On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
Regardless of how you like to start your day, everyone has a morning routine. It could be 5 minutes or it could be 1 hour. It all comes down to what inspires and motivates you to start your day.
Over the years, Balance the Grind has published over 150+ daily routine profiles on the some of the most successful people in the world. One of the common running themes across all these profiles is that they all have a morning routine that helps them optimise their day for success.
From Whitney Wolfe Herd taking her dog out for a walk first thing in the morning, to Gary Vaynerchuk working out with his personal trainer, to Arianna Huffington’s meditation routine, here are 15 morning routines from the world’s most successful people.
Satya Nadella: Executive Chairman & CEO of Microsoft
Waking up at 7am, after getting his usual eight hours of sleep, the first thing Satya Nadella does is ask himself “what are you thankful for?”
It’s a ritual he picked up from Dr. Michael Gervais, a high performance psychologist who has coached Microsoft employees and the Seattle Seahawks. “It’s just grounding. It gives you the ability to get up in the morning and orient yourself for the day,” he said on LinkedIn’s Hello Monday podcast.
Then, Nadella gets in his exercise. “For me, the daily ritual is just a half-hour of hitting the gym every day,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where I am, what time zone, how late I got in, I get up and get to the gym. It’s just 30 minutes of running, and it just makes a huge difference.”
Read the full daily routine of Satya Nadella.
Whitney Wolfe Herd: Founder & CEO of Bumble
After waking up, Whitney Wolfe Herd will go for a walk with her dog, Jett, before heading home to check emails and typically jump on calls with the Bumble London office. Depending on her schedule, she’ll try to squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise before heading into the office.
“Leading up to my wedding I worked with a trainer and she gave me lots of great strength training exercises so I try to alternate each day between legs, arms, and abs,” she told Newsette. “If I can, I also try to make a smoothie for breakfast using organic romaine, spinach, and blueberries.”
Read the full daily routine of Whitney Wolfe Herd.
Gary Vaynerchuk: Chairman of VaynerX, CEO of VaynerMedia
On a typical day, Gary Vaynerchuk is up at 6am and working out by 7am with a personal trainer. “I usually work out for 45 minutes to an hour,” he told Insider. “The specific workout routine varies depending on the day of the week, what I ate, how much I’ve been traveling. There is no one big secret GaryVee workout.”
After his training session, Vaynerchuk will send his kids off to school, then start work at around 9am. He’ll spend several hours filming content for his new YouTube show, Tea With GaryVee, followed by a series of meetings for VaynerX, the umbrella company for all of the ventures he’s involved in, including VaynerMedia, VaynerSpeakers, VaynerProductions and VaynerCommerce.
Read the full daily routine of Gary Vaynerchuk.
Naomi Osaka: Professional Tennis Player, Four-Time Grand Slam Singles Champion
On a typical training day, when Naomi Osaka wakes up the first thing she does is drink a breakfast smoothie prepared by her strength & conditioning coach, Yutaka Nakamura, which is made up of kale, spinach, coconut water, and kiwi. She’ll then have something to eat like rye bread with smoked salmon and avocado.
After breakfast, she’s off to the courts for practice. One constant thing in her morning routine is music. “I always start and end my workout with music,” she told Us Weekly. “It keeps me focused and keeps me motivated for what’s next.”
Read the full daily routine of Naomi Osaka.
Rich Roll: Ultra-Endurance Athlete
On a typical day, Rich Roll is usually up at about 6-6.30am (after going to bed at around 9) — he never sets an alarm, preferring to wake up naturally. On an intermittent fasting day, which he does a few times a week, Rich will have a cup of coffee, drink some water and start his morning training before anything else can get in the way.
“I’ll go to the pool for a swim, trail run, or get on my bike for a couple hours,” he said. “I try not to schedule work stuff before 12 p.m., so that the first part of the day is just for doing my stuff, including training, journaling, writing, all that kind of stuff. No phone calls, no podcast.”
Read the full daily routine of Rich Roll.
Janine Allis: Founder of Boost Juice, Retail Zoo
On a typical day in her life, Janine Allis is up at around 6.30am. After getting the kids ready for school, she’ll have a smoothie made up of: kale, banana, blueberries, lemon, coconut water, chia seeds, psyllium husk, Metagenics EnergyX supplement, Metagenics Omega Brain Plus, probiotics, milk thistle, whey protein powder, Boost super greens, liquid iron and liquid vitamin D.
After her morning shower (”I love my shower in the morning; all my best ideas come in the shower”), she’ll get dressed in her work outfit, which just so happens to double as her yoga gear. “I find if you dress for exercise you are more likely to do it,” she told Mamamia. “I always dress for comfort.
Read the full daily routine of Janine Allis.
Jeff Bezos: Founder & Executive Chairman of Amazon
Over the years Jeff Bezos has developed a morning routine that enables him to start his day in a slow and calm fashion. After getting his standard 8 hours of sleep every night, Bezos likes to take his time easing into the day, with a hard rule of no meetings before 10am.
“So I like to putter in the morning,” he told The Economic Club of Washington D.C. “I get up early. I go to bed early, I get up early. I like to putter in the morning, so I like to read the newspaper, I like to have coffee, I like to have breakfast with my kids before they go to school, so I have my kind of puttering time is very important to me.”
