15 successful people who wake up before 6 a.m.

15 successful people who wake up before 6 a.m.
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Issa Rae at the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Issa Rae at the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

  • Successful people across industries are known for waking up early.
  • They also practice other healthy habits like exercise and meditation.
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up between 4 and 5 a.m. and starts his day by answering emails.

There are two types of people in the world: those who welcome the morning sunshine and those who try to snooze it into oblivion.

People like Issa Rae and Tim Cook belong to the former category, crafting tailored morning routines that begin while their peers are still dreaming.

Some of the benefits of waking up early include higher levels of energy and mental clarity, a higher likeliness to succeed, and, for women, a decreased risk of developing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, Business Insider reported in 2019.

But the most successful people’s healthy habits don’t stop with their early alarms; some common recurring themes in their routines include meditation and regular exercise, both of which are beneficial to the mind and body.

“Research has found that meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and increase feelings of calm and relaxation,” wrote Business Insider’s Rebecca Cairns.

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to hacking a perfect morning routine — especially with specific career demands, commute times, childcare needs, etc. — but if you’re looking for a little motivation to make a change, here are 15 successful early risers you can draw inspiration from.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up between 4 and 5 a.m. to read emails from customers.
Tim Cook at the AFI Awards in January 2024.
Tim Cook at the AFI Awards in January 2024.

Cook was featured as a guest on a 2023 episode of the podcast “Dua Lipa: At Your Service,” and he revealed he likes to wake up between 4 and 5 a.m. to respond to emails.

“I read emails from a lot of customers and employees, and the customers are telling me things that they love about us or things that they want changed about us. Employees are giving me ideas. But it’s a way to stay grounded in terms of what the community is feeling, and I love it,” he said.

The rest of his morning involves strength training, getting ready for work, coffee, and a light breakfast.

Issa Rae wakes up at 4 a.m. to work out.
Issa Rae at the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Issa Rae at the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

“Insecure” creator, “Barbie” president, and Sienna Naturals cofounder Issa Rae has a lot on her plate.

In a 2024 interview with Glamour, Rae was asked about her favorite way to take a moment for herself. “It’s in the early morning,” she said. “Honestly, I get up at four and that is my workout time.”

“And then literally after that time, I sit with coffee and a journal and just sit with my thoughts,” Rae added.

Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel gets up around 5 a.m. for “Evan Time.”
Evan Spiegel onstage during the Snap Partner Summit 2023.
Evan Spiegel onstage during the Snap Partner Summit 2023.

The 33-year-old described his motivation for waking up early in an interview that appeared in Entrepreneur’s Handbook in 2018.

“I get up really early, because that’s the only time that’s ‘Evan Time’ for me, when people aren’t really awake yet. I get a couple hours between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. to do whatever I wanna do,” he said.

Snap told Business Insider in 2024 that after Spiegel wakes up, he takes 30 minutes to check the app and his email and drink a double espresso. After that, he’ll do a 45-minute workout at the gym or do Kriya meditation before showering, reading the news, and having breakfast with his family around 7 a.m.

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Spiegel shares three kids with wife Miranda Kerr and helps co-parent Kerr’s child from her previous marriage to Orlando Bloom.

Multi-hyphenate Shonda Rhimes wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to start writing.
Shonda Rhimes attends the 35th GLAAD Media Awards in 2024.
Shonda Rhimes attends the 35th GLAAD Media Awards in 2024.

The mind behind hit series like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” collaborated with MasterClass in 2016 to teach writing for television.

In episode 11, “Writing a Script: Effective Habits,” Rhimes said, “I used to think that there was like a special magic golden hour in which I wrote better than any other time. But that keeps changing, so I no longer think that’s true.”

At the time, she said her schedule involved waking up at 5 a.m. to get a lot of writing done, then focusing on writing again in the office around the middle of the day.

Despite her early wake-up time, Rhimes is an advocate for work-life balance, telling Fast Company in 2017, “I do not answer phone calls or emails after 7 p.m. I do not work on weekends … I mean, I write. I just don’t answer phone calls or emails.”

Tennis star and new mom Naomi Osaka wakes up between 5 and 7 a.m.
Naomi Osaka after the second round at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Garden.
Naomi Osaka after the second round at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Garden.

