This startup founder and CEO doesn’t mind waking up early. She sees it as an opportunity to stay ahead of the competition. 

By Amanda Kahlow (Founder & CEO, 6Sense)

For me, waking up early isn’t a struggle; it’s an opportunity to stay ahead of the competition. I work in San Francisco, arguably the most competitive city for technology companies. (San Francisco boasts about 17,179 people and 25 startups per square mile…that’s a lot of competition!) Inspired by my two brothers (Aaron and Thad) who are also early risers, I wake up at 4:30 am, which allows me to arrive at the office focused and with a clear vision for the day ahead. 

Here’s a sample of my daily morning routine:


Waking up early seems to be a pattern among successful CEOs. Business Insider pointed to 23 successful executives who wake up early. Some use the extra hours to provide mentorship (Former Oxygen Channel CEO Gerry Laybourne), go to the gym (Apple CEO Tim Cook), or email (Cisco Chief Technology & Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior).

Personally, I use my extra hours to read, walk my dog (Calvin), meditate and repeat my affirmations, which is something I do inspired by Dr. Wayne Dyer and Louise Haye. I am a big believer in “positive intention.” All things are possible. The first step is vision, then belief, and finally feeling as if “it” already “is” with positive emotion. My affirmations are the vision of who and what I want to be. After this routine, I’m at the office and feel prepared to conquer the world. 

But waking up early doesn’t necessarily equate to leaving early; most days I’m at the office until at least 8, going straight home afterwards to be early to bed.

Don’t worry, though. On weekends I “sleep in”… until 6 am.

This post originally appeared on Amanda’s blog, 6.5Sense.

Are you an early riser? How do you spend those few quiet hours in the morning?