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12 Things Highly Productive People Do Before Breakfast

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This is a guest post by Sarah Williams. She is an avid lifestyle blogger and is passionate about self-development. She believes that true happiness is a continuous process of evolvement and a learnable skill of appreciating the present moment. You can read more of her life tips on Wingman Magazine.

We’re all familiar with the benefits of waking up early. And it doesn’t come as a surprise that productive people are up and running before dawn. But that isn’t enough.

The activities you include in the time before breakfast are equally important. And the successful individuals who get things done have a set of habits they dedicate their mornings to that help them win the day.

What we repeatedly do is who we really are. That’s why our habits are so crucial when it comes to progress and productivity. It doesn’t really matter if you work hard on something important, if you ditch it soon after. But do it every day, and you’ll see results like never before.

Productive people are those with productive habits. And how they start their day defines how they’ll end it.

We all hear about the importance of a powerful morning ritual. But we rarely realize why it’s so beneficial, and we often think it’s harder than it is. A routine is nothing more than a few actions that, when combined, help you get ahead in any area of life.

Jumpstarting your day from the moment you wake up is one of the best practices of those who know what they want in life and take action upon it daily.

So here are 12 of the best morning habits highly productive people share (you can build them, too):

1. They Plan Out Their Day

Woman writing in organizer

Often people waste too much precious time in deciding what to do first, not knowing where to start, not being sure what they have to get done for the day, etc.

But people with a purpose plan their day out from the very beginning so that they can get the big picture of the day’s tasks, and so that at any moment they can know what’s left to be done.

That also helps them get an idea of how long each job/project/task will take, and they can include even their free time and chores in this list.

We’re talking about the simple-yet-powerful productivity tool called a to-do list.

It’s nothing more than writing down everything the moment it comes up and ranking tasks in order of importance if you want to.

You can create such a list with pen and paper, but you can also use a tool or special software to keep that organized for you.

The point is to always have it around so that you can cross items off once they’re completed. This will make you more productive and motivated to finish the whole list, too. It’s a simple technique that many successful people swear by.

It works well once we get used to it for a few reasons. First, we don’t need to memorize anything anymore and can rely on the habit of writing tasks down and reviewing them a few times during the day. That makes life much simpler and saves you from awkward situations like forgetting about an important meeting, for example.

Second, you feel the need to complete everything that’s on the list. Otherwise, you know you’ll feel disappointed in the evening. So in this case your to-do list is your accountability partner, and its existence itself gets you moving and keeps you focused.

And last but not least, it’s great for time management, as you manage to get a lot done in less time.

2. They Take Action from the Get-go

Getting out of bed immediately is something too many people struggle with. And we all know how disappointing missing the first alarm is. It usually leads to being late and not having enough time for your morning routine and for yourself. The whole day may be ruined because of it.

But the solution is simple: just do something. When you open your eyes, leave bed without thinking too much. Your mind will come up with excuses as to why it’s better to stay in the comfort of your bed for a little while, but we all know where that leads.

Productive people do their best to take action right away, no matter what it is.

You can place your alarm in the other corner of the room so that you’ll have to get there to turn it off, and that will make it easier for you to take another action after that like going to the bathroom, making coffee, making your bed, getting dressed, etc.

3. They Read or Write

Closeup hand open book for reading concept background

Highly productive people know the following day will be busy, and now is usually their only chance to spend some time in creative activities, get inspired, find peace, and enjoy silence while drinking their morning coffee.

Some turn to morning pages—they put pen to paper and write their soul out. Others prefer to read a few passages of a pleasant and motivational book.

That time is sacred and they cherish it. It’s when others aren’t awake yet, they have nothing else to do at that moment, and the day hasn’t started officially. It’s time only for themselves. And it’s something every person needs.

In the long term, that can make you more calm in general. You’ll start the day inspired and in a better mood. That’s priceless.

4. They Meditate

Active woman doing yoga poses at sunset

The early morning is the ideal time to invest in your spiritual growth, be it even for a few minutes.

