What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Read 187 answers below or select another question.

Drew Logan · Fitness Expert, Trainer

A big portion of my marketing and branding is done on social media. I’m particularly active on Instagram - I think it tells the most complete story and has the most diverse search system to be able to find useful information.

Todd Davis · Executive Vice President, FranklinCovey

Well… getting the new puppy outside to relieve himself is currently my most important morning “task.” But after that, checking on any urgencies that have come up that might need to be addressed is a close second. While I have a phenomenal team at work, as FranklinCovey’s Chief People Officer, I feel ultimately responsible for the hundreds of talented associates at our company. So in that respect, I’m “on call” when anyone needs me.

Gail Saltz · Psychiatrist, Author

I’ve tended to feel that my most important morning tasks are having a bit of time with my kids before getting them off to a good start for the day, as well as jumping on any important news story that has a mental health aspect to it. Balancing both of these is sometimes tricky. If big news has happened, then I might get less kid time; if there is an issue regarding one of my kids, then I might be less attentive to work issues. Mostly these two have coexisted pretty well, though.

Matthew Weatherley-White · Managing Director, The CAPROCK Group

Funny. I’ve never thought of it as a task, but the most important thing I do each morning is steady myself by not allowing a sense of urgency to penetrate. Every once in awhile I find myself in a spin cycle of urgency - a sense of internal panic that the list of things to do is lengthening no matter how hard I try to control it. But I learned long ago (even though I occasionally forget!) that this sense of urgency is nearly always illusory. I am more productive when I am not operating with urgency.

I remember years ago reading a passage in a book about Thomas Keller in which the author marvels at the pervasive sense of calm in Keller’s famous restaurant The French Laundry. How could such incredible food, the author wondered, prepared at such exacting standards, be produced in such a calm environment? The irony is, of course, that the calm environment was the reason for the productivity, as it revealed total mastery of the task at hand. I strive for that same sense of calm mastery, and I occasionally even achieve it.

Rick Popowitz · Serial Health Entrepreneur

Waking up and moving from a horizontal position to standing. I’m not trying to be funny or morbid, there’s also a religious reason. As Jews we begin the day by “thanking G-d for restoring my soul and breathing life into my nostrils.” This may sound religious, but for me it is an acknowledgement that I was granted another day to show love to my family, appreciate my colleagues, and try to make the world a better place. Corny, for sure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Celeste Headlee · Radio Host, Author

Getting my scripts written and getting my body energized and ready to go on the air. I need a clear head and early-morning energy, so the morning workout and meditation are crucial.

Allison Grayce · Designer, Parent

Narrowing down my top three priorities for work that day and deciding which activities to do with my son. I find it’s easier to focus and tackle the day in sprints that way.

Kristen Ulmer · Fear Specialist

Relaxing before getting out of bed. Snuggling with my cat Phoenix or, if she’s up for it, my other cat Neveah, who comes in to lick my arm for about five minutes. Snuggling with or, if he’s busy on a work project, hugging my husband. Checking email.

James P. Owen · Forty-Year Wall Street Veteran

It varies from day to day. I’m a big believer in prioritizing, being prepared, and being precisely on time for whatever I’m doing. My weakness is organization and administrative tasks. I’m more interested in action.

Simon Enever · Co-Founder of Quip

My priorities in the morning are to make sure quip’s public channels are looking good, our website is stable, I’m not missing any important emails, and I’m prepared (and the team is prepared) for any urgent meetings or deadlines that day.

Mick Batyske · DJ, Parent

Thanking God for our blessings. Hugging and kissing my family. Getting my mind and body taken care of first, so I can crush it when I get to my desk.

Matteo Franceschetti · Co-Founder, CEO of Eight

Hugging my wife, going to the gym, and getting ready for work. Every Monday at 8:15am I have a meeting with our CTO, and every Tuesday at 7:00am I have a call with our China team. Mornings are a big part of tackling the day with the right mindset and energy.

Jamie Morea · Co-Founder of Hyperbiotics

Wake up (sometimes harder than others). Change diaper. Get dressed. Feed everyone, including the dog. Plan with my husband how we are going to divide and conquer (usually based on who is feeling the most tired). Take probiotics.

Todd Henry · Bestselling Author

I write every morning. Every. Single. Morning. I am a firm believer in doing your most important creative work first thing, and for me that is typically writing if I’m working on a book. I try to knock out my daily word count before I do anything else. I learned this habit from Stephen King in his book On Writing.

Christine Koh · Lifestyle Expert, Parent

For my family: getting the kids out and where they need to be in a non-frantic fashion. We’ve actually developed a pretty great rhythm there. For me: scanning my to-do list and calendar first thing is important.

