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52 Experts Reveal Their Pre-Work Ritual To Skyrocket Productivity

I would have never guessed it…

When I started this project a month ago, it seemed simple and straightforward. It was just an article that I didn't even have to write – just ask the experts one simple question and publish their answers.

But it turned out to be more than a project. It was an ultimate learning experience for me.

The question was: What is your pre-work ritual that helps you enter peak productivity state?

Once the answers started pouring into my inbox I saw the pattern of how successful people think and organize their days.

And here's where my biggest surprise was: The majority of experts used meditation and gratitude practice to start their day on the right foot.

Now when I think about it, it all seems logical and feels like “of course, how else would they do it?”. But it was surprising for me because I personally have never tried meditation as a productivity tool before the work. I used it for sleep mostly!

Some more compelling activities include:

  • Exercise (walking, yoga, gym, or even 5 minute runs)
  • Connecting with your vision and reviewing your goals
  • Reading some business fiction for inspiration
  • And even wearing a pair of fuzzy socks!

Based on the answers you will find below I came up with 3 pre-work routines for myself that I want to share with you as well:

  1. Long version for maximum productivity and peak flow (60 min) – it is a great way to start your day and turn it into a handful of magic moments.
  2. Creative version to get creative juices flowing (15 min) – terrific if you need to do some writing or any other creative tasks!
  3. Ultra-short version for immediate productivity boost (5 min) – for those who never have enough time this 5-min productivity boost routine can help you enter the zone and get your most important tasks done.

Three work productivity routines

How To Get Maximum Value From This Enormous Article And Boost Your Work Productivity?

Now, this is an enormous post. This single page contains 8500 words of pure wisdom that comes from first-hand experience and you don't want to miss even a word! So here's what to do:

  1. Bookmark this page. You will come to it many times, as it can turn into your secret place of inspiration.
  2. Download the PDF version of this page together with 3 work productivity routines I compiled.
  3. Share it with your friends, and spread the knowledge!

Once it has been done, dive deep into the insights 52 experts have generously shared with you:

(For your convenience, you can click on the links below to go directly to the experts.)

Erlend Bakke | Thai Nguyen | Theo Ellis | David Cain | Josh Hinds | Vanessa Van Edwards | Dragos Roua | Steve Mueller |Eduard Ezeanu | Rebecca Fraser-Thill

Chris Guillebeau | Mary Jaksch | Stephen Guise | Courtney Carver | Henri Juntilla | Paul Minors | Kael Ranschaert | Joel Runyo | Remez Sasson | Peter G. James Sinclair

Thea Westra | Dani DiPirro | Amit Sodha | Irene Conlan | Colin Wright | Barrie Davenport | Paula Rizzo | Steven Aitchison | Alden Tan | Jon

Melissa Gorzelanczyk | Elle Sommer | Jessica Sweet | Katy Whitton | Evita Ochel | Robert D. Smith | Brendan Baker | Paige Burkes | Sandra Pawula | Arman Assadi

Jessica Lawlor | Melissa Gratias | Yaro Starak | Donald Latumahina | Tor Refsland | Peter Banerjea | Tia Sparkles | Vidya Sury | Primoz Bozic | Suzie Cheel | Annemarie Cross

Erlend Bakke

Erlend Bakke is a Norwegian serial entrepreneur, speaker, and #1 international bestselling author. In 2013 he first published the book Never Work Again that went on to become an #1 International Bestseller. You can follow Erlend on Twitter @ErlendBakke.

My pre-work ritual that helps me focus is three steps:

1) 24 minute Transcendental Meditation first thing in the morning.

2) 15 minute Journaling where I write down the following entries:

What positive habits did I do yesterday? I use

  • TM for Transcendental Meditation
  • X for exercise
  • I for healthy meals
  • S for Social time with great people
  • 90M for focused 90 Minute work time slots
  • PW for Power Walk

I find this a fast way to focus on habits that I want to implement in my life.

The next entries I write down include three things per category:

  • Law of Attraction: Things I want more of in my life
  • Acknowledgments: What I followed through on or that I'm happy that I did
  • Me: Three things I like about myself
  • Loved Ones: Three things I love about people close to me
  • Gratitude: Three things I'm grateful for in my life
  • Then I write: Thank you for yesterday and the day before me

I also sign the entry 🙂

3) The next thing I do is write down my monthly goals or focus points. This month I have 7 things I'm working on that are really important. They are the ones I use my 90 minute focus slots on. After writing them down I circle the ones that are important and start a timer where I set the time to 90 minutes where I only focus on one task at a time. I find this incredibly productive and gets me into flow.

Thai Nguyen

Thai is the founder of The Utopian Life, a launchpad for personal revolutions. His goal is to bring you well-research and well-written articles to help you think better, and live better. You can follow Thai on Twitter @ThaiWins.

I prepare myself to enter into a scientific state called, Flow. It’s the sweet spot between “boredom” and “anxiety.” If you are under-stimulated, you’ll fall into boredom and under-perform; but if you are over-stimulated, you’ll push yourself into anxiety and make mistakes. The key is to stretch yourself beyond your current competency levels, but not so far that you’ll break. So, my pre-work ritual is to think about how I can make the current task more challenging — this sounds counterintuitive, but raising your anxiety levels slightly will actually help you perform better.

