I’ve pretty much always been an early riser, but I haven’t always been hyper vigilant about making sure it happens every day. The notion of waking up early isn’t just some new fangled idea conjured up by modern day motivational speakers.
Rising early to start the day off on the right foot dates back as early as Aristotle, who said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”
And Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
Then there is the old proverb, “The early bird gets the worm,” which simply suggests that those that take up early achieve success.
But why wake up early? Why not get some extra sleep and spend an hour to get ready and head into the office? Well, seeing as how you only need 6-7 hours of sleep a night anything over that is wasted time that you could be spending getting into a better frame of mind.
While many people stroll into the office frazzled and stressed from the whirlwind that took place getting ready and driving to the office. Those that woke up early have been going for several hours and are in a better frame of mind to be productive and get things done. I personally find my mornings chaotic when I fail to wake up early, and when the first thing I attend to is my children crying to be let out of bed.
How to make the most out of your mornings
Every successfull person has a morning routine, but they might all look different. For some a majority of the morning is spent working out, for others it might be meditation or other spiritual practices. But from the podcasts I frequently listen to I have found some common themes that almost every successful entrepreneur incorporates into his or her morning.
Having some sort of physical activity worked into your schedule at least 5 days a week is super important to keep the body in peak condition to perform at its best. Personally I will run for an hour or more in the mornings three times a week, and twice during the afternoons (afternoons because It allows me to have some time during the week I can decompress after a full days of work).
I used to shun the idea of meditation, thinking it was “new age” and way to hippie for me. But having finally practiced it, I feel it has really benefited me. The practice has helped me be more focused during times of prayer, and has been a huge help when it comes to falling back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night (I simply practice meditative breathing and fall back to sleep extremely fast).
For those that don’t meditate I have found those people usually spend time in some sort of other spiritual discipline or reading books that will encourage and motivate them to be a better entrepreneur.
Eating a healthy breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. I find it hard to believe that I spent most of my college days shunning this crucial meal. It’s no wonder I slept through nearly all my morning classes. A healthy breakfast puts fuel into the tank and gives you the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to focus on your days important tasks.
Getting started with a better morning
The following is a good exercise for people just getting started with waking up early as well as those that are already waking up early: Write out your idea of a perfect morning. Use this as a guide for how you want your mornings to look and how you want to spend that time. Note, that this is your “perfect morning” if time were not an issue.
Mine would look like this:
– Go on a run (return and shower)
– Spend time meditating and praying
– Read scripture or other material that will encourage and motivate me
– Spend a few minutes talking to my wife before waking up the kids
– Eat a healthy breakfast with my family before leaving for work
Even with waking up early, no morning will allow me to accomplish all of these. So I’m usually content to accomplish 2-3 of those every morning. If I do that, I consider the morning a huge win.
If you don’t think waking up early is your thing, then start small, but I encourage you to try it. Rather than going all out and waking up 1-2 hours earlier, start by waking up 30 minutes early, and use that time for one or two of the things on your perfect morning list.
I have found that waking up early consistently has been a windfall of benefits. I now start every morning off getting into a good frame of mind to start the work day, and by the time I’m heading into the office I already feel like I have accomplished something, which usually leads to a more productive work day. I have a more positive mindset, I’m less flustered with stressors throughout the day, and have an overall sense of well being that I believe is a direct result from being disciplined in the practice of waking up early and making good use of that time.
Already an early riser? Keep it up. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, now is good time to give it a try.