Set the Right Tone for Your Workday by Implementing These Nine Practices

Before you begin your workday, what is the first thing you do to set the right tone for the day, and why? What impact does this have?

Businesswoman morning routine
photo credit: Vlada Karpovich / Pexels

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

1. Note One to Two Tasks to Accomplish

A quick meditation, my Line a Day journal and a cup of coffee right when I wake up let’s me start off without external demands on my attention and makes a big difference for setting the tone of the day. Before work, I note one to two things that, if accomplished, would make the biggest impact in propelling the business. As the chaos of the day begins, my list keeps me focused and helps me feel accomplished.

 Sydney Paulsen, TiPJAR USA

2. Exercise for an Hour

I wake up at 5 a.m. and work out for an hour every weekday morning to start the workday off on the right foot. Exercising first thing in the morning helps me think clearly and start the day off in a positive mood.

Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

3. Get Important Communications Out of the Way

I always, always check for important emails or Slack messages and get those out of the way right away, then I go into early meetings or other work that needs to be done. Business thrives on timely communication, so use your first moments of the day to check your communication channels and tackle anything that’s urgent so you’re not blocking anybody else.  

Andy Karuza,

4. Smile at Others

A significant part of being a leader is setting the tone for the day. One way I do this is by always walking into the office with a smile, even if I sometimes don’t feel like it. Smiling is powerful because even faking a smile has been proven to boost someone’s mood. And, because humans are hardwired to mimic others, smiling is contagious! It’s one of the easiest ways to help build a community at work.

Shu Saito, SpiroPure

Entrepreneur chilling out listening to music

5. Listen to Upbeat Music

To set the right tone for my morning, I make sure to play happy, upbeat music. Music allows me to get in the right mindset and boost my energy for the day. I always recommend listening to your favorite playlist in the morning to start with a positive tone and invite good things into your day.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Say an Affirmation Out Loud

One of the best things to do when your alarm goes off in the morning is to say an affirmation out loud. It only takes a few seconds but can ground you from the start of your day. You can tell yourself that you’re strong or energized, or even read out a quote from someone who inspires you. Doing this will remind you of your goals and help channel your energy toward achieving them.  

Blair Williams, MemberPress

7. Do Something for Yourself

I begin each morning by taking some time to do something for myself. Typically that includes working out, but can also be reading or meditating. By doing this, I set the tone for the rest of my day. Then, I feel ready to handle anything the day throws at me while not feeling stressed or rushed to make it to the gym, eat or take care of myself at the end of the day.

Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment Group

8. Take a Hot Shower

The first thing I do in the morning is take a hot shower. It helps me wake up completely and makes me feel more alert. As a result, I can focus on my work better throughout the day.  

Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

9. Write in a Gratitude Journal

Every morning I write in a gratitude journal and follow that up with exercise. Being the serial entrepreneur that I am, I have a ton going on. That’s why it’s important for me, before I start my workday, to get my energy right and enter the day-to-day grind with a sense of gratitude. I’ve found that once you establish your routine (it takes about 90 days) it makes a huge difference in productivity.

Kristopher Brian Jones,