How Four Successful Millennials Start the Morning

June 17th 2015

Laura Donovan

Several years ago, I became something that my teenage self would have hated: an unwavering morning person. I love waking up to sun streaming through the windows, the endless possibilities of each new day, opening my Inbox to several new messages and alerts, scanning the news cycle on Twitter and Facebook, and absorbing it all over fresh coffee with my boyfriend (who probably wishes I was less of a perky morning person sometimes).

All of this puts me in the right mindset to have productive, fulfilling days at work, so I wasn't surprised to look into the daily routines of accomplished young people and learn they make their mornings count as well. Here's how four successful Millennials start off their days.

1. Lauren McGoodwin, founder of women's career site Career Contessa

Lauren McGoodwin, Career Contessa founder

In fall 2013, the former Hulu recruiter and USC admissions counselor started Career Contessa, a career website for women. It's important to maintain good organization skills when working in or running a startup, so McGoodwin is committed to her morning agenda.

"I'm pretty serious about my morning routine and, luckily, I’m also a very early bird," McGoodwin wrote on Career Contessa last fall. "Every morning starts with some exercise—usually a run or exercise class (I’m currently into kickboxing). Next comes coffee, answering emails and diving into my to-do list. It’s a nice thing to be able to start work knowing I’ve gotten some 'me' time in already and it sets the rest of my day in motion. I’m more creative in the morning so I like to take on projects around strategy or writing at that time and spend a big chunk of my afternoon either in meetings, fulfilling admin duties or checking in with the team."

McGoodwin shared her hour-by-hour morning routine with POPSUGAR in 2014 as well:

5:15 a.m.: Wake up, drink tea, read emails and check my calendar

6 a.m.: Exercise — I usually attend a class (circuit training is my favorite!) or run outside

7 a.m.: Breakfast — a green smoothie while I watch CBS This Morning

8 a.m.: Head out into LA traffic for my commute to Santa Monica

2. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg

When Zuckerberg was first building Facebook, he often worked until 6 or even 8 in the morning. Though a lot has changed since the early days of Facebook, he still pulls all-nighters every once in a while.

"I keep programmer time sometimes ... programmers tend to stay up really late and work when everyone else is asleep," Zuckerberg told Current in 2004. "So it's not really uncommon for me to stay up until 6 or 8 in the morning​. But the business world does not operate between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m., so that requires some waking up for."

Earlier this year, Zuckerberg told that he gets up at 8 a.m. when he's not pulling all-nighters and dons the same shirt to work everyday to avoid having to plan out his outfits.

"I am not a cool person," Zuckerberg said. "And I've never really tried to be cool."

3. Caroline Ghosn, co-founder of women's site Levo League

Caroline Ghosn Twitter

The women's company founder told NBC last year that she looks at Jawbone's Up app every morning in order to maintain good sleeping and exercise habits. As a goal-oriented individual, the app enables her track and improve her health.

"This is the first thing I check when I wake up in the morning – it displays your sleep and steps from your Up Band, and helps you calibrate your exertion/recovery accordingly throughout the week," Ghosn said. "Using this app has transformed my sleep patterns and fitness patterns – I am a goal-setter by nature so clear metrics around whether or not those are hit are addictive to me. I also collaborate with two people in my life on this app ... We keep each other honest and motivated – when they step further or sleep better, it encourages me to do the same. Peer pressure at its most positive."

4. Kathryn Minshew, co-founder of career site The Muse

Kathryn Minshew

Minshew is a co-founder of The Muse, a popular career platform that just raised $10 million in new funding. Though Minshew was excited to share this development on Facebook last month, she made it clear that she couldn't soak up the awesome news for long, as her days get very busy, "I figure I've got about 15 minutes to celebrate, and then it's back to work building the most personalized, beloved career site you've ever seen. Onwards and upwards."

After reading a recent Refinery29 article detailing her daily routine, it makes sense that she has to be intentional with her time.

"I work pretty insane hours, but it’s mostly on my schedule," Minshew wrote. "Generally, I'm up around 8 a.m. answering morning emails and taking a few calls from my pajamas (shh! don’t tell). Then I’ll shower, throw on a simple dress or pants and flip-flops for my commute and walk to work, taking more calls on the way. Meetings usually start in earnest around 9:30 a.m. and continue on and off for the rest of the day, but depending on who I’m meeting with I might not put makeup on until midday — if at all. I have a small kit of essentials I carry with me, and otherwise I try not to worry too much about it."