They maximize their energy. Productive people know, that first thing in the morning is when they’re the most creative, their energy levels are the highest, and they can try and find ways to optimize and increase that energy even further (like working out).
Different people do different things in the morning, but waking up early for some alone time seems to be a very common theme.
Once they’re awake, they’re free to do different things that help them maximize their day, like checking emails, working on a passion project, exercising, whatever works best for them.
Lately, I’ve been trying more and more to force myself to wake up early, to try and get in some meditation, a quick workout, and potentially check some emails.
I like the idea of exercising in the morning to be more productive at work, but it’s hard to actually force yourself to get up and do it.
I’ll admit, that I’m not a morning person, and I just started this experiment, so it’s been hard for me, but I see the most successful people in the world doing it, so I figure there must be something to it.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. – Steve Jobs
This Steve Jobs quote shows us the importance of personal reflexion each morning.
We Have The Most Energy In The Morning
We have our highest energy levels in the morning, because of limited willpower.
Willpower is a finite resource, and once it runs out for the day, you’re out. This is why it makes sense to work on a big task first thing in the morning, or at least take advantage of this fact.
Science has told us that creativity is a function of connections between many different networks throughout the brain.
A scientific study of brain circuits confirmed that this creative activity is highest during and immediately after sleep, while the analytical parts of the brain become more active as the day goes on.
The study looked at morning and evening MRI scans and observed that mornings showed more connections in the brain.
There’s also been a number of scientific studies that show that we’re our most creative, and best at performing tasks when we’re at our groggiest.
In a study from Mareike Wietha and Rose Zacks, they that found creative ideas often come at our least optimal times.
So if you’re a morning person, you might be most creative at night, when you’re tired. The reverse is true if you’re more of an evening person, you’ll be the most creative in the morning.
Eat The Frog
One of the most famous books on productivity is called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, and the title of the book comes from an old saying by Mark Twain:
“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long”
What he means is once you get the most important tasks out of the way.
Completing a difficult task not only gets it off your to-do list, but it gives you great energy because you get the feeling you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.
Famous Examples Of Productive People Starting Their Day
Now, let’s look at some famous examples of people in history and how they spend the beginning of their day.
There’s a great book (that started out as a blog) called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, which is a collection of over 100 daily rituals of some very famous people.
Here are a few cool examples.
1. Winston Churchill
“Despite all this activity Churchill’s daily routine changed little during these years. He awoke about 7:30 a.m. and remained in bed for a substantial breakfast and reading of mail and all the national newspapers. For the next couple of hours, still in bed, he worked, dictating to his secretaries.”
2. Barack Obama
“He shows up at the Oval Office shortly before 9 in the morning. Mr. Obama likes to have his workout — weights and cardio — first thing in the morning, at 6:45. He reads several papers, eats breakfast with his family and helps pack his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, off to school before making the 30-second commute downstairs”
3. Ernest Hemingway
“When I am working on a book or story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. “
4. Roger Ebert
“I usually get up around 7. I make oatmeal in my rice cooker. Then I take an hourlong walk: outside if the weather’s good; on my treadmill if it’s cold. Then I shower, shave and go to the first of three movies I see on many weekdays.”