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It doesn’t matter if you’re a morning person or a night owl, you have to start your day somehow. Everyone has an opinion on the best way to do just that, so you have to take this advice with a grain of salt. But if there’s one piece of advice you should remember, it’s this: The best time to wake up in order to have a great day is debateable, but what you do when you wake up will set the course for your entire day, be it bad or good.
There are a million different ways your morning could go, but don’t just take my word for it. You might want to listen to what each of these brilliantly successful people do when they wake up in order to have an excellent day.
Okay, so I know i said this might not matter, but there are some who believe it makes all the difference. Some of the most successful people in the world wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to get the most work done, including Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, and Donald Trump.
If you’re not much of a morning person, trying to get up at 5:30 when you’re used to sleeping in until 9:00 a.m. will probably be nothing but an epic nosedive for you. Instead, just cut back your sleeping time by 15 minutes. A few days later, cut it back another 15 minutes. Continue this process until you get to the desired waking time. You can slowly condition yourself to get used to waking up at a more reasonable time so you can get more done during the day.
Arianna Huffington, the Editor in Chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group says that for her morning ritual, keeping electronics out of the equation is the best option. “A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do,” she says. “When I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.”
For some, it seems that looking at electronics is the thing that kick starts the day. But studies suggest that could be a big fat lie. It’s estimated that for 80 percent of smartphone users, checking the little device is the first thing they do in the morning, and which is likely the thing that’s slowing productivity for the whole day.
If you feel like you must check your email or text messages when you first wake up, do what Kate Goldin, CEO of Hint Water does. She gets up at 5:30 a.m. every morning, checks her email to plan out her day, and then leaves technology behind to go on a hike through the Marin hillside of California. "Without my hike, I feel unbalanced," she says. "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."
No matter where busy billionaire John Paul DeJoria is, he always starts his day by taking five minutes to quietly reflect. "Doesn’t matter where I’m at, which home I’m in, or what hotel room I’m visiting," he says. "The very second I wake up, I stay in bed for about five minutes and just be.” He says he uses that time to remember what he’s grateful for and to recognize the things he’s been blessed with.
Different people approach this level of meditation in other ways. Some, like DeJoria, take this time to meditate in every sense of the word. Others engage in yoga or other mindful practices. For those who believe in a deity, uttering a prayer is their way of offering reflection for a great start to the day.
According to Kat Cole, group president of FOCUS brands, the thing that gets her started is a giant glass of water. She always drinks at least 24 ounces of water as soon as she gets out of bed, something she learned to do when traveling in eastern Africa. "We are so lucky to have access to clean drinking water, and I think about how grateful I am for that almost every day," Cole says.
Aside from being grateful for the abundance of water in America, Cole recognizes what staying hydrated can do for the brain and body. According to a study those who drank a full 24 oz of water before taking cognitive tests performed far better than those who took the test dry.
In addition to drinking water, using water for a nice shower and shave can be an invigorating way to start the day.
Frank Tarkenton, NFL Hall-of-Famer and founder of GoSmallBiz.com and Tarkenton companies swears that reading, newspapers in particular, is the boost he needs to complete his tasks every day. “I'll read every part — domestic, foreign, business, sports, even the parts that might bore me a little — because feeding my brain is an absolutely essential part of my day," he says. "And by reading a diverse selection of papers, I get different viewpoints and different perspectives on all the things that affect me, my life, and my business."
Maybe reading the newspaper isn’t your idea of fun in the morning, but there’s nothing that says you have to read newspapers in order to feel the productivity power of reading. Instead, you might pick up a novel, autobiography, or self-help book. Whatever you choose to do, feeding your brain through the written word is an excellent way to fuel the mind and produce the energy and motivation you need to get you through the day.