Up and At 'Em!
Have you ever heard the saying "There aren't enough hours in a day"? I used to use this phrase often. I found myself continuously racing the clock, attempting to get those two or three personal things checked off of my to-do list. After surrounding myself by a few extremely productive and successful mentors, I was reminded that we all have the same 24 hours in a day–it's using those hours wisely that makes all the difference.
What small change could I make in order to use my hours more wisely? I decided to practice waking up a little earlier in order to create more time and space to get things completed throughout my day. For me, 4:30AM has been that "sweet spot". Although, it is still something that I am working on staying consistent with, starting my day at this time has given me the mental clarity, focus and extra time needed to accomplish all my daily tasks. This, small, incremental change can be beneficial to all of us. Here are some tips on waking up earlier...
Ease into it-
Treating sleep as a transcendence rather than something that just happens changes the entire experience. I have found that reading before bed allows me to ease into it. Start yourself off by going to bed just 10-15 minutes earlier than you usually would. This should transfer into waking up 10-15 minutes earlier as well. Quite similar to altering your nutritional habits, these incremental, habitual changes tend to work the best. While the process can be slightly slower than going all out, the likelihood of this new practice sticking is much higher when taken with small steps.
Don't be predictable-
You and I both know that the closer the alarm clock is to your bed, the easier it is for you to hit snooze and fall right back to sleep. Do yourself a favor and place the alarm clock across the room. This way, you force yourself to get out of bed to turn the alarm off. Once you've gotten up, walked over and done that just keep on walking right out of the room. I like to go straight into the kitchen and grab a nice, tall glass of water to rehydrate my body! Find what pulls you away from climbing back into your bed.
Breathe it in-
Pause and notice how quiet the world is. This time helps lay a foundation of focus and cognition that can be lost if we are racing to get to work in the morning (which is, by the way, where the need of caffeine in the morning tends to come in). Take a moment to enjoy the moment of peace with yourself, while getting through your morning routine, before the rest of the world wakes up.
Remember, being an early riser puts you in a privileged position. It may not seem like it at the time, but this gives you a significant advantage over many people who choose that instant gratification. Maintaining this mindset will help you realize how precious this extra time is and provide you with a delayed, yet more rewarding gratification.
"I am the product of my circumstances. I am the product of my decisions" -Stephen Covey