Terri Schneider · Endurance Athlete, Author

Getting in my workout. Second is executing Plan A for my day while being open to adapting it as needed as the day unfolds. The most important thing is to be present in the moment. I don’t often do this well, but my intention is there and that is key.

Guy Tal · Landscape and Nature Photographer

Drinking coffee, eating a good breakfast, and setting aside some “me time” to use as I please (usually I process images, read something interesting, or just sit and think) before refocusing on what I need to accomplish that day.

Vanessa Garcia · Multidisciplinary Artist

Two things:

  1. I make sure I’m out the door early enough that the morning haze is still in me. That state, between sleep and the rest of the day, is important for my writing.
  2. I make sure to somehow leave a little love residue behind at home. I give my fiancé a kiss while he’s still sleeping, or I leave a note on our dry erase board on the fridge, or I put a secret note in his wallet.

Erin Motz · Co-Founder of Bad Yogi

Every day is different. I skim through my to-do’s (I use a Bullet Journal) to see what’s on tap for the day, and then I look over my Apple calendar, which I share with my business partner, to see what collaborative things we have going on.

Liesl Gibson · Pattern Designer

The activities that seem to take up the most of my time are writing blog posts and coordinating projects with some of our freelancers. But it takes a lot of uninterrupted time to develop new sewing patterns, so I try to set aside long blocks in my schedule for pattern development, writing, illustrating, and proofreading, etc.

Often those parts of my job get pushed off to last, which can be frustrating since that’s really the most important thing I do.

Lisa Nicole Bell · Writer, Producer, Podcast Host

My most important task is setting the stage for the day. If I’m going to have an amazing day, I need to engage in good self-care at the beginning of it - that means breakfast for my mind and soul and breakfast for my body.

After that, it’s all about eating the frog: I prefer to tackle the biggest, hairiest, or most complicated of my tasks in the morning.

Laura Roeder · Founder of Edgar

Since I’m the CEO, my day is mostly meetings. That probably sounds terrible to most people, but I love it! I really enjoy everyone I work with, and basically I get to chat with them all day.

Sol Orwell · Co-Founder of Examine.com

Just figuring out what my goals for the day are. I’m a big believer in short bursts of deep work, so really it’s about “What do I want to tackle today?”

When I say deep work (coined by Cal Newport), I really just mean a state of flow. Anyone who programs knows what that feeling is like. Things just click: You look up at the clock, and bam! Three hours have passed! Really it’s about being purely focused on the task at hand - be it responding to emails, creating a new presentation, writing an article, or anything else that requires me to really concentrate. Attention residue is real, and multitasking is the devil when it comes to being highly productive.

Sarah Doody · UX Designer, Product Strategist

I always check in with my daily to-do list that I made the night before. I review it and re-prioritize it if things have changed in any way. It’s important for me to anchor my day with this list so that when other things pop up, I always have my list as a form of accountability. If it’s not on the list, I really have to think if I should do it or not.

Raffaella Caso · Founder of BabyGreen

Planning my day. Being a freelance working mom without any help and with a partner who works and travels a lot requires a lot of planning. Every morning I need to plan my work in detail. I also plan meals for the family and synchronize with my daughter’s activities.

Victoria Durnak · Artist, Sculptor

Feeding my son and guiding him into his first nap, then working on my muesli sculptures and mobilizing myself to meet people other than my family members.

Isabel De Los Rios · Certified Nutritionist

My most important task in the morning is anything that fits into “content creation.” Most of the time this is a Beyond Diet newsletter, an editorial for our Beyond Diet monthly program, or an article we will use for social media.

Sometimes it will be research for any of those items, but most of the time I will do research during the day and save the writing portion for the early morning hours. The early morning is when I do my absolute best writing, probably because there are zero interruptions during this time.

David Kadavy · Author

Whatever my most important project is at that time, my task is to work on it for one hour.

Ann Friedman · Freelance Journalist

The most important task really varies morning to morning. Sometimes it’s to respond to editors’ emails. Sometimes it’s to work on a draft. Sometimes it’s to revise a feature. Sometimes it’s to catch up with the news and find a column idea.

Sonia Rao · Singer-Songwriter

Drinking water and taking a moment to feel thankful for another day (this is cheesy as fuck, I know, but I’m trying to answer honestly here). I lose perspective quickly and tend to get lost in the unimportant details of my life. Morning is when my mind is quiet and clear, and when I’m able to see how lucky I am to have another day ahead of me.

I like to have this moment every morning, even if it’s brief, while making tea. I tried to stop drinking caffeine for years, but I’ve given up. I love it and always will.

Jess Weiner · Social Entrepreneur

Connecting with my husband (at the risk of making everyone who’s reading this barf). My marriage is the absolute best thing in my life. I waited to get married until I was 40; I definitely found the perfect person for me, though, so I enjoy it. I commit to and create time around this relationship. Because I run my own business and am working nonstop, I’ve spent the last year trying to align myself with the things I love the most.

