TIME Careers & Workplace

Do This Every Morning and You’ll Be Way More Productive All Day


This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources, and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published atInc.com.

Everyone has a unique way of starting their day off on the proverbial right foot. What do successful entrepreneurs do every morning to ensure they are über-effective at getting things done? We asked members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization to provide their tips and tricks for maximum productivity.

Say thank you.

“Every morning, before I even put one foot on the floor, I think of one thing for which I am thankful. Starting with a positive thought and reminding myself of the good things I have in life gives me perspective for the day, should any unpleasantness unfold.”

–Michael Zwick, EO Detroit

President, Assets International

Work on the business, not in it.

“I keep a recurring one-hour meeting for myself called ‘Working on the Business.’ This is a time to think about those higher-level issues that are so important and too often trumped by other meetings and ‘urgent’ emails. Though this meeting lasts an hour every day, it makes all the difference. Why wouldn’t you spend at least five hours a week working on your business?”

–Kevin Menzie, EO Colorado

CEO, Slice of Lime

Prioritize.

“In order to have a productive day, I start out every morning writing down my top three MITs, or most important tasks, that I need to focus on for that day. I write them down at home before I leave for work, prioritize them, and then make sure I schedule time on my calendar early in the morning for each one of them. This process only takes a few seconds and ensures that every day is productive.”

–Jay Feitlinger, EO Arizona

CEO, StringCan Interactive

Exercise.

“I made a promise to work out at least 45 minutes every morning before doing anything else. This has made a huge difference for both myself and my business. Through exercise, I start the day refreshed and ready to take on the many challenges of startup life. I’m more able to approach challenges with an open mind, remain healthy to work long hours, and keep a positive outlook when met with roadblocks.”

–Amy Balliett, EO Seattle

President, co-CEO, chairman of the board, Killer Infographics

Start earlier.

“One day, I had to get to my office at 6 a.m. to be on a conference call with a London-based client. The call only lasted about 20 minutes, and I was left with two and a half hours before my employees started to arrive. I accomplished more in that time of solitude than I ever had in a standard eight-hour day with a fully staffed office. As more and more staff arrive, my productivity tends to decline dramatically. I now regularly work from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.”

–Jeff Cooper, EO Philadelphia

President and CEO, Expo Logic

Meditate for five minutes.

“I start every day with a five-minute meditation and relaxation breathing exercise. This gives me the focus and peace to tackle my hectic day as an entrepreneur. I used to check my phone first and get stressed out, but now this short exercise gives me the balance I need.”

–Nick Friedman, EO Central Florida

President, College Hunks Hauling Junk

Podcast with the kids.

“Once I hit the office, there is very little time to explore new trends and topics in my industry. I start each morning with a curated list of podcasts. First, I listen to two of my shows (10 minutes each), but I also listen to a podcast with my 5-year-old and 3-year-old. Everyone’s happy, I’m up to date on my industry, and the commute goes quick!”

–Nicholas Holland, EO Nashville

President, CentreSource

More from Inc.com:

12 Simple Tricks For Saving Time on Email

3 Beliefs of Highly Successful People

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