Meditation is a powerful practice many successful people turn to. It helps them organize their thoughts and empty their mind. It also helps them be still for a while and feel the peace and contentment which can’t be found throughout the busy day.

If you meditate daily for at least 15 minutes, your life will change forever. You’ll not only reduce your blood pressure, sleep better, and generate ideas more easily, but you’ll also handle daily problems better and will be more positive and energetic.

Meditation is usually underestimated because of its simplicity. But that’s the beauty of it. The exercise itself is nothing more than sitting down in silence and trying to focus your mind on your breathing while letting go of all other thoughts.

It sounds simple, but it’s not easy. We’re so used to constantly over-thinking, planning, getting back to the past, and so on, that we can’t just turn that off and empty our mind. But meditating helps us do that.

And after doing it for some time, we’ll be able to concentrate easier when working on important projects and thus perform better and get better results.

That’s why meditation is closely related to productivity. A focused mind gets the work done. The creative ideas you come up with also come in handy when working on important stuff later on. And the energy and good mood are bonuses that help you get a lot done in less time without feeling overwhelmed.

5. They Work Out

The morning is also perfect for squeezing in a quick workout. Busy people can’t really find any other time for it during the day.

Be it stretching for a few minutes, going for a jog, doing yoga, or hitting the gym for half an hour, exercise works wonders. Nothing else will give you such an energy and motivation boost, and you’ll be on top of your game for the whole day.

6. They Review Their Goals

Everyone who’s after something big in life dedicates a few minutes before breakfast to reviewing their goals — the long- and the short-term ones.

With so many distractions around us it’s easy to be lead astray, but it’s our job to keep our mind focused on these goals.

So write them down, and review them every morning. Even reading them out loud will make a big difference and will help you develop a powerful mindset.

At the same time, you can visualize achieving the results. See yourself more successful and productive than you are now, feel strong and accomplished, imagine how your life will look like in a year or two, and feel great about it.

7. They Journal Their Thoughts

Hand writes with a pen in a notebook

Writing in the morning is one of the best habits you can build that will change you as a person and will affect many other areas of your life in a great way.

When you wake up, simply write down everything that’s on your mind. Share your deepest fears, desires, current mood, or simply your plans for the day.

Add to that a few things you’re grateful for, and you have a gratitude journal. Include things that will make today great, too, so that you can kickstart the day with positive energy.

It’s better if you do that by hand. The early morning is a sacred time and it’s better to spend it without any devices.

So use pen and paper. In time, you’ll be able to come back to old journal pages and see recurring themes. You may notice an issue you have that you haven’t realized before and can now do something about.

Also, you’ll start expressing yourself better in writing and thus improve your communication skills. You’ll be more open with other people, too.

8. They Define Their Most Important Tasks (MITs)

Productive people know how important prioritizing is, and that’s why they carefully define their one, two, or three most important tasks for the day.

These are the things that will get them closer to their goals if completed and that will help them or others in some way.

Too often people spend time working on the wrong tasks — stuff that can be easily delegated or that isn’t necessary at all.

That’s why it’s worth spending some time defining which of the things on your to-do list bring you results, and which are just things you think you should do at some point.

Also, analyze the activities you do throughout the whole day. If you do it carefully enough, you’ll find out that some things aren’t productive and that time can be better spent doing something else.

9. They Break Big Tasks Down into Smaller Ones

I know people who feel so overwhelmed when looking at their to-do list that they don’t even start.

The bigger picture may look scary, but everything is achievable once made simpler. So take each big project you have and chunk it down to smaller actions, and then do the same with those.

Then you’ll have a list of tiny steps to take that will help you get the job done. No time needs to be wasted in deciding where to start, as you’ll simply have to take the first step.

10. They Track Everything

Productive people know that what gets measured, gets managed. And they benefit from the power of tracking by writing down everything they do throughout the day, including when and for how long, and then compare it to previous results.

That helps them keep moving forward and discover things that can be improved.

Often we don’t really know whether something new we’re doing is helping us get ahead in life. That’s when tracking comes in handy.

11. They Let Go of Yesterday

Another important thing successful people do in the morning — as part of their spiritual growth process — is freeing themselves from anything that happened yesterday so they can embrace what today will bring.