One way to do this is to create external pressures through a shorter deadline — forcing yourself to do things faster. Or, commit to a future task that is dependent on your current task being complete. E.g. Schedule a meeting where you discuss the project that needs to be completed, before you’ve actually completed it. In other words, if you start getting the ball rolling on “Phase 2” of a project, it will push you to get “Phase 1” done. This is a classic principle based off “Parkinson’s Law.”

Theo Ellis

Theo is the founder of Just Be Real – the blog that provides no nonsense advice to help you grow through self improvement. You can follow Theo on Twitter @TheoJEllis.

I usually write down my goals on a notepad, listen to some feel good music, scan my calendar for what needs to be done, and do some reading or writing before getting started.

Here's a few things I'd generally recommend avoiding when starting the day:

  1. Avoid email first thing
  2. No browsing Facebook
  3. No notifications
  4. No reading/scrolling through random tweets
  5. No watching the news
  6. No texting/what's app

What you do in the first 1 hour-2 hours of waking up will affect your entire day. That pretty much determines whether I'm productive or not.

David Cain

David is the founder of Raptitude, a blog that offers a street-level look at the human experience. David writes about what school never taught us: how to improve your quality of life in real-time. You can follow David on Twitter @DavidDCain.

I wake up at around 7, make a nice coffee, and go straight to my comfy chair to read for a good hour or so, preferably fiction. That's enough time to wake my brain up, and it makes me look forward to getting out of bed.

At 8:15, I'll put down my book and go have my first meditation of the day. I'll sit for 30 or 40 minutes. When I'm done, I make another coffee, and sit at my desk and close everything on my computer except what I'm working on. Then I jump into the hardest thing I have to do that day, knowing that I feel as good about working as I'm going to feel. By that point there's no temptation to surf the web or distract myself, rationalizing that there's a “better time” to tackle my toughest item. It works great.

Josh Hinds

Josh Hinds is the founder of and author of several books including, It's Your Life, LIVE BIG. You can follow Josh on Twitter @JoshHinds.

As soon as I wake up, before even getting out of bed I pray and give thanks for all the blessings in my life. There have been many. After, I do mindfulness exercise to clear my mind. I run through the action steps that need doing during the day. I write them down on my next actions list so I can work through them during the day. I also make use of my note and calendar / reminder app on my phone to keep me focused and productive.

Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is the Behavioral Investigator, founder of, who teaches what makes people tick. You can follow Vanessa on Twitter @VVanEdwards.

Every morning I get a big cup of tea, fresh mint from my garden and sit to warm-up my mind with a really good fiction business book. I find that this is way better than hopping on email first thing or doing any big projects. I have a rule that I only read books that have been recommended to me 3 times, from 3 different sources. So I have quite a long list and constantly am adding things to my library queue. These books range from philosophy books to entrepreneur memoirs. Anything non-fiction that might be inspiring to my business. I typically read for about an hour and when my brain feels warmed up and I am buzzing from ideas I hop on to look at my daily to do list. This is my favorite pre-work ritual to peak my productivity at the start of the day.

Dragos Roua

Dragos Roua from is a serial online entrepreneur, personal development fanatic, blogger, father, runner, tanguero, dreamer, risk taker. He also thinks happiness is a process, not a goal. You can follow Dragos on Twitter @DragosRoua.

My morning routine consists of yoga, meditation and running. I do a short, 15-20 minutes yoga session, followed every once in a while by a short cardio session, then I sit and do 15 minutes meditation. After that, I get our for a run. The total time spent is (depending on the length of the run) between one hours and three hours, but after that my body is relaxed and I can focus on my daily tasks easier.

Steve Mueller

Steve from is a blogger, student and one of those individuals that live their lives to the fullest, by making the best out of every moment. You can connect with Steve on Facebook.

I enjoy to practice meditation as a pre-work ritual. It helps me to center myself and calms my mind. I've noticed that whenever I meditate before working, my mind is much fresher and I feel a lot more energized. It also helps me to be more creative whenever necessary. To me, this is the most helpful thing I've ever done before starting to work.

Eduard Ezeanu

Eduard from is a confidence and communication coach with 7+ years of experience, coaching people from over 20 countries, on 5 continents. You can follow Eduard on Twitter @EduardEzeanu.

I don't have much of a pre-work ritual. I just do two things. Firstly, I make sure to remind myself of the vision behind my work and connect with it. I find that when I bring to the forefront of my mind the reason why I do what I do, pictured with clarity, it inspires me and I suddenly get the drive to take action. Of course, doing this step requires that one has a clear vision behind their work.

Secondly, instead of thinking of the whole load of tasks I wanna complete that day, which can make me feel overwhelmed, I just identify and focus on the next required action; on the one thing I need to do to get started. For example: open my laptop and answer just one email, or write just the first paragraph of a new article. This takes the diffused drive generated at the previous step and focuses it on a concrete, easy to handle task. From there I almost always get in the flow of work and I keep going, moving from action to another.

