- Get a head start
When you wake up at 5am, you start your day earlier than 99.9% of the world ` hence giving you a head start in your day. This creates a feel-good factor, which, while psychological, creates a host of positive effects. After all, a good start is half the battle won. It will motivate you to stay ahead so you can maintain or even widen the lead.
For example, my modus operandi when I wake up early is to work on the high-impact tasks right away, as opposed to the small, easy but unimportant tasks. I will also think and work effectively, and strive to end my day earlier so that I can have an early sleep, wake up early the next day, and continue my `head start.` On the other hand, when I wake up late, I usually prioritize the urgent but not-so-important tasks. Because I`ve woken up late, I will also have the mindset that I need to spend more time on work to make up for lost time, hence working till wee hours in the morning. My behavior throughout the day can be best described as `reactive` as I`m thinking about how to catch up on my tasks (which I`m behind time on since I woke up late) and how to meet my immediate deadlines.
Working till the wee hours of the morning then inadvertently causes me to sleep late and wake up late the next day. This cycle of waking up late and sleeping late will then continue the next day, creating a long-term negative pattern where I work late into the night, sacrifice my bedtime, and wake up late the next day. Needless to say, such a sleeping pattern when stretched over the long run isn`t good for my health.
- Increased productivity
My productivity soars on days where I wake up early. It`s a benefit that comes from getting a head start (see Reason #1). The head start creates a motivation to continue your lead ahead, resulting in (a) more things getting completed (b) things getting completed faster. This applies even if I`m awake for the same number of hours during days I wake up early and days I don`t. If I were to wake up late, I typically spend more time getting the same stuff done. This becomes a lot more apparent when you have your to-do lists laid out for the day. It`s something you have to try to experience for yourself to know what I`m talking about.
Ever woken up late before and have to make a mad rush out of the house for your appointments` Being on time is important to create a good impression and as a form of respect to the other party. In cases like work, being timely is essential. Rather than rush around every morning which can be a tiring activity, waking up early gives you more time to prepare and lets you be timely.
Putting a cap on your sleeping and waking time also gives structure to your days and makes you more sensitive of the how you spend your time. This goes a long way in improving your timeliness.
Waking up early is about self-mastery. As I mentioned above, there were many reasons which would thwart my waking early plans in the past. Reasons such as working late, being out late, delaying my exercise routine till late at night, being on the phone` these reasons were a function of the lack of mastery I was having over myself. If I wanted to wake up early, I had to learn to take a hold over those activities, which would mean being more organized and disciplined.
Rather than being a master of your activities, you are letting your activities run over you. Looking into it one level deeper, the reason why you let your activities run over you is because you lack self-mastery. Being disciplined, organized, on top of your tasks, having clear stewardship ` these are all elements of strong self-mastery.
- Peace and quiet
The morning tranquility is indescribable. This tranquility comes about on two levels. First, there`s the physical quietness. You are alone with no disturbances.No smses or phone calls either to take away your attention.
The same principle applies here. In the early hours of the morning when everyone is still at rest, you are free from the chatter in their minds. Not only that, because sleeping processes mental clutter, the chatter in your own mind is also lesser when you wake up. While physical peace is something you get by sleeping late, the mental peace only comes from waking up early.
How to Become an Early Riser
- Don`t make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
- Put your alarm clock far from you bed. If it`s right next to your bed, you`ll shut it off or hit snooze. Never hit snooze. If it`s far from your bed, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off. By then, you`re up. Now you just have to stay up.
- Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm. Don`t allow yourself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force yourself to go out of the room.
- Do not rationalize. If you allow your brain to talk you out of getting up early, you`ll never do it. Don`t make getting back in bed an option.
- Have a good reason. Set something to do early in the morning that`s important. This reason will motivate you to get up.
- Make waking up early a reward. Yes, it might seem at first that you`re forcing yourself to do something hard, but if you make it pleasurable, soon you will look forward to waking up early. Find something that`s pleasurable for you, and allow yourself to do it as part of your morning routine.
- Don`t wake up early and waste that extra time. Get a jump start on your day.