Book Review: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, Laura Vanderkam

Successful PeopleWhat the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

I am a morning person. Most days, I am up just before 5 am without setting any alarm. On weekends, I never get up after 7 am. As a child, I used to be up between 4:30 am and 5 am so I could do my homework. I liked it because nobody else, not even our cat, was up at that time and I felt like I could do whatever I wanted. By the time my parents and sister were rushing to the bathroom, I could read my book. Mornings were also a great time to bond with my grandfather, a lifelong early-riser. In the summer, we would jump on our bicycles to buy fresh bread at 6:30 am, when the bakery was opening.

So I rolled my eyes when Sarah Bailey, editor-in-chief of Red magazine, started the networking breakfast Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast How To Achieve More at Work and At Home, was speaking at by joking she wasn’t a morning person. Not because it was an expected opening but because I don’t believe there are morning and evening people, just people who go to bed early and people who don’t.

When I say I get up by 5 am, most people assume I sleep less than them. I don’t. I am in bed by 9 pm most nights, and a few nights a month before 8 pm. This requires some evening tricks, like a rather hefty cab bill, watching my favourite TV series first thing in the morning on iPlayer rather than live, or going to theatre matinées rather than evening shows.

Vanderkam explains it is easier to be productive in the morning because before breakfast, your willpower is intact. Whereas at night it is tempting to just check one more website or watch one more episode from a box set, in the morning, the leaving-the-house deadline limits the amount of time you can waste.

Her theory is that the early hours are perfect for three self-focused activities enabling you to develop your personal life and your career: plan, practice and pay in.

Studying CEO time logs, Vanderkam realised thehours that mattered most in terms of return oninvestment were spent planning. Take advantage of mornings to plan your day, your weekend, your life or your career. At the networking breakfast,

Vanderkam asked the room to start a list of 100 Dreams we wanted to achieve and then see which ones could be planned or worked on in the morning. Develop this blog was one of my big ones so here I am, blogging at 5:35 am.

Practice can stem from these 100 Dreams. For instance, if you want to win a marathon, use the morning hours to go for a run. Vanderkam defines practicing as “actively trying to get better at skills”, including skills identified as necessary to move forward in your career, such as writing or negotiating. This is Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hours Theory applied to the hours before dawn. Vanderkam also highlights how important it is to get immediate feedback on the practice, so you can continuously improve the skill.

Paying in is the third P, meant to help you remain employable. Vanderkam suggests that before getting to work, you already start paying in your career capital account. She uses the suggestion of a female race car driver she interviewed who said it was all about “increasing exposure and broadening scope”. Among possible activities amounting to paying in, Vanderkam suggests sending thank you emails or organising meetings to build loyalty. To keep you motivated, since paying in can be a long-term and sometimes invisible investment, her idea is to keep an actual deposit list.

For all Vanderkam’s good suggestions, the world isn’t that well set-up for morning people. Most early yoga classes I have found so far in London start around 7:30 am, too late to make it to work on time. People would rather have dinner than breakfast. In the workplace, late meetings happen more often than early ones. The first person to take down their trench coat in the evening is often considered to be less committed than the last one to, even if they arrive at 7:30 am every day.

Although I love Vanderkam’s theory that mornings are the perfect time to make things happen, her book isn’t without limits. She never explains what would happen if everybody started to use their mornings. Mornings are effective because few people are up and running at this time. I can send emails without getting immediate answers and launching into a time-consuming back and forth, clearly this advantage would disappear if everyone were up.

Like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Vanderkam’s book is heavily skewed towards married mothers. She does give some suggestions for people who might be single, or single parents, but mostly it’s about professionals fitting in a very normative view of family life, with a skew towards religious people. She is however pretty balanced between employed and self-employed people and how each category can best use its time.

Indeed, don’t be tricked by the title: this isn’t a book about mornings. Instead, it is about how you have more time than you think. Mornings are only one aspect of this. Vanderkam added up all the waking hours between when you leave work on Friday night and when you return on Monday morning: in total, that’s 36 hours that are entirely yours. Longer than the legal French working week.

This blog post has of course been written over the course of several mornings. Aside from heightened productivity, there is a less acknowledgeable reason why I love mornings: it makes me feel smug. I like the fact that by the time most of my colleagues arrive at work, I will have written on my blog, posted a few links on my other Tumblrs, gotten dressed, taken a 20 minutes walk around London and studied some international law on Coursera.

The morning and evening people divide isn’t a popular management theory, at least not in the way managers build teams across right brain/left brain, Briggs Myers results or introversion/extroversion, yet I think these are also a complementary skills and personality types.

Just after publishing this blog post, I have two days when I am scheduled to start work between 5 and 6 am ahead of a fashion show. The information that I need to deliver by 8 am will actually be available halfway through the night; staying up until the early hours to do a dozen Vlook-ups across languages I don’t understand seems to me the height of misery. But in the morning? Bring it on.


Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 350,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

Add a Blog


  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  2. I will right away grab your rss as I can not find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  3. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

  4. I do trust all the ideas you have introduced for your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too brief for starters. May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  5. I do agree with all of the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They’re really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are very short for beginners. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  6. Wow, incredible weblog format! How long have you ever been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The total glance of your website is excellent, as smartly as the content!

  7. Hey very nice site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Superb .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds alsoKI’m happy to find a lot of helpful information here in the submit, we need develop more techniques on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  8. naturally like your website but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality nevertheless I¦ll certainly come again again.

  9. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  10. Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity on your post is just nice and i can assume you’re an expert in this subject. Well together with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to stay up to date with impending post. Thank you one million and please continue the rewarding work.

  11. Thanks for any other informative blog. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal means? I have a undertaking that I’m simply now operating on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  12. Great blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Many thanks!