Each day they have different tasks to work on, people they meet, problems and issues they encounter, and disappointments and negative thoughts that come up. And the only way to stay sane and be able to get things done in the new day is to accept all that and let it be.

If you carry the burden of yesterday in your present — which is thinking about the tasks from the day before, wishing you could have done more, regretting wasting some time, and so on — you can’t enter this day with a clear mind. That means you won’t be able to focus while working on important stuff, and you won’t get tasks done properly either.

So let go of what was. And be mindful of what is. The only thing that matters is the task in front of you. You need to be present and pay your full attention if you want great results.

12. They Eat Their Frog

Productive people don’t wait until they get to the office to actually get to work. They don’t wait for a certain time of day either.

Once they’re done with their morning ritual and are prepared, energized, and motivated for the day ahead, they begin with the first task on their list.

They’ve already carefully thought out what needs to be done that day, and they’ve organized it in the smartest and most productive way possible so they can do more in less time. They’ve defined the most important items on the list and have put them on top, together with breaking them down into smaller steps.

And now they don’t need to procrastinate, wonder what to do first, or be encouraged. They are mentally, spiritually, and physically ready to get to work and do their best.

Just imagine how far in life you could get if you were like that after the first hour of the day.

Wrapping Up

So those are the main things highly productive people do before breakfast.

It may seem like a lot now, but if you wake up early and waste no time, you can have an amazing success ritual to start the day with.

It may feel hard in the beginning. But without consistency, there won’t be any results. You need to do all these tasks for a while to see the changes that will start happening in your life.

Soon you’ll be more productive, focused, positive, and energetic. You won’t let others waste your time, won’t invest it in activities that don’t get you results, and you’ll level up in life. Once others see that, they’ll respect you more, and you’ll be able to lead by example and inspire them to do the same.

Believe it or not, there’s a highly productive person inside each of us. And we need to start thinking like him or her, building the right habits, increasing our willpower, and beating procrastination, so we can let that person out.

Then, we all have the chance to make the most of each day and get more work done in less time. And we can then unleash our potential — show what we have, let others see that, notice opportunities and take them, improve our skills, work on side projects, and eventually become the best version of ourselves.

This productive and successful life is waiting for us. And we can get closer to it by waking up an hour earlier tomorrow morning and doing one or more of the things on this list. And then doing it again the morning after that.

So which of the things highly productive people do before breakfast would you work on first and why? What other productive activities do you know of that can help you jumpstart your day?

This is a guest post by Sarah Williams. She is an avid lifestyle blogger and is passionate about self-development. She believes that true happiness is a continuous process of evolvement and a learnable skill of appreciating the present moment. You can read more of her life tips on Wingman Magazine.

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Posted by Shirley  | February 19, 2016 at 8:10PM | Reply

Who has mastered this approach and hades

Posted by Steven K.  | February 14, 2016 at 6:06AM | Reply

One of the great benefits of meditation (#4) is that actually builds willpower. Research has shown that it also increases attention, focus, and impulse control, so meditating first thing in the morning can help you build the willpower to be more productive for the rest of the day. To learn more, check out a great read called “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. ( We have also published a summary of the book that provides in-depth knowledge of the book in less than 1/5th the time (

Posted by Paul Metcalfe  | February 13, 2016 at 7:32PM | Reply

Haha! Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? But a few of these overlap and most don’t take very long, especially if you get into the habit.

I struggle with #2 as the snooze button always tempts me. Especially Monday morning in the winter.

Posted by Eurobubba  | February 12, 2016 at 11:57AM | Reply

It’s gotta be about lunchtime by the time they get all that out of the way!

Posted by Maggie @ Self Thrive  | February 11, 2016 at 1:47PM | Reply

I was just thinking the other day about how I don’t seem to have much time to read anymore, which made me a bit upset because I’ve really been craving a good book lately. I had never thought about taking the time to read in the morning, though, so thanks for that idea. When I think about my day and the things I have to accomplish, reading never seems to fit into it. I guess the solution is to fit it in before I even officially start the day!

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