6 Reasons Why Morning People Are More Successful

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December 3, 2004

If you look at the working habits of highly successful people, you’ll notice one thing they all have in common: they all have rigid morning routines. Apple CEO Tim Cook likes to check emails at 4:30am before hitting the treadmill at 5, while Vogue editor Anna Wintour likes to play tennis at 5:45am before perfecting that signature coif at 6:45 (of course). If you Google ‘CEO Morning Routines’ you’ll be greeted with a long list of executives who rise before 6am. Why are morning people more successful, exactly? We’ve compiled six legitimate reasons why.

Morning people are more proactive than evening people

…and so they do well in business, says Christoph Randler, a Biology Professor at the University of Education in Germany. Following his survey into 367 college students (a demographic not exactly well represented by early risers) he observed “people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening”. Randler believes that morning people are more motivated and therefore are more equipped to use initiative to minimise problems.

Morning people are more productive

If you get up just one hour earlier a day, you would gain 15 days in a year. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Getting up earlier means more time in the morning to concentrate on small tasks with minimal distraction (such as checking emails, which has been shown to be a major productivity killer). When the tasks come rolling in at 9, these morning people are ready to face whatever comes at them, head-on, instead of being faced with an impending inbox doom.

Morning people are healthier

A 2011 Northwestern University study found that night owls “consume 248 more calories per day, twice as much fast food and have as many fruits and vegetables” as early birds. Yikes. It also comes down to timing – morning people are more motivated to exercise at the crack of dawn than their late-rising counterparts. As a result of being healthier, morning people could also be seen to be more productive, take less sick days and therefore get ahead at work.

Morning people are fitter

This might be a no-brainer, but it’s true – those morning people are in shape! Being able to wake up early enough means that morning people slot in their exercise before work or family commitments creep in towards the end of the day. They’ll be less likely to put off that spin class because they’re too tired after a busy day at work.

Morning people are less distracted

With exercise out of the way, morning people greet the day with a clear mind. They are able to focus on the ‘big picture’, especially when they start work before other colleagues show up to distract them. Even then, as most early risers have had ample sleep the night before, they are able to focus on complex tasks throughout the day, better than their sleep deprived colleagues. A lack of sleep has been shown to slow the problem solving process and impair concentration, so those late night lovers could be doing themselves a serious career disservice.

Morning people are happier

According to a University of Toronto study, morning people also self-report higher levels of happiness. Randler’s study also echoes this – in his survey, early risers were more likely to agree to statements such as “I feel in charge of making things happen” and “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself”. With countless studies linking happiness to work performance, it’s no surprise that early birds soar higher in their career than night owls.

Okay – that’s enough reasons! How do I become a morning person?

If you’re now inspired to start setting your alarm early and becoming that healthier, happier, productive, high-flying morning person, here are a few tips we’ve compiled to set up a morning routine of your own:

  • Set an alarm an hour earlier than usual. So, if you get up at 7, set it for 6. Heck, set multiple alarms! It’s easier to wake up if your alarm is blaring every 5 minutes, so set one at 6, 6:10, 6:20 and so on.
  • Place your alarm away from your bed so you have to get up to turn it off. You’ll be more likely to head to the shower when you’re up, rather than head back for a quick kip.
  • Set your work and/or gym clothes out the night before. This will make it easier to roll out of bed as the hard work of choosing an outfit is already done.
  • Exercise. This will help you go to bed earlier.
  • Eat a good breakfast. And it’s okay to have coffee, if you simply can’t survive the mornings without it.

What’s your morning routine? Let us know in the comments!