By: Taylor Martz

Are you someone who tends to roll off the wrong side of the bed in the morning? Or maybe you typically hit snooze three times before you even consider rolling out of bed? Sure, maybe you enjoy being a late-night person­­—you can catch up on social feeds, interact with friends, and even binge-watch Netflix. After all, evening-oriented individuals do have some advantages. While studies reveal they tend to be more creative and have a better sense of humor, they’re typically out of sync with the standard corporate schedule.

What if I told you morning people are better positioned for career success than night owls due to their proactive nature? Now do I have your attention?

Christoph Randler, a biologist from Harvard, found in a large-scale survey of university students that those who set aside time in the morning were more likely to set long-range goals, anticipate and minimize problems, and make things happen.

While this may be just one study, the connection between waking up early and career success clearly correlates with how time is spent once your feet hit the floor in the morning. As an experiment, I adopted a handful of the 12 commonly occurring themes of successful CEOs listed in Laura Vanderkam’s book, “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.”

My morning routine looked a little something like this:

  1. Wake up early – set only one alarm (this way, I knew there was no room for error)
  2. Check email on my phone for pressing information, meetings, or news (TheSkimm and Need2Know are quick, bite-sized reads for staying on top of all types of local and world news)
  3. Open the blinds and make the bed (you’re less likely to get back into an already-made bed!)
  4. Wash my face and drink 8 oz. of water
  5. Do 10-15 minutes of yoga (try the free app, DownDog—­­it will walk you through every pose and is great for anyone, from beginners to advanced yogis!)
  6. Reflect and be mindful (I did this several ways, usually journaling with the Grid Diary app or meditating using the app Headspace)
  7. Get dressed (set your clothes out the night before so you don’t spend time stressing in the morning)
  8. Prepare a healthy, balanced breakfast (try eggs and mashed avocado on whole wheat toast, a quick and easy combination of protein, healthy fats, and carbs)
  9. Prioritize and make a to-do list (usually while eating breakfast – multitasking!)
  10. While making the morning commute, listen to a chapter of an audiobook (try Audible, you can get 3 books free and listen from your smartphone!)
  11. Make important phone calls/emails ASAP (this way someone has the entire day to respond so you’re not stressed at 5 p.m. when you don’t have the information you need)
  12. Check in with your team: Let one another know your priorities and goals for the day, see if anything’s come up or changed, and say hi and smile— it improves your mood!

After following my two-hour morning routine for months, I noticed a difference. I was more motivated, intentional, and upbeat. My first hour at work was wildly productive instead of spent getting coffee refills in the break room. More importantly, people noticed. My family noticed, my students noticed, my boss noticed… it’s no surprise morning people tend to be easily noted, frequently promoted, and earn higher wages.

While it took some adjustment, the experiment was worth it and has me looking forward to this valued morning routine each day. Key takeaway: Don’t press the snooze button. Spend the extra nine minutes opening your blinds and starting your day off on the right foot— it’ll only kicktart your journey toward getting noticed.

What could you do with an extra hour in the morning? How would your day unfold if you spent time to prioritize and plan ahead?