Book Blog: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
While on vacation recently my husband bought WHAT THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO BEFORE BREAKFAST at an airport bookstore. I don’t generally gravitate to time management books, but I casually flipped through this one’s pages on our flight. The title question intrigued me: What do the most successful people do before breakfast? I needed to know. Especially because I’m coming from a place of morning madness, and maybe you can relate – My toddler wakes up at 6am, and sometimes earlier. The dog needs to go out, which requires getting dressed, taking the elevator down to the lobby, going out into the city streets in various weather conditions and, if I'm the only parent at home, then I have to bundle up my young son and bring him with me. Diapers need to be changed, breakfast needs to be prepped, and my work email is chiming before 8am. So, I could use some strategies to makeover my mornings from stressful to successful. I ended up reading this entire book in one full swoop.
WHAT THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO BEFORE BREAKFAST breaks down three main areas of how morning time can be more effectively spent: 1) nurturing your career (strategizing and focused work), 2) nurturing your relationships (giving family & friends your best), and 3) nurturing yourself – exercise, spiritual, creative practices.
I wouldn’t really categorize myself as a morning person or a night owl, but back when my son was just a baby, I often set my alarm for 4:45am so I’d be at my desk by 5am with coffee in hand, ready to write. My work life wasn’t as crazy last year, my son slept a lot more than the does now, and I was eager to finish my YA manuscript and send it off to agents. I actually felt more rested back then. Morning time was me time. But this year has been a totally different story. My family and work life are at a constant state of extreme fullness and, as I previously mentioned on this blog, I entered into a massive rewrite of my manuscript, literally scrapping the entire previous version and starting over from scratch.
Here are five things I learned about my life from reading this book:
- The morning is an opportunity to do focused work – My mind is more cluttered at the end of the day. At night I just want to crawl into my jimjams, read a book, watch ridiculous reality TV, eat cheese, and have a glass of red wine. If I want to keep moving forward with my book, then I need to set my alarm, get out of bed, and get to my desk. This manuscript won't rewrite itself.
- As much as I’d like to workout in the mornings, that doesn't make sense with our lifestyle and living situation – And I’m not going to beat myself up about it. If I can exercise in the afternoon or evening, that’s a personal win, and I'll celebrate that.
- My husband sometimes works insane hours, which can include nights and weekends. Family dinner doesn’t always happen – But meaningful family breakfasts and bonding activities can.
- Planning rejuvenating and inspiring experiences for the whole family ahead of time will create more relaxing ‘weekends’ for us, whichever day that might fall on (for us, sometimes a ‘weekend’ is Sunday and Monday). The book suggests making a List of 100 Dreams, which can serve as a jumping-off point for planning activities. I particularly liked the idea of creating family traditions, and we try to do this with brunch and church on Sundays.
- Social media and emails should be kept at bay (if possible) until the official workday begins – It’s too easy to get sucked into reading tweets and non-urgent messages that can be evaluated at a later time. The early morning time (in my house, that’s about 4-8am) is precious family, self, and creative time. I’m working on getting up an hour earlier than my son so that I can have some focused time on my YA manuscript before he wakes up. I want to be the absolute best mom I can be – I want to be more present in the moments with my family and more in tune with their needs, and for me, sometimes I'm guilty of having my creative projects and work responsibilities spill over into our family time. I'm working on this one.
I’m interested to hear – How do you use your early morning time? Do you work on creative projects, read a good book or morning newspaper, or take the dog for a run? We’re all busy people – So what are your secrets for using time productively?