I also like to stay connected with my passion of helping girls reach their full potential, so I love to read inspiring stories about girls doing big things in the world.

Brian Balfour · Founder, CEO of Reforge

I think the most important task in the morning is getting yourself in the mindset to have a productive day.

That is different for different people, but I feel “optimized” when I combine a short workout, meditation, and reflection on my priorities. Do what it takes to get yourself in the right mindset, especially if you’re working at startups or in other volatile environments. It will help you deal with whatever comes your way.

Katelin Jabbari · Googler, Parent

Right now it’s pumping, as it’s my son’s main source of nutrition and it would be really uncomfortable to work out in the morning if I didn’t. Beyond that, it’s probably the sheer act of getting out of bed.

I’ve felt so sleep deprived since my son was born that it’s a constant battle not to just go back to sleep and skip my routine. I feel so much better once I get to the gym, though. It’s just the first half hour that’s particularly rough.

Ann Handley · Author, CCO of MarketingProfs

  1. Getting out of bed and settled at my desk by 8:00-ish,
  2. Slowing becoming less cranky,
  3. Processing email,
  4. Processing MarketingProfs’ Twitter notifications,
  5. Writing something every morning (after 2, 3 above),
  6. Becoming fully awake and able to recognize that most people are good and decent and there’s nothing to be cranky about, really.

Craig Ballantyne · Author, Fitness Expert

Writing. I produce several articles each day, including personal development content for EarlyToRise.com, fitness and nutrition content for TTFatLoss.com, and online business-building for InternetIndependence.com. I’m also writing two new books (one on personal development and habit transformation, and the other on exercise for fat loss). In a good day I’ll write about 5,000 words. Later in the morning I have several meetings with team members in our Denver office.

Dustin Senos · Designer and Engineer

I like to think of the morning as a time away from ‘tasks’ or anything work related. How I start the day shapes my response towards the happenings of the rest of the day.

Because of this, I would rather not think of work or tasks, but instead focus on my mental and physical health. I enjoy the calmness of the morning to spend time with music, my lady, and our puppy.

I’m thankful to be in a place where I can have a morning routine filled with things I’ve chosen to do. I realize that such liberties are not available to everyone. I’m thankful that I can eat healthy food, work out, and have the support of a wonderful partner.

David Moore · Designer

I would say that my most important task is my twenty minutes of silence in the morning. It’s been crucial for me with regards to planning my priorities, especially in an industry where there are so many moving pieces. You want to enter the day with a clear idea of what your top priority is.

Other than that I still try to keep everything fairly routine. During the week, I like to keep decisions to a minimum so I can use that energy to focus on the main choices. For example, there are places I eat where I’ve ordered the same thing for years. I would rather just concentrate on creating or being around creativity during the week and use the weekends to shake things up.

Steve Kamb · Founder of Nerd Fitness

90% of the time, it’s writing - it’s where I can make the most impact and leverage my best skill to help my company, so I’ve tried to structure my days so that it’s the first thing done before checking email, before the rest of my team is awake, and before I do anything else that could derail my day.

Even if my afternoon is clogged up with meetings or interviews, I know if I write every weekday morning, I am making my company better.

Cara Stawicki · Rower

My morning routine is pretty condensed, so honestly everything is important.

I’d say my top three tasks are making the bed, taking a hot shower, and having my coffee and pre-workout fuel. I remember when a university commencement speech made national news because the speaker, a former Navy Seal, talked about the importance of making the bed to start off the day. I totally got that because this has been a habit of mine since I was a kid. I think I actually forwarded the speech to my husband, if I remember correctly. But, yes, making the bed has always been an important morning task. I literally can’t leave the house unless it’s done.

Morgan Jaldon · Marathon Runner

My most important task in the morning is making sure that I’m ready to conquer my day.

Like I said, it starts with attitude. You can’t expect to wake up with a bad attitude and have a good day. It’s all mental. So when you wake up, smile. Appreciate that you are alive and breathing for another day. Once your mind is right, your body will follow. You have to mentally feel good before you physically feel good.

Danielle Buonaiuto · Soprano

​Set an intention for the day; decide what one creative thing I’ll do for myself that day; get to work on time.​

Elizabeth Royal · Street Style, Fashion Photographer

I think setting up my planner for the day and praying are pretty much the most important ones since they are the rudder that steers the ship.

Using just ten minutes in the morning to do some goal setting and organize the day ahead is indispensable. Without them the day is a lot tougher to get through. I think some of it has to do with putting the day in place in my imagination.

As I’m writing down my to-do list and my goals for either the day or the future, I imagine what I want my day to look like, and what kind of life I want. I’m pretty detail oriented, so I think about how the desk should look while I’m working, the words for emails I have to send, the daily tasks like grocery shopping, and of course what I’m going to wear to do the events of the day.

