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Success begins with how you start your day; 90% of CEOS wake up before 6AM and half of all self-made millionaires are awake at least 3 hours before their workday.  Your morning routine sets the pace for productivity, and adapting the habits of other successful women, like rising early, eating breakfast and getting in a workout can give you the leverage to achieve your day-to-day and overall career goals. By exploring what works for other women, you’ll be able to tweak and borrow aspects from different approaches to cultivate your own ideal morning ritual. 

Give Yourself More Time in the Morning

When you’re a woman in a leadership role,it’s crucial to make optimal use of your time.  You may find yourself wishing for more hours in the day, and one way to give yourself more time is to wake up earlier. Waking up earlier helps attune your body’s circadian rhythm to achieve peak alertness during daylight hours, which also happens to coincide with 8 hour workday. The goal of waking up early, however, is not to sacrifice sleep, as sleep deprivation will only diminish productivity and leave you sluggish and inefficient. Synchronizing your body’s internal clock with cues of light and darkness helps regulate melatonin production to achieve more hours of restful sleep.  Many busy people also enjoy the relative peace and quiet of the morning as a time to achieve deep focus, without the distractions and demands of kids, coworkers and clients.

Make Breakfast a Priority

Your mother may have mentioned once or twice that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and while adequate nutrition is equally important at every meal, breakfast can shape your daily approach to food throughout the day. Breakfast is one of the most frequently skipped meals, and skipping meals in general can diminish energy levels and lead to binge eating. Preparing a healthy and enjoyable breakfast for yourself can be an important act of self-care, providing nourishment for your body, mind and spirit.

If you’re really not a breakfast person, choose foods that are simple to prepare and consume, like porridges and smoothies. A protein-packed breakfast keeps you feeling fuller for longer, eliminating distracting hunger pains that may kick in at mid-morning. If you’re a coffee drinker, try to get your caffeine intake in earlier in the day, to avoid restlessness that may interfere with your sleep at night. In addition to making the right nutritional choices, considering the ethics of your food and coffee sources is important when you’re in a leadership role and setting an example. If you are supplying coffee for employees, make sure it is ethically sourced by doing the necessary research before making a purchase. 

Kick Start Your Day With a Workout

Hitting the gym for an early morning, high-intensity class or going for a run at dawn helps you feel energized and focused from the start. Exercise triggers the release of key hormones and neurotransmitters, like endorphins, serotonin and BDNF, which improve attitude and concentration. Working out also helps reduce the body’s physiological response to stress by lowering heart rate and blood pressure and reducing muscle tension. Starting your day with lower levels of stress will improve personal interactions and give you the clarity to effectively strategize and problem solve. 

How you care for yourself every morning and throughout your day influences your effectiveness as a leader. Establishing habits that improve your well-being and mental health will in turn improve your success in business. Giving yourself the time and resources you need to get started every morning will make your busy day easier to manage.