Author Laura Vanderkam has written numerous books about the traits of successful people. She claims the “key to making myself happy is NOT to be a perfectionist.” In fact, she has researched the traits of successful women and how much time they devote to their careers.
The author was surprised to discover that women who work an average of 35 hours per week earn about $37,000 per year. However, the women in her study who earned in excess of six figures annually averaged 44 hours per week. That’s only a nine-hour per week difference for an almost threefold increase in salary.
She tracked these women in a typical day and found a few differences that the higher earning women had in common.
Ninety percent of them made time for daily exercise, they watched less than five hours of TV each week (compared to the national average of 34 hours), and they didn’t skimp on sleep, with an average of seven to eight hours of shut-eye each night.

Success Before Breakfast

Also Read: Why Your Fleet Needs More Women in Leadership Roles
Where did these women find time for so much sleep and keep a consistent exercise schedule on top of a 44-hour workweek?
Vanderkam’s suggestion is to remind ourselves that we have choices and instead focus on what she calls, “high value activities.” In her book, “What Successful People do Before Breakfast,” the author suggests we make our routines start the minute we hop out of bed.
“If it has to happen, then it has to happen first,” Vanderkam claims. Our willpower is much stronger in the morning, so we should focus on the activities that might not get accomplished otherwise. For example, don’t schedule laundry or housecleaning, because these are duties that you can find time for later because they MUST get done.
Vanderkam suggests devoting early morning time to nurturing your career, your relationships, or yourself. Her clients keep a time log of their daily activities and look for slots that allow them to be focused and to make the activity a habit.
Whether it’s exercising, spending time with your children, spouse, pet, or just using the time for meditation or reflection, morning sessions allow you to start the day having accomplished something important to you and your self-development.

Also Read: Encouraging Women to Enter the Trucking Industry
If you are interested in changing your morning routine, here are five steps Vanderkam suggests adopting.

1. Track your time. The only way to find out how you’re spending your day is to write down your activities. The author suggests tracking an entire week to see where you are wasting your minutes or hours.

2. Determine what would make a perfect morning? What activities would you want to start your day with? Running, meditating, taking an online class, doing some writing, or reading to your kids are all things you might want to list as your morning priority.

3. Think through the logistics. How can you make the schedule work? What changes will you need to make to ensure your activity becomes a habit? Going to bed earlier, setting your cereal and bowl on the table the night before, and laying out your clothes before you go to bed are all ways to eliminate some morning time wasters so you can focus on your activity of choice.

4. Build the habit. It takes time to build a ritual, so keep working at it and add a little bit at a time. Maybe get up fifteen minutes early and then thirty minutes after a week or so. Vanderkam suggests using bribery to get yourself motivated. Promise yourself something fun once you’ve started sticking to your new routine.

5. Tune up as necessary. Your circumstances might cause you to adjust your new schedule as needed, but don’t give up on the idea of doing something for yourself before breakfast. 

Everyone has the same amount of time each day; it’s how we choose to spend those minutes that separate the high achievers from the rest of the group. Determine what you can eliminate and define your own high value activities and you might just find yourself climbing the corporate ladder more quickly.

Comments (3)

Ellen Voie

Ellen Voie founded the Women In Trucking Association in March of 2007, and currently serves as the nonprofit organization's President/CEO. Women In Trucking was formed to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and to celebrate the successes of its members.

Read These Next...

LIVE Smart

Success and Happiness

February 14, 2017

LIVE Smart

Line One Log Book Activities

January 22, 2013


Shalom I have read the Rich Dad Poor Dad series and I agree on residual income. Most of his book though are to far out there for my stress level and so did not help me much. I am to conservative.

August 12, 2015 16:15:06 PM

82% of women in the united states who makes 100,000$ or more- do it through a home base business.
wealth is not accommodates during a 9 to 5 job.
to accommodate wealth, one must create a system that's pay you while you are asleep.
trading time for money will only earn you the value of the cost of your replacement.
when people truly understand the value of residual income, then understand that there is not a better way to get paid.
i can go on & on forever...till then here is one business book recommendation:
Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki.
Good Morning !

August 12, 2015 7:02:22 AM

Great Article Ellen. Before Breakfast is my favorite time of day and before trucking I had a routine and this was one thing I had a difficult time adjusting to in trucking. I have learned now that when we have a load my morning is awesome as I can drink my coffee, have a great view outside of the window, and we are making money! It took me awhile to learn to appreciate both when we are under a load and when we are not. While not concerned with climbing the corporate ladder I want to stay informed about our business and new rules and regulations.

August 12, 2015 5:44:49 AM