When I was racing bikes in my early twenties I was taught that high-caliber athletes use a kind of mental walkthrough to plan out their games, shots, or a race to help them perform on their actual game days. I think setting up my planner kind of goes along the same line as that. It’s a mental rehearsal of a day and then when situations come up I’ve already figured out how to handle them. It also creates a rhythm or pace to the day. Instead of just reacting to the things that happen, you’ve thought about what you really want out of the day and can put the things that move you forward or matter most first.

Of course, there are days where nothing goes as planned and those ones you just have to deal with as you get them.

Johnny FD · Entrepreneur, Frequent Traveler

The only things I really need to do in the morning is fulfill orders for my ecommerce stores and answer any questions that my virtual assistant couldn’t handle.

Since I’m currently living in Thailand while my customers are all in the United States, I get to wake up as the day is finishing back in the states which allows me to make a quick phone call at the end of their day if needed, but other than that everything can be handled through email which they’ll receive the following morning.

The actual real most important task in the morning is making sure I am mentally and physically healthy which is why these morning routines are so important.

Yuko Shimizu · Japanese Illustrator, Educator

To relax and enjoy the morning, and have a good start to the day.

I don’t know how people can have a good day when they rush around in the morning. Maybe this two or more hours in the morning thing is my meditation process. Regardless of how crazy the day’s schedule is going to be, or even when I know I will have to pull a fourteen-hour work day, I still keep this relaxed morning routine.

When I see people who look like they have good jobs eating breakfast from a paper plate on the platform, I feel sad…

Aiste Gazdar · Co-Founder, Director of Wild Food Cafe

Doing my morning practices, yoga, and meditation. Creating a clear schedule for the day, syncing it with my husband and business partner, and making sure that I am well prepared for the day, whatever I might be doing. My days vary a lot, so it very much keeps me on my toes.

Jessica Dang · Minimalist, Self-Declared Vagabond

My most important tasks are usually my biggest tasks. They usually involve client work, so require the most effort and concentration. That’s why it’s best to do them in the morning when I have the most energy.

If I can take care of something in less than five minutes, I’ll do it there and then to get it ticked off, otherwise I’ll work on the important to do’s for the whole morning.

Laura Vanderkam · Author, Parent

I try to spend interactive time with my family, and enjoy these moments we can have together. I can often get a little bit of time to talk with each kid before we go our separate ways. Then, once my workday starts, I schedule my toughest work first.

I crank out drafts or do heavy editing at 8:00am; lighter stuff and phone calls need to happen later. When I’m scheduling my days well, I leave big open chunks of time in the morning so I can concentrate, and then I start phone work after 10:30. I don’t always stick to this, but I try.

Nathan Kontny · CEO of Highrise, Parent

Breakfast with Addison. I love that we get to eat and hang out and read together before she starts her day. It completely grounds me for the day ahead.

No matter how the day goes, no matter what issue pops up, no matter how the business goes, I have this wonderful start to my day where I get to know my daughter more, or get to share something new with her. Getting to my email can wait until after. I’m already dreading the day when she’s off to college and we don’t have this :)

But also, taking a shower is super important to me. Not for the reason of just getting clean, but I make sure I use that time to improve something I’m thinking about. Most of us know by now we get our best ideas in the shower. It’s the white noise, the privacy, being on our feet. But there’s also something magical that happens when we talk to ourselves. So I’ll use the shower as this private place to actually talk to empty space. I’ll pretend I’m giving a speech, and turn that into a blog post. Or I’ll pretend I’m talking to someone about an idea or important email reply I need to make, and then I’ll write it down later. I think most of us squander our morning ritual showers, and could actively turn them into even better spaces for our creativity.

Jessica Zollman · Photographer, Former Community Evangelist

My most important morning task is taking my asthma medication. I was a San Franciscan for eight years and the privilege of living in one of the world’s most beautiful cities came with a very serious compromise; I had to accept the existence of mold in my home (and my lungs).

Apartments in the city are often poorly ventilated and the air is always damp and humid thanks to Karl the Fog. After years of breathing in the mold spores that predictably grew in the back of every one of my apartment’s closets and bathroom ceilings I eventually became asthmatic. The moldy damage has been done, and moving to Los Angeles didn’t exactly provide the clean air my lungs so desperately desire. I have an inhaler I use once before bed and again first thing in the morning so I can continue to breathe throughout the day with ease.

Adebe DeRango-Adem · Graduate Student, Freelance Journalist

My tasks vary. Having just launched my poetry collection last month, and finding myself in a writerly “terra incognita” of my own (between visits back and forth from my hometown of Toronto in Canada, where I first launched my book, and Philadelphia, where I’m currently looking to expand my audience) my work as a “writer” has become more curious: while the book itself is no longer being written, per se, the work of actively organizing and producing new opportunities for the book to get read across borders and amidst various literary circles has just begun.

