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By Tom Gimbel
May 25, 2017

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “What’s your morning routine before going to work?” is written by Tom Gimbel, CEO of LaSalle Network.

I love being up early—on vacation, on the weekend, or on a weekday. I love knowing the whole day is in front of me. I can waste it, max it out, or find somewhere in between. Knowing I’m awake while others sleep makes me feel like I’m ahead. I may not always win, but at least I start out in the right position.

Here’s a play-by-play of my typical morning routine:

Early rise

I believe the early bird does get the worm—so I wake up at 4 a.m. every morning. There’s a sense of calm that comes with being the first awake in the house—especially with three kids—before things get too crazy and the responsibilities of the day creep in. As soon as the alarm goes off, I roll out of bed and begin the day.

Cold shower

I learned the benefits of cold water from Tony Robbins, who starts his day with “cold water immersion.” This gets my adrenaline going, improves my circulation, and creates the right energy to begin the day. It also just feels great.

Morning reading

I do a lot of reading in the early hours. There’s nothing better than reading the Sunday New York Times, because I get to learn and it feels easy and interesting. Aside from keeping up with news and trends, I enjoy books on business and other interesting topics that grow my perspective. I’m a firm believer you can never stop learning, and reading every day helps me solve problems more creatively.

The drive in

Listening to talk radio on the way into the office is fun and engaging, and it keeps me up-to-date on news and sports (and the Cubs, of course). Hearing different perspectives on a wide range of issues challenges me to constantly develop and evolve my own thinking. My favorites are CNBC, MSNBC, and ESPN.

Yelling in the office

I do a bit of yelling at the top of my lungs every morning. Sometimes, if my head of HR is in the office, we do it together, which is a lot of fun. This might sound crazy, but it gets my adrenaline going, boosts my energy, and clears my head for the day.

Back to the basics

I love the feeling of being the first one in the office; it sets the tone for the day. When I’m in early, I get to do things I don’t always do, such as answer the phones, open the mail, and greet staff as they are coming in. I also take time to write in the morning, which has many positive effects throughout the day, such as higher creativity, sharper analytical skills, and better communication.

I like to walk the floors and greet whoever is in early. Sometimes I’ll meet a staff member I didn’t know and have a 15-minute conversation with them. We talk shop, but often also end up getting to know each other personally.

This routine won’t work for everyone, but it’s helped me start my days off right. For anyone who says they’re not a morning person, my suggestion is to chug some coffee and not ruin it for the people who are.

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