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Work Daze: Wake Up

Be honest now—at what point in your day do you realize that you hate your job?

Is it at 4:30 p.m., when you realize that all the clocks in your office must have stopped running because it feels like you’ve already put in a 12-hour day with 8 more hours to go?

Is it at lunchtime when you polish off your second Cheetos burrito, and realize you either have to go back to work or go to the emergency room, and the emergency room sounds a whole lot better?

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Or is it the instant when your eyes snap open in the morning and you face a beautiful day rich with the potential of joy and opportunity, neither of which you will be experiencing because you have to go work?

No question, the gloom that descends when sun rises can ruin your entire day.

An article from the folks at GoBankingRates spills the coffee beans on superstars who use the first moments of morning to ignite days that are successful and fabulous. Like entrepreneur Mark Cuban who gets to work before his jammies hit the floor. “He says business is his morning meditation,” the article reveals, “and that success is waking up with a smile on your face.”

Good on you, Mark. At our age, it’s getting to be that success is waking up—period.

To save energy for the big decisions his day would bring, President Barack Obama made “a concerted effort not to spend time on small decisions like what to wear or eat.” Since most of your day is devoted to deciding what to eat, this aspect of the ex-president’s morning routine is a nonstarter, but a glance in the mirror makes it very clear that you’re right in line with his policy of taking zero time to decide what to wear.

(Don’t sweat it. Thong jeans are coming back.)

Lots of successful people start their day with exercise. The Rock runs. So does Kim Kardashian. Jennifer Aniston works out, as well, but it’s only the 5th step in a morning routine that starts with a cup of hot water with a slice of lemon, and goes on from there to the excitement of washing her face. Does she wash that famous face with cold water and a slice of lemon? Jen doesn’t tell. She also meditates and eats breakfast. I assume breakfast is a major splurge consisting of a glass of lukewarm water with two slices of lemon.

It’s all rather brilliant, really. After a morning routine that dreary, whatever happens afterwards has to be a major improvement.

Speaking of meditation, Oprah “takes a few minutes each day before sunrise to gather herself.” So does self-help guru Tony Robbins who spends 10 minutes every morning “thinking about things he is grateful for.” Tony also “visualizes what he wants to accomplish that day.”

You certainly could adopt the practice of thinking about things you’re grateful for, but don’t schedule 10 minutes. About 30 seconds should cover it, and that includes 25 seconds on the Cheetos burrito. You could spend a lot more time on the visualization piece. In fact, if you visualize everything your boss would like you to accomplish that day, it will be midnight by the time you roll out of bed.

Queen Elizabeth II starts her day with a cup of English breakfast tea. Duh! What do you expect her to drink—a double shot of Patron Silver with a PBR back?

Billionaire Warren Buffet starts his day by reading. Not a surprise from a man who “spends up to 80 percent of every day reading.” Buffet recommends reading 500 pages a day. This is totally doable. By the time you finish reading this column and the back of the Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries box, you only have 499 pages to go.

Author Tim Ferris has the weirdest morning schedule of all. In addition to plumbing the depths of his unconscious by journaling, Ferris does something totally radical. He makes his bed.

Since this a new concept to you, making your bed involves scraping off the Oreo crumbs, spraying your sheets with Febreze Hawaiian Aloha, and returning your coverlet to the garage where it also serves as a drop cloth.

Sounds like a lot of work, don’t it? That’s why I recommend you just continue what you currently do when your eyes snap open in the morning and you face a beautiful day rich with the potential of opportunity and joy.

Roll over and go back to sleep.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com.

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