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8 Things I Do Before 8AM

8 Things I Do Before 8amIt’s been proven. Early birds are more likely to succeed in their career than night owls, says the recent Harvard Business Review study. While evening people tend to be smarter and more creative, morning people:

  • are in sync with the corporate schedule
  • anticipate problems better
  • are more proactive
  • have better grades in school, which means they…
  • attend better colleges, and therefore…
  • get better job opportunities

In other words, it pays to be a morning person. And I’ve seen it first hand.

8 Things I Do Before 8am

Tim Cook, Richard Branson, Michelle Obama, and hundreds of CEOs across the world all wake up before 5:30am. What for? To get a jump-start on the world, and I’m right there with them because it’ll help me succeed financially, physically, and mentally.

Here are the eight worthwhile things you’ll find me doing before 8am each morning.

1) Listen to a Dave Ramsey Podcast

I admit it. I start out every single day with Dave Ramsey. My alarm wakes me up at 5:25am, I walk to the bathroom and hit “play” immediately. Not only is it humorous to hear him yell at people for buying stupid stuff (which thankfully, we don’t do anymore), but this way I’m constantly reminded of what we should do to become wealthy – and also what wealthy people do with their money once they get there.

Lesson learned: If you want to be wealthy in life, then you must first learn what the wealthy have done to get to where they are.

2) Work Out for 30 minutes

Next, I’m off to the gym, which just so happens to be a half-block away from our home (so any excuse not to work out is pretty ridiculous).

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I lift for strength, and on Tuesday and Thursday I’ll either swim or jog for cardio. Annnnd, I keep listening to Dave while I lift or run. On the swimming days, Dave unfortunately can’t come with me in the pool. So one or two days a week it’s just me and my thoughts (which are pretty scattered and unproductive actually…I just can’t count laps and think at the same time – this is the uselessness of being a man). 🙂

These workouts last from 5:40ish to 6:15am.

Lesson learned: Wealth isn’t all about money. A dying billionaire would trade all he has for just a few more days of life.

3) Love on the Pets

When I get back to the house, I’ll let the dogs (June’s a spunky brown dachshund and Jada is a 12 year old black – and now grey – chihuahua) outside, fill up their food bowls, and then love on them for a minute or two.

While my wife and I do have a daughter now, the dogs are still excellent companions so I try to show them love whenever possible. In return, my affection continues to grow for them each day, making my life warm, relaxing, and in some weird way, fulfilling.

Lesson learned: Give away love, and in return your love for yourself and for life will grow.

4) Eat a Healthy Breakfast

I’ll admit it. I’m not the healthiest guy on the planet, but I’m much better than I used to be and I can promise you that the future me will be better than I am today.

Typically, I’ll sit down and enjoy a “healthy” bowl of whole grain cereal with a protein shake. Occasionally I’ll feel inspired and instead make for myself some eggs or a bowl of oatmeal. This early meal provides me with the fuel I need to tackle the rest of the day.

Lesson Learned: Breakfast can reduce obesity, blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. It can also improve memory, concentration levels, and even your mood.

5) Respond to Comments/Emails for this Site

While eating breakfast, I’ll typically get started on the laptop – reading and responding to my website emails and comments. I absolutely love hearing from my readers and I can’t wait to read what they’ve wrote me while I was asleep. Responding with a bit of my wisdom is pretty fun too (especially when they didn’t ask for it in the first place ;)).

Lesson Learned: When you find what it is that you love to do – and can get paid for it – work will never be work again.

6) Edit/Write a New Post

By this time it’s 6:30am and I’m all charged up to blitz write for the next half-hour.

Here’s how it typically works:

  • I check my phone for ideas that I’ve noted over the past few weeks,
  • choose the one that my readers will benefit most from,
  • and then begin to outline the skeleton of the article (title, subheader 1, 2, 3, and 4…).

After about 15 minutes of outlining, I’ll think to myself, “Would a site like Rockstar Finance or Business Insider pick up this article and feature it? If yes, then I’ll continue. If not, then I’ll stop, put it in draft mode, and possibly get back to it later if I’m desperate for ideas (FYI…I’m NEVER desperate for ideas – I have nearly 50 articles hanging out there in the “draft” abyss that will probably never be published).

Lesson Learned: Not every idea is genius. If you can’t humble yourself enough to realize this, then your unmistakable (to everyone except you that is) ego will continually block you from success.

7) Take Time to Thank God For This Life

I’m intelligent enough to believe that there’s a God, and I’m not so intelligent that I believe I’m Him.

God has granted me life on this earth. Not only that, but He’s blessed me with a life of loving parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws, a beautiful wife, and a precious daughter. This life is to be cherished and I remind myself of this and thank God for it every. single. day.

Lesson Learned: Life is a blessing. Thank God for each moment.

