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14 Things Successful People Do First Thing every Morning

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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.


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.

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14 Things Successful People Do First Thing in the Morning

They wake up early.

Successful people know that time is a precious commodity. And while theirs is easily eaten up by phone calls, meetings, and sudden crises once they’ve gotten to the office, the morning hours are under their control. That’s why many of them rise before the sun, squeezing out as much time as they can to do with as they please.

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In a poll of 20 executives cited by Vanderkam, 90 percent said they wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, for example, wakes at 4 a.m. and is in the office no later than 7 a.m. Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger gets up at 4:30 to read, and Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is up at 5:30 to jog.

The bottom line: Productive mornings start with early wake-up calls.

They drink water.

Many successful executives reach for water instead of coffee first thing in the morning.

Kat Cole, president of Focus Brands, the parent company of Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, and Cinnabon, wakes up a 5 a.m. every morning and drinks 24 ounces of water.

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and Birchbox Man chief Brad Lande start their days with a glass of hot water with lemon.

Drinking water in the morning helps you feel more alert, rehydrates your body, and kick-starts your metabolism, says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of The One One One Diet.

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