I see readers as the co-creators of the books writers write. Apart from the occasional moment of internet wanderlust, social media sites have proven to be a necessary component of sharing my work with the world, alongside the work of my publicist at Inanna Publications. Quasi-luddite or not, I am very thankful for the magic of the internet.

I don’t think of myself as superstitious, but I do derive some comfort from checking things off a to-do list. I like to think my overachieving nature has given me a productive edge over life, and often my physical energy seems to exceed the limits and limiting space of writing at the desk. Along these lines, I think the idea of what writers do, is especially misunderstood. We sit at our desks but are ultimately nomadic. We may be more inclined to domesticity, but inside our minds are a whole set of other rooms that need to be tended to. Many of us, while city dwellers, are admirers of the sacred beauty of nature, live in the shadows of Thoreau.

If this sounds too romantic or strange, it is; it is a strange world writers inhabit, being both in the world but ultimately part of several. I try not to let “later” things interrupt my morning flow; phone calls, bills, repairs, shopping, cooking, and all without a car; because being present is most important to me in the early hours, especially if I have somewhere I need to be later on. Even if I find myself contending with a prodigious supply of creative or kinetic energy, or the opposite - feeling less-than-lucid, or more tired than usual, a burn-out on the horizon - I try to hold onto a meditative perspective in the morning. This could be actual meditation as an exercise, or light reading, or quiet, positive, deep thinking; in any case, it always means reminding myself to carpe diem.

Hua Wang · Entrepreneur, Aspiring Cook

It is very important to plan my day.

I set boundaries around my health and wellness, and I am selective about the social events I attend. I use Evernote to plan my day. I prioritize the top three items I must accomplish that day, and I try to do something social each day (which could be as simple as grabbing coffee with a friend).

I aim to tackle my most challenging projects in the morning, as that is when I am most productive.

Karina Bania · Artist, Mother

Connecting with my family and myself before we go on our separate ways, syncing schedules with my husband, and setting an intention for the day.

After everyone has gone, exercise and painting are my most important tasks!

Mike Vardy · Founder of Productivityist

I will often do administrative tasks early in the day because I’m not all that creative in the morning in terms of writing. I will do some outlining or planning in the late morning, though, because I find that does get the creative juices flowing.

Email is another thing I’ll tackle in the later part of the morning so I can get through it and create whatever actions need to come from messages so I can get out of email and into the work I need to focus on.

Jenny Blake · Author, Yoga Fanatic

Right now I am working on my second book, The Pivot Method, and launching an online community called Momentum, so I make sure that each one gets at least one hour of focused attention before I do anything else.

I keep a daily to-do list in my monthly Moleskine planner notebooks, so I always know what the priorities are before I start the day.

Belle Beth Cooper · Writer and Co-Founder of Exist

I tend to be in a better mood when I’m productive (I can feel this, but my Exist data also confirms it’s true), so getting important things done early in the day sets me up well.

Writing early in the morning starts my day off well, as I’ve already accomplished something important for myself before I hit the shower. After that my day changes depending on whether I’m working on client work or Exist.

Elle Luna · Artist, Designer, Writer

Every morning, I have a checklist that I mark off. It’s the same every day, and reads:

  • Dreams
  • Coffee
  • Morning Pages
  • Tilly
  • Altar
  • Reading & Writing

Those activities are the most important of my day, the Must-Do items. After I complete this list, I make a second list with my daily tasks. Each task gets a time limit, and I use my timer to stay on track.

Grace Bonney · Founder of Design*Sponge

Taking care of the people and pets that I love most, whether that means making Julia coffee or breakfast or just running around with Hope outside for a bit.

Those to-dos are far more important than checking on Instagram comments. Business wise, making sure that content is ready to go for the day and that the next day’s posts are lined up and almost done is probably the most important thing.

Amber Rae · Writer, Artist

As copy and pasted from the “Morning Ritual” event description on my calendar from 10:00am to 12:30pm each day:

  • warm water, lemon, turmeric, and raw honey
  • movement
  • green juice
  • morning pages
  • smoothie
  • make fucking magic

Ben Brooks · Tech Writer, iOS Project Manager

To feed the kids and try to keep them quiet so my wife can sleep in a bit longer. Once I get going on work my top task is to check in with all my teams to make sure they aren’t waiting on anything from me, or needing help in any way.

Most of the people I work with are on the East Coast, so they have been at work for quite a while before I start work. Checking in with them is always at the top of the list after family time.

