Can I be honest?
Mornings used to be my worst enemy. In the past, I struggled with being distracted by social media, sleeping past my alarm, and morning convos with that one friend that just had to talk as soon as I got up. To me, your morning is the most important, precious time of the day. It is what you do first thing in the morning that sets the tone for the day. Because I know we all struggle with mornings from time to time and can always use motivation, I asked a mix of some of the dopest influencers and entrepreneurs: What is your morning routine?
Whether you workout first thing in the morning, meditate, drink coffee, or check your phone, these 10 entrepreneurs and influencers prove that finding a routine that works for you is key and will help maximize your productivity and energy all day long.
Here’s how men who’ve made impressive careers as entrepreneurs, software engineers, CEOs, CTOs, social media influencers, and marketing pros (just to name a few) start each day with a bang.
1. Michell Clark – Influencer & Social Media Coach – Creator of artisticmanifesto.com
Normally, I get up around 7:30am. That can vary by about an hour in either direction, depending on how busy my day is going to be, how late I was up the night before, and how my body feels. For a while, I was getting up at 5:00am every day no matter what, but I started to realize that all of the extra time wasn’t helping me if I was too tired to work efficiently.
The first thing I do when I open my eyes is check my phone to see if anything urgent has come up via text, email, or social media. I know that a lot of people say this isn’t how I should start my day, but it’s the nature of what I have to do as a social media influencer. You never know what can pop up overnight. I try to make it a very quick scroll, so that I can go about my business.
After I get out of bed, the first thing I do is chug some water, take my pre-workout powder, and go to the gym. I’ll spend about 20 minutes warming up with some sort of cardio, and then lift weights for about an hour while listening to my patented workout playlist. I have a pretty regimented routine in the gym. It allows me to burn off stress, and it helps me start the workday feeling charged up.
When I finish, I’ll head back home, eat breakfast, and check my daily planner to see what my priorities are for the workday. My planner is just a notebook, but it gets the job done. I use one page per day. The bottom half of each page is where I write down everything I plan to do that day. As I complete those tasks, I’ll cross them off the list and document them on the top half of the page, which is designated for completed tasks.
2. Brian Gerrard – Director of Product Marketing at The Meet Group
I typically wake up 8:00am. I leave my blinds open so the rising sun helps me to wake up as well. The first thing I do when I open my eyes is pray. I pray for my blessings, and for sick family members and friends. I also pray to have a fruitful and meaningful day. From there, I will read Reuters for the news and check the stock market and crypto currency markets on Coinbase.
I believe that some things that help when you wake up are to eliminate small decisions. So the night before I pick out an outfit and make a plan for how the first couple hours of my day should go (a little secret: I need to get better at doing this).
3. Joshua Darius – CTO/Co-Founder of HealNow & Partner at Vulk Cooperative
I typically get up around 6:45am everyday.
After I open my eyes, I try to be still, reflect on my dreams, and see how they can relate to my life and current situation. Afterwards, I’ll scroll through Instagram for a little bit and use the light from my phone to help wake me up.
Next, I’ll go to the kitchen and drink a bottle of water. Then, I’ll go to the patio in my backyard, sit and meditate for about 10 minutes. I’ll thank God for His blessings, mercy, and grace, and ask Him to be with my family and I for the full day. From there, I’ll go run a quick 5K. I personally think its important to drink water in the morning because you dehydrate while you sleep – drinking water helps flush out toxins from your body and brings nutrients to your cells. I think it’s important to exercise in the morning and I personally prefer running. Doing this gets your blood going, empowers you, and gets you going for the day. While running, I don’t listen to music. Instead, I think about what I need to accomplish for the day. After I finish my run, I shower and drink an 8 oz glass of Yerbamate tea. Yerbamate has many stimulating benefits that I think really sets my day up for success. Not only does it have caffeine, but it has different nutrients that can empower your body and mind.
4. Kameron McCullough – CEO of TNTH LLC, Founder of HennyPalooza
I am up at 7:00am everyday no matter what time I go to sleep without an alarm clock. On a good night, I’ll get 5-6 hours of sleep, on other nights I’ll get 3-4 hours of sleep.
When I first open my eyes, I meditate. I charge my phone in a separate location from my bedroom so that I’m not disturbed. I used to be a maniac when it came to my phone, and would constantly hop on Twitter and check on other things as soon as I got up. Recently I cut that out and started meditating for the first 30 minutes of opening my eyes. Meditating helps me get a better hold on my day. I’ve been meditating for about 4 months now. I started doing it because I was having trouble structuring my day, and a friend of mines suggested meditation.
Being an entrepreneur, life gets crazy, and things tend to pile up on you pretty quickly. From my experience, once you check one thing, start checking emails, you’ve already spent an hour of your day focusing on other people. Meditation has allowed me to have a better peace of mind, approach the day calmly, and be more efficient once I start working.
After I meditate, I’ll brush my teeth and wash my face, and then walk to the gym. The gym has become a huge part of my schedule, and I feel crazy when I don’t go on my scheduled days. By the time I’m done meditating and have left the gym, it’s only about 10:00am and my mind feels sharper than ever. On the days when I don’t workout, I try to do a lot of reading just to wake my mind up. After that, I go about my day and get to my work.
5. Brandon E. Miller – IT Consultant, Branding Coach, & Serial Side Hustler
I usually get up between 5:15am and 6:30am depending on how late I was up the night before. After my contacts readjust from falling asleep in them (bad habit), the first thing I do nowadays is read a devotional (Millennial Kingdom Entrepreneur & (Un)Qualified are the two I’m reading now).
