6 Things Successful Women Never Do in the Morning

PHOTO: Brittany Wood for Jenni Kayne

If there’s one part of your day that’s worthy of an overhaul, it’s the morning. Think of those first few hours as preparation before a big match, a time when you can calm your mind, strategize, and get your head in the game. We know that Arianna Huffington starts her day with morning meditation and Gwyneth Paltrow rises to a glass of warm water with lemon, but when it comes to truly honing a successful routine, we thought it time to look at the flip side: What should you avoid doing in the morning to start your day in the best possible way?

To find out, we called on 13 women we admire who are at the top of their field — leaders ranging from CEOs and co-founders to actresses and Broadway producers. They run multimillion-dollar businesses, oversee international teams, have built brands from scratch, and won Tony awards — if there’s anyone worthy of dishing advice, it’s them. Here, they reveal the number one habit they never do in the morning, and how to use the first hours of sunlight to give your day the best chance of success. Set your alarm: Your a.m. routine is about to get a game-changing overhaul.

If there’s a single piece of advice we learned from these 13 inspiring women, it’s this: Never check your phone first thing. “[I never] open any in-depth emails or attachments that require a deeper solve — park it for a quiet moment when you can take it on!” says Taryn Laeben, Casper’s chief experience officer and president of global retail and business development. Erika Serow, president and U.S. CEO of Sweaty Betty, agrees, noting that she won’t address emails until she’s done a workout. “With half of our team based in the UK, I’m guaranteed to wake up to a full inbox every morning, and, of course, it’s pathetically easy to get sucked in,” she tells MyDomaine. “If I don’t get out the door for my morning workout before I check my email, I’m toast!”

Not ready to kick your cell phone addiction? A study of nearly 2000 workers found that those who checked their email frequently throughout the day reported higher stress levels, while people who disabled notifications and responded to messages just three times per day experienced a surge in positivity. Michelle Weaver, chief financial officer at Stitch Fix, says avoiding work-related messages in the morning has also transformed her well-being. Rather than rushing to the tackle your mailbox, she says to “step back and determine the big things. Ask yourself what and how I can deliver value today.” It’s ultimately far more powerful than sending an email.

When you have a demanding schedule the thought of grasping a few extra minutes of shut-eye can be tempting, but successful women agree that it’s one of the worst ways to start the day. Katherine Power, co-founder and CEO of Clique Media Group, MyDomaine’s parent company, says she avoids it at all costs. “Don’t hit the snooze button. I read on Byrdie.com that this was a big no-no and can make you drowsier throughout the day,” she says. She’s right; National Geographic’s Sleep in America study found that delaying your day — even by a mere 15 minutes — changes your sleeping pattern, thereby throwing off your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Translation: You snooze, you lose.

To avoid temptation, schedule a gym session and enlist a friend or trainer to hold you accountable. “[Sleeping in] makes me groggy and leaves me feeling guilty, [so] I schedule my morning workout with my trainer so I have to get out of bed,” says Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO of fashion wholesale marketplace Joor. Eva Longoria shares a similar morning routine. “The minute the alarm goes off I throw on my tennis shoes and I go [to Soul Cycle],” she tells MyDomaine. “I just can’t lollygag; I’ve got to get up and go, otherwise I won’t do it.” The star then uses her post-workout stretching time to meditate before meetings start at 10 a.m.

Toiling over menial choices in the morning can be a serious time zap, says Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief ideation officer at Clique Media Group. “I avoid making decisions first thing in the morning, especially outfit decisions. I try to prep as much as possible the night before — planning tomorrow’s outfit, packing my gym bag, making lunch — so that I have less to do when I wake up. The more streamlined my morning process is and the fewer decisions I have to make, the better!”

April Uchitel, chief brand officer of Spring, says planning her outfit in advance means she can maximize those first vital hours. “I check the next day’s weather and my calendar to see who I have external meetings with. I then try on and steam my outfit the night before. This way I can pull everything on quickly and not get stuck staring indecisively into depths of the closet — or worse — ripping through potential options only to make a choice that then needs steaming, mending etc.,” she says.

Read more things successful women never do in the morning at MyDomaine.com. Do you have any habits to add to our list? Tell us what you do each morning in the comments below!

Originally published at www.mydomaine.com on August 22, 2016.