What is the most common excuse for not doing something? Right, it’s a lack of time. All people complain being unable to accomplish everything, yet some people accomplish way more than the others. And it’s not only because of talents, connections or money they have. Very often what makes the difference is how they manage their time.
There are many time management techniques and systems (GTD being my favorite), but in this post I’d like to focus on one technique that many people underestimate. Yes, it’s not an easy one, it requires commitment and discipline, but the result is well worth it. I’m talking about waking up early.
Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t talking here about waking up at 4 a.m. But just one additional hour in the morning can make a huge difference in your life. Putting aside a whole big topic on
how to do it, let’s see what you are missing and what you could add to your life if you acquire this habit.
Before you start working on this habit, it’s very important for you to understand what you are going to spend your gained extra time on. If you have good enough goals and reasons to wake up early, they alone may be enough to keep you committed and motivated.
Here is 9 most practical reasons for you to wake up early and things to do.
1. Work on yourself
Early morning is an excellent time for personal development. How many times you complained you don't have time to read that self-improvement book, learn new language or try new idea? Get up early and work on it in the morning! Quiet morning time is a god sent gift which you should use for growing yourself - professionally, emotionally, phisically, mentally and spiritually. Use this time to "sharpen the saw".
2. Exercise your body
Do I really need to comment on this reason? Body is the only thing you have in your control in this universe. So exercise at home, go jogging or go to gym (they open early), practice yoga training... The earlier you wake up, the more calories you can burn over the day and the better you will feel.
3. Get ready for big stuff
Clean up small stuff to take it from your way to big things you plan to do during the day. Jump on that bunch of emails sitting in your inbox so it doesn't drag your attention later in the day. Do those tasks you keep procrastinating on, and put a plan in advance of what and when you are going to do on this day.
4. Increase your productivity
If you start early, you make your day longer, you can do much more in one day than you usually do. Got a lot of work pressing on you? Wake up earlier, jump to work, you may be done by the afternoon...
5. Use morning time for thinking
Jim Citrin wrote: "The quiet of the morning is often the time when your mind is at its clearest and most well-suited to solving important problems". Read his article Tapping the Power of Your Morning Routine to get more insight on how valuable morning time can be. In the same article Jim reports that 80% of executives he questioned wake up at 5:30am or earlier. I believe it's what made them executives, though I know few occasions when it worked in the opposite way.
6. Go with the nature
The nature wakes up every day when the sun goes up. So should you because your body is a part of the nature! Of course it depends at what time sun goes up in your area (in some areas, it doesn't go down for half a year :-), but you have got the idea... You can double the effect if you go out and spend some morning time with nature surrounding you.
Meditation induces well-being and emotional balance. If you start your day with meditation you will carry that balance through the day, improving your life. Morning is a better time for meditation because you are fresh, your brain is relaxed and mind is much sharper. The article at PickTheBrain is a good source of information on why you should meditate and how to get started. Check
this article from Peter Bregman on meditation, too.
8. Beat the traffic
If you spend too much time commuting to and from work every day, you can actually save time if you wake up and drive to work earlier. Even if you work fixed hours, by arriving to work earlier you can spend the extra time you've got on things listed above - reading, exercising, planning, and so on. It's free time for you, which otherwise you would waste in traffic jams.
9. Do something for others
We all love surprises and you can spend this morning time preparing surprises for other people or just doing something for them. Try to live this extra morning hour for others, not for yourself. Remember, what is given freely with the best of intentions will return in abundance to the giver.