“If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Would you?
Steve Jobs asked himself this question every morning, and if the answer was “no” for too many days in a row, something had to change.
This one small but powerful question drove him to create one of the most iconic brands in history.
Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. By optimising every action you take before you start tackling the daily grind, you set yourself up with a greater chance of achieving success. But everyone works differently.
Here’s a look at how three people optimise their mornings, in different ways, for a positive effect on their day.
Tim Ferriss, a highly successful author and entrepreneur, explains on his website fourhourworkweek, that he has a list of five small tasks which he aims to complete each morning in order to kickstart a successful day:
- Make the bed
- Make tea
- Keep a journal
Tim says that although he is not the only person who believes that by winning the morning you win the day, it is “a good encapsulation of how to think about morning routine – it is setting up your entire day for positive momentum and fewer distractions.”
He maintains that if he can tick off just three of his list items, the likelihood of him winning the day is infinitely greater.
His technique definitely seems to work for him – he’s been listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People”, Forbes Magazine’s “Names You Need to Know,” and was the 7th “most powerful” personality on Newsweek’s Digital 100 Power Index for 2012.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group, starts her morning routine before she goes to bed the night before.
After suffering a collapse due to exhaustion and lack of sleep, Arianna was forced to make some crucial changes to the way she worked.
Sleep experts informed her of the health implications of lack of sleep and suggested tips on how to get more, and better, sleep – one of which was to avoid all LCD screens at night.
Once she wakes from a good night’s rest, Arianna starts her morning with 20 to 30 minutes of meditation – a practice she takes with her throughout the day by focusing on her breathing if she starts to feel stressed.
Matilda Kahl, an art director at advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, wears the same clothes to work every day.
After determining that the process of deciding which outfit to wear to work every day was not only wasting her morning, but also leaving her feeling unsure and uncomfortable at times, Matilda decided to optimise.
She bought 15 identical white silk shirts, a few pairs of black trousers, a leather rosette , and a black blazer (for colder days). Matilda maintains that making the choice to wear a work “uniform” has saved her countless wasted hours of debating what to put on in the morning.
She says that, “In fact, these black trousers and white blouses have become an important daily reminders that frankly, I’m in control.”
She’s not the only one to adopt this approach. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wears different versions of exactly the same shirt each day, because he wants to “make as few decisions as possible” about anything except how to best serve the Facebook community.
Whether it’s making tea, getting enough sleep, or wearing the same outfit to work, optimising your morning for a powerful impact on your day starts with finding out what works for you, and then embedding it in your routine.