How to Start Your Day as an Entrepreneur

Recently, Smart Hustle Editor Ramon Ray was interviewed by Zev Asch. Among the many questions asked about Ramon’s entrepreneurial life, Zev also asked him, “How do you start your day?”

On the surface, you may think that someone’s personal routine in the morning is not relevant to business. However, there are striking similarities between how successful entrepreneurs start their day. Are they onto something? Is there a right way to start your day? Could changing how you begin the day improve your chances of success?

It’s certainly enough to get you thinking. In fact, after the interview, Ramon posted the following video on his Facebook page, where he shared four tips about how he starts his day. It’s a quick 2-minute video. Give it a watch by clicking play below.

Striking Similarities in How Successful People Start Their Day

Ramon’s tips echo the thoughts of many other entrepreneurs and websites that have covered how to best start your day. Here are some common themes:

Wake Up Early

Many successful entrepreneurs get an early start to their day. For example, Business Insider gathered data on this and found:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 am
  • GE CEO Jim Immelt gets up at 5:30 am
  • Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary wakes up at 5:45 am
  • General Motors CEO Mary Barra is in the office by 6 am
  • PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is in the office by 7 am

Get Motivated

Successful people also want to start their day on the right foot. In the video above, Ramon mentions that he starts his day with devotions. Celebrity Oprah Winfrey and Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, start with meditation. There is also research that suggests that reading positive news in the morning can get your day off to a good start.

Another way to get motivated in the morning is by setting goals for the day or giving yourself a pep talk. The late Steve Jobs once gave a commencement speech at Stanford in which he said the following:

“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.”


Some successful people swear by starting their day with exercise – a way to wake up the body and the mind.

For example, Apple CEO Tim Cook can be found at the gym by 5 am. Bill Gates hops on the treadmill and does cardio every morning. Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5:30 and meditates then jogs five miles. And Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, starts his day with swimming and tennis.

Begin with a Plan

Many entrepreneurs wake up and get right to work, but they also stress the importance of planning your to-do list out the day before. Buffer author Kevan Lee calls this the “Tomorrow List.”

  • At the end of the day, write down the main tasks you need to complete tomorrow.
  • In the morning, look at the list.
  • End your day by creating a list for the next day.
  • Repeat

This is a tactic many business owners use, including Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express.

When approaching your “tomorrow list” in the morning, many successful entrepreneurs say you should not start with email (although tell that to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is said to wake up at 3:45 am and does email for an hour!)

Instead, many say that you should start with the toughest and most important tasks on your list. Behavioral scientist Dan Ariely says that generally speaking, “the two hours after we become fully awake are, potentially, our most productive.” Getting the most dreaded tasks off your to-do list will also help you avoid procrastination.

After all of the similarities listed above, the most general theme is that successful people have a routine that they follow every morning. What about you? How do you start your day? Share your morning routine with us over at the Smart Hustle Community.

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