How you spend your time in the morning affects both your personal life and professional life whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl. Start your day off on the wrong foot, and you could end up arriving to work late, lose patience with customers or rush through a presentation you spent weeks preparing for. Your morning routine is just as important to your success as an entrepreneur, even if you only have to answer to yourself.

For business owners and freelancers, a good morning routine can make all the difference between a productive day and a wasted one. Since you are very often your own boss, it can be very easy to slide into inertia, especially if you’ve run into frustrating roadblocks with your business. That’s why your behavior in the morning is so important.

Learn about the morning habits of real entrepreneurs, so you can set your day up for success, too.

1. Eliminate Time-Sucking Tasks

“My morning routine is to take care of my most time-consuming tasks before moving on to everything else. In my case, that’s email — I found out that I spend more than two hours every day reading and responding to emails,” said Dmytro Okunyev, founder of Chanty. I tracked my time for a few months and discovered that they drain the majority of my time, so I do emails as the first thing in the morning. Once done, I feel like a huge burden is lifted and that I have less to do. In your case, it might not be email, but the idea is the same — do your most important work at the very beginning of each day.”

See: 5 Lessons You’ll Learn When Scaling Your Business

2. Avoid TV and Phones

“My wife and I and our son have coffee together. Well, my son’s is really milk in a coffee cup. He’s 3. Our rule is no TV and no phones. It’s just a few minutes of family time,” said David Reed, founder of Assured Senior Living Solutions. “This is something that has changed me personally and has had a direct positive impact professionally. I interact with clients where emotions are running high because they are usually in a crisis. Having my emotions and thoughts be stable allows me to better serve my clients.”

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3. Get Up Before Dawn

“I discovered this early-bird regimen accidentally while recovering from jet lag. I felt so good that I decided to make it a habit. I go to bed at 9:30, and I get up at 4 a.m. every morning. I spend the first three hours of my day doing very peaceful things, such as prepping for the day and meditating,” said Harsha Reddy, co-founder Small Biz Genius. “Having so much on my plate as a business owner, I lost time for personal development. I was constantly scraping the leftovers of my extremely dynamic days. Waking up at 4 is an inversion of this and setting up for using the freshest hours of the day in peace, dedicated to personal management and development. When the normal working day starts, I’m alert and ready.”

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4. Walk the Dog

“Every morning, I get up and take my dog for a long walk to freshen my mind for the upcoming day ahead; the crisp air clears my thoughts while of course lending me some time to really bond with my pooch,” said Steve Pritchard, CEO of Checklate. “I find clearing my head on the dog walk and filling my head with music in the car really boosts my motivation levels and gets my thought process into action before even arriving into work.”

5. Maintain a Disciplined Regime

“I’m organized, informed and full of energy to face the day as the female CEO of a seven-figure healthcare advocacy practice. It’s a disciplined regime that keeps me in front of other companies and has made me a thought leader,” said Gail Trauco, founder of Medical Bill 911. “Daily first task is writing. This includes media query responses, video scripts, TV segments, blog posts and work on my new book. At 6:30 am I’m on the incline trainer for a workout and then breakfast [consisting] of a protein shake or cold-pressed juices. A quick morning news review from the Associated Press and New York Times so that I am aware [of] current events. I’m dressed for success by 8:00 am – even on days when I’m working from my home office.”

Related: 10 Best Books for Business Owners

6. Give Your Morning Routine Variety

“Many people view successful people as being creatures of habit, never veering away from their routine. Many traits that are linked to success such as determination, structure, etc. aren’t always applicable to every successful person. I actually prefer variety in my morning routine, as I feel doing the exact same thing in the exact same order can be monotonous and actually detract from my motivation,” said Jason Yau, VP of e-commerce and general manager of CanvasPeople. “Some days I like to exercise as I feel that it will give me a boost in energy to get me through the end of the day. However, some days I need to just casually get ready in the morning and enjoy my downtime, particularly if I know I have a particularly eventful and/or stressful day ahead of me. The only constant is to not be thinking about work. The key is to refine your routine in a way that minimizes the amount of stress you go into the workplace with.”

Read: 13 Things Entrepreneurs Wish They’d Learned Sooner

7. Plan Ahead

“Create a morning routine in advance, this way you will be more productive, and you will know to have a firm grip over your day. Start the day before it starts, meaning, write your notes for the next day when you wake up,” Syed Irfan Ajmal, founder of SIA Enterprises. “Wake up at the right time, our brain functions normally and it has its own clock. Most people wake up once at around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., it nudges from the brain that you have completed your rest. The perfect time to start your day is starting from 5 a.m. onwards.”

See: 5 Lessons You’ll Learn When Scaling Your Business

8. Check Email Only Once

“One of the things I do habitually to be productive is I only check my e-mail once a day. I do it in the morning. When I am working on something, I need to concentrate and that means turning off notifications,” said Charlene Consolacion, Founder and CEO of Biig. “While I can be reached at any time of day by my team members via a phone call or a face-to-face meeting, I prefer not to have any unnecessary interruptions that do not require my immediate attention. If you’re like me who values productivity, you’ll find that a couple of hours of uninterrupted work will drive more accomplishment than several hours of interrupted work.”

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