Shannon Whitehead · Founder of Factory45

These days I really try to focus my mornings on mentally preparing for the day. I’ve heard so many people say, “Do your most important work in the morning,” but that just doesn’t feel true to me. I used to force myself to tackle huge tasks as soon as I sat down at my desk until I realized the ‘productivity experts’ probably aren’t experts on my personal productivity.

I ease into my morning work now, tackling “medium” or time sensitive tasks, and then working on important, big picture stuff in the afternoon after I exercise and eat lunch.

Caroline Leon · Life Coach

The meditation, yoga, and free writing 1,000 words. I feel like this powerful trio helps me to start the day in a mindful way.

The yoga helps me to re-connect with my (often achey) body, the meditation and free writing help me to get my (somewhat over-analytical) brain to chill out a little, and together they make a huge impact on how the rest of the day goes.

Heaven help those around me if I skip out on all three for too many days in a row!

Willem Vernooij · Writer, Student

It’s not a specific task, but rather to keep my discipline. As I’m writing this I’m still sleepy because my body isn’t used to the ‘waking up early’ thing.

Dan Counsell · Parent, Founder of Realmac Software

Making sure I properly say goodbye to my wife and kids. Kisses, hugs and I love you’s all round. It might sound sickeningly sweet but when it comes down to it my family are the most important thing to me.

Kyle Legg · Web and Graphic Print Designer

My most important task in the morning is getting to work. If I’m working on a deadline (and really pushing it) or I have a sudden burst of creativity, I may immediately skip to work over breakfast.

Chase Night · YA Author, Reader

I would say my number one priority is making sure our youngest dog gets outside before she poops in her crate and tries to hide it by eating it.

Rodrigo Franco · Software Engineer, Coffee Connoisseur

Exercising and getting ready for the day. Tiring my body is the magic that allows me to sleep and wake earlier. Spending some time preparing coffee or tea also sets my mind to work. Since I work remotely, this is crucial to make me have a productive work time.

Jordan Bishop · Canadian Entrepreneur

My most important task of the morning is my writing. I’ve noticed, though, that there will be stretches of days or weeks when I’ve got great stuff to write about, and then other stretches when I can’t seem to find anything.

I listen to what my body and mind are telling me, so I’ll write when I feel like it and avoid it when I don’t. I don’t want to force myself to do something I don’t want to.

Paula Borowska · Author, Blogger, UX Designer

To roughly plan my day. I try my best to set myself up for success and only assign manageable tasks for the day ahead, but if I don’t succeed I’ll improvise and revise my plan the next day.

Ani · Lives in New York City

My most important tasks are drinking lemon water, meditation, and exercising. Doing this ensures that I’ve taken care of myself, and I can focus on other things for the rest of day.

Michael Spinali · Parent, Fiction Writer

Well, at least I know I’m writing and what’s more, since the launch of my site, I haven’t missed a day. This is largely due to the fact that I’d let people down if I didn’t write, akin to the workout-buddy analogy. It’s worked. My commitment has turned daily writing into a habit, something I’ve always wanted to succeed at but never have until now.

Mike Moloney · Entrepreneur, Web Designer

The earlier I wake up, the more I can get done usually. I tend to focus on writing for the blog, planning future products and marketing strategies, and reviewing some of my goals/to-dos in the morning. Then I execute on the more pertinent tasks immediately after this when I am most productive, and well informed.

Nova Rella · Early Riser, Lone Wolf

Taking care of the dog first thing is the most important. He’s been known to pee in the house if he has to go and feels like we are ignoring him. Not cool, Tank!

Aoife Clerkin · Social Sector Enthusiast, Charity Engagement Manager

It’s really important for me to plan my day.

When I arrive at work I write a list of tasks I want to accomplish that day. I usually start with the most difficult task and go from there. Checking in with my colleagues is also a vital task that needs to be completed in the morning as things can change so quickly when you work for a startup.

Paul French · Writer, Wonder Junkie

Writing is always my priority, but after that and to borrow a phrase that I read on this site, it’s the ‘big ticket’ tasks. Two or three items that are either bothering me or are important because they’ll move things forward.

Cat Noone · Web Designer, Entrepreneur

Making sure Dex starts his day off in a relaxed and routine way. He’s a puppy, so routine is super important and plays a big role in his behavior. If these things are thrown off, it can sometimes mean a wonky day for him, which ends up affecting my day — not the ideal situation.

My next high priority is organizing my to-do list for the day. I would die without Wunderlist.

Clare Herbert · Irish Freelance Writer

I start by plotting out what I want to accomplish that day. I’ve recently adopted the habit of planning my day, and then removing 3-5 things from the list. I want to feel calm and productive at work, not stressed out and overwhelmed. By focusing on fewer items and doing them completely, I find that my work-day is easier and more fun.

The most important thing in every day is to write. I’m usually working on a bunch of freelance pieces at once, as well as one longer project (like a book or personal essay series). I also aim to blog regularly.