8.) Freshen Up and Plan the Day

Unlike many of my blogger friends, I still enjoy my day job and aspire to advance within my company. So at approximately 7:15am, I shower, shave, get dressed, and then plan out my day at the office. I do this by:

  1. Checking my meetings for the day
  2. Note the pre-work that I’ll need to do for them
  3. Block out time on my calendar to complete the pre-work
  4. Remind myself of the important, non-urgent items that I aspire to get done during the week
  5. Do my best to ignore everything else

Lesson Learned: No matter how smart you are, the prepared will always win vs. the whimsical.

Are You a Morning Person?

There are plenty of people in this world that aren’t born early birds. But, a handful of those plenty actually come to the realization that continuing to rise late may negatively impact their future, and therefore aspire to change their habits.

According to Forbes, “Early Birds are Made, Not Born.” It’s not easy to transform your waking habits, but it IS possible. If you want to perform and succeed in life, I would highly suggest tackling a minimum of five actions before 8am. You’ll be inspired, encouraged, enlightened, and quite possibly….reborn.

What about you? Will you be an early riser?

Battle of the Mind Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Awesome post, thanks for sharing!

    I have read quite a bit over the years about developing an AM and PM routine and never disciplined myself to create my own but since I returned from traveling for 16 months, I made this a top priority. I am currently at day 48 and can honestly say that it has made a huge difference in retaking control of my ship towards the goals and life I want to live. It is all about taking baby steps with consistency.

    Coincidentally we share many of the same morning practices so one way for someone to get started would be to pick one and start tomorrow and build out over time.

    Keep up the great work!

    • I absolutely LOVE getting things done early! I get more done, and I get some alone time to think and plan for the rest of the day AND for the long term.

  2. I make a list of things to do throughout my day, and I find that, on average, when I total what I’m able to cross off the list, that probably 2/3 gets done in the first half of my day, with the rest getting done in the second half. It’s not that I’m slow or lazy in the afternoon, it’s just that I am at my peak in the morning. So I totally get this!

    • Same here. By about 4pm, I’m pretty worthless.

  3. Have you read The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod? Your thoughts here hit on many of the concepts he chats about!

    Working out in the morning is amazing. In 2017, I’ve been looking to hit the gym in the AM and it’s made a world of difference. During the day, I’m more energized, and my nights are free to do what I please!

    • I haven’t read that one either! Man, it sounds like you’re way ahead of me on the book reading! Adding it to my list!!

  4. 445a usually, sometimes 5a. Coffee, read news on inter-webs, get ready for work. Be outta the house no later than 6. Now my commute is that I travel to customer sites. (Some days its 2-2.5hrs / some days its 6-7hrs one way. So a 14, 15, 16hr day is not uncommon. Also, being that I am 24/7 on call, I could be called out day or night, but that is a rarity).
    I would also tell you that getting not just the reco’d 8hrs sleep is important but quality of sleep. For as long as I can remember getting 6hrs is good. Less than 5 starts to hurt just like if I go up to 7. I feel like crud. So know your body… But I get quality sleep. If I don’t, my body will tell me.
    I think about the excising part but living out in the sticks, there isn’t anything. With the schedules we keep its also a lot harder IMO to get up any earlier in order to get to a gym. ‘Course my job keeps me active (except for driving), and that should count for something.
    Anywayz, thats my sched…

    • How long you spend reading the news? I just watched the news for the first time in months and feel more depressed than ever… And I just wasted 15 minutes of my life. It’s so much nicer to just ignore it all and worry about just my family and my local community.

      • It depends… I check on a couple of blogs and then there’s a couple of news sites that I read religiously. Keeping up on world events imo is very important, even though there’s a turmoil and general crud and such. I’m more of a political / financial reader so there’s always something happening. We cut cable years ago so the only info we get is via the web. TV is so dumbed down its sickening.
        As far as time wise, whatever will fit into one cup of coffee. Usually 30mins, maybe, then its getting ready for work and hit the ground.

        • Makes sense whiskey. I think I’m going to start getting USA Today or Wall Street soon. That way I’ll stop learning about the 8 deaths in my area and actually pick up something important that’s going on in the world.

          • I made a conscious effort to stop watching the news and going to websites such as CNN, MSNBC, etc. Completely agree with you… incredibly depressing!!

          • Yup. Let me know if you find a better source where I could actually know what’s going on in the world without being brought down by the media nonsense.

          • Ha, I actually just saw a great Facebook post that showed news sources and if they are biased left or right, or right in the middle. I prefer unbiased reporting. So the best options look like The Economist, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.

  5. loved this article. I did not like the intelligence reference toward believing in God.

    • Glad you liked the article Jeff. Hope you keep coming back. I’ve got some good stuff coming up!

  6. Great article! I am naturally a morning person but I can see now that I have been wasting lots of precious time to get stuff done! Thanks for the “wake up” call. 🙂

    • Glad to help! Thanks for reading!!

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