What successful workers do before breakfast


Here, C-level executives and company founders share what successful habits further their work days and offer a mental work-life balance.

Does your morning routine consist mainly of limiting the snooze-button to five resets or finding a clean shirt before traffic gets bad? If so, your work could be suffering. There’s a strong relationship between workers who have regular morning routines and their workplace productivity.

Here, C-level executives and company founders share what successful habits further their work days and offer a mental work-life balance.

The habits that successful workers do before breakfast

“Wake up at least two hours before having breakfast, work out, complete [the] highest task for the day and have a list of tasks for the day that are prioritized.” - Tiffany Mason, CEO at Mason Coaching and Consulting in West Point, N.Y.

“Coffee. Stretch. Give yourself at least 20 minutes before you communicate with anyone. Scour yesterday's emails for any important notes you've not responded to. Respond. Write out the to-do list for the entire day. Check [the] calendar for today's events. Avoid jumping on social media first thing. It derails you immediately. Put one bit of good out in the world – a peace offering for the day. Send a thank-you note, congratulate a friend, respond to someone looking for a job. Remind yourself that even if the day gets nuts, that you love what you do, so enjoy it. Take a deep breath.” - David T. Jones, chief creative officer of Third Street advertising agency in Chicago

“After waking, I make sure not to check my email so that work pressures don't get in the way. I want this to be my time to think about how to grow my company, and really contemplate the goals I want to accomplish each day – before being distracted by emails and client inquiries. I brew a cup of coffee and sit on my windowsill that overlooks downtown Manhattan and give myself time to mentally think of my personal and professional goals for the day. From there, I take time to catch up on relevant trending industry topics, listen to related podcasts, and after my cup is done – and I'm caught up on the highlights of the day, that's when I'm ready to attack the day, start checking emails and check into the ‘real’ work day.” - Daniela Cuevas, founder and managing partner of The Spark Group, a digital marketing agency in New York

“Be grateful: I jot down a few things I am grateful for so I start the day with an attitude of gratitude. Give thanks: I write an email or text to someone I appreciate; a friend, an employee or vendor. Get moving: I'll do a few sun salutations and deep breaths to wake my body up. I'll make my dog's breakfast so we can enjoy our meal at the same time. Plug in: I'll check my personal email before turning my focus toward the work day. Then it's time for breakfast!” - Jennifer Vogel, vice president and chief operating officer of Ethnotek, a creator of ethically-produced bags

Key takeaways:

  • Most successful and productive workers have a routine that they stick to. This eliminates any frantic morning chaos and allows you to feel confident starting your day.
  • Starting your morning with exercise or physical activity is great, but the important takeaway here is that workers are engaged with their health and whatever form of fitness that works best for them and their schedule. Eating breakfast and choosing healthy, good-for-you foods is also essential. The more you take care of your body, the fewer sick days you’ll likely need.
  • Some workers prefer to check their email before going in to the office, others like to leave work for once they get in the office. Go with what works for you, but also remember the expectations that come with your job. Will your boss expect you to start putting out fires the moment you come in the office? Some preparation for the day may help you if that’s the case.