5 Steps To An Insanely Productive Morning

I would consider “morning hours” the first two hours after waking up. The average person will experience approximately 50,000 of these hours in their adult life. Consequently, it would be wise to for us to learn how to effectively use this time.

While many of us use this time to ease into our day, I’ve developed the ability to turn these hours into a productivity machine.

As entrepreneurs, the goal of productivity is freedom, not achievement. It’s to manage your time so well you are able to spend your remaining hours doing the things you truly love (hobbies, family, friends, etc.).

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Furthermore, it’s my belief that our time is our most important asset. You can’t make more of it. It’s always running out. And it’s the basis of all great memories.

On that note, here are my five steps to an insanely productive morning

1. 10 Minutes of Critical Preparation Before Bed

I get to bed between 10:30-Midnight seven days per week. But before I hit the pillow, I write down the following day’s tasks. I don’t use an app; I use a simple 3×5 card. First, I add the date and 5-10 tasks (including items I didn’t finish from the previous task day). Next, I add numbers next to each item to represent priority. #1 being the most critical and so forth. Then, lights out. No T.V. and no phone.

2. 10 Minutes of Stretch Time

From the moment I wake up, it’s game time. But that doesn’t mean I jump directly onto Instagram or email. I get up and go through a basic stretching routine right on the floor next to my bed. I focus on my breathing and often spend a few minutes talking to God. Then I walk to my phone and start the day.

3. Reward Yourself With Food

The #1 item on my list is always a beast. It’s the task I don’t feel like doing–especially 10 minutes after I’ve woken up. But I do it. Because if I don’t, I can’t eat. You heard that right. I don’t allow myself breakfast until I finish my first task. Sometimes it takes me 15 minutes, sometimes an hour. But I crush through it and then make myself a healthy meal.

4. Quick, Healthy Meal

When productivity is the goal, there is no time for a 30 min breakfast. But at the same token, success is nothing without your health. So I’ve stocked up on organic items that take less than 5-10 minutes to prepare–bananas, organic oatmeal, egg whites, and granola bars. I eat while focusing on the next item on my list.

5. Power Window of Quiet, Focus Time:

Lastly, I spend the remaining 30-60 minutes of my morning in a quiet place where I can focus. No interruptions. The phone goes on airplane mode. Email is not a priority unless it’s on my list. This is where I often crush through 2-3 more critical items for the day. Then, I take my first 30-minute break.

It’s important to note, I stop working completely at 6 pm. No matter what. No matter how important it may be. Work stops at SIX. It allows me to look back at the day’s hustle and shift my focus toward my wife and children. It’s at this moment where I think, “it was all worth it.”

Productivity without healthy relationships is nothing. Success at work without a strong home life is nothing. Let your time be used for great things, but never get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Are you working toward a dream? Are you hoping to turn your passion into your profession? I’ve launched 7 companies producing over $25 million in revenue. I’ve packaged my learnings, secrets, and tricks into what I believe is one of the best entrepreneurship schools on the market. Let me help you make your dream a reality (video below).

What helps you have a productive morning? Share your tips with me in the comments below.

Author

Dale Partridge
Dale Partridge is the Founder of StartupCamp.com. He's also a keynote speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling book People Over Profit.

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  1. Number 3 is super important. Additionally, 8 hours of sleep are crucial to make the day energetic.

    Reply
    • Joe Kabes says:

      Hello Maurice,
      I enjoy tip number 3 myself… sometimes a little too much! A solid nights sleep is vital to maintaining our health and energy to get through each day. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Carmel says:

    Hi Dale,
    Does your wife have a similar morning productivity routine with the children? I’m a SAHM (kids are 4 and 2), and like other commenters, I struggle with balancing child care duties, housework, family time, husband time, and me time. Any insight would be appreciated!

    Reply
    • Thanks for writing! My wife’s daily schedule (especially in the mornings) changes depending on the day, but usually centers around time with the kids. When we have our babysitter come hang in the mornings, she will usually go run errands and get in some self-care time. Naptime is also a good time for us to get house chores done together. We have date nights during the week, trading off having some friends watch our kids so that we can watch theirs for their date nights. And since I work from home, we get little moments during the day to have with each other and the family altogether.

