Your daily routines can make a huge difference to how happy and productive you are today and tomorrow. People keep adjusting their daily habits to be better, smarter and happier. Others keep changing their routines in the hope of getting more done and wasting less time in-between tasks or activities.

These 9 successful people could certainly inspire you to think about different parts of your daily routine – perhaps they’ll be useful to you in the end.

1. —Jason Fried of 37Signals

I don’t use an alarm clock. Lately, I’ve been naturally waking up at 6:38 every morning. I used to wake up at 7:31 every morning, which is actually when I was born. So that was kind of creepy.

I try not to grab my phone and check e-mails first thing. I used to do that, and it’s just not good for you. Instead, I’ll go and brew some tea and try and relax a little bit. But the computer’s always kind of pulling me toward it, so I end up looking at e-mail sooner than I’d like to.For breakfast, I usually eat a couple of maple-infused Van’s waffles and a handful of pistachios. Unless it’s really cold — then I have oatmeal.

Then sometimes I head in to the office. I might work from home for a week and then get bored of that, so I will spend the next week at the office. I usually get to work between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. I don’t believe in the 40-hour workweek, so we cut all that BS about being somewhere for a certain number of hours. I have no idea how many hours my employees work — I just know they get the work done.I spend most of my day writing. I write everything on our website. Communicating clearly is my top priority.

2. –Liz Ryan, CEO of Human Workplace

Every day I wear the same outfit and eat the same dinner. As an entrepreneur there are hundreds of micro-decisions I need to make, and decision fatigue can be a huge problem, so I try to eliminate any decisions I don’t have to make.

For example, I only own 5 white t-shirts. In the morning I never need to think about what I’ll be wearing: it’s going to be a white t-shirt. I also only own 2 pairs of pants.

I do the same thing with meals. I have the exact same dinner 6 times a week (1 sweet potato, 1 chicken breast, 1 red bell pepper, 1 zucchini, pan-fried with tomato sauce) for the exact same reason. Staying focused on eating healthy can take a lot of willpower, and I’d rather spend that willpower on different decisions–so I created a healthy meal I can eat every day. The fewer decisions you have to make, the better decisions you can make.

3.–Art Papas, founder and CEO, Bullhorn

Every morning I help at least one person who isn’t expecting it. As I’ve become busier, most of my giving is reactive, but I thoroughly enjoy proactively finding ways to contribute to others.

It’s very motivating to start my workday by making an introduction, sharing a tidbit of knowledge, or recognizing someone whose important contributions have been invisible.

4Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

  • Wake at 4:30 a.m.
  • Drink water.
  • Set 3 Most Important Things (MITs) for today.
  • Fix lunches for kids and myself.
  • Eat breakfast, read.
  • Exercise (run, bike, swim, strength, or yardwork) or meditate.
  • Shower.
  • Wake wife & kids at 6:30 a.m.

The reason I like having a morning routine is that not only does it instill a sense of purpose, peace and ritual to my day, but it ensures that I’m getting certain things done every morning … namely, my goals.

5– Dr. Marla Gottschalk, Industrial & Organizational Psychologist

I pride myself on not being routine, because as we like to say, “One size fits one.” That’s true for my time and for the way I interact with each team member.

So for me it’s about being present. You can’t be everywhere for everyone, every time. But if there’s one thing I work tirelessly to do, it’s being present when I am there.

There’s nothing worse than a leader who gives you their time but not their focus. (Just like there’s nothing worse than reading a story to my kids at bedtime and having my mind drift off to all the other things I have going on.)

6.-Ryan Carson, co-founder and CEO of Treehouse

Ryan Carson only works four days a week. In fact, all of Treehouse only works four days a week, doesn’t have any managers, and yet it’s still a fast-growing online coding school that brings technology education to the masses. I reduced my daily email load from 100+ down to 10 with one simple thing: Convoy. It’s an internal app we built that’s a lot like Reddit.

I love waking up early (4:54am to be exact) so I try to be asleep by 10pm to get in seven hours of sleep. I have a 3-year old and a 5-year old so that doesn’t always go as planned.

I take every Friday off (along with the entire Treehouse company) and we still have a multi-million dollar business that’s growing insanely fast. I’ve learned it’s possible for me to spend a significant amount of time with my family and still run a hard-charging, venture-backed tech company.

7.Jimmy Soni, Managing Editor of the Huffington Post

For reading, I swear by Pocket. Truth told, I don’t know how I managed without it. I try to “pre-program” as many of the mundane decisions (what to have for lunch, what to wear, etc) as I can. A rough regularity on the insignificant things helps preserve energy for the significant ones. For me, each day’s rhythm tends to resemble the next, and while this might seem ridiculously simple, it’s actually a hard thing to manufacture. Even thinking in these terms can increase what you can get done.

8.Daniel Pink, Best Selling Author of A Whole New Mind, Drive and To Sell is Human

Dropbox is my co-pilot. I use it to store anything I’m writing and just about anything I need to know. I work out of a rehabbed garage that sits behind my house and serves as world headquarters of Pink, Inc. It’s pretty boring. I generally go to sleep a little after 11 PM and wake up a little after 7 AM. I also monitor my sleep using my Jawbone Up.

9.–Tim Ferris, Best Selling of The 4-hour Work Week

My days almost never look the same. I ask my assistants to avoid phone calls on Mondays and Fridays, in case I want to take a long weekend on either end, and I almost always allocate Mondays for general preparation and prioritizing for the week, then any administrative tasks that I need to handle (paperwork for accountants, lawyers, etc.).

I put very few things in my calendar, as I do not believe most people can do more than four hours of productive work per day at maximum, and I loathe multi-tasking. The goal is to spend as much time possible doing what we want by maximizing output in minimal time.

I don’t have to do anything in this schedule. I choose to do them because I like them. None of them are financially-driven or unpleasant obligations. If the chance to do something more fun comes up last-minute, I can cancel all of them.


  1. I think that this article shows that you need to find out what works for you and sick with it – rather than copy someone else’s solution get to know yourself and what makes yo thrive and what depletes you. Many people get stuck trying to were other people’s routines rather than tailoring them to fit themselves. Great articles – very interesting reading how different everyone is. Big Hugs :~D

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