Up Early? The Most Successful People Always Are

Up at 5am? Well you’re in good company, as some of the world’s most successful people (Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Karen Blackett) get up early too. Here’s what they do in the early hours, while the rest of us sleep…

Being up early, as in 5am – or perhaps even earlier – can feel lonely at times. But you’re not alone; there are plenty of people out of eyeshot also up at the crack of dawn. And among them are some of the world’s most successful people. So why are these people up early and what do they do first thing?

1. Entrepreneurs are notorious for getting up early

apple mac - steven jobs - up early - theearlyhour.com

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, rose every morning at 6am. He would look in the mirror and ask himself: “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” If he responded ‘no’ too many days in a row, he knew something needed to change.

Mark Zuckerburg also wakes up at 6am. He famously dresses the same way every day: grey t-shirt, grey hoodie – pulling them out of a wardrobe stocked with multiple identical items. Why? Because it’s one less decision to make.

2. Exercise fanatics like getting up early too

trainers - up early - workout - theearlyhour.com

Barack Obama gets up every morning at 6.45am and has a strict morning workout – doing both weights and cardio. Michelle and their daughters sometimes join him for exercise, then they eat breakfast together and he reads the papers before properly starting work.

Jen Colton, principal of Flashpoint PR, likes to change up her pre-work exercise routine so she doesn’t get bored. For instance, Monday beings with a spin class, on Tuesdays and Thursdays she goes for a run with friends, Wednesdays and Fridays are bootcamp. She says: “After completing my morning workout, I’m able to come into the office feeling energized and ready to take on the day.”

Got kids? You’ll be up early for one of two reasons…

3. Entrepreneurs with kids are up early for one of two reasons

alarm clock - up early - theearlyhour.com

There is a split here. Because there are the parents like MediaCom UK’s CEO Karen Blackett who sleeps until her three-year-old son wakes her up – between 6.30 and 7am (except three times a week, when she gets up early to spend 45 minutes working out in the gym she built in her garage). So the parents who tend to sleep until their child-shaped alarm clock springs into action.

And then there are people like Gregg Renfrew, the entrepreneurial founder of Beautycounter, who get up early to enjoy some kid-free time before the day begins. In this Forbes article, Renfrew describes getting up at 5.30/6am, making breakfast and lunch for her three kids and then checking emails, setting the table, making a veggie and fruit smoothie and writing the kids a note for their lunchbox – all before they’ve woken up.

If you’re up before dawn, what do you spend your time doing? Are you reading, meditating, exercising, preparing kids’ breakfast or something else entirely? Let us know in the comments below…

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