People’s morning routines can be fascinating, revealing practices and rituals that give insights into the way they approach the day, multitask, prioritize, and more. Recently, we caught up with six successful small business owners in a variety of fields to find out how they spend their mornings before getting to work. From pre-dawn social media planning to preparing breakfast for little ones to taking a moment to be present, these snapshots of the everyday lives of entrepreneurs prove while there is no one-size-fits-all or “right” way to begin the day, figuring out what works best for you—and doing what makes you happy—is always a good formula for starting off on the right foot.

“I think it’s most important that you do what makes you happy and brings you the most peace.”

KIMMY K. POWELL, owner of Woodhouse Day Spa in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, and Franklin, Tennessee: “I’m an empty-nester, so my morning routine has more me-time than it did while my kids were home. I wake up when I wake up; I quit using an alarm a couple of years ago. I believe sleep is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and I just decided that I would roll with it. I usually wake up around 7:30 a.m. naturally, and as much as it pains me to admit it, I look at my phone to make sure there are no emergency messages from my family or work and then click on my email inbox to allow it to populate. I don’t look at emails right away, but I get them queued up.

I am very fortunate in that my husband recognizes I need my morning time, so he takes our sweet mini Australian Labradoodle, June Carter Cash, for the first morning walk at Brittlebank Park while I make a cup of coffee with cream, sugar, and vanilla, then settle in for quiet inspirational reading. Generally my reading consists of The Daily OM morning message, catching up on news online, and returning emails. I take quite a bit of time in the morning to slowly let the day unfold and get all of my daily “communications” handled so that my goals and to-dos are in motion early. I do not watch TV or listen to anything other than nature or usually a soft piano playlist on my Sonos. I also pull a card from my ‘good advice’ deck.

I read quite a lot about morning routines and how important they are. There’s always the wealthy mogul who gets up at 5 a.m., never looks at the phone (so they say), and then gets in their 10-miler, power smoothie, and has taken on the world by 10 a.m. I think it’s a lot of extra pressure to put on people to make them feel like there is a right or wrong way to wake up and start your day. Sure, there are tools to improve your health, productivity, and overall happiness quotient; but to me, I think it’s most important that you do what makes you happy and brings you the most peace.”

“In my head I’m always telling myself to slow down, but our reality is that mornings are pretty darn chaotic!”

KRISTIN GILDEA FOX of Kristin Gildea Fox Real Estate Group in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey: “I start my day at 5:30 a.m. no matter what time I go to bed. I wish I could sleep later! I hate to admit it, but the first thing I do while I’m still lying in bed is review my scheduled social media for the day. I typically plan out my posts several days ahead of time, but I review them in the morning, proofread them, and sometimes plan for the next one. I also like to start my day with a clean email inbox. So if there are any unread or not-yet-responded-to emails, I’ll use this time to make sure they’ve all been answered. This planning helps me to start the day feeling organized and productive. I have no doubt I could use five minutes of quiet meditation, but that hasn’t happened yet.

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life. I don’t need it! If you met me, you’d probably agree that I’d be bouncing off the walls if I did. I just drink water in the mornings. I’m a total creature of habit and have the same breakfast every day, either Kashi cereal with strawberries and milk or an egg sandwich on an English muffin.

Some mornings I work out, either with my trainer or I’ll do a Bar Method class. On those mornings, I’m generally home from the gym before everyone else is up. I shower and get dressed while my husband starts breakfast for our girls, who are eight and 10. Sometimes the 10-year-old will make her own waffles with peanut butter, but our youngest daughter likes dad to make her cereal. My husband is the king of the mornings, and he gets most of the credit! Most days makes the girls’ lunches, giving me time to help them get dressed, do their hair, and make sure they’re organized and ready for the day. They have lots of activities, so making sure we’ve got the right snacks packed for after school and bags packed for whatever they’re doing after school is crucial. The girls and I head out the door at 7:50, and I head straight to the office after school drop-off. Our mornings are pretty crazy. In my head I’m always telling myself to slow down, but our reality is that mornings are pretty darn chaotic!”

“Having my mornings start the same every day is comforting and grounding when so many other elements are out of my control.”

TRACI WALTON, co-founder and CBO of PLENTY Mercantile in Oklahoma City and Edmond, Oklahoma: “My husband uses his iPhone to wake up, and we wake up together between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. The first thing I do upon waking is lay in bed and pray. I go down my list of people, picture them in my mind, think about what they are doing, and pray for their strength in all matters. It centers me and allows me to start the day with the right mindset. I then usually check our solar panel app on the way to the coffee pot. It’s a habit; I’m not sure why I feel compelled to make sure they are online. Then I check my texts to see if my day is going to change.

