You don’t have to get up early to be successful just because someone like Apple CEO Tim Cook gets up at 3:45 a.m. But many high-profile, highly successful entrepreneurs and CEOs get up at dawn – or earlier – to get a head start on their busy schedules.
The majority of successful business leaders wake up no later than 6 a.m., according to a new survey of CEOs from Inc. magazine’s latest ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies. The survey of 1,086 CEOs of U.S. companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list, released Thursday, found that 64% wake up at 6 a.m. or earlier. Nearly 9 out of 10 CEOs surveyed wake up no later than 7 a.m.
Specifically, here are the most popular wake times from the survey:
- 6am (37% of respondents)
- 5am (27%)
- 7am (22%)
- 8h (5%)
- 4 a.m. or earlier (5%)
Inc. Managing Editor Scott Omelianuk says he’s not surprised: Mornings can be one of the few quiet times in any CEO’s daily schedule.
“Mornings in particular turn out to be, for a lot of the entrepreneurs I talk to, the time that allows them to focus,” Omelianuk told CNBC Make It, adding, “There’s that quiet time, where you can focus on day-to-day issues, whether it’s making a list or strategically thinking about an issue, but that’s when they can really think for themselves before everything what derails the perfect day does start to happen.
Is focus time worth sacrificing sleep?
Sleep scientists are adamant that humans need seven to nine hours of sleep every night, regardless of what time you have to wake up for work. A good night’s sleep can improve your physical and mental health, while making you more productive. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says he always shoots for eight hours with his eyes closed because it gives him energy and helps him “think better”.
Some experts claim that humans tend to be more productive in the early hours of the morning, simply because there are fewer distractions during those times. It’s the sentiment that Tim Cook has shared in the past to explain his own habit of getting up early.
“I can control better in the morning than in the evening and throughout the day,” Apple’s CEO said in a 2021 interview. path.”
Omelianuk notes that the average business leader may not have the luxury of sleeping in the first place: especially in startups and small businesses, CEOs may not have the budget for support staff, which makes them all the more overworked as they try to tackle their long list of responsibilities on a regular basis.
“Entrepreneurs don’t get enough sleep, in general,” he says.
Find a routine that works
Some CEOs and business owners like to use their mornings as uninterrupted working hours. For example, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he typically checks “critical emails” for half an hour when he first wakes up – although it’s a habit he now says he try to replace.
Others focus on well-being. Cook splits his mornings between reading user reviews of Apple products and working out at the gym: an early workout “keeps my stress at bay,” he told HBO’s “Axios on HBO” in 2018.
Science backs this sentiment: Psychologist Joel Dvoskin recently told CNBC Make It that humans can improve their productivity and mental health by enjoying some quiet time early in the morning and engaging in physical activity before bedtime. work.
This is especially important for CEOs, many of whom worry about the potential toll running a business can have on their mental health.
Listing their biggest concerns as entrepreneurs, 46% of the 1,086 CEOs who responded to Inc. cited the “fear of failure”. Large parties also expressed concern about the mental health risks associated with running a business, with 43% reporting “heightened anxiety” and 15% citing an increased risk of depression among founders.
Omelianuk says it’s actually a good sign that so many CEOs feel comfortable identifying mental health as a concern, given the stigma surrounding it. Waking up early, he says, may even have something to do with finding ways to deal with the stress of their job.
“It’s just a matter of establishing a routine,” he says. “And for a lot of founders, that’s the only time they can have a routine.”
Register now: Be smarter about your money and your career with our weekly newsletter
Burnout is a serious problem – how a start-up founder overcame it to have a ‘healthier, balanced life’
It’s the best time to go to sleep for a healthier heart, study finds