The daily habits of successful people

They say the early bird catches the worm. Having a set morning routine can help jump-start your day – it seems to have worked for the world’s billionaires.

Here are some of the ways successful people set themselves up to soar before breakfast – and keep the momentum going until they lay their weary heads down to sleep.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

The media mogul’s morning starts with 20 minutes of meditation, which she says fills her with “hope, a sense of contentment and deep joy”.

Next, she hits the treadmill to get her heart-rate pumping. Oprah swears that at least 15 minutes of exercise improves her productivity and boosts energy levels.

Many studies have explained the vast benefits of morning sweats. To name a few, you’ll eat less calories, you’ll have day-long energy, you’ll burn more pesky fat cells and you’ll sleep better once the sun goes down.

Next, Oprah “tunes herself in” by going for a walk, listening to music or preparing a meal. Finally, she concludes her ritual by eating a healthy meal full of complex carbohydrates, fibre and protein.

And when she’s turning in at night, the last thing she does is write five things that gave her pleasure or she’s grateful for.

Gratitude has been found to improve your health, enhance empathy and build self-confidence.

Richard Branson

Richard Branson

He’s famed for being the only entrepreneur to have built eight separate billion-dollar companies, starting with Virgin in 1970, which he started when he was 20.

The founder of Virgin Group wakes up at 5am to kite, surf, swim or play tennis, saying regular exercise actually enables an extra four hours of productivity in his life.

Think waking up at 5am is too early? Well, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson wakes up at 4am to go to the gym. While he may not be a billionaire, his net worth is still at nearly $300 million (Sh30 billion), making him successful by any measure.

On the other hand, Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, wakes up at 3.45am every day, yes, including Sunday. Most successful people choose to wake up early to get a head start on the day before distractions and obligations arise.

Attacking the day on your own terms also gives you a sense of control of your life.

Early mornings enable you to play offense, instead of being reactive to emails, calls, meetings and other demands on your time.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

This billionaire investor likes his sleep, and usually gets in a full eight hours a night.

He wakes up at 6.45am, and starts his day reading the day’s newspapers.

Warren spends 80 per cent of his day reading, and reportedly read 600 to 1,000 pages a day when starting his investment career. While working out has its advantages, so does reading as Warren is now worth more than $84 billion (Sh8.4 trillion).

Other billionaire readers include investor Mark Cuban, who spends up to three hours of his day reading, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who commits to reading 50 books a year.

When asked how he learned how to build rockets, Elon Musk simply said: “I read books.” 

According to Thomas Corley, the author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, rich people (with an annual income of Sh16 million or more, and liquid net worth of Sh320 million-plus) read for self-improvement, education and success.

Less well-off people (annual income of Sh3.5 million or less, and a liquid net worth of Sh500,000 or less), on the other hand, read primarily to be entertained. So it’s not just about how much you read, but what you read.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

He makes the case for minimising the number of decisions you have to make in a day. Mark wakes up at 8am and goes straight into his phone to check his Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp messages.

However, for three days a week, he’ll opt for a quick workout or run in the morning. He’ll then have a quick breakfast before dressing in what he always wears to work: a T-shirt and jeans.

The Facebook CEO, who’s worth more than $55 billion (Sh5.5 trillion), doesn’t vary much from his T-shirt/jeans/hoodie get-up. And he isn’t the only one who does this.

Fashion designer Michael Kors wears the same black, knitted crewneck every day, while Steve Jobs was known for his black turtleneck and jeans uniform.

Why do billionaires do this?

 “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best to serve this community,” Mark says, adding that even small decisions like what to eat for breakfast could be tiring and consume energy, and he didn’t want to waste any time on that.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

It is safe to say Elon, whose companies include Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink, is a productive man, and it starts with his morning routine.

After getting under six hours of sleep, the first thing the billionaire worth $18.8 billion (Sh1.9 trillion) does when he wakes up is address ‘critical emails’ for half an hour.

He then launches into a blistering schedule that he’s broken down into a series of five-minute slots.

The entrepreneur has been known to work 17 hours a day, and he estimates that 80 per cent of this time is spent on engineering and design.

He doesn’t spend much time on meals. Elon usually takes his lunch during a meeting, and often wolfs it down in five minutes. Multitasking is a crucial part of his strategy.

The wealthy and successful understand the value of their time and use it to their advantage.?  

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