Rebecca Fraser-Thill

Rebecca from is teaching students in the psychology department at Bates College, writing about meaningful work, and working 1-on-1 with private career coaching clients around the world. You can follow Rebecca on Twitter @RebeccaFraserT.

As an introvert by nature whose roles as college lecturer, career coach and mom require a lot of extroverted energy, I absolutely have to start the day in silence. It's the way I plug in and charge up my battery for the day. My favorite place to do this is on the screen porch that is connected to our garage overlooking our patio and backyard. It's separate enough that I can't hear my two young kids running around (or possibly crying) with my husband watching over them, but close enough that I can stay in my PJs! Even just fifteen minutes watching the early morning sun dapple the rhododendron as I do some writing or other activity of my choice is enough to make my entire day manageable.

Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau from is a New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Non-Conformity and modern-day explorer. He visited every country in the world and is still traveling. You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisGuillebeau.

Sounds fun … but I have no such ritual! I just work all the time. 🙂

Mary Jaksch

Mary Jaksch from is the authorized Zen master (Diamond Sangha lineage), psychotherapist, and author. She has been awarded an MA in Religious Studies, holds a 5th Dan (degree) Blackbelt in karate, started professional life as a flautist and loves dancing Argentine tango in skimpy dresses. You can follow Mary on Twitter @Mary_Jaksch.

When I want to boost my productivity, I go for a 5-minute run. During this run, I make sure to include a sprint in order to boost my heart rate. According to medical research, brain power is at a maximum directly after a short burst of exercise.

This ‘brain power boost' works with any kind of exercise, as long as you make sure to include 30 seconds of maximum effort. You'll be amazed how creative and productive you'll feel directly afterward!

Stephen Guise

Stephen from is the author of Mini Habits. He writes about focusing, minimalism, and the power of small steps. You can follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenCGuise.

The most important part of my pre-work ritual is not being attached to any result. I go in without expectations and that allows me to work calmly and stress-free (which boosts work productivity and performance).

Courtney Carver

Courtney from is writer and photographer. She writes about simplifying your life and creating time and space to discover what really matters. You can follow Courtney on Twitter @BeMoreWithLess.

My best work days come after practicing my morning routine. I engage in activities like writing, meditating, and walking that feed my body, mind, heart and soul before checking email, or doing anything else. When I feed myself first, I'm better able to engage thoughtfully in both my work and my relationships.

Henri Juntilla

Henri from Wake Up Cloud is a writer who helps people find and follow their purpose in life. You can follow Henri on Twitter @HenriJunttila.

I don't have a pre-work ritual, because I don't believe I have to be in a peak productivity state to help people with my writing, my videos, and my coaching. I am in the state I need to be to do what I need to do. The funny thing is that this lowers stress, and helps me be relaxed, which increases my work productivity and mood. So I simply try to have fun with what I do, and stay open. The rest falls into place when the time is right.

Paul Minors

Paul Minors is a coffee drinking tech lover, passionate about productivity. You can follow Paul on Twitter @PaulMinors.

I like to create a clear plan of attack, which means working out my priorities for the day and scheduling the blocks of time I need to work on these tasks. Will my plan change? Sure, but it’s a flexible system which allows you to adapt and re-plan on the fly when emergencies come up.

Kael Ranschaert

Kael is the founder of He is creating a place for people to gather and share ideas on personal development. You can follow Kael on Twitter @GrowthGuided.

The single most revolutionary thing that I had added to my daily work regime is meditation. I struggled with an excessively anxious mind for years, and this untamed energy created havoc in my life on many levels. Now, every morning I invest in the present moment for at least 10 minutes before I start my day, and the clarity that I have received from this disciplined practice has changed my life. In as short as 10 minutes each day you can give yourself the immeasurable gift that will reward you exponentially. This investment opportunity is offered to you at the price of zero dollars and zero cents, and is guaranteed to pay you massive dividends with just as much potency as it did in my own life.

Joel Runyo

Joel started IMPOSSIBLE HQ to push himself to try to live a life worth writing about by pushing his limits, living an adventure & telling a great story by doing the impossible. You can follow Joel on Twitter @JoelRunyon.

I've been using a strikethru notebook a lot lately to help me organize my thoughts offline. I try to write out my tasks the night before and I find I'm much, much more successful on completing them when I do this.

Remez Sasson

Remez is the founder of, he writes books and articles aimed to help people grow, empower themselves, and live their lives to the fullest. You can follow Remez on Twitter @RemezSasson.

There are no pre-work rituals that I need, in order to be at peak productivity. If there is something to do, I just do it. If I am tired, I prefer to rest or have a short nap first.

Drinking water or a cup of coffee, or eating a fruit, are also helpful. I find the early the morning hours until noon, to be best times for peak productivity.

Thea Westra

Thea is the author of Time For My Life: 365 Stepping Stones and the creator of Forward Steps, who helps people move forward in their lives. You can follow Thea on Twitter @ForwardSteps.

My main ritual usually begins the night before, when I list the top 3 things that I want accomplished the next day. Strangely enough, and likely because the subconscious mind has worked on them during sleep, those very things get completed the next day, as if by magic.