Read the full daily routine of Jeff Bezos.
Sara Blakely: Founder & Executive Chairman of Spanx
On a typical day, Sara Blakely is up early and doing yoga at home by 6.30am. With four young children, Blakely spends most of her mornings getting them ready for school. To save time, she has the same breakfast every morning, a smoothie made up of frozen wild blueberries, a few dark cherries, kale, dates, cinnamon, spinach, cilantro, fresh mint, lemon, water, ice, chia, and walnuts.
Then she’s off on her way to work, stretching a 6-minute commute into an hour long drive around Atlanta. “My best thinking time is in the car. I live about five minutes from Spanx but I will drive around sometimes for up to an hour before I go into the office,” she said. “It’s the time I’ve identified in my day that my mind will wander. So many of my ideas have come to me in the car.”
Read the full daily routine of Sara Blakely.
Arianna Huffington: Co-founder of The Huffington Post; Founder & CEO of Thrive Global
On an average day, Arianna Huffington doesn’t get up with an alarm, waking up naturally after she’s had her 8 hours of sleep, usually around 7am. She avoids looking at her phone first thing in the morning, instead, taking some time out to meditate, or on some occassions, write down her dream.
In an interview on the Tim Ferriss Show, Huffington revealed that she drank bulletproof coffee every morning and avoided breakfast, with lunch being her first meal of the day. On the days she’s at home, Huffington will exercise for 30 minutes on her stationary bike, at which point she’ll also check her emails — followed by 5-10 minutes of yoga stretches.
Read the full daily routine of Arianna Huffington.
Tim Cook: CEO of Apple
Tim Cook is up early every morning, rising at 3.45am to work on emails for an hour — he gets between 700 to 800 every day. “I like to take the first hour and go through user comments and things like that, and sort of focus on the external people that are so important to us,” the Apple CEO said in an interview with Axios.
At around 5am, he’ll head to the gym (off the Apple campus to ensure his privacy) for his morning workout. “I go to the gym and work out for an hour because it keeps my stress at bay,” he said. After the gym, he’ll head to his local Starbucks to work through more emails, before heading to Apple Park.
Read the full daily routine of Tim Cook.
Anna Wintour: Editor-in-Chief of Vogue; Global Chief Content Officer of Condé Nast
Anna Wintour’s daily routine starts early, she typically wakes up between 4am and 5.30am and starts reading British and American news first thing in the morning. After that, she’ll go play some tennis and make a Starbucks run for coffee and breakfast.
She’ll arrive at Vogue’s downtown Manhattan office between 8am and 8.30am, beginning her workday by having meetings with key team members on the Vogue or Conde Nast team. “I could also be reviewing pictures that have come in from a recent shoot, or reviewing clothes to be photographed for an upcoming cover.”
Read the full daily routine of Anna Wintour.
Elon Musk: Founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX; CEO of Tesla
With a bedtime of around 1am, Elon Musk typically wakes up at 7am, getting 6 to 6.5 hours of sleep, which, he discovered over the years is his sweet spot.
“Sleep is really great. I find if I don’t get enough sleep I’m quite grumpy. I could drop below a certain threshold of sleep, although I would be awake more hours I would get less done because my mental acuity would be affected,” Musk said in a 2015 reddit AMA.
While Musk will usually skip breakfast to save time — although he will occassionally grab a coffee and an omelette — there’s one daily habit that he’ll always find time for; showering, which he attributes to the source of many ideas.
Read the full daily routine of Elon Musk.
Warren Buffet: Chairman & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffet’s daily routine typically starts at 6.45am, after getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Instead of coffee, tea, or even water, Buffet’s go-to drink first thing in the morning is a can of coke, “If I eat 2700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce servings. I do it everyday.”
When Buffet arrives to work at the Berkshire Hathaway offices, a majority of his time is spent reading, “I just sit in my office and read all day.” In fact, he estimates that 80 percent of his daily work routine is spent on reading materials ranging from financial statements, journals and business reports, to newspapers and books.
Read the full daily routine of Warren Buffet.
Bill Gates: Co-Founder of Microsoft
According to an article by Andrew Ross Sorkin for the New York Times, Bill Gates would start his day in his private gym, where he would spend an hour working out on the treadmill. During this time, he would watch DVDs from the Teaching Company’s “Great Courses” series.
Following his exercise session, Gates would catch up on the latest headlines from around the world by reading the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist, telling Fox Business that it was “great to have something to read on a regular basis”. He is particularly interested in topics related to public health policy, sharing his thoughts on his blog and via Twitter.
Read the full daily routine of Bill Gates.
Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States
When he was serving as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama typically woke up around 7am, getting anywhere between 5-7 hours of sleep each night. He liked to work out first thing in the morning, alternating between weights and cardio.
“His logic was always, ‘The rest of my time will be more productive if you give me my workout time,’” says Jim Cauley, who managed Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.
After his workout, Obama joined his family for breakfast. According to his personal aide Reggie Love, during his tenure as president Obama rarely drank coffee, opting for orange juice, green tea or water instead. After his daughters, Malia and Sasha, were packed and left for school, Obama made the 30-second commute to his office, usually at around 9am to start his workday.
Read the full daily routine of Barack Obama.
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