Career Advice

6 Morning Habits of Top Performers Worth Trying Right Now

If you feel the need to improve your performance in any area, professional or personal, you should learn and implement the habits of top performers. World famous life and business coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins has an intense morning routine that’s designed to boost energy and productivity. His morning routine supports his busy lifestyle as he gets older, keeping him ready for each day’s activities and challenges.

Robbins has a full-time personal trainer who keeps his nutrition and physical fitness on track. His pre-workout shake includes greens, vitamin C, vitamin B, antioxidants, and other nutrients, and his post-workout breakfast is usually eggs and coconut bread. His routine includes a 10-minute meditation with breathing, gratitude, positive visualizations, followed by 15 minutes of high intensity workouts on OsteoStrong and ROM Quick Gym equipment. That’s followed by a sauna immersion and cold plunge in the pool, then two minutes on back inversion equipment for circulation stimulation.

While you may not be able to get a personal trainer and specialized physical fitness equipment, it is worth taking a look at Robbins’ morning routines to see what you can add to boost your productivity. Many top performing people including Gwyneth Paltrow, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs start their mornings with mediation, self-reflection, or gratitude and exercise.

But Does It Really Work?

You may be asking yourself if changing your morning routine to use the habits of top performers works. Will it really help you feel better, get more done, and be stronger and healthier? That’s what writer Locke Hughes wanted to know, as she was feeling unproductive and a lack of energy going into 2019. She felt stuck in an unproductive morning routine browsing social media and checking email before work.

When she read Hal Elrod’s book about productivity, The Miracle Morning, the claims of life transforming secrets made her wonder if they’d work for her. She wanted to level up her life as Elrod described his techniques and be more successful. So she decided to start her days with Elrod’s Morning Miracle routine.

Elrod’s suggested routine involves six morning practices at the start of each day: silence (meditation), affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading, and writing. Elrod says to start in silence to clear and refresh the mind, affirm what and who you need to impress it on your subconscious mind, visualize your ideal day, exercise to get blood and oxygen flow, read something positive, and write something like an idea or gratitude list or do some journaling.

Hughes found that some of the morning techniques were immensely helpful, especially the meditation, affirmations, visualization, and exercise. But she says trying to add and keep to them all in your morning can be stressful. She found that even though she had already been doing some of Elrod’s suggested actions, she hadn’t been doing them in the mornings.

For example, she had always read a lot in the evenings, and as a freelance writer, writing was already a big part of her daily life. Making herself jam reading and writing into her morning before starting her day with so many other things to tackle to get ready for her day just didn’t always work.

Hughes suggests using the habits of top performers that work best for you and that fit best into your mornings rather than trying to rigidly adhere to a set of actions that some other successful person uses.

How Do the Billionaires Do It?

Do you wonder how billionaires start their mornings? They are some of the most productive people on the planet. American business magnate, software developer, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates starts with an hour on the treadmill while he watches the Teaching Company’s Great Courses, followed by reading the New York Times, The Wallstreet Journal, and The Economist. Gates know and appreciates the power of a good night’s sleep and regularly gets seven hours of rest each night.

Gates doesn’t just read at the start of his day, though he does start off with the daily news. He also reads an hour before bed, recommending his favorite books on his blog.

Busines tycoon, investor, philanthropist, and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet prefers not to exercise, but does start his mornings reading The Wallstreet Journal, USA Today, and Forbes.  The 87-year-old billionaire then eats a McDonalds breakfast, and goes on to spend most of his days reading even more.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos starts his days in a leisurely way, even though he starts early. He reads the newspaper, has coffee, and likes to have breakfast with his family before the kids start school. Bezos likes to putter around home in the mornings before heading into his busy days. A University of California, Santa Barbara study found that puttering, or time spent on casual unrushed tasks improves productivity. Bezos then goes on to his most important work activities the rest of the morning.

Celebrities Have Morning Habits for Success too

The image of famous and successful celebrities is a life of fun and luxury. But most of them are not sleeping in or eating bon bons in bed. Celebrities have high profile lives that they need to prepare for to be their best, and they follow interesting morning routines to help keep them on track.

Former President Barack Obama’s morning routine begins with a refreshing beverage, but not coffee. He prefers orange juice, green tea, or water with his breakfast. And he exercises when he wakes up.

Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of England, starts her days with a cup of English breakfast tea and cookies, followed by a bath, cereal for breakfast, and reading and listening to the racing news.

Fashionista and reality TV star Kim Kardashian starts her days with an hour of running and then abs and leg work, followed by breakfast and then makeup.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey starts her mornings with an hour of exercise in the gym before heading to makeup.

Among celebrities there’s a focus on starting the day with exercise; that seems to be one of the most popular morning habits of top performers.  

Morning Routines Best Practices

While adapting morning habits of top performers can help you improve your life, success quotient, and productivity, don’t feel like you have to copy anyone’s routines exactly and rigidly. It’s important to use routines that suit your needs, lifestyle, and goals. If you are a “morning person” with high energy who likes to get things accomplished before the afternoon, your morning habits could support that with nutritious breakfasts and energizing exercise. If you’re more of a “night owl” who gets your best work done after dark, your morning habits could be looser and more laid back.

In the New York Times Smarter Living Newsletter, Benjamin Spall explains that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all set of morning routines that works for everyone the same way. He’s talked to more than 300 top producers about their morning routines and has identified some best practices for starting your day to be super productive and successful.

Use the wake up time that works best for you. Don’t just rise and shine at 5am because a famous person does. If you’re not an early riser, and your schedule isn’t rigid, a very early wake-up time may not be the best thing for you. In talking to people about their morning habits, Spall heard wake times ranging from 3am to past 9am with the average being 8:30am. So this is a flexible morning habit that is adaptable.

Incorporate the things that you love into your morning routine and let them energize and inspire you. If you love baking and have great recipes for homemade protein bars or breakfast muffins, make breakfast baking one of your morning habits. If you are energized and joyful from creativity, add a pencil drawing or water color vignette to your daily journal.

Don’t be overly strict with yourself with your morning routines. Don’t let it stress you out to keep the exact same routines day in and day out. It’s ok to miss a day here or there. Of course, if you enjoy the sameness of your routine and gain a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from checking off the same things every morning, then go ahead and stick to it.

One thing that most successful people seem to agree on is sleep. In his book My Morning Routine, Spall found that a majority of those he talked to sleep seven to eight hours a night and believe a good night’s sleep is important not only to their overall wellbeing but also to their productivity and success.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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