I'm the CEO of Gymshark. Here's what my morning routine is like, including the habits I follow to the minute to feel grounded for the day ahead.
- Ben Francis founded Gymshark in 2012 and grew it into a billion-dollar activewear company.
- He wakes up every morning before 6 a.m. and makes eggs or bacon for breakfast every day.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Ben Francis, the CEO and founder of activewear brand Gymshark. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I almost always start my mornings between 5:30 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. It's my sweet spot when I've got the most energy, which my wife isn't particularly happy about. I go to bed early to get up early as I want at least eight hours of sleep.
The first thing I do when I wake up is go downstairs and make breakfast. I find having a repetitive morning routine really grounding – wake up, make eggs and bacon, be with the dogs. I like to simplify my mornings by doing the same thing to the minute every day.
I try not to check my phone until after I've eaten breakfast
The first 30 minutes of my morning are fairly relaxed, which is pretty important to me. I will then get dressed and go into the office.
I like to be in the office five days a week. We live in the middle of nowhere so it takes me around 45 minutes to drive into work without traffic. Sometimes you can get stuck behind a tractor or a farmer moving their sheep and that will slow my morning down a bit.
In the car, I'll listen to music or a podcast. Sometimes I take early calls if they are urgent, but not many people are up at that time.
I'm often the first one in the office
Once I get into Gymshark HQ, which is usually around 7:30 a.m, I'll try and sit in the social area where there are couches and a cafe. I like checking Slack and my emails out where I can say hello to people as they come into the office.
Generally I wake up to lots of emails and messages because our US team will be working throughout the night. I clear as many messages – emails, texts, and Slacks – and check revenue and traffic numbers to see how we performed the day before.
I try to start the day with as clean a slate as possible because once I've debriefed with my executive assistant Zowie, I'm on a set of train tracks for the day.
Every Monday at around 8 a.m. I'll have a meeting with her. She'll lay out our top three objectives I need to achieve for the week, and then break them down daily. Each day she prepares a briefing document for me with any important meetings and key things I can't leave the office without doing.
These non-negotiables vary, but they can be anything from preparing for a board meeting, or an event, or looking at a particular product.
My entire life is pretty much on Notion
It's where I keep my daily briefings – I also have tabs for each leadership team, all my 1:1s, and any special projects.
Notion is my favorite productivity tool because it's much more flexible than other apps. It reminds me more of a content-management system like WordPress and I can build out my own templates. I've come from an app development background so I prefer this approach to task tracking.
My day is then on a train track of meetings and completing tasks. I'll spend the rest of the day in a meeting room I've commandeered in our headquarters as my office.
Having consistent grounding points like my morning routine, a hard break for lunch around 12:30 p.m., and the gym at 6:30 p.m., keeps me on track and motivated throughout the day.
These checkpoints give me a base level of consistency so I can handle the areas in between that are dramatically different on a daily basis.
Now, I am focusing on doing less, better
We talk a lot about that as a mission for the business. But it's become more of a personal goal for me because I'm expecting twins with my wife.
My co-worker once told me that that I remind him of a cocker spaniel – I've always tried to do everything and be everywhere at once.
I have been really trying to hone in on doing my best work as efficiently as possible. Running a business is always going to feel chaotic, but having these areas of stability really make a difference for me.
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