After getting out of the bed, I do some sort of workout – if I’m on the road I may go to the hotel gym and get on the treadmill or bike. If I’m at home, I’ll try to make a cardio class at LA Fitness around 5:30am. While working out, I typically am editing an Instagram caption for that morning or listening to a podcast (Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, Elevation Church, or How I Built This are my favorites).
Once I get back to the hotel or the crib, I’ll go through personal emails and emails for my various brands. I rarely check emails for my 9 to 5 until I get into the office. The last thing I do before I shower and get dressed is to make a to-do list and a “success list” – the to-do list contains all of the detailed tasks I need to complete and the success list contains one to three things I HAVE to complete to deem the day successful. I’m not a huge breakfast person so I’ll try and grab something quick before I head out the door to the office.
6. Josef Myers – Creative Director at That Level
I typically get up at 8:00am. On a rare, good day, I’ll meditate, but most days the phone gets the best of me. I normally check emails and check the value of my investments on some stock apps.
After I get up, I have the terrible habit of going straight to work on my laptop or Mac. If I answer an email or get into work mode at all, before I know it it’ll be 12:00pm without me having eaten or showered (terrible, yes I know). Around that time, I’ll usually eat some cereal, or a bagel w/ cream cheese and some type of deli meat. Then I’ll brush my teeth, wash my face, and make myself look at least presentable. I’ll go for a bike ride just to be active, and after that, it’s home to shower and back to the grind.
7. K.G. Graham – CEO & Creative Director at COSIGN Magazine & Cosign Media Group
I typically get up 5:00am during the weekday and 8:00am during the weekend.
The first thing I do is check my phone. I go straight to Instagram to check my notifications, then I check my emails, and finish up with Facebook. This is all while I’m still in bed. After that, I’ll create a to-do-list for the day that includes the gym, content, emails I need to send, projects I need to work on, etc. My mind is usually the clearest first thing in the morning or last thing at night so I like to type everything out while the ideas are coming to me.
After I get out of bed I brush my teeth, take a shower, and prepare my bag for the gym. Before heading to the gym I listen to motivational interviews and I watch inspiring YouTube content. My list typically includes Les Brown, E.T., Gary Vaynerchuk, Diddy, and Will Smith. Lastly, I’ll watch Complex videos and VICE documentaries while I workout to get inspired.
8. Justin Gerrard – Director of Marketing & Video Programming at The Meet Group
Each day I’ll get up at 7:30am. The first thing I do in the morning is take time to meditate. I recently integrated a daily gratitude practice into my meditation that makes me think about something that I’m looking forward to or a recent joyful memory with friends and family. Reliving that moment usually prompts me to be thankful for my loved ones, and reduce anxiety in my professional life by not sweating the small stuff, or worrying about things going exactly as planned.
Once I’m out of bed, I’ll typically have a light breakfast and check on work related emails to organize my schedule. When I’m feeling good about my plan of attack, I’ll open up Instagram to go through personal DMs and organize a few posts on other IG accounts that I’m building. Growing accounts is a fun side hustle that helps motivate me to stay on top of consumer and pop culture trends. Before I leave home, I’ll read a few TechCrunch articles to make sure that I’m apprised of what’s going on in my industry. I tend to focus on pieces discussing innovation around mobile and video because it allows me to stay ahead of the game on new products that I’m building.
Once breakfast is finished, I’ll get into my car and make the hour drive to my office. Though it’s a long commute, I enjoy catching up on my favorite podcasts, especially “How I Built This” by NPR and “Freakanomics Radio”. It’s always inspiring to learn about the founder stories of other entrepreneurs and new factors that are impacting global economic trends. This part of my routine in particular jumpstarts my idea muscle and gets me motivated for the day ahead.
9. Keenan Beasley – Co-Founder & Managing Partner at BLKBOX
I normally get up between 6:30am to 8:00am when I’m on the East Cost, and 5:30am to 7:30am when I’m on the West Coast – this is all depending on when my first meeting is.
Once I open my eyes each morning, I keep my phone away from my bed so I have to get up and move before checking my phone. Those emails can be a trap.
After I get out of bed, the morning routine that helps me get focused for the day is working out and getting food. I will typically do 30-45min of cardio and then have eggs and oatmeal for breakfast. After that I check my meetings again and plan an outfit.
10. QuHarrison Terry – Marketing Director at Redox
My goal is to wake up at 5:00am, but I don’t stress it if it’s closer to 7:00am. Regardless, whatever time you wake up, the key is to never wake up and instantly think, “Oh man, I wish I’d woken up earlier. Why did I hit the snooze?” Your first thoughts set the tone for the day and you don’t want to start by feeling regretful.
I always make sure I make my bed first thing every morning. Not because I want my room to look clean (sorry mom), but because it once again sets the tone for the day. I read it in a book, titled “Make Your Bed” by Admiral William H. McRaven, where the author says that making your bed gets one completed task under your belt and sets you up to continue completing tasks during the day. Just think of it as a productivity hack – and if you had a bad, unproductive day, at least you can come home to a nicely made bed.
After making my bed, I always go for a walk. Although it’s very tempting to sit on my phone and see what I’ve missed, to me it’s more important to let my internal system boot-up. During my walk, I don’t think about anything in particular. Instead, I just take in how calm life is in the morning. Nobody is in a hurry. You can hear nature more clearly. Everything is calm.
Once I get back from my walk, then I take a dive into some content. I usually try to finish reading whatever book I was reading before bed. Or I’ll check out some articles from my favorite writers Ben Brooks, Tom Tunguz, and Sherrell Dorsey.
Always, at some point in my morning before heading into work, I think about what I want to accomplish today and make a mental list. There’s one thing that guides my days and it is: “Will I take more than I give today?” This reminds me to get out of our natural, selfish ways and do something for someone else.