Before sleep, my desk is clear and set up for the next morning, ready for the fresh, new day. Plus, I never go into emails until at least one big task has been done to satisfaction.

In the morning, I will choose the biggest, most important task, the one on which I'm most likely to procrastinate. Once that task is completed, it gives me a surge of energy to continue on with the rest of the day. I'll then feel very satisfied with what has already been accomplished, even should I achieve nothing else that day.

A vital ritual for my general productivity state, is knowing that the background of my business is not going to interfere with today. For example, invoices are paid, computers and web sites are backed up, security scans have been completed, urgent emails were attended the day before, housekeeping is all done, everything's clean, clear and organized.

During moments that I might feel my energy dropping, a guided meditation, a bit of thinking time outdoors and a large glass of water, are all great. They allow sufficient pauses for visualizing and helping to re-focus on my actual priorities for right now, plus for eliminating any distractions.

Also, it goes without saying that no one can enter a peak state of any kind without feeling super well. Therefore, anything that maintains health, energy and a positive state of mind, supports peak states of being.

Peter G. James Sinclair

Peter G. James Sinclair from believes strongly in the uniqueness of the individual and in the importance of pursuing our passion. You can follow Peter on Twitter @PeterGJSinclair.

This is the daily ritual that helps me enter peak productivity state:


  1. I take out a blank sheet of paper.
  2. I write the numbers 1 to 6 down the left hand side of the page.
  3. I then write next to those the six most important things that I need to complete that day to move my business and life forward.


  • I do the list.


  • I celebrate.

Dani DiPirro

Dani is an author, blogger, and designer living in a suburb of Washington, DC. In 2009, she launched as a way to share her personal experiences and insights on positivity, awareness, and self-love! You can follow Dani on Twitter @PositivePresent.

My pre-work ritual for getting into my peak productivity state involves gathering my materials (particularly my laptop and my to-do list!) and putting on a playlist that will keep me motivated all day long. One of my current favorites is my “Positive Vibes” playlist on Spotify.

Amit Sodha

Amit Sodha from is a Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Comedian, Magician and a Radio Presenter among many other things. You can follow Amit on Twitter @AmitSodha.

This is an area of life I pay particular attention to, or I find that time escapes me too easily. As much as possible, I remove anything around me that has the chance to cause me a distraction, put on my favorite kind of playlist or upbeat music, and zone in! Bruce Lee came up with the term ‘Laser-like Focus' and that is what I strive for.

There are two key ingredients for me that make the biggest difference in how efficient and productive I am. The first is writing down all my tasks. When I write everything down, I'm able to lighten my mind and focus on each task fully. If I don't, I find my mind wanders and doesn't stay on track. Lastly, I use timed ‘sprints', that is, 30 minutes of focus and dedication on any given task, like writing an article for example. These two methods help to keep me super productive!

Irene Conlan

Irene created & maintains The Self Improvement Blog & hosts The Self Improvement Radio Show on Voice America. You can follow Irene on Twitter @IeConlan.

Great question. I honestly didn't design a ritual for reaching my “peak state.” However, on reflection, I realize I have one that has evolved over time. I get up early, make eggs and toast for my dog and me and then head to the dog park for exercise. He runs and plays and I walk around the park until the pedometer reaches a mile or more. Back at home we do an “obedience” ritual for the dog. I play a game or two of Candy Crush to get my brain started, followed by a short meditation and some affirmations of gratitude. Now I'm ready to sit down at the computer to begin the day. At this point I've fed my body, mind and spirit, exercised them all (and the dog) and begun my day, hopefully in a “peak state.”

Colin Wright

Colin Wright from is an author of a few dozen books, international speaker, host of a podcast called Let’s Know Things and a show called Consider This. You can follow Colin on Twitter @ColinIsMyName.

I find that forcing myself away from the keyboard helps, and then not letting myself get to work right away as soon as I'm ready, helps even more.

That way, by the time I allow myself to jump into the project, I'm aching to get started, and have had the opportunity to think through some of the finer points, take the secondary leaps of logic, rather than simply outlining the fundamentals in my head.

It also helps to get away from a familiar environment, so that unfamiliar variables set my brain down nonstandard paths.

Barrie Davenport

Barrie from is an author and a habit creation and confidence coach. She all about personal development with feet — personal development that involves action, not just reading, navel-gazing, and hoping. You can follow Barrie on Twitter @CoachBarrie.

I don't have a specific pre-work ritual. What makes me the most productive is the joy and energy I have for the work I do. I stay focused and energized because I feel purposeful and happy with my work. In fact, it doesn't feel like work. Getting enough sleep, exercise, and taking regular breaks also helps me stay productive. So does defining my priorities for the day. When you love what you do, everything flows so much more effortlessly. You don't think about work productivity so much because you are immersed in what you're doing.

Paula Rizzo

Paula is the founder of and the author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed. She is the master of using lists to be more productive, organized and less stressed. You can follow Thai on Paula @ListProducer.

It's actually what I do the night before – I leave my desk each night that makes the most difference to my productivity. At the end of the day I sit with my steno pad and pencil and map out the following day. I write down every phone call I need to make, every email I need to write and run through the entire day in my head. That way when I come in the next morning I can just hit the ground running. I've been doing it for close to 10 years and it makes my mornings much less frazzled and calmer.

