7 top CEOs on the one thing that makes their mornings more productive
No, it doesn't include waking up at 4 a.m.
Do you wake up and check your email while your eyes are still half closed? If so, you might want to rethink your morning routine. The early hours of the day set the tone for everything to come, so it's no surprise that so many successful people take an intentioned approach to what they do first thing.These hyper-successful CEOs reveal their morning routines that help them prioritize calm, concentration, and the meaningful stuff — without sacrificing productivity.
1. Jeff Bezos carves out a morning pause
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos tries never to schedule a meeting before 10 a.m. "I go to bed early, I get up early, I like to putter in the morning," he said in a speech. He spends his mornings reading the newspaper, having a cup of coffee, and eating breakfast with his children, he explains, taking some time for himself and his family.
2. Reshma Saujani starts each day with time for herself
Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, opened up to Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast about prioritizing time to exercise in the morning as a new mom. "One of my best friends told me, 'Every new mom gets to pick one thing and make sure you pick it and stick with it," Saujani told Huffington, "Because everybody else will eat up all your time.'" Saujani explained that this advice made her decide to find time in her busy morning to exercise. "When my house is basically being activated, that's when I picked my me time," she shared, "So that everybody understood, including myself, that I was going to put myself first and not always put everybody else before me, for one moment in the day." Science backs up her ritual, too: Exercise is incredibly beneficial for both your body and your mind.
3. Oprah says thank you first thing every morning
"I wake up in the morning, and the first thing I say is 'thank you.' Even before I'm awake, even before my eyes are fully open. I say 'thank you.' I can feel the gratitude, like, 'I'm still here. I'm in a body. Thank you for that,'" Oprah revealed in a conversation with Van Jones on CNN. Oprah knows what's good for her (and you). Research tells us that gratitude improves mental health.
4. Tyler Haney takes advantage of the snooze button
Tyler Haney, CEO of Outdoor Voices, has a morning alarm set for 6:50 every day, she tells Women's Health. But she doesn't get up immediately. "I give myself a minute and a half micro-snooze, which feels like the most glorious 90 seconds of my life," Haney said.
5. Arianna Huffington keeps emails out of the bedroom
"I make a point not to answer email right when I wake up, and I avoid the temptation by not keeping my electronic devices charging in my room," Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global's Founder and CEO, revealed in the book My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. Thrive's phone bed charging station takes Huffington's metaphor of putting your phone to bed and makes it a reality, but phone bed or no, leaving your phone outside the bedroom is a great trick to keep those first few minutes of wakefulness calm.
6. Sundar Pichai reads a physical newspaper
"Believe it or not, I read a physical paper every single morning," Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, revealed in an interview. He's getting some early morning respite from screens by doing so, and he's tapping into research that says reading sharpens your mind, too.
7. Gary Vaynerchuk catches up with loved ones
Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia co-founder and CEO, has counseled and invested in more than fifty startups, including Twitter, Tumblr, Medium, Birchbox, Uber, and Venmo. But he still makes a point of calling his family members every morning, he wrote in an article for Business Insider.
"I call my mom, dad, or sister, depending on who I called last. I catch up with them. Talk to them. Just learn what they're up to. I really value those small moments."