The Ultimate Morning Routine for Executive Directors

The Ultimate Morning Routine for Executive Directors

Executive Directors have a great deal of responsibility to the entire staff at a nonprofit organization. It’s literally in the title: they must execute all programs, policies, strategies, initiatives, operations, and communications of the organization.

To successfully accomplish all of these responsibilities on a day-to-day basis while maintaining a strong liaison with the board of directors and other staff members, an executive director has to start his or her day off right with a healthy morning routine.

With the new year coming up, I’ve compiled this checklist from other known routines of successful executives and entrepreneurs that would be helpful to implement as a New Year’s Resolution. If you’re an executive director (or any other staff member), consider following this morning checklist to get yourself on the path of a successful day every day at your organization, starting from the moment you wake up.

Reflect, Pray, or Meditate

The benefits of reflection, prayer, and meditation are more than just spiritual. There are many physiological and psychological benefits to taking a few minutes to relax your body and clear your mind, including lower cholesterol, better memory, and increased productivity.

Pro tip: Don’t check your email right after waking up. One executive admits that doing so immediately puts your brain into work mode, which makes this step on the checklist very difficult to maintain. Plus, it’s probably not a healthy way to spend the first minutes of your day anyway.

Eat a healthy breakfast

Among the many benefits of eating a healthy breakfast includes improved concentration at work. But the key word is healthy, so donuts are not going to help you. If you’re not a fan of eating breakfast like most adults these days, consider eating something light and portable, like a granola bar, banana, or low-fat smoothie.

Spend time with family and/or pets

Holding a senior position makes this item on the checklist especially important. Spending time with your family and/or pets will have tremendous impacts on the health of your relationship(s) and the quality of your work at your NPO.

If you find that you never have time to chat with your S.O. or your kids, get up ten minutes earlier so you can strengthen that bond by having breakfast together or helping each other get ready. Show some love to your dog by going for a walk with him every morning (bonus: you’ll get a healthy exercise, too).

Get to the office 20 minutes early

Or 30 minutes, or 60, or however long it will take you to prepare your coffee, check all your emails, and plan your day. You’ll be more productive during the day once you know exactly what your goals are before your organization’s hours of operation even begin. Your staff and your community need you, so don’t waste the first hour at work getting your cup of joe of and reading through hundreds of unread emails.

Greet your staff with a smile

Your staff is the backbone of your organization. If they’re not happy, you won’t be happy, and your goals will not be accomplished. Get their day off to a good start by greeting them with a smile and asking them how their day was yesterday. If they see you making an effort to make their day a good one, they’ll reciprocate and provide quality service to your community and make a difference for your cause.

Deliver a personal message to at least one supporter

People love when NPO’s show customized gratitude. It shows that you don’t look at them as just a number. Reach out to one supporter each morning (could be a donor, volunteer, board member, or staff member) to let them know why they are appreciated. This kind of engagement will foster a deeper relationship with your organization and stronger passion for your cause, thus retaining that supporter as a recurring donor or frequent volunteer.

Pro tip: A good tool to use with this step of your routine is a donor profile. If your organization’s technology has this capability, you can easily find what your chosen supporter cares about, their behavior, and how much time or money they commit to the success of your organization. That way, your message is personal and resonates with them on a deeper level than your standard thank you letter. Learn more about donor profiles here.

As you can see, being a successful Executive Director means being healthy physically and mentally. What steps do you take in your morning routine?