Wake up early…
If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard this mantra for years. “Wake up early and get a start on your day before everyone else.” “You’ll get more accomplished and be further ahead of everyone”. There are slight variations, but the basic premise is the same; get up early, get more done.
Heard it myself for years, yet never put much credence to it. I considered myself more of an evening person. Not necessarily a ‘night owl’, but felt I got more accomplished in the afternoons than I would in the early morning.
After years of hearing it and reading it from experts that I respected and frankly had accomplished a lot more than me, I thought ‘Ok, I’ll give it a try.’ I started out setting my alarm for 5:30am. It wasn’t easy the first few days, but I got up and began my day. Slowly over the next couple of weeks, I pushed the start of my day to 4:45am. I also established a routine of getting up, and out the door for a brisk, 30-minute early morning walk first thing, followed by 10 minutes of quiet meditation.
I made sure to make this a routine whether I was home or traveling for work.
I am a convert!
I won’t say that I don’t occasionally sleep in, or sometimes have to push myself to get up early. But if I don’t think about and just get up when the alarm sounds in the morning, my day just seems to be so much more productive.
One of the easiest things I can do to make certain that I get up is prepare the night before. It’s quite simple, on my night stand I put out my walking clothes for the next morning, downstairs (If I’m home) I know where my sneakers, headphones, ‘hoodie’, hat and gloves are.
Let me digress for a moment, on the walk, I usually listen to either a Podcast or audio book from audible.com (Love audible by the way!)
Back to my evening preparation.
If I’m listening to an audiobook, there’s nothing that I need to do as I just fire up Audible as I’m walking out the door. If I’m not in the middle of a book, I will scroll through my podcasts and pick one for the walk.
This saves me having to think about anything and delaying the process of getting me out the door and started on my day.
I wake up, get dressed, grab my gear, set my stop watch, and I’m out. In most cases, I’m out the door before 5:00am and walking. I prefer walking this early in the morning, I know there are some who will go for a run, or others who will get to the gym, but for me walking is what I have found to work.
If you are going to do this, and I wholeheartedly think you should, find what works for you.
4:45am is early, and in order to make sure I can get up that early and still get a decent night’s sleep, I like to get to bed about 9:30pm, this gives me approximately 6.5 hours of sleep and I can function well with that.
I am very fortunate in that I work from home as a ‘teleworker’, at least most day. I do go into the office once or twice a week. This allows me an enormous amount of flexibility in my job. So, one thing that I have found that helps me tremendously with this, is an afternoon nap! J I cannot nap every day and sometimes maybe only 1 or 2 times a week, however they are a huge help! Obviously, if I’m on the road on a business trip, and afternoon nap is out of the question.
For me, a nap is no more than 25 minutes…
In the afternoon, if my workload allows it, I will lay down, either on the couch, or my office floor (I try to avoid my bed) and set my stop watch for 25 minutes. Close my eyes and try to nap. If I can get a few minutes of sleep, great, if not, no worries it’s a comfortable rest and mental rejuvenation.
How many times do you say to yourself, “I wish I had time to …”?
Everyone’s situation is going to vary, but you can make the “time to…” by waking up early. Think about what you could accomplish with an extra 60 – 90 minutes every day!
I’m writing this blog post while everyone else is asleep, the sky is dark out and I’ve already walked for 30 minutes and practiced my morning meditation for 10 minutes. I’m no superman, just trying to squeeze as much as I can out of a day.
Is there a project or side hustle that you want to get started on? An on-line class that you want to take? A blog/vlog that you want to start?
Maybe you want to get in a little better shape? A brisk walk, or for you, run/workout, early in the morning will pay huge dividends.
Think about your goals and your progress towards them. (You do have your goals written down, right?)
Could you achieve them sooner with an extra hour or more a day, with intense focus on them, and no distractions? I would wager that yes, you could.
Waking up early, getting a head start on your day is one of the easiest ways to drive forward with your goal attainment.
Take some time and think about what you could do with an extra 60 minutes a day. Make a plan and prepare.
Perhaps 4:45 is too early for you. I don’t know when your normal wake up time is but set your alarm for 1 hour earlier to start.
When you’re doing this, don’t just wake up and ‘see what you can get done’. Have a plan for that extra hour.
As you do this for a couple of weeks, see if you can push your alarm a little earlier, say 15 – 30 minutes? Don’t make huge jumps right away if this is new to you, but large progress is made in small, consistent changes.
This idea of walking up early is still fairly new to me, I’ve been doing it less than 1 year now, but I am loving it! Don’t see myself changing back anytime soon.
This habit has proven exceptionally fantastic while traveling for business. Getting up early, and getting my walk or exercise before I start the day, allows me to devote 100% of my energy and attention to the meeting/s I will be having throughout the day.
Knowing that if I am not able to get an evening workout in, has in the past, actually distracted me during customer/partner meetings. This is not good from a professional standpoint and something I needed to get a handle on.
Waking up early and getting my workout completed, either at home or while traveling for business has proven to be an exceptional option for me.
Give it a try for a few months and see how it works for you and what you are able to accomplish