In a February 2024 interview with The Cut, Osaka said, “I wake anywhere between 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. depending on the day. I try to start with a five-minute meditation, if I can squeeze it in with the baby.”

The four-time Grand Slam singles champion welcomed her first child, a daughter named Shai, with her partner Cordae in 2023.

Michael B. Jordan told Vanity Fair he wakes up naturally at 5 a.m.
Michael B. Jordan at the David Yurman High Jewelry Event with Michael B. Jordan in January 2024.
Michael B. Jordan attends a David Yurman event in January 2024.

“I hit the snooze button all the time. My body is a natural alarm clock. Whether I like it or not, I get up around 5 o’clock in the morning but then I go back to sleep depending on what I have to do; it’s like a second sleep, it’s like a really really good sleep,” Jordan said in a 2018 episode of the Vanity Fair series “In a Day.”

When he’s actually ready to get up, Jordan said he gets out of bed on the right foot — literally. He always ensures his right foot is the first to touch the ground.

Then, he’ll meditate while he showers, have breakfast, and work out.

Mark Wahlberg follows an intense morning routine that starts at 3:30 a.m.
Mark Wahlberg at an "Arthur The King" special screening and adoption event in 2024.
Mark Wahlberg at an “Arthur The King” special screening and adoption event in 2024.

In October 2023, Wahlberg told Today.com he wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to work out. Later, it takes him multiple trips upstairs to convince his kids to get out of bed.

“I’ve been going like, 3:30 wake up, 4 o’clock in the gym, kind of finish that, get my reading and my prayer time done, and then start the process of waking them up, which usually ends up taking — I’m up and down the stairs at least three times to get the teenagers up and I get them off to school, and then I usually start the rest of my day,” he said.

He has four children with his wife, Rhea Durham: Grace, 14, Brendan, 15, Michael, 18, and Ella, 20.

Pinterest’s CMO Andréa Mallard wakes up at 5 a.m. to work out and meditate.
Andréa Mallard Headshot
Andréa Mallard.

In 2022, the Pinterest CMO told Business Insider’s Robin Madell that she goes to bed at 9 p.m. so she can start her days at 5 a.m.

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Her morning routine consists of 45 minutes of intense cardio, then listening to a five-minute meditation while in the shower. Mallard then makes a breakfast smoothie, which she drinks around 6:30 a.m. while preparing for her workday.

This includes checking emails and reviewing and taking notes on pre-read materials, giving her at least two hours of uninterrupted work before she pauses to help get her three kids ready for school at 8 a.m.

“I’m definitely at my most creative or innovative in the very early morning hours, well before anyone wakes up. If a work challenge needs lateral thinking or requires serious creative muscle or a tough decision, it’s the first thing I’ll tackle in the morning,” she said, as reported by Madell.

Disney CEO Bob Iger wakes up at 4:15 a.m. to enjoy some quiet time.
Bob Iger attends the 96th Oscars Nominee Luncheon in 2024.
Bob Iger attends the 96th Oscars Nominee Luncheon in 2024.

In his MasterClass on business strategy and leadership, the Disney CEO revealed his methods for using his time effectively.

“I happen to believe that in every day you need to have some quiet time to think, where you’re not really being bombarded by external forces,” Iger said.

Part of his quiet time comes from working out, which he does after waking up at 4:15 a.m., Business Insider reported in 2018.

“The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is work out. And I work out in solitude, typically in a darkened room, listening to music,” he told his MasterClass.

“It’s my most creative time in many ways. I also make sure that I don’t look at any email before I work out. Because if I do so, that tends to distract me and, at times, can be really mood changing in nature. And I need that time to be kind of cleansed of too many external forces or influences so that I can really have clarity of thought,” Iger added.

He said he usually arrives at the office between 6:30 and 6:45 a.m., which gives him time to ease into the day.

Emmy-winning comedian, actor, and screenwriter Quinta Brunson usually wakes up at 5 a.m.
Quinta Brunson attends the 55th Annual NAACP Image Awards in 2024.
Quinta Brunson attends the 55th Annual NAACP Image Awards in 2024.

