How 9 Entrepreneurs Hack Their Morning Routine

From Tim Ferriss to Steve Jobs, most successful people have a morning routine.

October 30, 2015

When your alarm buzzes, do you immediately roll over and check your email?

According to Tim Ferriss, you just utterly f*cked your day up.

But everyone’s different.

And there are many, many theories about how your morning routine can make you feel efficient, productive, and energized.

We figured that we could learn a couple things from entrepreneurs who’ve made their time work for them.

The common thread is that they all say this makes them happier — and they do it every morning.


Tim Ferriss

Life Hacker, Human Test Dummy

Ferriss’ philosophy is that email can distract you from what’s really important. He reads his AFTER he’s centered himself.

When he gets up, he makes tea and journals.

Ferriss alternates between two journals so he doesn’t get bored. One is a freestyle form of journaling called “Morning Pages,” invented by Julia Cameron, who wrote “The Artist’s Way.”

On those mornings, Ferriss spends five minutes laying out his thoughts and feelings.

“Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems,” Ferriss wrote on his blog. “They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.”

Ferriss is also a fan of the Five Minute Journal. It has inspirational quotes and questions — some to be answered in the morning, and some at night.


Kara Goldin

the CEO of Hint Water

Goldin has the exact opposite approach from Ferriss. She wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and checks her inbox immediately.

But then she turns off her phone and takes a hike with her husband and dogs through the hills of Marin, California. The hike, she told Business Insider, is something she can’t do without.

“Without my hike, I feel unbalanced,” she said. “I need this time to clear my head, connect with what I love, and center myself so that I can handle any challenge that might come up in the day ahead.”


Steve Jobs

You know who he is

When Steve Jobs addressed the 2005 Stanford graduating class he told them he started each day by asking himself this question:

“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.”


John Paul DeJoria

Billionaire and Patron Tequila cofounder

DeJoria said he starts every morning with five minutes of silent reflection. During that time, he tries to be present and grateful for what he has.

“The very second I wake up, I stay in bed for about five minutes and just be,” he told Business Insider.

After that, he checks his calendar and makes urgent phone calls.


David Karp

Tumblr founder

Karp told Fast Company he doesn’t check email when he wakes up. He reasons, “If something urgently needs my attention,” he said, “someone will call or text me.”

Once at work, he checks his inbox, which he designed to help him respond to the important stuff first. His email only shows emails from Tumblr staff and his girlfriend.

After he reads those, he sifts through an “unsorted” folder of other emails. Then he makes a list of what he needs to get done that day.


Gary Vaynerchuk

CEO of VaynerMedia

Vaynerchuk has a three-hour long routine to get ready for the day that involves reading a ton of news and posting to Twitter (he is straight ballin with 1.18 million followers).

But he spends some time every morning calling his sister, mother or father on his way to the office.

“I catch up with them. Talk to them. Just learn what they’re up to,” he told Business Insider. “I really value those small moments.”


Brad Lande

the head of Birchbox

Lande’s advice is especially great, because he did not start out as a morning person. But he said certain habits have “shifted (his) mornings from a sleepy blur to a clear awakening.”

He said that no matter what, he does the following every morning:

  1. Drinks hot water with lemon
  2. Mediates
  3. Practices yoga
  4. Uses face oil to cleanse and hydrate his skin
  5. Drinks a breakfast smoothie

Gregg Renfrew

founder and CEO of Beautycounter

Renfrew starts her day by making breakfast and lunch for her kids and husband. She also writes a personal note to her children for each of their lunchboxes.

Then she catches up on news by reading theSkimm and watching the TODAY show – while drinking a cup of Earl Grey tea.


Kevin O’Leary

“Shark Tank” investor and O’Leary Financial Chairman

O’Leary wakes up at 5:45 a.m. and checks the Asian and European bond markets.

“Good investors don’t stay in bed in North America with strings untied overseas, because if something happens in London or Tokyo while they’re sleeping, everything could change,” he said.

Then he works out for 45 minutes before arriving at the office by the opening bell at 9:30 a.m.

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