Most of us don't spring out of bed in the morning.

Most of us don't spring out of bed in the morning.

Productivity blogs drone on about how we should constantly take action. But it's hard to prise yourself off the mattress and spring into action straight away — especially if you habitually dither, as 20 per cent of us do, according to psychologist Joseph Ferrari.

So here's some personal insight into making a bright, productive start from three entrepreneurs who know how to maximise the morning.

First, meet healthcare guru Damien James.

Instead of stuffing around, between 8 and 9 in the morning James gets organised by addressing a self-devised list of questions about his podiatry business.

The questions, the master tactician explains, cover areas ranging from “vision” to marketing. His ritual thinking time helps him detect “invisible” dynamics: threats, weaknesses and opportunities he may fail to spot during busy hours, he says.

“I do this every morning because I believe what you can't see kills you.” Morning is the right time to run a review because then his brain is rejuvenated and free from distractions, he reckons.

James, who calls business an “intellectual sport”, even has a dedicated thinking chair and a “thinking pen”. The props promote discipline, he says.

“Like most people, my mind wanders all over the place. Having some physical reminders, like a thinking chair and pen, helps keep me focused. Call me weird — you wouldn't be the first person — but it seems to work for me,” James says.

The founder of personalised greetings card firm Yellow Postie, Matt Sandford, has several early-morning quirks. Most mornings, Sandford spends some solo “creative time” in an unusual place: the bath.

Sandford embeds there because the setting allows “minimal disturbance”. The peace enables him to revisit and develop ideas incubated at bedtime the day before, he says.

His inspirational bathroom routine started with a pen and clipboard. Then he graduated to a digital recorder. Now he has a full kit including a digital voice recorder and an iPad (with waterproof case), so he can take notes and browse the net.

He describes his favourite site, trendhunter.com, as “a fantastic way to keep ahead of global consumer trends”.

So he can stay abreast of literature linked to business and creativity, he also deploys a floating book holder. Now, he is immersed in The 4-Hour Workweek by productivity expert Tim Ferriss and Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People, by creativity gurus Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein.

"Many of my best and most creative concepts have come from this bathtub scenario,” Sandford says. One example: his recent Yellow Postie range of top-selling “smell-o-vision” cards, which were inspired by a particularly pungent shower gel. He then developed an odoriser pad fitted to each greeting card, enabling the buyer to “swab and send”.

Publicity agency owner Dora Nikols, of pricklypearpr.com, takes a drier approach to her first hour. Before even checking her email, Nikols focuses on completing her most important task.

She is influenced by self-help expert Brian Tracy's “eat that frog” rule.

Tracy's rule, which reflects his belief in action and discipline, states that you should do the key, toughest task as soon as you wake in the morning.

“I find that this is the best strategy, as I don't get side-tracked or distracted by anything else and I finish the most important high-yielding task first. I also never multi-task, which slows everything down — I just work on one thing quickly and until 100 per cent complete,” Nikols says.