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What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Success does not come from nowhere as it appears to most of us. The glossy news of success that newspapers and tabloid magazines misrepresent is result of hundreds of hours of deliberate practice, focus and hard work.


Successful people do really live life differently. They rise early; manage their day better, plan ahead, practice foresight and more. The very common difference between people who make a difference and who end up living a mediocre life is their time for waking up and getting into work.

Laura Vanderkam, the author of '168 hours', wrote a really slim (65 pages) and useful book intuitively named ‘What most successful people do before breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings—and Life’-a must read for people who want to make a difference. The book gives you solid reason to wake up early and practical tips on making best out of your morning hours. All the tips and tricks are presented with high practical orientation and examples from successful people. The beauty of the book is that it tells you the whole story: why, how, and more.

Often our mornings are supreme display of our mismanagement, hefty life style, and morning rush. It’s also the cause behind why we have so little time to do anything else but routine work. Laura puts it quite clearly:

The madness of mornings is a key reason most of us believe we have no time. We have time, but it’s consumed by sound and fury that culminates in few accomplishments beyond getting out the door.

Our mornings beg to be different and they should be. Making our mornings work for us is not a rocket science but it pays off when you make it work. Most successful people do use their morning to deal with their important issues, tasks, rituals and so on. Making one’s morning useful not only gives extra time but it also increases your productivity. 

Studying my own, even on those madcap days, I see how they could be better. They can be productive times. Joyous times. Times for habits that help one grow into a better person. Indeed, learning to use mornings well is, in our distracted world, what separates achievement from madness. Before the rest of the world is eating breakfast, the most successful people have already scored daily victories that are advancing them toward the lives they want.

Our days are crowded with priorities. However, more often than not our priorities are designed by others and we often feel tempted to deal with urgent issues over important, trifle over substantial. As a result at the end of the day we feel like half done and frustrated. Successful people do the opposite. They deal with their priorities at the very beginning of the day. They do exercise, plan, meet and greet family and friends, and work on most important things when rest of world is still asleep.

Successful people have priorities they want to tackle, or things they like to do with to tackle, or things they like to do with their lives, and early mornings are the time when they have the most control of their schedules. In a world of constant connectivity, of managing global organizations, the day can quickly get away from you as other people’s priorities invade—sometimes even those of the people you love dearly and share a home with.

We need to use our morning as effectively as possible. Because the best time to deal with your priority is when you are less in hurry and less consumed by world affairs. Research suggests that morning is the time when we work better than any other time in a day.

Seizing your mornings is the equivalent of that sound financial advice to pay yourself before you pay your bills. If you wait until the end of the month to save what you have left, there will be nothing left over. Likewise, if you wait until the end of the day to do meaningful but not urgent things like exercise, pray, read, ponder how to advance your career or grow your organization, or truly give your family your best, it probably won’t happen.

Complement with the brilliant review of Rework by Jason Fried and David H. Hansson Rework: Great companies start in garages all the time

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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3 comments on “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast”

  1. Are there ways to turn into a morning person? I have tried and tried and tried and failed and failed and failed! As much as I love your theme on failures, I also know this is one failure that I am quite tired of. Any ideas guys?

    1. Hi Iffat,
      Great question and idea as well. I have my own rituals for this: I sleep early, maintain a sleeping ritual like taking a walk before sleep and try not to break routine. You can try these few ideas as well. for it's all about discipline. let me know if it works for you 🙂

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