Every morning my husband makes Eote coffee and I fill my cup, add vanilla soy creamer, and hit the ground running. We are empty nesters, so our mornings are very different from when we had four children, a dog, cat, and two hermit crabs at home. My husband is always out the door early, so I let out our Great Dane.  She is 170 pounds of love and sometimes she doesn’t come back in quickly and takes off to visit the construction guys. It’s always a pleasure chasing her down the street with my coffee and no shoes (I only wear shoes when I have to). Our long-haired cat gets some love in the morning, too. She is 15 years old and still scrappy.

I then get dressed, and what I wear depends on if my day is in the warehouse or meetings. It varies greatly, but I mostly dress for speed and comfort. I usually eat a red velvet WeightWise protein bar from the freezer on my way out the door and throw one in my bag for later. I always eat a handful of gummy vitamins and because I take so many, I consider it a meal!

Working in retail and events, every single day is different despite having a plan. It’s exhausting and wonderful at the same time. But having my mornings start the same every day is comforting and grounding when so many other elements are out of my control.”

“Taking a few minutes at the start of the day to just be present, to create some separation from my business or my to-do list, allows me to tackle what’s ahead of me from a more productive and peaceful place.”

RACHEL CROCKET, co-owner of Evolve Studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana: “I set my phone on do not disturb the night before, so I silence notifications before bed and use the gentle wake feature at 6:45 a.m. Upon waking I take five to 10 deep breaths and give thanks for the day. I am currently nursing my 11-month-old son so before he wakes up I pump a bottle and read for about 15 minutes as my quiet time in the morning.

I start my day with warm lemon water and a liquid probiotic. If I am juicing, I will have a celery juice before my water. Then it’s on to my coffee, which might be my favorite part of the day. I like homemade hemp or walnut milk in my coffee with a scoop of collagen powder and cinnamon. I typically don’t eat my breakfast until around 10:00 a.m., and I will usually have a green smoothie or coconut yogurt with berries and granola.

I have a four-year-old as well as an 11-month-old, so they usually take up most of my morning. My husband makes our four-year-old’s breakfast each morning and I usually get him dressed. We wake baby brother up around 8:00 a.m.

A mindful morning is something I live by. After the morning, all bets are off, anything can happen. When we first wake up and start our day, we have full control. By being present and mindful in the morning, we choose the tone we set for the day. For me, by taking just a few minutes at the start of the day to be away from my phone and just be present, to create some separation from my business or my to-do list, allows me to tackle what’s ahead of me from a more productive and peaceful place.”

“I have a three and six-year-old, so my secret to success is waking up before they do.”

KELLY STANKIEWICZ, MD, FAAD, owner of The Dermatology House in Park City, Utah: “My iPhone wakes me up at 5:45 a.m. and I make myself put my feet on the floor right away before I am tempted to hit the snooze button. I have a three and six-year-old, so my secret to success is waking up before they do. I have my alone time in the shower and then I let our one and a half-year old Saint Bernard Doodle, Indie, out in our yard. We live in the mountains, and I let her stroll around the yard and surrounding forest.

My kids wake up sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. and sometimes I barely beat their wakeup time. My husband is very hands-on, and we tag team in the morning. When they wake up, we dress them, help them brush their teeth, and bring them down for breakfast. One of us will bring the six-year-old to the bus while the other takes the three-year-old to Montessori school.

We have a coffee machine in our house, and I could easily use it, but I enjoy the routine of mobile ordering Starbucks—a latte with soy milk—and going to pick it up on my way to work. I like walking through and saying ‘hi’ to the regulars. Coffee is my breakfast, and I savor it on my 15-minute commute into Park City. Sometimes I wish it was longer so I could listen to a podcast, but instead I usually catch up on the news by listening to CNN on Sirius XM before my workday starts at 8:00 a.m.”

“We meet up with a bunch of people with dogs and we have a great time.”

ANIL J. IDICULLA, D.M.D., founder of i-ORTHODONTICS in Denver, Colorado: “I wake up between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. and my Vizsla, Bishop, meets me in the hallway. He crawls into his bed downstairs while I make my morning coffee. I’ve recently become obsessed with Silk Oatmeal Cookie Oat Milk Coffee Creamer, and added to my coffee, it lasts me through lunch.

While I drink my coffee I respond to a couple of emails and text messages. Then I take Bishop for a three-mile off-leash walk in a park near us where we meet up with a bunch of people with dogs and we have a great time. When I get back home, I get a quick workout in, either at my home gym or I go for a run in Washington Park. I then hit the sauna for 45 minutes, shower, and dress for my day. I get to work at either 7:30 or 9:00 a.m. On my early days, I sometimes save my workout and sauna session for after work.”