What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

I’ve been really into productivity books lately and was interested in What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast because I’m always looking for ways to shake up my morning routine and get the most out of them. A lot of you know that I’m a very early riser – 4am most mornings. I do this because those few hours in the morning are precious to me. There are some days (often) when I just want to crawl right back into bed, but I know that I’ll regret it if I do. The hours between 4 and 7 are so good for me and I don’t ever want to give away that time to sleep!

This is a SHORT and fast book, so it’s only going to take a small investment of your time to read. The author talks about how many successful people are early risers and spend that time doing things to energize themselves. This might mean working out, doing something creative, being spiritual, or spending time with their family. She provides scientific evidence which shows that our willpower is stronger in the mornings and it’s the best time of the day to build new habits. She also goes over some specific ways to examine your time and parse through your choices about how you’re going to use ALL of the time in your day.

I have a solid morning routine. I typically journal or work in my hobonichi between 4-5:30, work on a blog post from 5:30-6:30, and then check in on social media around 6:30 before going to get the boys and getting their day started. I love this routine and it’s been working for a while; I find that I’m much more productive in all areas in my life when I have these extra 3 hours for myself and my goals.

But one thing that is lacking in my life is exercise. I hate exercising. But these waistbands? They’re not getting any smaller. So I think I’m going to start substituting some writing mornings for a little gentle yoga or a walk. I have a goal to exercise 3 times this week. I’m not sure if mornings are the best place for me to wedge this in, but if I can get my body craving a little movement (which it doesn’t, at all!), then maybe I can scoot exercise somewhere else during the day and regain all of my writing time back.

Everything is time in/time out. If I give up my writing time in the morning for exercise, then I lose that writing time. It’s difficult for me to just say that I’ll write after work instead, because that time is dedicated to my family, cleaning the house, reading, and knitting. Plus, I know that I’m not a productive writer in the evenings because I’ve tried that.

And this is how it always goes, doesn’t it? You move one thing around to fit something else in, and then you lose the time for the first thing! But I keep reassuring myself that I can always listen to an audiobook when I’m doing yoga or walking, so I can feel as though I’m still moving forward with some of my goals.

How about you? Does your morning need a makeover? What do you wish you could do with your mornings?


2 thoughts on “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

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  1. 4 am sounds so early – what time do you go to bed, just curious. I know, it’s SO HARD to fit everything in. Something always has to slide. For me it’s mostly cleaning, LOL! I’d pay someone good money to come clean my bathtub right now. 😉


    1. It’s ridiculous, I know. And I always go back and forth between thinking that it’s necessary or not. I usually go to bed between 10-1030. I used to live my life like a bear in constant hibernation and slept ALL of the time because of depression. Now I feel like I have so much lost time to make up for – and that’s not healthy either. I hear you: my standards of cleanliness are very low. I try to do a bare minimum every day so that things don’t get TOO out of hand, but even that slips pretty badly from time to time!


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