“If it has to happen, then it has to happen first,” writes Laura Vanderkam, a time-management expert and the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.
Those among us who have managed to find professional success and eke out a life actively embrace this philosophy. They must set aside their first hours of the day to invest in their top-priority activities before other people’s priorities come rushing in.
Science supports this strategy. Vanderkam cites the famous finding of Roy Baumeister, a Florida State University psychology professor, that willpower is like a muscle that becomes fatigued from overuse.
Diets, he says, come undone in the evening, just as poor self-control and lapses in decision making often come later in the day. On the other hand, early mornings offer a fresh supply of willpower, and people tend to be more optimistic and ready to tackle challenging tasks.
So what do successful executives and entrepreneurs do when they are rested and fresh? From Vanderkam’s study of morning rituals and our own research, we outline the following 14 things that the most successful people do before breakfast. While they might not do all of these things every morning, each has been found to be an effective way to start the day.
They wake up early.