We know that many entrepreneurs get up early by choice; but what rouses them from their sleep and what do they do with those waking hours, before the rest of the country awakes – what are their morning habits?
At The Early Hour, we’re obsessed with – well, the early hours. So we love asking the business owners we interview about their morning habits. We like to know what time they get up, what they do first thing, how they feel and whether they’re most productive in the morning. And we’ve found there are five morning habits that just keep popping up…
1. They use an app, Pebble watch or daylight lamp to wake them up
Artists Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham run PATTERNITY, which started life as a pattern archive and is now a globally influential style brand. Grace wakes up at 7am, using a sleep cycle app. She says: “it works on airplane mode, and is great for bringing you round gently.”
David Sayce, 42, a freelance digital marketing consultant based in South East London, wakes up around 4.30 – 5.00am. Often, he’ll wake up naturally around that time, making his old alarm clock redundant. But if he has a flight to catch or a meeting, he uses a Pebble watch with a vibrating alarm.
2. If they’re not woken by an app/Pebble watch/daylight lamp, they are woken by the radio turning on
When we interviewed Paul Lindley – the multi-millionaire founder of baby food empire Ella’s Kitchen, Paddy’s Bathroom and The Key is E – he said that he’d woken up at 6.50am that morning when the radio come on. He’s actually more of a night owl, but had to take his son to sit an exam in Oxford.
Ellie Jauncey, co-founder of The Flower Appreciation Society, rises at 5.30am on a market day. She’s roused from slumber by “Radio 4 – very loudly, in a horrible way. It’s my alarm clock. I should set it to Classic FM or something else,” she said.
Morning habits of parents
3. If they have children, they have no need for an alarm clock
Alex Hoffler, of hugely successful baking enterprise The Meringue Girls, says her daughter Indi wakes up at 7am on the dot, “not even 6.59am or 7.01am – she’s our alarm clock”. They get up, rush to have showers while Indi jumps on the bed and then squeeze in a family NutriBullet before her partner Neil heads to work.
Similarly, Abigail McLachlan who runs East of Eden yoga studios in east London’s Walthamstow, is woken by her three-year-old Raffy around 7.30am. She has been through periods when she sets her alarm clock and gets up to practise yoga before Raffy wakes up but says: “I find it hard to switch off as I am waiting for him to wake, so it’s not ideal.”
4. Breakfast almost always involves herbal tea, rather than coffee – or caffeinated tea
Grace Winteringham, from PATTERNITY, does a 10-minute meditation after listening to some music, has a quick shower and then has a breakfast of herbal tea accompanied by eggs, spinach and parsley on toast before hopping on her bike and cycling through Hackney’s Victoria Park to the studio.
Branding expert Tracy Hastain drinks hot water with fresh lemon, occasionally adding ginger or honey. She says: “It’s a great kickstart for digestion and helps eliminate toxins – a perfect ‘good morning’ drink. This is followed by a glass of coconut water and supplements (for which I am a bit of a junky but I have been advised by a nutritionist so all have a purpose). I don’t drink anything with caffeine and haven’t done for over 20 years, as I find my brain and body are buzzing enough without any extra help!”
5. Exercise often plays a part in an entrepreneur’s morning
Maxine Thomson, owner of the brilliant PolkaPants – making trendy trousers for chefs – is up around 7am. This is a lie-in compared to the 5am starts she had while working as a chef. She loves mornings “especially if you are up VERY early, it’s almost as though you and the city have a secret” and goes for a run or a swim first thing, three times a week.
Darren Barber, who owns Barber’s Gym on Hackney Downs in east London, rises at 6.30am and sneaks out to the gym before the baby wakes up. He takes part in the 7am strength and conditioning class, then returns via the coffee shop for breakfast with his wife and daughter around 8:30am. If they are up.
What are your morning habits? Do you do any of the above – Pebble watch, morning workout, herbal tea…? Let us know in the comment section…
This was originally published in April 2016, so some details may have changed.