Friday, June 5, 2015

Review: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Review:  What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast | Alexia's Books and SuchTitle:  What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
Author:  Laura Vanderkam
Release Date:  June 2012
Source:  personal library

Mornings are a madcap time for many of us. We wake up in a haze - often after hitting snooze a few times. Then we rush around to get ready and out the door so we can officially start the day. Before we know it, hours have slipped by without us accomplishing anything beyond downing a cup of coffee, dashing off a few emails, and dishing with our coworkers around the water cooler. By the time the workday wraps up, we’re so exhausted and defeated that any motivation to accomplish something in the evening has vanished.

But according to time management expert Laura Vanderkam, mornings hold the key to taking control of our schedules. If we use them wisely, we can build habits that will allow us to lead happier, more productive lives.

Drawing on real-life anecdotes and scientific research that shows why the early hours of the day are so important, Vanderkam reveals how successful people use mornings to help them accomplish things that are often impossible to take care of later in the day. While many of us are still in bed, these folks are scoring daily victories to improve their health, careers, and personal lives without sacrificing their sanity. For instance, former PepsiCo chairman and CEO Steve Reinemund would rise at 5:00 a.m., run four miles, pray, and eat breakfast with his family before heading to work to run a Fortune 500 company.

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast is a fun, practical guide that will inspire you to rethink your morning routine and jump-start your life before the day has even begun. (Goodreads)

My Review:

Full disclosure: because I'm not a morning person, I'm probably not the target audience for this book. At less than 40 pages, it's a really quick read though!

That being said, I did take away a few helpful hints. While I'm never going to get up at 5am to exercise, I can see the reasoning behind tackling the most important tasks first thing in the morning, when there's less chance of constant interruptions.

According to Vanderkam, the most successful people use their mornings to:

  1. Nurture their careers - strategizing and focusing on work
  2. Nurture their relationships - giving their families their best
  3. Nurture themselves - exercise, spiritual and creative practices

That's a lot of nurturing before breakfast! It takes me awhile to wake up in the morning so not sure how much nurturing I can accomplish, aside from nurturing a nice cup of tea that is! I need my caffeine!

The book also says that getting the most out of your mornings involves a five-step process:
  1. Track your time - keep a time log, sort of like a food journal when you're dieting. Track at least one week in order to get a handle of how you spend your time.
  2. Picture your perfect morning - after you know how you're spending your time, decide how you want to structure your "perfect" morning.
  3. Think through the logistics - how will your perfect morning integrate into your current schedule?
  4. Build the habit - practice makes perfect! Building new habits take time, so incorporate only one new habit to your routine at a time.
  5. Tune up as necessary - be flexible. If something isn't working, try something else

Sound advice for anyone looking to become more productive! I'm playing around with my schedule to see what tasks to tackle first. Since I'm usually still half asleep in the mornings, I think that blog-hopping or posting to social media would be my best bet. 

To try and make things easier, I downloaded the app to keep track of my morning tasks. Do you have any tips and tricks for making your morning run smoother?

Wish me luck!


  1. Not a big fan of these self help/motivational books to begin with and like you I'm not an early bird however that said this does sound like a light read so who knows.

    1. I don't usually read self-help books either, but this was a suggested read in one of my blogging classes so thought I'd give it a try. If nothing else, it was a quick read!

  2. I'm not a morning person either. Exercise in the morning is just easy too draining. I prefer going at night. I don't think these books are realistic. Everyone is different and you have to do what's best for you.... of course I don't own a fortune 500 company. Maybe my non morning feelings are why. ;)

    1. If you have to be a morning person to succeed, then I'm doomed! lol

  3. I'm not a morning person either. I wish I could get up and exercise, but I just can't do it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Getting up early to exercise just doesn't compare to hitting that snooze button. Maybe that's why I'm not a millionaire yet? ha!

  4. Sounds like a good read, I am not so sure about getting up at 5am every day though! However it is true that if we get organised early in the day we seem to have the advantage! I no longer go to work as I am retired, but have to say when I did I couldn't do without a coffee kick start before I hit the classroom!

    1. I've never been a morning person and seem to do my best work later in the day, but I can understand the appeal of working before all the usual interruptions start. But my snooze alarm and I are too close to break things off at this point! lol

  5. At that hour, I don't think I'll be nurturing anyone. lol. And I think my family likes it that way. ;D Sounds like a great idea, but I'm not a morning person either.

    1. So many of the other participants are getting up at 5:30 every morning now and I'm just sitting there thinking nope! No way would I ever get up that early! Well, maybe if I had to catch a plane to Paris, but that's it! lol