What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up? Going back to bed? Coffee? How about doing something amazing for yourself or for someone else? How about hustling to build your business idea? What about discovering a passion you never knew existed? Or maybe something as simple as being able to watch the sunrise?

It’s no secret that the secret to some of the most successful entrepreneurs and innovative minds boils down to one thing: They wake up early.

But it’s not the “waking up early” part I want to talk about today – whether your crazy like me and wake up at 4am, or sleep until noon, the most important part of your day is the first hour your awake. That first hour sets the tone for everything that follows. How are you spending that time? I’ve got a few suggestions to help you make the most of that (extremely important) first hour.

1. Treat ‘yoself.

This doesn’t have to at all be work or productivity related. This could mean reading, listening to music, watching ridiculous Youtube videos, or going for a run. Do something that makes you feel good. Do something that relaxes you. That makes you smile. That improves your mood.

If you’re reading this and saying, “I don’t have time to do any of that” – Ahem, Make time. Wake up earlier. Your relationship with yourself is the most important you’ll ever have. If you don’t take good care of yourself, you’ll be totally worthless at taking care of your spouse, your friends, or your clients.

2. Write.

Write for your blog. Write in a journal. Start working on the book you’ve been dreaming about (need to take my own advice on this one). Write in the morning when your mind is fresh. When it’s sharp. You don’t have to write for anyone but yourself – but if you take a few minutes, even 10 or 20, and write what first comes to mind – what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking – from the heart, without holding back or editing yourself, you’ll feel refreshed, and likely surprise yourself at what you can create when you write with a clear, sharp mind that isn’t diluted or edited by the clutter of the day. Just write.

3. Go out of your way for someone else.

Do something for someone that will surprise them. Take on a task that is assigned to someone else and let them know that it’s taken care of. Make breakfast for your spouse. Leave a meaningful comment on your favorite blog to let the author know that the post hit home and had an impact. It doesn’t have to be big – it just has to be something.

Imagine if you took 5 minutes each day to surprise and delight someone else. That’s 365 unexpected acts of kindness, generosity, and just plain good-ness. The world would be a helluva lot better if we all spent 1,825 minutes per year going out of the way for each other, wouldn’t it?

4. Take a chance on something new.

You never know how a day is going to transpire. Great things may happen, or you may be faced with failure and disappointment  That’s the unexpected nature of the lives we lead. So before the day has a chance to impact your attitude, for better or worse, do something that’s out of your comfort zone. Surprise yourself.

Go to a Zumba class you’ve been putting off. Send your resume to a company you’ve always wanted to work for. Personal or professional, the only way we learn about ourselves and what we’re capable of is to try – to attempt – take a chance – do.

It doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail – all that matters is that you made the effort. Simply taking action is often overlooked – but even the best idea is nothing without action.

How do you spend the first hour of your day?

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. I also watch entirely too much Saved by the Bell, run marathons, and drink plenty of craft beer. Check out the work my company is doing at Proof Branding.