Best Morning Routine For Those With a Side Hustle

Waking up bright, early, and ready to seize the day comes more naturally to some people than others.

Whether you rise with the sun or fight to get out of bed, having a solid morning routine is crucial.

It’s especially important when you’re a new entrepreneur, building your own business on top of the demands of another job or other responsibilities.

A good morning routine can give you the energy, mindset, and momentum you need to be productive throughout the day.

Read on for ten of the top morning routines for side hustlers, which can set you and your business up for success.

Top 10 Steps to a Better Morning Routine for New Entrepreneurs

Forming routines takes time and persistence, but it can positively transform your life.

One of the first places to start implementing new habits and weeding out unhealthy ones is your morning routine. 

Refocusing your thoughts and actions in the morning can transform your afternoons and evenings, too.

Here’s how.

1. Wake Up Early

Is hitting snooze worth it? 

Many of the best and brightest entrepreneurs are early risers. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Oprah, Jack Dorsey, and a list of other entrepreneurs wake up before 6 a.m. every day.

Waking up early gives you time to mentally prepare for the day ahead and develop a positive mindset.

One of the mental tricks to creating good habits is to visualize the outcome of carrying out a new habit vs an old one.

Picture yourself snoozing your alarm repeatedly. You leave yourself just enough time to get dressed and speed to the office, without a minute to spare meditating or working on your side business.

Now picture yourself getting up when your alarm goes off. You take your time getting ready, enjoying your morning ritual, and have some time to spare to knock out tasks.

Someone building a successful side hustle probably isn’t the second persona. 

2. Prioritize Sleep

Late nights happen, but a long-term pattern of all-nighters coupled with a 9 to 5 and a few hours of sleep here and there isn’t sustainable. 

A recent study from Hult International Business School found sleep deprivation seriously diminishes your cognitive function. 

According to the study, 17 hours without sleep is like having two glasses of wine, with 24 hours of sleeplessness equating to four glasses.

To avoid drunkenly stumbling through your morning, prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. 

Create a bedtime ritual with cues which tell your body it’s time for bed, like putting on PJs, shutting down your devices, and cutting off your caffeine intake. 

It may seem counterintuitive, at times, but putting your side hustle aside for the evening to get high quality rest can help you achieve more the next day.

3. Move Your Phone

Scrolling through news headlines and social media can be bleak and anxiety-inducing at worst, and unproductive at best. 

In other words, you shouldn’t start your day there. While email is easier to justify because it relates to work, opening your inbox before your feet hit the floor can be just as stressful.

Instead of going straight to these sources when you wake up, give yourself some time. Should you schedule time to review and respond to emails in the morning?

Absolutely! Just not the second you open your eyes.

To force yourself to wake up and avoid the temptation to scroll, set your phone on your dresser, or the floor near your bed. 

This small hack requires you to make a mindful decision to get up, turn off your alarm, and start the day.

But this is always the case throughout your entire day – you don’t have time for phone distractions, unless it’s how you do business.

4. Meditate, Journal, Be Grateful, Repeat.

Instead of lying in bed scrolling, hop out of bed, put on some coffee, and get in the right headspace. 

Here are a few ways to get your head in the game:

  • Meditation: Meditation can help you to focus all your thoughts with mindfulness. When you’re balancing your new venture, family, activities, and another job, meditating can help you destress and collect yourself before you begin the day. Calm, Insight Timer, Waking Up, and Unplug are a few great apps with guided meditations.
  • Journaling: Set out some time to write down your goals, early sketches of ideas, or whatever else comes to mind. Reflect on what you can improve on from yesterday, or what you did well. Or you may want to write out some positive affirmations to encourage yourself. It’s up to you.
  • Gratitude: Kick off the morning by naming some of the things you’re grateful for, out loud or on paper. Maybe it’s the people in your life who are encouraging you to keep grinding, or the doors God has opened in your career, or even the chance to work outside on a warm sunny day. This small habit can shift your perspective in a major way.

Being intentional first thing in the morning can help you organize, prioritize, and get to work on building your side hustle.

