As an entrepreneur, there are many great demands on you. The market is always evolving, the competition is always growing, there's price erosion and, of course, you have to keep your team on track with your vision.
To handle all those demands, you need to stack the odds in your favor every morning. Think of it like a fighter jet crew preparing for takeoff. The pilot and the crew go through a checklist with dozens of different checks for fuel, engines, electronics, weapons systems and personal readiness to make sure the craft can complete the mission successfully.
You need to think of yourself as a fighter jet and apply that same level of discipline to your mornings. As an entrepreneur, you have a mission that is just as important and often just as risky as that fighter jet's mission.
To help you out, here are my top seven morning routine hacks to help you dominate your day and grow your business faster.
1. Never hit the snooze button
Whether you hit the snooze button or get up and get moving, you are sending a subconscious message to yourself. When you get up, the message is "It's time to work on my mission, because my mission is most important." When you hit the snooze button, the message is "A few minutes of extra sleep is more important than my mission."
By the way, those extra few minutes of sleep are not good sleep. Good sleep requires that you complete at least one full REM cycle, which for most people is about 90 minutes long. Sleeping for an extra five or 10 minutes does nothing to restore your energy and it's not worth it.
Ultimately, that subconscious signal is the most important part. If your first message to yourself in the morning is that your mission doesn't matter, you're going to struggle the rest of the day to find motivation and energy.
2. Wake up before the sun comes up
Statistically, most millionaire and billionaire entrepreneurs wake up much earlier than everyone else, typically between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. There are many different reasons for this. The biggest reason is that it's the only way to guarantee time for yourself.
You and I know that the second you step foot in your office, or the second you open your email, you get caught in the loop of dealing with other people's problems. Even when you're not "at the office," you have friends and family who want to spend time with you.
Which is fine, as long as you get at least one hour of uninterrupted time to yourself in the morning so that you can go through your morning rituals, get ready for the day and do some deep work before the chaos begins.
There's no way to prove this, but I also believe that there is a limited amount of creativity and productivity floating in the atmosphere every morning that people use up throughout the day. That means if you wake up early, you get to take a bigger share than everyone else, which means you get more done and do better work than everyone else.
3. Drink water, eat protein and avoid sugar.
Water and protein will both help wake you up and suppress your appetite so that you can get focused on your work. Plus, they will sustain your energy levels over a much longer period of time, making it easier for you to keep up momentum throughout the day.
4. Start your day off with a list
Waking up early won't help you if you just squander the extra time on tasks that don't move the needle in your business. That's why you need to start with an attack list of three actions for the day that will do the most to grow your business.
And when you make that attack list, you need to put the scariest, most uncomfortable task at the very top. If you put the scary item as No. 3 on the list, you won't want to finish Nos. 1 and 2 because you know you'll have to do the scary thing afterwards.
If you do go ahead and do the scary task first, then everything else will be easier. That's because you'll have the confidence that comes with successfully overcoming your fear.
5. Put your phone on silent, upside down, away from you
I like to put my phone at least two full arm's-lengths away from me, but you can even put yours in a separate room. This cuts off all the temptations and distractions that might pull you away from your deep work in the morning.
Scientific studies have proven repeatedly that you cannot multitask. What most people call "multitasking" is just giving shallow focus to a bunch of different tasks for a few minutes or seconds at a time.
Every time you switch your point of focus, it takes time for your mind to refocus. This is why the average office worker only gets three hours of productive work done for every eight hours they spend on the clock. Separate yourself from the sea of mediocrity by putting your phone aside and giving your mission the deep focus it deserves.
6. Have a morning mental ritual
Here I mean "ritual" in the sense of something you do to clear your mind and get focused on what matters most to you. Meditation has never worked for me, but it might work for you. You can also spend 10 minutes every morning with a book or a podcast that inspires you.
Personally, I go through my gratitude list where I write down the three things I'm grateful for and the three people I'm grateful for. Then, I pick three people to send a gratitude text, which helps me keep my relationships strong and helps us both start the day on a positive note.
7. Start your morning the evening before
Remember the attack list I mentioned earlier? You need to create that the evening before so that you can spend your morning time executing on the list instead of making the list.
Same thing applies to setting your phone aside. You should not go to bed scrolling through social media, since that will fill your mind with distractions. Instead, you want to make your attack list and then go get a solid seven hours of deep sleep.
That way, you'll wake up with enough energy to dominate your day. Plus, your subconscious mind will work on solutions to that attack list all night long to give you a head start.
These are the same hacks I've used to help me build my international franchise and I know you'll have the focus and energy to build your own business empire if you use them as well.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors