Build a Morning Routine That Works

As a business leader, a morning routine is a powerful way to set the stage for the rest of the day.
Young woman spending a relaxing day in her beautiful home

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It might sound counterintuitive, but boosting your success could result from tweaking your pre-workday routine. As Skye Michiels, head of agent development at Compass, discovered, implementing an a.m. regimen starts your day on a positive and motivated note. As the founder of the 6AMERS, a group at Compass devoted to waking up earlier to increase health and happiness, Michiels swears by his morning practice. For insights into why that’s the case and how to develop your own routines, read on.

Why Morning Routines are Powerful

“Routines provide structure,” explains Dr. Traci Cipriano, a clinical psychologist, speaker, coach and consultant. “When you engage in one behavior, it triggers the next behavior.” Since these sets of actions are consistent, routines save you the cognitive energy of making decisions. “Plus, you’ll be proactive rather than reactive, likely feeling more grounded, calm and in control as you start your workday,” she adds.

Setting a morning routine helps you prioritize things, like exercise or meditation, that might move down the priority list as your day goes on, says Dr. Debbie Sorensen, a Denver-based psychologist, co-author of ACT Daily Journal: Get Unstuck and Live Fully with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and author of the upcoming ACT for Burnout.

Building Your Own Morning Routine

Your morning routine doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. Think about your personal needs and what would make you feel centered and ready to start the day. For example, if exercising in the morning makes you nauseated, don’t do it. Consider these suggestions when crafting your own regimen.

Begin the Night Before

Go to bed on time and put your phone away, counsels Sorensen. “The biggest block I see with my clients is staying up too late … then they’re too tired to get up in the morning to make [a morning routine] happen.”

Wake Up Earlier Than You Think

“If you find there’s not enough time in the day to get stuff done, get up earlier and knock everything out earlier,” recommends Dan Lopez, broker-owner and instructor at Legends Realty in Lake Mary, Fla. His own approach: to rise at 5–5:30 a.m. each day. “Even if you think you need more sleep, you’ll be more productive and energized,” he says.

Karen Briscoe, a life coach for real estate agents and author of “The 5 Minute Success” series, agrees, revealing she was surprised to discover that waking up earlier gives her more energy and improves her sleep.

Follow a Plan

It can be difficult to figure out what works for you if you’ve never set an intentional morning routine. If that’s the case, you might consider following an already established option.

Briscoe, who is also principal owner of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group with Keller Williams, credits her morning routine to Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning. Heeding his advice, she designed her own practice according to his SAVERS acronym. “‘S’ is for silence or meditation, ‘A’ affirmations, ‘V’ visualization, ‘E’ exercise, ‘R’ reading, and ‘S’ scribing or journaling,” she explains. Don’t worry about the order—just include all the elements, she adds.

Start Small

We’ve heard about CEOs who rise at 4 a.m. and execute elaborate morning routines, says Cipriano. But it’s best to be realistic and start small. Plan to rise 20 minutes early and build from there, she suggests. Then, to hold yourself accountable, add this block of time to your calendar.

Consider Getting Some Work Done

Each night, Alex Platt, broker-associate and principal agent at Platt Group at Compass, emails himself a to-do list for the next morning. Then, he uses his early time to get up to speed on the market, create a daily to-do list and respond to messages. “I get my best work done at 5:30,” he says, “when I’m in full work mode and people aren’t calling or texting me.”

Enlist Support

Accountability is a great motivator for many. Find a morning routine buddy and help each other stick to your regimens. If your brokerage or an affinity group offers a community like the 6AMERS at Compass, with Zoom calls, a podcast and more, dive in and see if it works for you.

Four Brokers’ Morning Routines

If you’re still wondering where to start, there’s nothing better than real-life examples. These four brokers are morning-routine enthusiasts with a set regimen. Check out what they’re doing and consider using a few of their routine elements to build your own. Always remember to “prioritize what’s important to you,” advises Sorensen.

Lopez wakes up at 5 to 5:30 a.m. After drinking water and coffee, he reads the Bible on a phone app, recording noteworthy verses in his journal. Then, he exercises for 30–60 minutes.

Briscoe rises at 6 a.m. and has some coffee. Then, she segues to visualizations and affirmations while exercising. Next, she reads and journals (with the Five-Minute Journal app) during breakfast. Her full routine takes an hour or less.

Platt rises at 5 to 5:30, drinks coffee and water, and works until 7 a.m., when his kids wake up. After dropping them off at school, he exercises.

Michiels meditates, repeats affirmations, journals, reads, exercises and reviews his diet for the day.

Beginning a morning routine is life-changing, says Briscoe. “If you start your day well, the rest of your day will flow and you’ll have more energy,” she says. Lopez agrees, sharing, “It’s amazing how, if you make simple, small tasks a habit and priority, they’ll improve the rest of your day.” They might even turbocharge your entire real estate career.