8 Things I Do Before 8 A.M.

Ozzy Balkanli
5 min readAug 9, 2017



Rise and shine! Did you know early rising is a common trait found in many CEOs? That’s right, Marget Thatcher used to be up everyday at 5 a.m., Frank Lyod Wright at 4 a.m., Roger Iger (CEO of Disney) at 4:30 a.m., and my favorite lady Michelle Obama wakes up at 4:30 a.m. Here’s a full list of others, if you are interested.

Maybe being a CEO isn’t necessarily your thing, but it is important to have a morning routine for a calmer day to tackle on whatever comes your way. It’s necessary to take the lead on the day instead of having the day take a hold on you. Too often we wake up rushed and speed through our morning before work which then leads to not being able to handle stressors of everyday living or stressful situations at work.

Ever since I incorporated a morning routine into my lifestyle, I’ve seen a HUGE change of how I react to events, my mood, anxiety level, productivity, and overall how I feel throughout the day. I feel more accomplished and a lot more positive. Life is also a lot more enjoyable. I know what you’re probably thinking at this point: “How can life be more enjoyable if I don’t get to sleep in?”, and I get it, sleeping is nice, but waking up and accomplishing things you said you always wanted to do is even nicer.

Life is more enjoyable because by waking up a little earlier than you normally would, you have more time to actually LIVE out this life instead of sleeping through it. You get to take care of YOU. Life is also more enjoyable because in that moment everything is quiet and peaceful and even if work ends up being stressful, you have this one thing, this one moment you can hold onto for the rest of the day to feel positive.

Here are 8 things I like to do before 8 a.m.:

  1. Drink water

I sometimes like to keep water by my bedside to drink right when I wake up to get energized. Water naturally gives us more energy so this really helps if you are struggling to get out of bed. Apart from that, we have been sleeping for about 8 hours, give or take, and our bodies are very dehydrated at this point. It’s important even if you don’t drink a lot, to replenish with water first thing in the morning.

2. Meditate

I move on to meditation quickly after because I like doing it right when I wake up as I feel more at peace with the rest of my morning routine. I will usually only meditate for about 5–10 minutes using an app — I am currently using Insight timer. I’ve explained all the benefits of it here, if you want to know more about it. I find meditation has really been able to calm my thoughts, aid with how I react to things, and has helped me deal with the daily stressors of life.

3. Visualize

I do this right after meditation as it’s an easy transition. There are many videos on YouTube that you can watch to see how to do it properly, but the way I do it is I close my eyes and picture an event and a place in my head. I describe exactly how it’s happening and put into detail of everything I’m wearing to what I’m holding in my hand. The benefits of visualization are enormous as well. Just do any research on it, and you will find out.

4. Journal

This one is such an important step for me. This really lets me start the day on a positive note. Whether that is because I am planning ahead — which alleviates stress or if it’s because I am dumping all of my thoughts into paper hence letting my thoughts free. It really clears my head and allows me to be whole. This one is so simple: you just have to start writing about whatever comes to your mind and keep going.

5. Gratitude

This one is right after journaling because I write on the same journal. I like to write 3–5 things I am grateful for each day. It might be small and silly, but it really adds up overtime. You start having a more grateful heart and the results are once again enormous.

6. Read

I like to read either the WSJ or a book or the Bible for a couple minutes each morning. I don’t read for too long as I know I will do some of the reading on my commute. I think this is important because it’s important to be a constant learner.

7. Exercise

My favorite part. I have been doing my exercises in my house lately with a video from YouTube, but if I don’t then I will head to the gym at this point. It might be the gym near my house or a class near my work. I will try to get in a workout anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

8. Eat Breakfast

This has been a lifesaver for me. I used to occasionally skip out on breakfast and I noticed each time I would feel so hungry by the end of the night and nothing I ate was filling me up. It’s because my body wanted to compensate for the calories I missed out on and overall my body was out of balance. I also noticed I would crave more sugar by the end of the night. Once I started eating breakfast more regularly, I noticed that I wouldn’t eat big dinners and dessert was kept to a minimum (this girl always needs dessert after dinner).

That’s usually what I do each morning. There will be days when I miss exercising but I compensate by taking a walk at lunch time. It’s really all about listening to your body and what it’s telling you it needs. If you need help waking up, read my post here.

I really enjoy waking up early also because it allows me to feel that my life isn’t taken by my job only and that I get to have time to myself to enjoy the things that make me feel at peace and calm. If you can wake up early and go to work early to get out early then do that. Whatever helps you have more time to do the things you love, do that! Don’t let work take all of your time!

Until next time,




Ozzy Balkanli

Innately curious about finding meanings, purpose and authenticity. OzzyBalkanli.com