How Successful Leaders Avoid Bad Morning Habits

These bad habits can have a lasting effect on your daily productivity and efficiency.

Everyone talks about the morning routines of successful entrepreneurs and how every working professional should adopt the same habits to start their day well and increase their overall productivity and efficiency. But what about the things people should definitely not do in the morning if they want to make sure they start the day with the right mindset?

Here, seven entrepreneurs discuss the things successful leaders never do first thing in the morning, from sleeping in to checking their phones or obsessing over every decision, and explain why these unhealthy habits can have a negative impact on success.

Hit the snooze button.

One thing successful business leaders are unlikely to do in the morning is sleep in or sneak in the proverbial “five more minutes” of sleep. “Hitting the snooze button is something you’ll never find a successful person doing,” says Monica Snyder, founder and CEO of Birdsong.

Hitting the snooze button, according to Snyder, is akin to breaking a promise to yourself that you’d wake up at a certain time. “And successful people know that keeping their promises, especially to themselves, is a key factor in creating the success they want in their lives.”

Pick up the phone.

“Clarity of thought, focus and planning make the difference between a strong start and one cluttered by unnecessary distractions,” Common Giant founder Phillip Oakley says, explaining why he always avoids checking his phone as soon as he wakes up.null

“One of the worst things we can do upon waking is picking up our cell phones to check emails, texts, social media, or news,” Oakley adds. “All of those things should have scheduled time, well after we’ve followed our successful routine and priorities are established.”

Start without a plan.

Speaking of scheduled time, GTIF Capital partner David Chen thinks scheduling your day and making a plan for what you want to do and achieve is key for entrepreneurs. “It’s always important to know what tasks, meetings, and goals you have set for the following business day. When you’re an entrepreneur, anything can happen at any time.”

Chen explains that planning and leaving enough time for those what-ifs in the morning will help you maintain your positive energy and save you a lot of stress. “If you aren’t well planned out for the day, you will not be as efficient as you would be if you had planned,” he says.

Avoid exercise.

“One thing CEOs and entrepreneurs don’t do is avoid their morning workout,” MonsterInsights co-founder Chris Christoff offers, underlining that regular workouts have multiple benefits not only for one’s physical and mental health, but also for productivity and efficiency at work.

“Exercise and physical health require strict discipline and planning,” Christoff says. “I’m a firm believer that the same drive used to better ourselves through exercise can help you become more disciplined in your professional life.”

Schedule calls.

As a rule, Leila Lewis, founder and CEO of Be Inspired PR, avoids scheduling any work-related calls early in the morning, except when it’s extremely urgent or when she’s dealing with a significant time zone difference between her and the callers.

“I think successful people instead prefer to start their day understanding where their time is best spent, checking in with their teams and creating a roadmap of what needs to be done by the end of the day,” Lewis explains.

Start with someone else’s priorities.

Designli co-founder and CEO Keith Shields says, “You’ll never reach your goals if you get sucked into working on other people’s priorities rather than your own.” 

According to Shields, successful entrepreneurs know where they’re headed and where they need to focus. “They don’t waste valuable time at the beginning of the day opening email and handling other people’s to-do lists.”

Obsess over small decisions.

“Each morning is a new day to complete tasks that you haven’t done before and to achieve different successes,” Virtus Flow founder Riccardo Conte says, explaining the importance of not dwelling on past decisions or mistakes.

If you wake up worried about the latest product development or a department meeting, then you can’t focus on the tasks that lie ahead, Conte adds. In addition, worrying too much will negatively affect your sleeping habits. “Clear your mind when waking up and look forward rather than backward,” he advises.