      Reply
  3. These are great tips! For the past year or so I’ve made it a goal of mine to forge a great morning routine. I’ll be sure to implement these tips and continue creating a great routine! Much appreciated!

    Reply
  4. Ginni says:

    Setting a timer helps me. I find that I get distracted in trying to multitask, so I make a list and set a timer with a predetermined amount of time for each task. It helps me crank out the jobs I’d rather not do, and keeps me from lingering too long on the fun ones. I set timers for my breaks, too, whether it be a nap or a coffee break. I appreciate your suggestion to stretch. I think I could use that in my life.

    Reply
    • Timers are awesome (very Pomodoro!) Glad that works for you! And I totally agree that its helpful to get the stuff done that I REALLY don’t want to do. Hah!

      Reply
  5. Chris says:

    What would you suggest (other than podcasts and audio) for a CEO who commutes by car for one of those two precious hours? I eat a light breakfast “en voiture” as well.

    Reply
    • My advice would be to maybe find someone to ride with you from time to time that would be a lot like ‘iron sharpening iron’.

      Reply
  6. Hi Dale,
    What a joy to be here today,
    I am here today via an Infographic you shared on TDP pages,
    Nice that I landed today here to check into many wonderful resources like Podcasts, videos, and other valuable contents.
    You have indeed a great resource here, will come back to read again.
    Coming to the post, in fact, I was a night owl from my school days and I later changed to a morning person, and I was really enjoyed many benefits out of it, and later due to the work environment again I went back to square one! And a Night Owl again. Recently i did a roundup post in this regard and I asked a simple question to some of the experts from around the world about their sleep pattern and how it affects their productivity, the reply was overwhelming and i noticed many are in the habit of sleeping in the night and using their mornings. After going thru this post i found again that it’s worth going back to the morning routine. I will surely go back and avail those amazing benefits of a Morning Person!!
    Hey, i re-published the infographic on my page with due credit and you have been mentioned in my latest post.
    I am so glad that i met you today.
    Keep sharing
    Have blessed rest of the week
    Thanks again for sharing this post. 🙂
    Keep sharing
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kind words and the post share. And you are absolutely correct, being a morning person has great benefits. Thanks Philip!

      Reply
  7. Hi Dale.
    Great post, thank you. Are you setup with an office and a team that reports into you or do you work independently and work from a home office?

    Reply
  8. Hi~great articles/value, thank you.
    For me morning has always been sacred but work doesn’t come until after I’ve moved through my own rituals. Two that are essential for me are moving my body… a walk, a little yoga..it wakes me up, puts me “in” my body and gets the blood moving, helps with inspiration and more. Also I have to read something inspirational first thing- usually spiritual in nature, I have a lot of books that I love for this…it sets the energy for the day.

    Reply
  9. Jenny says:

    This sounds fantastic and I would love to do it. Any suggestions for a productive start to a day when you’re a stay at home mom who needs to be out of the door by 9 am for activities every day? We’re up at 7. I try to sneak in quiet time and possibly drink coffee while still warm, but making beds, getting a load of laundry done and getting two toddlers ready, as well as myself just never seems manageable in two hours time.

    Reply
    • It’s definitely not easy. If you’re still feeling rushed with the two hours you get now maybe try waking up an hour earlier. You might find that going to bed earlier and waking up with that extra hour could help.

      Reply
  10. David says:

    Hey,

    So I usually go to bed at the same time as you, but I get up and still have a normal job I go to. I eventually would like to do what you do, get up early and do some of my entrepreneur work before I go to work, because the rest of my day is spent either in ministry or with my family. Not to mention my wife also works.

    What time should I be going to bed if I want to wake up a couple hours to do work? I also have a very hard time just getting up in the morning, so that’s also a huge factor.

    Reply
    • It honestly depends on how much rest time your body needs. Everyone is different. Keep telling yourself that waking up early is worth it! 🙂

      Reply
  11. I am a big fan of anything that makes me more productive. One of the things I do is write out my to-do list but instead of having something on the list like “write 25 blog comments” I will number 25 spots and crush through them one at a time. This builds momentum and get’s me more motivated to complete the rest of the list. Another big one I do is #39 on this list http://dscience.co/71-unbelievably-easy-tips-to-crush-productivity-this-year/. It has saved me countless hours.

    Reply
    • Awesome. Thanks, Austin!

