The morning is arguably the most valuable time you have available to you each day.  While you may claim to be a night owl and in fact be very successful at working late, your body is nevertheless the most rested, and your mind the most able to process, when you first wake each morning.  It is therefore to your advantage to use this time wisely.  This is why Square CEO Jack Dorsey routinely wakes at 4:30 AM for a six mile jog before heading into the office, and why Apple CEO Tim Cook is up and commonly sending corporate emails before 5 AM, just to name a few of the many successful individuals whose days regularly begin well before daylight.

Now answer truthfully: did you hit the snooze button this morning? 

No judgement here.  I did it yesterday. J

While we all need extra R&R at times, we should arguably strive to make the most of our mornings.  Leadership guru Darren Hardy for example espouses the idea of tackling your largest daily task first thing in the morning.  Not only will you have the most mental energy at that time, but there will likely be less distractions first thing in the morning as well.  You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you achieved something early on, which will give you a confidence boost for the rest of your day.  A Forbes Magazine article agrees with Darren’s argument, and also cites four additional tasks we should strive to complete each morning, all before 8 AM.  These include exercising, mapping your day, eating breakfast, and reflecting.

If the thought of having to wake before the roosters has you now dreading tomorrow, don’t worry.  The point is not simply about taking action, but rather also about developing habits and routines which will help you grow and thrive in all areas of your life.  As motivational speaker Terri Savelle Foy commonly states, “the secret to your success is found in your daily routines.”  This mirrors an idea by author and business mogul Jeff Olson which he dubbed “the slight edge” in his book by the same name.  The idea behind the slight edge is that consistent, daily growth, even on a minuscule level, will lead to radically different outcomes in your life over a long period of time as compared to when there is a lack of daily action.  His concept drawing below illustrates this principle:

We can probably agree that the morning routine examples mentioned above (exercise, tackling your biggest task early, etc…) are, to use Jeff’s illustration, “easy not to do.”  After all, who wants to wake up at 4:30 AM and go run for six miles?  However, such actions have the ability to radically transform your life when performed consistently over a long period of time.  That is the power of the slight edge in action. 

As you go through your day, think about the actions, no matter how small, that you can begin taking daily and developing into habits over time which will push you towards the outcomes you want to see in life (and yes, those actions can happen in the afternoon and evening as well).  To paraphrase world-renewed leadership coach John Maxwell, “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.  What you become in life is the result of what you do each day.  In other words, each day you are preparing for something.  The question is, are you preparing yourself for success or failure?” 



Jeremiah Clark, M.A., is a healthcare IT consultant with six Epic Systems certifications. He is also
a partner at Appalachian Digital, a local web development agency, and a founding partner of
MHQC LLC Real Estate Development. He and his wife Erin are natives of Kingsport, TN.