What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Here is an excerpt from another lively and informative article written by Laura Vanderkam for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.

Note the offer she extends at the conclusion of the article, one I urge you to read, as well as her book, 168 Hours.

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Mornings are a mad-cap time in many households. Everyone’s so focused on getting out the door that you can easily lose track of just how much time is passing. I’ve had hundreds of people keep time logs for me over the past few years (you can see some of mine here and here), and I’m always amazed to see gaps of 90 minutes or more between when people wake up and when they start the commute or school car pool.

That would be fine if the time was used intentionally, but often it isn’t.

The most productive people, however, realize that 90 minutes, 120 minutes or more is a long time to lose track of on a busy weekday. If you feel like you don’t have time for personal priorities later in the day, why not try using your mornings? Streamline breakfast, personal care and kid routines. Then you can use 30-60 minutes to try one of four things:

[Here are two. To read the complete article, please click here.]

1. Play, read, or talk with your kids. Mornings can be great quality time, especially if you have little kids who go to bed soon after you get home at night, but wake up at the crack of dawn. Set an alarm on your watch, put away the iPhone, and spend a relaxed half an hour reading stories or doing art projects. If you have older children, aim for a leisurely family breakfast. Everyone talks through their plans for the day and what’s going on in their lives. If family dinners aren’t a regular thing in your house, this is a great substitute.

2. Exercise. You shower in the morning anyway, so why not get sweaty first? Trade off mornings with your partner on who goes out and runs and who stays home with the kids. Or, if your kids are older (or you don’t have any) work out together and make it a very healthy morning date.

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Note: Are you looking for a better start to your day, or to use your time more effectively in general? I’d like to do a few time makeovers of readers over the next few weeks. Email me if you’d be interested in logging your time, trying a few strategies, and sharing what you learn. Thanks!

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Laura Vanderkam, a New York City-based journalist, is the author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.  Called “a great read” by Natalie Morales on The Today Show, and “intriguing” by the Chicago Tribune, 168 Hours looks at how Americans spend their time now and in the past, and how we can all spend it better. Laura is also the author of Grindhopping: Build a Rewarding Career Without Paying Your Dues, which the New York Post selected as one of four notable career books of 2007. She is a member of the USA Today board of contributors, and her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Reader’s Digest, City Journal, Whole Living, Good and other publications. She enjoys running and singing soprano in the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, and she lives with her husband and two young sons.


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