with their spouses and children. The whole family benefits from making up for time missed due to long work hours and late meetings.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of sitting down to a family dinner. You can achieve the same objectives with a big family breakfast a couple of times per week.

6. Sleep Well to Be More Productive

Waking up early doesn’t mean you should miss out on a good night’s sleep.

Numerous studies have shown that sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Lack of sleep is linked to obesity and diabetes. Further, sleep deprivation is also known to cause mood swings and poor concentration, as well as interfere with decision-making. That’s not what you want when you need to be productive… 

The exact amount of sleep needed varies from person to person. Some people insist they need just a few hours. 

However, experts recommend that adults aim to sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night. 

To get an early start, you need to pick a bedtime that provides you with the amount of sleep you need. And you should be able to wake up naturally without having an alarm clock shock you awake.

Our sleep cycle is controlled by a 24-hour internal clock that’s reset each day by sunrise and sunset. We also go through four sleep cycles. So, if your alarm clock interrupts your natural sleep pattern—especially during deep sleep—you likely won’t feel refreshed in the morning.

The best advice is to go to bed early enough so that you wake up refreshed and ready for your day ahead. And save the alarm clock for when you need to catch a plane.

7. Plan Your Day the Night Before

Planning the day is another one of those morning habits of highly effective people

that actually starts the night before. Instead of planning your day in the morning, try listing what you need to accomplish the next day before going to bed.

That way, you will feel better prepared for your day. You will be able to focus on activities that put you in the right frame of mind for the day ahead. 

This ritual works for Kenneth Chenault, former CEO of American Express. He makes a note of his top three priorities for the next day before he leaves work each night. 

And there’s a bonus…

You may enjoy a better night’s rest. Writing down all those pressing tasks that are swimming in your head is a proven method of reducing stress. Having your pressing jobs written down allows your mind to let them go, knowing you won’t forget them the next day. 


If you’re looking for ways to become more productive and make time for the things that truly matter in life, consider implementing these early morning habits of effective people. 

It’s tempting to stay in bed until the last minute, especially when you wake up for work in the winter and it’s still dark outside. But the habits of highly successful people show us that keeping an early morning routine will bring desirable results. That includes physical and mental benefits to our overly scheduled lives. 

Starting early enough to exercise and spend time with your loved ones reduces stress and puts you in a better frame of mind for your day. Plus, you will be a more effective and successful decision-maker.

By starting your day a little earlier, you may begin to notice some big changes to your personal and professional life.


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