Elliott Fienberg · Musician, Media Developer

Reading back my journal entries from time to time, I often have a focus on whether or not I worked on music in the morning. If I don’t do this, I seem to call the morning a failure.

Aside from this, I think the meditation is really important to me too.

Gray Miller · Grandparent, Writer, Speaker

I manage a few sites, so there’s making sure that they’re up and running smoothly, and I take care of any support issues if there’s an emergency.

But for the most part, as a self-employed freelance content creator/manager/digital ronin, the most important task is to “sharpen the saw” – get myself in a state of mind where I can handle whatever task and seize whatever opportunity is about to come my way.

Marjolein Verbeek · Project Manager, Business IT and Management Student

Well, my shower definitely feels like the kick off of the day. On days that I don’t shower in the morning (which are rare! Even if I showered the night before I really need it to feel fresh and wake up), I definitely have a harder time getting started.

Apart from that I don’t feel like some tasks are more important than others! The fact that I need to do all of those things was the reason for creating a routine. Not following it will inevitably mess up my day a little bit.

Tomas Laurinavicius · Adventurous Designer, Entrepreneur

I need to get some exercise, with running or working out (or both) working very well as I have to push myself to physical pain and experience discomfort which makes the rest of the day a piece of cake.

“Eat That Frog” is an old saying: “If the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!” My frog is physical activity.

Justin Lisenby · Industrial Engineer, Yoga Enthusiast

The most important thing in the morning is managing my to-do list and planning my day. I don’t function effectively without a plan and schedule, so getting centered on this each morning is the most important task for me.

Heidi Sistare · Writer, Community Builder

Making coffee and making the bed.

When the bed is made I feel like my world is clean and orderly and I can focus all my attention on my work. My morning cup of coffee is the most beautiful thing; after I drink it I feel powerful and prepared.

Hanny Kusumawati · Non-Profit Co-Founder

Making myself a cup of coffee and surrounding myself with the things that make me happy! It’s important for me to keep myself happy in the morning, because it will lift up my mood throughout the day.

Caroline O’Shea · Flute Player, Vocalist in Traditional Irish Band

Wash up, eat, apply make up. All concrete tasks, all essential to having a 100% functional Caroline.

I have no qualms about going without makeup, but it makes me feel more put together, like I’m putting my game face on. And really, it’s just light stuff with SPF in it as I’m very fair skinned.

Pei Zhenah · Sketches, Works from Temples

Prostrations and meditations, or my workout.

If I do these first, I become balanced and grounded. I find I’m able to focus 100% on any work tasks when needed, and relax completely when it’s time to relax.

Emma Milligen · Animator, Art Geek, Vegan

If you couldn’t tell, my morning revolves around the kitchen. It’s the one thing I need for myself in the morning - and that is to create something nutritious for myself (and others, if applicable) to hold me over until lunch. It is honestly the most calming part of my morning, and it gives me satisfaction when my creation comes out tasting great! Things get a little more grandiose on the weekends, but I keep things simple on week days so I don’t get too carried away.

The second thing, is watching an episode of whatever animated series my boyfriend and I are in to at the moment while we eat breakfast together. We are both cartoon animators, so it just feels natural starting our work day out with cartoons! It’s research, I tell you, RESEARCH! :)

María Ortega García · Spanish Tutor, Frequent Traveler

The main task for me is making coffee, which is close to a ceremony, the rite of passage that brings me to consciousness. Having my coffee in one hand while holding a book in the other are the two major tasks in my mornings.

Lacking that, I will be a grumpy being for the day.

Mark Kennedy · Parent, Former Kinesiologist

I don’t think my most important task in the morning is really about me. With kids, mornings can be hectic. I like to make sure my wife and son are happy and ready for their days. That to me, is important and makes me happy.

Julian Summerhayes · Parent, Speaker, Former Lawyer

In terms of to do lists, I used to be disciplined at writing them down but, as a student of simplicity, I now just think of the one or two things that I know I have to do that day. In most cases, after I have got my children off to school, I try to write for a couple of hours before I hit the phones or email. I close down Chrome and use Word. I find it much less of a distraction that way. If I get a call I will try to take it but not always.

Lauren McCabe · Writer, Mermaid

It is to write and write and write. In my day, I never get as much to write as I would like, and so I am constantly, desperately trying to write as much as I can in that sliver of time before the rest of the world awakes.

Right now, I am mostly focused on writing for my blog, short pieces that I can begin and finish each week. For me, it’s very important that I use my mornings to start and finish things. It is very easy in that half-sleep of dawn to dawdle, and so it is also very easy in life to dawdle on your dreams, never actually making them happen. My mornings are a microcosm of what I hope to do with my life: start things, finish things, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from moving forward.

