The Top 5 Morning Routine Building Blocks for Entrepreneurs

[A guest post written by my friend Jonathon Knepper]

You’re familiar with the saying you are what you eat, right? Well, another saying we should be familiar with is, “You are how you start your day.”

Over the past few months I’ve spent over 100 hours researching, reviewing and reaching out to entrepreneurs to see what their morning routines look like. I always knew that a morning routine was something that could benefit me, but I just wasn’t sure where to start. Since some BIG changes are coming my way – mainly a new baby daughter any day now – I knew my window was closing.

My desire to start a morning routine, love of learning by example and a weird quirk that has me always making projects out of goals, created the perfect storm for a morning routine ebook – Win YOUR Day: Insights, Inspiration & Data From 100+ Entrepreneurs to Improve Your Morning Routine & Daily Productivity.

Below I’ve outline the top 5 morning routine building blocks plus included an infographic that outlines some of the most important stats. Enjoy!

Top 5 Morning Routine Building Blocks

  1. Nourishment

Even though everyone surveyed did not have breakfast, it should come as no surprise that food/drink we’re at the top of the list. The research aligned with what reports like those from the Huffington Post have found- about 90% of people eat breakfast each day.

Your first meal after not eating for a while has a big impact on your metabolism. Beyond that, it can also greatly impact your productivity and more.

The biggest surprise came via the most common drinks: hot water with lemon (including Benny), green smoothies and ice water. The top three foods mentioned were eggs, yogurt and granola.

  1. Physical activity

The spectrum of responses were vast. From 7 minute workouts and jumping up and down for bone health to full-blown gym routines, entrepreneurs are a creative bunch. Regardless of what you decide to do:

  • Makes sure it’s enjoyable and fun.
  • If possible try to combine something else with your exercise, like listening to a podcast, learning a language, etc.
  • And remember that even 15 minutes of light exercise per day can increase your lifespan.

For someone like me who rarely finds time to make it to the gym, this was a huge breakthrough. Before, I was always down about my exercise habits. Now I feel more hopeful and positive about what I am able to do. If you’re struggling to exercise regularly, I’d suggest you look into this free, customizable 7 minute workout app from Johnson & Johnson.

  1. Reading

“I read something thoughtful, philosophical or spiritual. For example, I’m re-reading The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer in 10-15 minute increments most mornings.”Jason

Beyond improving your knowledge, reading (even fiction) had some surprising benefits. Did you know reading literature can improve your ability to understand what people around you are thinking? Neat!

  1. Checking Email

This was hands down the deepest divide amongst entrepreneurs. People like Harrison (and myself) check it first thing:

“I tend to always check my email first thing to see if there is anything of urgent matter to attend to. I feel that skill was ingrained in me while I was working at corporate office at Target, where you would look over the emails, and prioritize based on highest urgency to lowest.”

While others like Rajiv avoid email and alerts to start all together:

“Around April or May of 2015, I decided to not check my email until after 2-3 hours of being awake. Now my phone stays on ‘do not disturb’ until 9 AM.”

Whatever side of the line you land on, just be sure your morning routine works for YOU.

  1. Planning & Goal Setting

Provided you haven’t been living under a rock and have read your fair share of the GBL blog, you’ll already have some knowledge on goal setting. If not, brush up on past articles.

For the entrepreneurs with a planning/goal-setting ritual, it was an important part of their morning:

“I find [that planning] especially really helps me focus on the day ahead. Once I see everything I need to do in writing, I can begin to tackle everything.” – Joe

Learnings From 100+ Entrepreneurs [Infographic]

The infographic below points out some of the biggest takeaways from examining over 100 morning routines. If you like the quotes above or the data below, I invite you to check out Win YOUR Day on Amazon. For a limited time you can download it for $1!

Jonathon Knepper is a digital strategist, efficiency nerd, hot sauce fanatic and lover of great eats. When he’s not working (and sometimes when he is) you can find him traveling with his wife, daughter and soon to be newborn daughter. You can learn more about him on or connect on Twitter.

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2 responses to The Top 5 Morning Routine Building Blocks for Entrepreneurs

  1. Amazing information about an Entrepreneurs….thanks for this information

  2. Some excellent advice. I personally prefer planning my day the day before though.

    The last thing I do before wrapping up work for the day is plan out what I’m going to do the next day.

    Then first thing the next day I can get started on work and I don’t have to think about what I need to do before falling asleep.