​The internet is full of advice on how to start your day in order to make the most of it.

From physical exercises to tips on how to visualise success, experts and amateurs alike want to share their thoughts and experiences online. 

But how many of them actually work? How do you pick the right pieces of advice and incorporate them into your own morning routine?

Simple! You take a look at those who swear by them.

CEOs and leaders are living examples that morning routines do work. And, oftentimes, their suggestions are the same!

Want to find out how today’s leaders start their day? Curious to find out how you, too, can form a habit and stick to it?

Let’s begin!

One name keeps popping up whenever discussing training your brain to kickstart in the morning: Jim Kwik.

He believes that you can win the entire day if you win your morning. What does that mean?

As long as you have a productive morning and jumpstart your brain for greater levels of focus, the rest of the day will be the same. Setting up your habits as soon as you wake up creates good momentum and sets a positive pace for the entire day.

So how does an ideal productive morning look like in Kwik’s book?

Drink water
Your body gets dehydrated during sleep and your brain, which is 80% water by the way, needs it more than you realize. 

The next thing you want to do is make your bed (for a change). 
This action prepares a clean environment for you to focus in: an organized environment equals an organized mind. 

The next tip is a no-brainer: brush your teeth
Oprah Winfrey schedules her teeth-brushing time somewhere between 6 and 6:20AM. 

But here’s the twist: Kwik challenges you to do it while using your non-dominant hand. We often improve our brain function by using our opposite hand as it creates new neurological connections. 

Then breathe and meditate for a few solid minutes. 

The likes of Arianna Huffington (co-founder of The Huffington Post) and Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) begin their day with breathing exercises. It’s essential to get oxygen in your body, especially to your brain which consumes 20% of your body’s nutrients and oxygen. 

So don’t forget to breathe!

Let's talk breakfast!

Some of us make sure to never skip it, others are not big fans. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk admits he usually skips it in favor of a good cup of coffee.

Others believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Entrepreneur and speaker, Tony Robbins, likes a mixture of fish and salad for breakfast, while Oprah goes for boiled eggs and multigrain toast.

Jim Kwik, however, believes in the power of "brain food".

He likes to drink what he calls “brain tea” made of ginkgo biloba, lion's mane and other healthy stuff for the brain. He’s among those who skip breakfast, but swears by his “power smoothie” made of brain-boosting foods like blueberries and avocado.

One thing all of them agree on? Whether you take breakfast or just a quick coffee, it’s best to do it with your family.

Remember your dreams

Your mind does not stop working while you’re asleep. It still tries to solve the problems you tried solving while you were wide awake. Make an effort to remember if there were any hidden signals your brain tried to send you during the night.

Keep a journal

Taking notes improves brain functionality and kicks your brain into gear. Some people choose to write down things they are thankful for in order to keep them grounded and focused. 

A simple to-do list would suffice, but avoid making it too detailed as it might backfire and, instead, stress you out first thing in the morning.

Make time to read

Whether for work or personal pleasure, reading in the morning for 20-30 minutes improves focus. Warren Buffett, for example, prefers to begin his morning next to a pile of newspapers to stay on top of the business world. 

Reading also helps you think outside the box. Even diving into the chapter you left off the previous night can give you fresh ideas on how to work out issues that might appear during the day.

As Jim Kwik would say: leaders are readers. 

Having a quick workout session in the morning leaves enough time in the day for other priorities. Even if the rest of the day hasn’t been that successful, you’ll still be glad you ticked this off your list at least. 

It's no secret that being active boosts concentration, memory, and mental sharpness. But why opt for it in the AM?

Research shows that the body is more alert after a morning workout session, thus increasing your focus on whatever activity comes next. This means you’ll be able to stay on your toes at the office.

Vogue's Anna Wintour wakes up at 5:45AM to play tennis, while Apple's Tim Cook indulges in his fitness obsession as early as 4:30AM!

Not everyone is likely to hit the treadmill at 6AM. Not all of us have the discipline (or time, let’s be honest) to go for a run before breakfast. The key is to try anything. Yoga, lunges, power walks may just as well do the trick.

Another cool effect of an AM workout is that it helps fight decision fatigue in a never-ending cycle of responsibilities. A burst of activity sharpens your focus and primes your day for maximum energy.

Keeping this routine will make it less likely for you to skip it. There are countless distractions that might appear later in the day, so take advantage of this quality me time!

Being efficient starts as soon as you wake up. Getting started is oftentimes the hardest, and mornings are no exception. Overcoming grogginess is a challenge in itself, but there are ways of doing it!

For starters, you can try to incorporate a few steps here and there, one by one, and work on a rhythm that best suits you. 

Disciplined morning routines are a shared trait of most successful people. They understand that the brain needs a quick warm-up so the body would catch up. 

At the end of the day, what you do in the beginning of the day is crucial. So why not start today?

Written by
The SmartUp Team