9 CEOs Share What They Do Each Day Before Noon

BY Lindsay Tigar · August 29, 2016

When you think of the people who inspire you in your career, you likely think of those who have been innovative, brave and creative, leading their own way by taking the chances that others wouldn’t. CEOs are motivating to follow for many reasons, and a big one is how they balance it all: running a company, taking care of themselves physically and mentally, having strong relationships—both personally and professionally—and, ya know, sleeping. When you feel completely overwhelmed with your growing mountain of to-do lists and deadlines, or when you wonder if your career is on track, take a note from these CEOs’ playbooks on how they start their days.

From leaving their iPhone on silent to just simply breathing, the things that these leaders do before noon every single day may surprise you:

ceo2“I turn my phone off.”                                                                    

“I am a CEO at a very small software startup, and we have a team of basically all developers, so I am the main guy people contact for marketing, sales and technical support. That basically means my phone is constantly ringing. So, typically, I start my day just answering all of the emails I get overnight, but as soon as I finish all of those emails and any follow-ups that I need to do, I try to put my phone on silent for a few hours. This is my time to really get in some good work! During this time I am writing blogs, trying to optimize our sales funnel and learning new things so I can help steer the company in the right direction. Honestly, it doesn’t happen every single day, but when I actually make it happen, I’m so much more productive.” —Ryan Chan, CEO and founder of onupkeep.com

“I write down three things I’m thankful for each morning.”

“As a CEO, it is very easy to get caught in your day-to-day activities. As one day blurs into the next, I’ve realized it is hard to slow down and celebrate the wins and life’s gifts. As a result, every morning before work I sit down at my dining room table and write down three things I’m thankful for that day as a way to focus my thoughts and energy. This helps me push the positive to the front and make it top of mind, while the negative goes to the back. It’s a great exercise that reduces stress and increases my productivity. As silly as it is, it was really hard when I started doing it a few months ago. I was more focused on the problems I was facing, and it was hard to think of what I was really happy about or thankful for. Whatever it is, gratitude works and overall makes me happier as I go on to start my day.” —Nick Slettengren, founder, Power Digital Marketing

“I take a moment to write creatively every morning.”

“Each morning, I take an hour to write creatively every morning. Blogging and content marketing are fundamental to every business, but they take a ton of time. When I section off 60 minutes every morning while my mind is fresh, it stimulates my brain to be ultra creative.” —Austin Luliano, CEO of snapchatmastery.com

“I run one mile.”

“I run one mile every morning to give myself a feeling of accomplishment early in the morning. For me, one mile is 20 minutes and while it might not seem like much, it truly impacts my morning and lays the foundation for the rest of the day. It boosts my morale and energy and wakes me up quickly so that I can tackle the tasks for the day. Anyone can handle a full inbox of work after a morning jog! Morning workouts are productive because you can go home after a long day of work and relax and eliminate the chance of skipping a workout for the day. Dedicating 20 minutes every morning to a workout has not only increased my productivity as a CEO and leader in my company, but it has also allowed me to meet my health and fitness goals as well.” —Nicole Harris, CEO of onelastfrog.com

“I check in on my goals.”

“Although looking at KPI’s and checking in on company vitals on a daily basis is important from a business perspective, this practice can be applied to one’s personal life as well. Sure, you may have goals—whether they are in your professional life or in your personal life. But do you have trackable metrics that you can look out for as you work toward those dreams? Checking the progress of your goals on a daily basis, even if just a broad overview for a few minutes, can make you feel energized and ready to tackle your day with full energy.” —Keith Shields, CEO, designli.co

“I make my bed.”

“I work from home, which can have its own set of challenges. Two things that help make sure I stay focused and disciplined are to make my bed every morning and to get dressed in clothes I can leave the house in each day. Making my bed ensures that I will not see it and wish that I were back in it. That way I stay focused on the list of things I have to do (which I make the night before for the next day). Getting out of my pajamas or yoga pants makes me feel more in control and focused as well. It helps me put on my ‘business’ hat instead of my ‘home’ hat.” —K.P. Simmon, owner of InkSlingerPR.com

“I play the piano.”

“What I do first thing in the morning is play piano. Playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory and motor cortices, so it gets my mental capacity going. It’s like a mental full-body workout. I started doing it because I needed to get my creative juices going for the day sooner. Normally, I would start out with a couple of cups of coffee and watch the news. I normally start with practicing a piece that I am trying to learn so I have to put thought into what I am doing. This has tremendously helped me as far as being more productive, creative and—since it is something I enjoy doing—getting out of the bed quicker.” —Gene Caballero, CEO of yourgreenpal.com

“I make myself live in the moment.”

“Every morning right after I wake up, I look at a few items in my room and identify them by name. For example: a pen, the desk, the carpet. This is a focusing exercise that I learned from a friend. When I name the random objects, I start living in the present. I am no longer worried about that meeting I will have at 3 p.m. I am no longer worried about whether I will be late to the meeting or what I will have for lunch. If you are writing a report while thinking about lunch, you’re going to make mistakes on the report. If you are in the moment and thinking about the report, you are less likely to make mistakes. You will also enjoy life more if you are not always mentally somewhere else.” —Andrew Reeves, CEO of luxetranslation.com

“I literally jump out of bed every morning.”

I’ve found that when I quite literally jump out of bed, it stimulates a certain chain reaction in my brain chemistry. Some days it is forced, but in the same vein, psychologists have proven that smiling (even forced smiling) improves the happiness quotient. Following this same logic, the jumping action has consistently improved my overall motivation and general ferocity quotient. How do I do it? The specific action I follow is to jump out of bed—from a sitting position directly onto my feet. It starts with a little bounce, offering a nice trampoline-like effect, and voilà! It’s like a switch that goes off in the brain: bam! Ready to rock and roll.” —Charles Lewis, CEO of ciamedical.com

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar is a writer and editor in New York. She writes lifestyle content for Bustle, YourTango, AskMen, Woman's Day, Women's Health and many more. She’s an aspiring boxer, wannabe yogi and lover of cardio dance ... Read More >

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