how this made me so sad last night


Benjamin Franklin — the original guru of self-control and productivity — once said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Fast forward to today and rising early is still considered a common quality of highly successful people.

Much has been made of the benefits of being an early riser — we're told that morning people are more proactive and get better grades, and that many of the most powerful CEOs wake up by 6 a.m. Early-risers, the experts claim, might also sleep better and feel happier.

Of course, it's important to note that waking up early shouldn't come at the expense of getting enough sleep: Adequate shuteye is also an important component of success. (Don't believe us? Check out these famous nappers.) Missing out on sleep has been linked to decreased productivity and problems focusing, among other effects.

We took a look at what some of the world's most successful people — past and present — do first-thing when they get up in the morning. Not everyone on the list is an early bird (Simone de Beauvoir said she "dislike[d] starting the day"), but they all know how to leverage their mornings to start working on a positive and productive note.

1. Barack Obama


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