In a 2023 episode of Elle magazine’s series “Waking Up With…,” “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson shared that although she was waking up at 8 a.m. for the video, she wakes up at 5 a.m. a lot.

The first thing she does in the morning is wash her face with water, a washcloth, and makeup remover wipes before moving on to skincare products.

Nike CEO John Donahoe, who wakes up at 5:45 a.m., trains four mornings a week.
Nike CEO John Donahoe attends the 2023 Footwear News Achievement Awards in 2023.
Nike CEO John Donahoe attends the 2023 Footwear News Achievement Awards in 2023.

A self-described “creature of habit,” the Nike CEO told The Wall Street Journal in 2021 that he wakes up every weekday morning at 5:45 a.m.

“The first thing I do is drink 33 ounces of water and two cups of coffee, and then I stretch using the Hyperice Hypervolt. I meditate for 10 minutes and then I have a Nike personal trainer — his name’s JC Cook. I work out from 7 to 8, four mornings a week with him,” Donahoe said.

To keep up with the early wake-up time, he said he tries to get “seven-plus” hours of sleep per night. “Sometimes that’s unrealistic, so I target getting 70 hours every 10 days,” he said.

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Gymshark founder and CEO Ben Francis wakes up between 5:30 and 5:45 a.m. every day.
Ben Francis
Ben Francis, Gymshark’s founder and CEO.

In a 2022 interview with Business Insider’s Kiera Fields, Francis said he likes to simplify his mornings by doing the same thing every day.

This includes waking up between 5:30 and 5:45 a.m., much to the dismay of his wife, he said.

He starts his mornings with breakfast and time with his dogs before getting ready and heading to the office, where he works five days a week.

Olabisi Boyle, the senior vice president of product planning and mobility strategy at Hyundai Motor North America, wakes up at 5 a.m.
Bisi Outdoor Hyundai Laguna   Bisi.JPG
Olabisi Boyle.

I start work between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. but wake up at 5 a.m. to give myself time to breathe,” said Boyle in an interview with Business Insider’s Lola Christine Alao in 2023.

Boyle said she likes to start her mornings by checking on yearlong goals and progress. “Everything I do ties into these initiatives, so it’s important to start my mornings by breaking down what needs to be done in order to achieve our goals,” she said.

Anna Wintour, Vogue editor in chief and global chief content officer of Condé Nast, starts her days between 4 and 5 a.m. to read the news.
Anna Wintour at the Chanel Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 show during Paris Fashion Week 2024.
Anna Wintour during Paris Fashion Week 2024.

The media legend gave a MasterClass on creativity and leadership in 2019, telling viewers in episode two, “Getting the Work Done: Anna’s Management Tips,” that she has “a pretty consistent structure” for her day.

“I wake up early, between 4 and 5:30 a.m. I read both the British and American papers online, so I know what’s happening. I often play tennis. I eat breakfast consisting of Starbucks,” she said.

Her motivation for waking early is to get ahead of the day’s tasks before they “creep up on you,” she said, MasterClass wrote.

Bumble founder and former CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd’s schedule can require waking up at 5:15 a.m.
Whitney Wolfe Herd attends Vox Media's 2023 Code Conference.
Whitney Wolfe Herd attends Vox Media’s 2023 Code Conference.

“Most of my days are unpredictable and start at different times, so I try my best to keep up with a stable morning routine. I sleep with the drapes open to rise with the sun,” Wolfe Herd told Entrepreneur in 2017. “I think that’s a healthy thing to do because even if you don’t like to wake up early, your body does adjust,” she added.

Wolfe Herd gave The New York Times a glimpse into her “unpredictable” days in 2019. Throughout the week, her mornings included everything from a 5:30 a.m. call with her London-based Bumble founding partner Andrey Andreev to homemade celery juice and Chinese takeout for breakfast and a monthly directors’ meeting.

After becoming a mother to two boys, Wolfe Herd told Time magazine in 2023 that she likes to operate one hour at a time.

“I try to do the drive to preschool with no calls so I can pay attention to him,” she said of her oldest son, Bobby. “And then the minute I drop him off, literally as I’m giving him a hug out the door, I have to dial into something. But I’ve structured it so that that call on the way home is totally sequenced perfectly to get back to my computer to then pick up another two things on Zoom.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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