Laura Vanderkam is the author of several books, including All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. A part of the appeal of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast is the quirky sounding title. When we think about successful people in general, we may not really focus on what they do in the mornings. Mornings are a nebulous time for most of us, generally spent dragging ourselves out of bed, getting ready for work and, if we have children, getting them ready for school. Usually, mornings are not pleasant, unless you really love your job and can’t wait to get to it.
However, Vanderkam proposes to change all that and to invoke your inner early bird, which, she confirms, really does get the worm! Her idea is not to turn you into some kind of morning automaton who runs to the gym first thing or does various other things which we generally consider "productive." Instead, she aims to get you to take the long view, to do the things that you really love to do but that you keep putting off. For example, it may be one of your lifelong dreams to write a novel but, after a hard day’s work, your brain just doesn’t function. Instead, if you were to carve out this time in the morning, you’d make some headway towards fulfilling your dreams.
Other great things to do in the morning include spending time with those you love, like your children or spouse, taking a class or reading some recent research done in your field. Before you start tackling any of these ideas, however, Vanderkam suggests that you track what you really do in the morning. Write it all down and then go over it to figure out what could be put off until later or just taken out of your schedule altogether. Tracking is a method that’s been recommended by many other gurus. You can track what you eat to make sure you eat right, track how much you exercise or how much you spend. Vanderkam’s idea is to track what you do in the mornings and then visualize how you’d like things to change.
Laura Vanderkam is the author of four self-help books about managing your time and living a better life. She also writes a blog for CBS MoneyWatch and has writing credits in many magazines. She graduated from Princeton and currently lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children. She is the president of an organization that encourages musical composers under the age of 35.
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Mornings are a madcap time for many of us. We wake up in a haze—often after hitting snooze a few times. Then we rush around to get ready and out the door so we can officially start the day. Before we know it, hours have slipped by without us accomplishing anything beyond downing a cup of coffee, dashing off a few emails, and dishing with our coworkers around the water cooler. By the time the workday wraps up, we’re so exhausted and defeated that any motivation to accomplish something in the evening has vanished.
But according to time management expert Laura Vanderkam, mornings hold the key to taking control of our schedules. If we use them wisely, we can build habits that will allow us to lead happier, more productive lives.
Drawing on real-life anecdotes and scientific research that shows why the early hours of the day are so important, Vanderkam reveals how successful people use mornings to help them accomplish things that are often impossible to take care of later in the day. While many of us are still in bed, these folks are scoring daily victories to improve their health, careers, and personal lives without sacrificing their sanity. For instance, former PepsiCo chairman and CEO Steve Reinemund would rise at 5:00 a.m., run four miles, pray, and eat breakfast with his family before heading to work to run a Fortune 500 company.
What the Most Successful People Do before Breakfast is a fun, practical guide that will inspire you to rethink your morning routine and jump-start your life before the day has even begun.
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