10 Things Successful People do in the Morning (Hint: It’s not what you may think)


The Internet is filled with personal and professional development articles extolling the virtues of a rigid and productive morning routine. You can’t spend five minutes scanning websites and scrolling through social media without bumping into content that suggests that, in order to be a successful person, you need to start every morning by making a complicated to-do list, doing a Crossfit workout, and eating steel cut oatmeal with flax seeds.

Admittedly, I’ve contributed to this trend. A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about “the magic of early mornings,” explaining my own morning routine that involves getting up at 5 a.m. every morning to write. Early morning is a great time to work, and get a jump on important priorities and make progress on side projects that get pushed aside during the busyness of the day. But what’s missed in all of this early morning advice is that you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to be successful. What’s also not focused on is that “success” means something different to all of us.

Frankly, I’m a bit tired of all of this advice about how to establish a productive morning routine. And to be perfectly honest, I’m getting tired (as in, physically and mentally exhausted) from burning both ends of the candle all of the time.

So come December, I’m going to start working on a new routine. There’s not one path to success. And not everyone shares the same priorities. Accordingly, here’s another take on what successful people do when they get up.

1.  They get up and stay in their pajamas.

2.   They cook pancakes for their family…

3.   …Then eat a big stack themselves, smothered with butter and real maple syrup.

4.   They sip coffee or tea out of their favorite mug.

5.   They spend a few minutes mindlessly gazing out the window.

6.   They start a tickle fight with their kids before helping them get dressed.

7.   They casually walk their kids to school and chat with them about fairies and superheroes.

8.   They focus on how they can make a positive impact in someone else’s life that day.

9.   They reflect with gratitude on the contributions that others have made in their own lives.

10. And then they go out into the world and kick butt, content in knowing that they’ve already tackled the really important stuff for the day.

Don’t accept someone else’s definition of what success is. Create your own based on your values and the life you really want to live. That’s the true mark of a successful person.

Jay Harrington