Farnoosh Brock

Farnoosh is an author, business consultant, executive coach, speaker, and the passionate founder and president of Prolific Living. You can follow Thai on Twitter @ProlificLiving.

My routine varies from day to day, as I travel so much and accommodate coaching clients in various time zones. Yet I stick to certain routines that are essential to delivering my best. My Ashtanga yoga practice (2 hours, 4-5 days a week), Nauli Kriya (stomach cleansing), Oolong tea, some version of a green drink (juice or smoothie) and some amount of protein. I also warm up my voice before getting on a call with clients. Most of all, I remind myself that I am confident, powerful and being of service to others.

Steven Aitchison

Steven from is the UKs No1 Personal Development blogger, the creator of and has written and produced 11 personal development products, and authored 4 books. You can follow Steve on Twitter @StevenAitchison.

I get up at 5am every morning, without an alarm clock, which is very important as it doesn't disturb my natural sleeping rhythm. I then see to my mental little dog Kara, let her out, feed her and play a bit with her. Then it's a cup of coffee with a walk around the kitchen for 10 minutes, seeing the day ahead of me. Then 15 minutes of meditation and then a 20 minute walk with my dog, and listen to my favourite business podcasts which really gets me going for the day. After that, another coffee and straight into work 🙂

Alden Tan

Alden Tan from is both a breakdancer and a writer. He keeps it real at his blog when it comes to personal development and motivation, meaning to say, he’s pretty straight forward and he cuts through the fluff. You can follow Alden on Twitter @AldenTans.

My pre-work ritual?

Honestly, as a writer, I’ve come to realise that I produce my best work whenever I just sit my ass down and get “in the zone.”

I know that sounds cheesy, but it is what it is. It’s literally sitting down, feeling it and then starting to write.

When that feeling comes, you just write. You don’t stop. You don’t think. You just do. That’s how you surprise yourself.

It’s important to really feel it since that’s how you really create art from the heart. Anything else, in today’s world of easy information and your how-to articles, will always lead you to your head.

And there’s only so much good work you can make whenever you’re in your head. Everyone’s already doing that, so why not do shit only you can do? No one else has your heart.


Jon is the creator of meditationSHIFT, that helps people understand their minds and live better. You can follow Jon on Twitter @MeditationShift.

I teach and write about mindfulness and meditation, so it's probably not a surprise that my preparation for the workday revolves around activities related to both!

After waking up, I spend 20 minutes meditating (I have a free guide here that provides instructions). After my session, I mindfully prepare my morning coffee. I don't own a coffee maker, so everything is done by hand: I boil water, grind beans, and brew coffee using a slow pour-over method.

Making my coffee this way keeps me grounded in the present moment, as opposed to stressing about my day and everything on my to-do list.

Over the next 30 minutes, I drink my coffee and do the following:

  1. Review a “gratitude journal” I keep and update daily.
  2. Read something from my personal library.

These two exercises keep me away from social media and news headlines, which tend to have a negative slant. They allow me to cultivate a mindset with qualities I want to carry into my day: appreciation, compassion, and loving-kindness.

After my coffee, I spend 15 minutes doing some light exercise, and then I'm ready to start working!

Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Melissa from is a magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. Her debut young adult novel ARROWS is out now from Random House/Delacorte Press. You can follow Melissa on Twitter @MelissaGorzela.

I'm most productive when I start my mornings with a walk, coffee, meditation and yoga, in that order. I also use peppermint and bergamot essential oils to enliven my senses. I try not to turn on my phone or check email until I've reached my writing goals for the morning. From lunchtime on, I wear my other hats as a creative. I spend time marketing, I help other writers, or I focus on my editing role for YOU magazine, a women's publication by the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Elle Sommer

Elle is a personal development blogger… sharing actionable steps for abundant living & creating personal, financial & spiritual abundance at You can follow Elle on Twitter @LivePurposeNow.

I suppose I practice what I preach.

I begin with the end in mind. What result do I want?

Then I tap into how it would feel to accomplish that.

And visualize one person being able to use what I had produced and imagine hearing them saying words to the effect: “I can do that. I can take what I need to create new experiences in my life.”

And from that space my actions are formed.

Jessica Sweet

Jessica from is a career coach and a psychotherapist, who specializes in working with people to help them find more meaning, purpose and passion in their lives. You can follow Jessica on Twitter @WishingwellGift.

My life is a quite busy with two little girls (five and eight) and my husband in the house. Once they leave for the day, I need some time to settle myself before I can dive right into any type of work, especially creative work like writing.

That's why my pre-work ritual includes doing things that are kind of mindless, like checking email or playing on Facebook for about 30 minutes. I know that the work productivity gurus would probably shake their heads at me, but my brain can't focus in until I'm calmer.

Is it a time waster? Probably. But I need to be in the right head-space to get my creative work done. It's worked for me so far!

Katy Whitton

Katy writes about getting more accomplished one day at a time on her blog, Flipping Heck. You can follow Katy on Twitter @Katy_Whitton.

