We all know those superwomen who just seem to do it all. They’re killing it in their careers, working on passion projects on the side, staying fit and healthy, making time for their partners and family and somehow staying sane and balanced in the process (or so it seems). While it’s important to remember that social media is just a highlight reel and we don’t really see what goes on behind the scenes, there is something most successful women have in common—a kickass morning routine.
Starting your morning in an intentional, productive way sets up for success for the rest of the day. So, what does an effective morning routine entail? Read on for 5 things all successful women do in the morning—and one they definitely don’t.
You might assume that successful people jump into their inbox the second they open their eyes in the morning, so they can get ahead of the day. Not so! Doing so is actually counterintuitive, as you’re immediately prioritising someone else’s needs rather than taking care of your own. Plus, if you see something that stresses you out, it’s going to spike your cortisol levels before you’re even out of bed.
Take a leaf out of The Huffington Post founder, Arianna Huffington’s book: “A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: 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.”
Giving yourself at least an hour before you switch your phone off flight mode will allow you to start your day in a more intentional way, which will leave you more productive and energised. Instead of reading emails or scrolling aimlessly through your social media, you can give yourself a ‘power hour’ where you do the rest of the things on this list. Then, you can actually sit down and dedicate time to replying to emails properly.
It seems like such a simple thing, but research shows that people who make their bed each morning are happier and more successful than those who don’t. The theory is that it gives you a small sense of accomplishment, which gives you momentum to power through the rest of your day (plus, it makes your bedroom look tidier).
Naval Admiral William McRaven summed it up nicely in his commencement speech at the University of Texas, Austin: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Most high-achieving people practice mindfulness in some way or form as part of their morning routines—it’s what helps them deal with the demands of a packed schedule. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to mean meditation (although, that is an excellent way to de-stress in the morning!). Mindfulness isn’t one-size-fits-all and there are many different ways to practice it. For you, it could be gratitude journalling, doing breathing exercises or simply immersing yourself in nature. As long as you’re focusing on the present moment and gently bringing your attention back when you start stressing about the day ahead, you’re doing it right.
Yep, you saw this one coming! As hard as it can be to drag yourself out of bed for a morning workout, it’s easily one of the best ways to kickstart your day. Not only it give you a nice little endorphin boost and sense of accomplishment, it means you won’t have to worry about fitting it a gym session at night when you’re exhausted and just want to curl up on the couch. It doesn’t really matter what type of workout you do, as long as you’re moving your body in some way. Rosie-Huntington Whitely takes her dachshund for a walk every morning, while Anna Wintour plays tennis, Arianna Huffington does yoga and Gwyneth Paltrow does a Tracey Anderson method workout.
For many successful women, their productive morning routine actually starts the night before when they jot down their priorities for the next day. However, the morning is a great time to revisit those priorities and plan out exactly what tasks they’re going to do, when. Because let’s face it—a to-do list without a solid plan is basically just a wish list. You can even combine it with some of these time management methods to supercharge your productivity.
While there are a few high-achieving people who swear by intermittent fasting, the majority make time for a proper breakfast. Proper being the operative word here—they’re certainly not just reaching for quick, convenient options like a pastry and venti latte. Successful people start their day with a breakfast that sets them up for optimal brain power and energy— a combination of slow-releasing carbs, healthy fats and protein. Oprah swears by egg and avocado on toast, while Emma Watson has a breakfast tortilla and Beyonce goes for scrambled egg whites, a green smoothie and wholegrain cereal.