Improve Your Life #8: Wake Up Early
I love being awake and doing interesting stuff. It’s 3AM and I’m still thinking just another 30 minutes. I have spent most of my life this way. I thought I was a night owl type of guy. This means that most of my life I woke to an alarm clock or around noon.
Then in my early 30’s, I got the idea of becoming an early riser and started to experiment with it. I turned out that it pretty easy to wake up early. The key is in getting to bed early. In my case it seems that if I get anything between 6 to 8 hours of sleep I will wake up without the need of an alarm clock.
I really believed that I can’t go to sleep early and even if I do I won’t wake up early. Well, as it turns out I was wrong. It takes some time for me to adjust the cycle of waking up and going to bed. But once adjusted I go to bed on my chosen time and wake up 6 to 8 hours later.
For me early rising means getting out of bed before 6AM. This corresponds to getting to bed 11PM at the latest. This is the main problem for me with early rising. I do not feel physically or mentally tired by the time I should go to bed. However, I have come to understand that feeling does not reflect my the actual state. My productivity is down, my thought processes are slow and it would be a really good idea to go to bed.
Whatever the case, make yourself to go to bed early. The benefits are worth it! When you get up around 5AM you have several hours of lead time on regular people. You can use that time to do things that matter daily exercise, read, meditate, work. And you can do all that free of distractions. This basically doubles your productivity.
It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. ~~Aristotle
Exercise. Go for a run or walk, do some bodyweight exercises. Early morning is a great time for daily exercise as your energy is close to peak level.
Read. No phone calls, no people, no nothing. Just you and the text you want to absorb. The other day I was trying to read a NYT article while my girlfriend was watching Youtube, TV was on and two kids were seemingly attempting to murder each other upstairs. I read and re-read the article for 40 minutes before I gave up. Get up early and you will devour that material with laser-like focus. (You can replace the reading with online courses).
Meditate. Daily meditation doesn’t have to take more than 5 to 10 minutes to strengthen your willpower and mental capabilities. There’s no better time for meditation than in early morning after you have had some exercise.
Work. When you are working in an environment where there are other people around you will probably not get more than 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to concentrate on that important task.
Gloria Mark conducted a study on office workers, which revealed that “each employee spent only 11 minutes on any given project before being interrupted” and that it took, “on average, 25 minutes to return” to their initial task. ~~Wikipedia
Getting to work in the early morning will seem like magic. You will get stuff done with unbelievable speed as you have no interruptions and are at your peak performance. By the time others start to arrive, you are done.
Rising early is not a habit, this is a lifestyle.
Now make a decision to go to bed at 11PM today and the next few days. Your mind will be blown!