Before I start anything I like to grab myself something to drink so I don't have to get up later and break my productivity flow, plus hydration helps concentration – and I can't function without a cup of coffee first thing! I'll then sit down and go through my previous day's notes so I can see what was left outstanding. This is an important step as it also allows me to see how much I accomplished as well which gives me a productivity boost for the day before I've even started! I'll then list out the incomplete tasks from the day before, brainstorm anything other items that may come to mind based on my list and then put the tasks in order of priority. I'm a firm believer in getting the hardest task out of the way first so that the rest of the day is plain sailing. After that's done (which can take anything from 5 minutes to almost an hour) I'll get up and have a walk to get the blood flowing and to clear my mind allowing me to focus on the task at hand, then I'll get cracking on my Most Important Task!

Evita Ochel

Evita Ochel from is an author, speaker, visionary, entrepreneur, holistic nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, and web TV host. You can follow Evita on Twitter @EvitaOchel.

My approach to my work very much mirrors my approach to my life. Rather than having a specific ritual, which I repeat each day or at some specific time, I work and function best when I keep things more dynamic and free flowing. This means that I connect with my being (mind-body-spirit) and feel out what would benefit me the most and what speaks to me most that day. This will depend on the type of project I may be working on, the season, the weather, and my overall state of being. A common pre-work start to my day includes a physical yoga practice, followed by meditation, or a morning walk, or a trip to my food garden, and lots of gratitude for the new day before me. Amidst this, a properly nourished body and mind is always my top priority, and something I support with whole, fresh, plant foods and lots of fresh spring water throughout each day.

Ultimately, I attain peak productivity when I focus on the task at hand, and not allow for other tasks to distract me. And this focus comes easily to me when I am excited about what I am doing and in the best state of being by meeting my wellbeing needs optimally, as shared above.

Brendan Baker

Brendan from helps people who feel stuck doing work they don't like start to make a difference and an income doing what they love. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @Brendan_Baker.

I've just started doing a new routine (as of the last 2 weeks) and it's working really well for me at the moment.

My routine starts the day before. At the end of each day I open a new page in my workbook and write down 3 headings:

  1. Daily To-Do
  2. New Tasks
  3. Review

Under “Daily To-Do”, I write down the big buckets of things I need to get done and then bullet point out the specific action steps that I need to take. I want to try make sure that everything on this list are the big, important things I need to get done. I then order them by what I need to get done first.

Then, in the morning I simply review my “Daily To-Do” list and get straight into my first action item. Note that prior to this, I'm always functioning best if I have had a solid breakfast, done some exercise, and showered and dressed.

Under “New Tasks”, I capture any new action items that come up that day that I need to get done at some point (I don't necessarily do them this day. I just capture them so I don't have to try remember them).

At the end of the day, I take a couple minutes to review all the items I have crossed off for the day and get that nice satisfying feeling! Then under the “Review” heading, I write one or two sentences about how my day went and what I can improve on.

I then go back to step one and plan out my next day 🙂

Robert D. Smith

Robert is an author of 20,000 Days and Counting – a simple guide to injecting meaning into every second you live for the rest of your life. You can follow Robert on Twitter @TheRobertD.

You have heard it said that someone in a bad mood must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, but I don’t think it works like that.

I actually think they went to bed on the wrong side.

If you want to be more productive, you should start your day the night before. What does that look like? It’s saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” before your head hits the pillow. That is the number one thing I do to ensure I start my day primed for productivity.

A grateful heart will help you overcome a lot of the barriers stopping you in your tracks. It will be the reset button. It will erase your whiteboard. A fresh start for a new day the next morning.

I wake up feeling grateful and excited because I go to bed thinking I will not wake up. I always plan as if today were my last day. And when I realize it was not — I feel elated.

I love music. I am fortunate to live in a place where I can play it loud. Crazy and fun music. Music that makes me want to dance — not that I actually do :). Early morning music is like stretching before a run. It warms you up and prepares you for the race.

Then the game starts again. Living with massive intensity during the moments I have, every single one of them, as if this day were going to be my last.

Throughout the day I want to show love to everyone who matters. I now know that everyone matters.

These are the things I do to reach a peak productive state.

Paige Burkes

Paige is the founder of, a site that inspires you to explore new, mindful ways of being that move you to a happier, more fulfilled life. You can follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeBurkes.

Meditation. I always keep my work space clear of distractions so I don't have to do that before working. The only thing on my desk is a sticky note with the very small number of things that I need to accomplish for the day. By stepping away from technology and taking about 15 minutes to calm and center myself in meditation, I'm energized, focused and ready to work.

Sandra Pawula

Sandra from Always Well Within is a writer, mindfulness teacher, and peace-loving introvert. You can follow Sandra on Twitter @AlwaysWellWithn.

I meditate every morning before I begin work. Meditation calms and clears my mind. Creative ideas and practical solutions naturally emerge when my mind is spacious as a result of meditation, and so my productivity is enhanced as a result. Meditation also eases my heart so my mind, which creates more space for focus and work productivity as well. I also make an aspiration that whatever work I do brings benefit to others not just myself, which illuminates my motivation in a special way.