      Reply
      • absolutely welcome Dale! Looking forward to more posts and can’t wait to connect with you some more! Are you on Snapchat by chance? It is my favorite social media and would love to connect with you on there.

        Reply
  12. Amber says:

    I have had successful online companies over the years. They come..they sell or go..but everyone has their own routine. I am NOT a morning person. So my family goes to bed and I go to work!! I am up Early and nap and back to work. I am not a millioniare, but I made really good money on and off and was almost a “stay at home home mom” for many years. Plan to for years to come.

    The main thing is determination and remember these “hours” are work hours. Whatever time you set aside! Act as if your in the cubicle. Its work time..not do laundry, dishes, errand running time. And you’ll have a chance.

    Reply
  13. Hey Dale. Thanks for the insight. Do you continue this routine on the weekends?

    Reply
    • Thanks, Will! I spend as much time with my family as I can. Especially on the weekends.

      Reply
  14. Myles says:

    GREAT stuff Dale. I appreciate all of the insight. Quick question, is this all learned from experience or are there some books that ttaught you these things as well, if so what books would u suggest?

    Thanks again, my wife and I appreciate all you do.

    Reply
  15. Karena Gleason says:

    Since going back to casework in child protection I have been struggling with stopping at 6 as there are always more things to get done and I feel like I owe if to the children I serve. But then my own kiddos get the short end of the stick. I think God led me to this blog because I have been praying about achieving better balance. Thanks for putting it in perspective for me!

    Reply
    • Hey Karena. Sometimes perspective is all we need. Keep your eye on what matters most.

      Reply
  16. Tojomul says:

    Thanks Dale, I’m quoting you:

    Productivity without healthy relationships is nothing. Success at work without a strong home life is nothing. Let your time be used for great things, but never get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

    Nice work. I started 2 weeks ago trying to get my kids to make a 3 point ‘to do list’ every night in prep for the next day, trying to get them in the productivity culture.

    Reply
  17. Colleen says:

    Dale,

    If your day ends at 6pm sharp to be with your family, without exception, how is it that the last 3 or 4 comments you hav e answered are posted around 8:30pm or later? Just wondering. I do like your ideas and I already incorporate some of them in my daily routine. Keep the suggestions coming.
    Colleen

    Reply
    • Hey Colleen. If my wife is out at Girl’s night or I’m checking comments from say the toilet. That’s likely what happened 🙂

      Reply
  18. Megan says:

    I’m glad I ran across this. Ever since I became a stay home mom I can’t seem to find my balance. I have until 245 to do what I need/want to do. There are plenty of things that need to be done(besides typical daily cleaning) and plenty of things I would enjoy, but it seems the mundane take over and at the end of the day I feel so unacomplished and inadequate. This has been more difficult especially emotionally,than when I worked ft. I will put your method to work and see if it works for me too! Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Vanessa says:

    I am going to implement this process starting tomorrow morning, I really needed to read this. Thanks Dale

    Reply
  20. Hey Dale, thanks for sharing! I was strugglin with myself in the mornings becuse it was not stuctured. I’m going to try it your way!

    But as far as i know, you’re the family guy. Where is your family in the morning? How do you manage to not disturb each other?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Good questions Nick. I’m up about 90 minutes before them. I hang with them right after my first break.

      Reply
  21. What would you recommend if you are an owl, not a lark?

    Reply
    • I would do a similar 2 hour window during the day or at night. Or just do it when you wake up. Even if it’s 10am

      Reply
  22. Shelby Newsome says:

    Loved these tips. I consider myself a morning person, but have never been sure how to really use my energy to be productive and get things done first thing. I will definitely be trying these tips out.

    Thank you!

    Shelby

    Reply
  23. Eusebio Martinez Jr says:

    Good morning (StartupCamp is on my list this morning),

    Dale, I see bedtime (10:30pm-12am), I see clockout time (6pm, sharp), but I don’t see wake time. I’d like to get a gauge of how many hours are put in and when your “first two hours” begins. Thanks, and God bless you and yours.

    Jr.

    Reply
  24. You stated what time you go to bed every night. Out of curiosity, what time do you usually get up in the morning?

    Reply
    • Good question. 6:30-7am is typical. If the baby is up at night then as late as 8am.

      Reply

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