5. Get Moving

 Meditation doesn’t only happen sitting still. Exercising is another excellent habit to help get you focused in the morning.

Working out kills stress, enhances focus, and contributes to your overall physical health.

It’s a great way to start your morning, one that billionaire Richard Branson swears by, stating in an interview he “can achieve twice as much by keeping fit” with his morning workouts.

Even if you’re just taking a walk around the block, exercising early helps you shape your workday and prioritize physical fitness.

Your side hustle needs fresh, invigorating ideas, and keeping moving can keep them coming.

6. Have a Healthy Breakfast and Hydrate

Not everyone wakes up with a big appetite, but starting your day off with breakfast can fuel you for the day ahead. 

According to Dr. Brady Salcido, chiropractor and wellness coach, eating the wrong kind of breakfast can kill productivity.

If you’re going to eat breakfast, Salcido recommends:

  1. Avoiding refined carbs: Think muffins, pastries, and sugary cereals.
  2. Choosing healthy proteins and fats: Opt for a classic like eggs and bacon.
  3. Ditching sweeteners: Sugar and artificial sweeteners lead to inflammation and crashing.

In addition to eating the most important meal of the day, stay hydrated. 

Dehydration can make you sluggish and unproductive, so start your day with a glass of water.

And if you’re trying to stay hydrated all day long (as you should), snag something like a half-gallon water bottle with markers and motivational lines to keep you on target.

7. Schedule Out Your Tasks 

The time you have to dedicate to your side venture is limited and precious. 

If you want to maximize the time you have rather than extending it, schedule blocks of time to complete tasks with an app like Notion or Asana

Once you’re ready to turn your focus to work in the morning, you’ll have an outline for completing your tasks. 

Create an agenda with concrete goals, like writing X amount of words on your blog or filling a certain number of orders for your Etsy shop.

You’ll be far less overwhelmed and way more productive if you follow a game plan rather than going into the morning blind.

And your planning doesn’t have to wait until the day of. Get started the night before for maximum productivity. 

8.  Hit Hard Tasks First

Everyone’s internal clock is different. Depending on your chronotype, you might be more productive in the morning than in the evening.

If you are, take advantage of the heightened energy you have early in the day and use it to hit your high-level tasks.

While some people reach their peak energy later, many entrepreneurs find success tackling their most challenging tasks first. 

Think about it. In the morning, you aren’t tired from having worked for hours. You’ll probably have more energy (and peace and quiet) to work with, with far fewer distractions to pull you away.

And let’s face it… building a business is hard! Constantly procrastinating on the tough stuff is keeping your side hustle small.

9. Have a Weekend Routine

Side hustlers aren’t called weekend warriors for nothing. Saturday and Sunday may be the biggest days for your business venture.

Hear me out. Sleeping in on your day off can be a well-earned treat after a long week in the office.

And your Sunday morning will likely look different than a Wednesday, but it’s still smart to stick to some form of a routine and schedule out the goals you need to accomplish.

Whether your weekend routine is extra-structured and geared towards your side hustle, or a little more flexible and focused on family and friends, map it out earlier in the week.

Along those lines, do what you can to avoid burnout.

Depending on how aggressive your goals are, you might need to say no to some fun plans and yes to more hours at your keyboard. 

But you should also block out some downtime. 

Enjoy time with your family and friends on the weekend; just be cognizant of your time management along the way.

10. Make It Your Own

One of the best benefits of starting your own business is having the freedom to dictate your schedule. 

Sure, there are deadlines to hit and goals to meet, but you can set your own course for getting there, including your morning routine. 

So if your ideal Friday morning involves a relaxing bath or a drive to Starbucks for a chai latte, go for it

Build rituals you look forward to, like cooking breakfast with your spouse, working at a local café, or walking your dog on your favorite trail. 

Creating a morning routine you can stick to is just one of the systems and processes which will propel your part-time business forward.

Do what helps you succeed. Build your side hustle by building with intentional drive and purpose, and use your mornings to get off on the right foot.

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

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