Paul Farmiga · Marketer, CrossFit Enthusiast

I’m a svelte (slim, slender – ed.) guy, so food is vital for my day to begin on the right note. Besides fuelling up, I find that getting myself into Guerrilla when I can first thing in the morning legitimately sharpens my mind and body for the day ahead.

I learn something new about myself there regularly, and channel that into the day ahead for helping others.

Richard Boehmcke · Writer, Stage Director

I stretch almost every morning. It just makes my body feel better; nothing super intense, just some basic stretches to get my body opened up.

Most mornings I’ll also use a neti-pot to open up my breathing, and I always feel better after I’ve showered. That said, my most important task in the morning is eating. If I’m hungry, I’m distracted, and the last thing I need is MORE distraction.

Sarah Kathleen Peck · Writer, Designer, Long-Distance Swimmer

Eating. Drinking lots of water. Ideally, moving my body somehow – preferably with a sweat, but sometimes with a walk.

Lately I’ve been paring down my to-do lists from enormous sets of tasks to a simple post-it note with my three “big ticket” items that I really want to work on. Those things that if nothing else gets finished, but I worked on that, I’ll have a sense of deep satisfaction, challenge, accomplishment, or personal happiness. Listening to my gut to discover what those things are has been an interesting exercise, and I’m getting better at finding clarity amidst all the noise of our current connected world.

So in the morning, I jot down those three things, and then I try to get one of them done before 11:00am. There’s something exceptionally satisfying about making progress on your big ideas early in the day.

In a related note, I’ve tried to stop taking any meetings or calls before midday so I can close the door and get those big things done.

Bryan Desloge · County Commissioner: Leon County, Florida

Reading the local and national news and looking through my schedule to determine the meetings I’ve got for the day. Asking myself questions along the lines of “If I’m speaking… am I prepared? If I have board meetings… have I prepared?”

Dena Haden · Award-Winning Artist, Art Consultant

My most important tasks in the morning are to evaluate and check in with my body/mind. I use that time to be quiet and calm and see how I am doing, what I need, and to tend to it to balance out for the day.

Sam Spurlin · Writer, Ph.D Student

Some kind of writing needs to happen in the morning for me to feel like I’m not wasting my time. Morning is prime productivity/creative time for me so I try to do my best to not squander it. Sometimes that’s writing for school or an independent research project, or for my website.

Theodora Sutcliffe · Parent, Nomad, Freelance Writer

It varies so widely. The toughest one is getting my son out of bed. He’s twelve and, left to himself, he’d stay up until 6:00am and then snooze until about 2:00pm.

I’m a liberal parent but not that bloody liberal.

Amit Sonawane · Reader, Writer, Devout Tea Drinker

Being unstructured. I live a very structured life and I’d like to think that I am a very organized person. I like to do certain things in certain way, at certain time, with certain people. However, until 11:00am or so, I like to untether myself and just go with the flow. That’s not an excuse to be lazy, but it’s important to just give myself the space and time.

Will Peach · Writer, Frequent Traveler

I’m still very much deciding if I’m being honest. Waking up and deciding to face the day still feels pretty important. Anything that happens after that is largely a bonus.

Work-wise I’d say it’s important to figure out how best to spend my time that day. Free writing helps with this. Usually the most important tasks involve seeing to emails from paying clients, making sure their requests are taken care of, as well as answering any possible leads.

Adrian Sanders · Co-Founder of Backspaces

The first thing is to refocus on the things I want to accomplish for the day – usually this is one or two crucial tasks. Then everything is just reactive and mercurial to the demands of the day.

Kashyapi · Meditation and Zen Teacher

Meditation. Dharma study. Yoga. Eating well (home made, no processed food, local produce, living food, superfood). Writing poetry. I write poetry most days. Sometimes copiously. I have over 1608 unpublished poems as I write this. I’m working on changing that.

I work best in the mornings, at most tasks.

Ian Hicken · British Expat in Asturias, Spain

Jotting down what I can remember of my dreams in a notebook as part of a project I’m involved in. Checking that the cats Wentworth and Gawber (named after two areas near where we lived in the UK) are around and fed; Greek yogurt and fresh cat biscuits are usually served.

Shower and teeth cleaning come high on the list as well. Me, not the cats. They see to their own.

Shawn Mihalik · Author, Rock Climber

Writing, writing, and writing. If I don’t write in the morning, then no matter what else I do that day, I don’t feel productive. The only exception to this is when I’ve completely finished a draft of a project, in which case I don’t write for at least a few days, feeling a bit mentally exhausted, but I read a lot more.

Andrew · Early Riser, Australian Francophile

My most important tasks in the morning are going for a walk (or a ride from now on) and breakfast. I want to make sure that after eight hours asleep I get a good shot of fresh air and that for the rest of the morning I’m not thinking about food.