Arman Assadi

Arman Assadi from is one of the top copywriting and funnel optimization consultants in the online media and business space. You can follow Arman on Twitter @ArmanAssadi.

First I make sure to do my weekly review and planning process. I use a simple template and process (which you can download here). My most productive days are when I take the time to start at “ground zero”. Connect with this true self every day and calm the mind, or get into a meditative state if that's what you prefer. Then write down the one thing that you need to focus on and/or get done that day.

This becomes your compass for the day. The chatter in the skull will come back and you may go into a reactive, scarcity mode. But if you remember your one thing and keep it in front of you, it'll be easier to stay closer to ground zero. And if you're a procrastinator like I was, cure it forever with this simple formula. Enjoy the journey!

Jessica Lawlor

Jessica of the Get Gutsy blog lives by the motto of “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and shares her journey towards the life that she really wanted by “getting gutsy” and inspiring others to do the same. You can follow Jessica on Twitter @JessLaw.

I'm a big fan of practicing energy management; maximizing my energy and the times of the day I am most alert and creative to get my most pressing work done. It means prioritizing my day based on when my body and mind work best. That makes my pre-work ritual is pretty simple. I find I'm most productive early in the morning, so I generally wake up between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. to get my work day started. Most mornings immediately after waking up, I meditate for 10 minutes using the Calm app. This gets me in the right mindset and starts my day off on a positive and mindful note. Then, I make a cup of coffee and settle in with my laptop. Most days, I dive right into my most important task of the day when I know I have the maximum amount of energy. I try to save email and social media tasks for the afternoon when I know I have a lower amount of energy to spare.

Melissa Gratias

Melissa from is a productivity psychologist, but nobody lies on a couch when in session with her. They get organized instead. You can follow Melissa on Twitter @MelissaGratias.

I love to write. And, I hate to write. A blank Word document is incredibly intimidating to me. Also, for some odd reason, if my feet are not totally happy and snug I cannot finish a sentence. So, I decided to create a writing ritual to get me in the right frame of mind, minimize distractions, and get my feet to shut up and let me think! Here it is…

My writing ritual keeps me at my desk instead of wandering around my office. And, it’s not any weirder than Michael Phelps slapping his back twice before every race. All I need is an ample supply of fuzzy socks, my trusty Yeti tumbler, and my purple footstool. Then I’m ready to create!

Yaro Starak

Yaro is an Australian internet marketer, blogger and owner of the website, a blog about entrepreneurship, internet marketing, selling information online and personal development. You can follow Yaro on Twitter @YaroStarak.

For me, momentum is key. Once I’m working I really enjoy the feeling of getting things done, but it’s first making a start that is the challenge. This is why my pre-work ritual involves doing smaller, simpler tasks, to get momentum going.

For example household chores like laundry and washing the dishes, or even just taking the recycling and trash out to the bins is a small step that gets my ‘work’ engine started and can carry me through to a productive business work session.

Never underestimate the power of doing the dishes!

Donald Latumahina

Donald Latumahina writes about personal growth and effectiveness at Life Optimizer. His mission is helping people live life to the fullest. You can follow Donald on Twitter @LifeOptimizer.

My pre-work ritual includes these two things:

  • Exercise. I found exercise to be essential for increasing my energy level. It gives me the energy to work on my tasks with focus and enthusiasm.
  • Setting up a timer. I use a timer to help me prevent distractions. The rule is this: when the timer runs, I must work on my task. If I wanted to do something else (such as checking emails), I must stop the timer first. This makes me aware of potential distractions and helps me stay focused.

Peter Banerjea

Peter is a co-founder of SuccessIsWhat blog and a productivity coach. You can follow Peter on Twitter @SuccessIsWhat.

Before sitting down at my desk, I clear it of any objects that I might have kept on it. I prefer to have absolutely nothing on my desk except my laptop and my mouse, to ensure that there are no visual distractions. I wipe my computer monitor, so that I don't procrastinate on cleaning my laptop! This is a trick I picked up from habit expert SJ Scott. I also try to meditate for minute before beginning to work. If it's something that requires high concentration, I start listening to, a fantastic tool which plays focus-boosting music.

Tor Refsland

Tor is a creator of Creator of How To Blog Outreach Like A Boss who helps online entrepreneurs network with influencers and position their brand. You can follow Tor on Twitter @TorRefsland.

It contains 5 steps.

  1. The task that I am going to do need to be planned in advance. I need to know exactly what I am going to do.
  2. I block out the estimated time in my calendar to do the specific task.
  3. I make myself unavailable for all type of interruptions.
  4. I tell myself that I will not start on any other task, or do any other type of activity until I have completed the task at hand. This basically means that the only way for me not to work on that specific task is to complete it.
  5. Then I listen to relaxing music with no singing, and I enter the zone.

By entering your peak productivity state you can literally 10x your output (if you are working on your most income generating tasks).

It's all about self-discipline and practice to enter the zone again and again. I can now enter my peak productivity state whenever I need to.

This is what I did when I was getting PR for myself and brand. I entered my peak productivity state and used blogger outreach to get featured on 158 top blogs in 14 months.