  13. Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find numerous useful information here in the post, we need work out more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  14. You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  15. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  16. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with almost all vital infos. I would like to look more posts like this .

  17. Superb website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Many thanks!

  18. Good V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task..

  19. I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So i am happy to convey that I have a very good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make sure to do not forget this website and give it a glance on a constant basis.

  20. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  21. I keep listening to the newscast lecture about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i get some?

  22. Thank you for any other informative blog. The place else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect manner? I have a challenge that I’m simply now operating on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

  23. I discovered your blog site on google and check a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the very good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading more from you later on!…

  24. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Many thanks!

  25. Its such as you read my mind! You appear to know so much approximately this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you simply can do with some p.c. to power the message house a little bit, but other than that, that is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  26. Good day very cool blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionallyKI’m satisfied to seek out so many useful info right here within the post, we need work out extra strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  27. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in internet explorer, would test this… IE still is the market leader and a big portion of people will miss your excellent writing due to this problem.

  28. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What a perfect website.

  29. I’m impressed, I must say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the issue is one thing that not enough people are talking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled across this in my search for one thing referring to this.

  30. Hey there! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

  31. Hey, you used to write great, but the last several posts have been kinda boringK I miss your great writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!

  32. After I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now every time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any way you possibly can take away me from that service? Thanks!

  33. hey there and thank you in your information – I’ve definitely picked up something new from proper here. I did on the other hand expertise several technical points the use of this website, since I skilled to reload the website many instances prior to I could get it to load correctly. I were brooding about if your web hosting is OK? Now not that I’m complaining, but slow loading cases instances will sometimes have an effect on your placement in google and could damage your high quality rating if advertising and ***********|advertising|advertising|advertising and *********** with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for much extra of your respective interesting content. Ensure that you update this once more very soon..

  34. you’re really a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a wonderful activity in this subject!

  35. I got what you intend, thankyou for putting up.Woh I am delighted to find this website through google. “Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against not with the wind.” by Hamilton Mabie.

  36. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  37. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your web site in internet explorer, would test this… IE still is the market leader and a large portion of people will miss your wonderful writing because of this problem.

  38. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  39. Along with everything which seems to be building throughout this area, many of your perspectives happen to be rather radical. However, I appologize, but I can not subscribe to your whole suggestion, all be it stimulating none the less. It appears to me that your remarks are generally not completely justified and in actuality you are your self not thoroughly certain of your assertion. In any case I did enjoy reading it.

  40. Great work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on Google for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my site . Thanks =)

  41. I think other web-site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and excellent user friendly style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  42. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This submit truly made my day. You can not believe just how so much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  43. Hiya very nice site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I’m glad to find a lot of useful information right here within the submit, we’d like work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  44. Of course I like your website, but you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell you. However I’ll certainly come again again!

  45. Hi there friends, you are sharing your view about web site Search engine marketing, I am also new user of web, so I am also getting more from it. Thanks to everything.

  46. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for novice blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

  47. F*ckin’ awesome things here. I am very glad to see your article. Thanks a lot and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  48. What i don’t realize is in reality how you’re not really a lot more well-favored than you may be right now. You’re very intelligent. You recognize therefore significantly in the case of this subject, made me in my opinion believe it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be interested unless it is one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs outstanding. All the time maintain it up!

  49. I would also love to add if you do not actually have an insurance policy or you do not belong to any group insurance, you might well gain from seeking the assistance of a health broker. Self-employed or people with medical conditions usually seek the help of the health insurance agent. Thanks for your article.

  50. Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve consider your stuff prior to and you are just too excellent. I really like what you have bought here, certainly like what you are stating and the best way through which you assert it. You’re making it entertaining and you still take care of to stay it wise. I cant wait to learn far more from you. This is really a wonderful website.

  51. Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Thank you

  52. I know of the fact that today, more and more people are increasingly being attracted to cams and the discipline of pictures. However, being photographer, it’s important to first commit so much time period deciding the exact model of dslr camera to buy plus moving via store to store just so you could buy the cheapest camera of the brand you have decided to pick. But it does not end generally there. You also have to take into account whether you should purchase a digital dslr camera extended warranty. Thanks a lot for the good suggestions I obtained from your weblog.

  53. Hey very cool web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  54. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it ;) I will revisit once again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  55. Thanks for the new stuff you have revealed in your blog post. One thing I want to comment on is that FSBO associations are built as time passes. By releasing yourself to the owners the first saturday their FSBO is announced, before the masses start off calling on Mon, you produce a good interconnection. By giving them instruments, educational components, free reports, and forms, you become a great ally. By using a personal curiosity about them as well as their scenario, you build a solid network that, on most occasions, pays off when the owners opt with a realtor they know along with trust – preferably you.

  56. Thanks for your useful post. In recent times, I have been able to understand that the symptoms of mesothelioma are caused by the actual build up associated fluid regarding the lining in the lung and the chest muscles cavity. The condition may start while in the chest place and distribute to other areas of the body. Other symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include weight loss, severe breathing trouble, temperature, difficulty taking in food, and swelling of the face and neck areas. It ought to be noted that some people existing with the disease do not experience virtually any serious signs and symptoms at all.

  57. Somebody essentially help to make severely posts I would state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and so far? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this actual put up incredible. Fantastic process!

  58. Terrific paintings! That is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared across the internet. Shame on Google for not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thank you =)

  59. Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, amazing blog!

  60. 796067 769523 Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So good to uncover somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this internet site is something that is needed on the internet, someone with just a little originality. beneficial job for bringing something new to the internet! 503798

  61. 522928 706453This web site is typically a walk-through you discover the info it suited you about it and didnt know who need to. Glimpse here, and youll definitely discover it. 548376


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here