Tia Sparkles

Tia is a passionate blogger and life coach at, an online resource to help you sparkle from the inside out and live the life you want – not the life you “should”. You can follow Tia on Twitter @TiaSparkles.

I feel most productive before work when I've worked out or walked for 20-30min, showered, breakfasted, and chanted (nam-myoho-renge-kyo) – before 9am. Although some of my most productive times have turned out to be between 11pm and 4am, with none of the above as a precursor, hehe. So you see, rituals help but there's no telling when and how inspiration strikes!

Primoz Bozic

Primoz from helps location independent online business owners earn more in less time by showing them how to automate and systematize their lives.

  • I wake up around 7.30.
  • Drink my protein shake, get dressed for the gym.
  • Drive to the gym (5min away) while listening to music that energizes me.
  • By 8.30 I'm at the gym, and I lift some really heavy weights, which helps me wake up and feel accomplished before I even get to work.
  • Drive home.
  • Shower.
  • Eat breakfast. Start work around 10.30am.

Vidya Sury

Vidya is a writer, blogger and editor. She blogs at and enjoys books, music, photography, cooking, DIY and coffee. You can follow Vidya on Twitter @VidyaSury.

The secret of my productivity is in my lists, routine and time-management.

I keep a master list, an ongoing list with columns that prioritize tasks. Each day, before I go to bed, I take stock and choose 6 things to accomplish the next day. Every Sunday, I also make a meal plan for the coming week, as it helps me shop sensibly and keeps me from stressing over groceries or “what-to-cook”. The planning helps, since I am diabetic and keeps me healthy.

I begin my day early, waking up at 5.30 am. I light my lamp at the altar and say a prayer of gratitude. This has me smiling and I skip off to the gym for a 40 minute workout. When I return, I get busy in the kitchen, making coffee, breakfast, and lunch, and while I am at it, I also prep for dinner. Then, by 9 am I am ready to “go” to work at my desk.

First priority is the toughest task of the day and I get to it after glancing at my mailbox. I do this on my phone, because it is quicker and makes sure I don't spend more than 10 minutes with it.

I work with a timer to stay focused and this helps me stick to deadlines. I eat on time and get my 7 hours of sleep each night. I minimize my time on social media and prefer to go for a walk around my area, or interact with my neighbors.

And of course, talking to my son, knowing he's managing well on campus keeps me happy.

To relax, I write on my blogs (I have six) and read. I also spend time at my local welfare home, which I help support.

This is my simple lifestyle and being consistent with my routine, with room for flexibility, keeps me at peak productivity. ♥

Suzie Cheel

Suzie from is a certified Law of Attraction facilitator, intuitive coach, artist, inspirational speaker, author and the founder of the Heart Whisper Daily Guidance Oracle Cards. You can follow Suzie on Twitter @SuzieCheel.

I start the day with gratitude and prayer as I wake, giving thanks delights my heart and then I say good morning gorgeous what adventures do you have for me today? Then it's time to rise, make a cleansing lemon and ginger drink. Then I head to my special place where I turn on my Himalayan Crystal lamp, light a candle and take out my journal and my Heart Whisper Daily Guidance oracle cards. I usually draw 3 cards and then journal on the messages that come to me that will guide me and make my day flow.

I then mediate, write out my 5 big goals in my abundance journal and do some releasing using the emotion code. This clears any blocks that might be stopping be from moving forward in both life and business.

Then it's time to head to the beach for my morning walk with my partner and soulmate, we walk for 30 to 40 minutes,then I usually swim, the sea is so revitalising. Then it's home for a shower and a healthy breakfast, today it was a green smoothie with kale and comfrey picked from the garden and a refreshing cup of fresh mint, lemongrass and ginger tea as I check my calendar and my plan for the day. This is my perfect start to a peak productive day.

Annemarie Cross

Annemarie from is a brand & communications strategist who helps you boost your visibility, reach and influence. You can follow Annemarie on Twitter @AnnemarieCoach.

I start my day off with a 5-minute devotion and prayer, then reflecting on what I’m grateful for, while setting intentions for the day ahead. When I do this I find it helps me remain focused on the right activities, it energizes me, and enables me to approach unexpected things in a more balanced and optimistic way.


Have you really read all the tips from the experts? If not, I don’t blame you. It’s a huge article and you really should bookmark it for future reference.

You can also save this post in PDF format and get 3 productivity routines I developed based on all the expert’s answers: Long Routine for Top Productivity , Creative Routine and Ultra-Short Routine for Productivity Boost!

Even if you are the busiest person in the world, you can find 5 minutes to go through the Ultra-short routine and boost your energy level. Try it out and let me know how it worked for you in the comment section!

  • Vidya Sury
    September 30, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Fantastic post, Arina! I enjoyed reading it and learned from it too! thank you so much for including me in it. 🙂

    • Arina Nikitina
      September 30, 2016 at 9:58 am

      Thanks so much for participating! 🙂

  • Jessica Lawlor
    October 3, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Honored to be included! Thank you!

  • Chelf
    March 29, 2017 at 8:21 am

    ok they all meditate! On my to do list asap 🙂

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