You’re probably thinking “Oh hell no! Waking up early blows chunks!”
I’m writing to say that it really doesn’t.
Picture probably relevant.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been making myself wake up earlier with one purpose in mind: boosting my productivity. Now, this might seem counter-productive. After all, you probably feel like a zombie first thing in the morning. I always thought the same thing. But funny enough, I found that I have an easier time waking up at 6 AM than at 9 AM.
Getting yourself awake may be the hardest part. Here’s a few things I do:
- Stretches/light exercise
- Have a cup of coffee
- Eat breakfast… eggs are my go-to!
- Play a videogame to get my brain engaged
- Listen to some music to hype me up
- Think positive things
- Picture what I am going to accomplish that day
But in order to wake up early, it’s important to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. I only sleep for about 6-7 hours a night, but I go through some steps to ensure that I get a good night’s rest.
- Asleep by midnight
- No screens 20-30 minutes before bed (so I read a book instead)
- Cutting caffeine in the evening
These are a few simple things, but they work. When it comes time for me to wake up, I wake up a lot more refreshed.
I’m not gonna lie and say this new sleep schedule went perfectly well for me at first. I still have trouble getting to bed early sometimes (hence allowing myself to go to bed at midnight), so I sometimes find myself needing a nap during the day. But generally, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I would gladly take the opportunity to get all my work done by 11am/noon in exchange for needing a short nap in the afternoon.
I used to think I was more productive later at night, but after getting up early and getting my work done first thing in the morning, I can safely say that I was totally wrong. In fact, when I used to wake up at 9am, my day would go more like this:
- 9am- Wake up, lay around in bed, goof off
- 11ish- Eat breakfast, goof around
- 12ish- Finally start to do work but get distracted by messages or Twitter or something else
- 1ish- Take a break from doing nothing, eat lunch
- 2ish- Maybe get some work done but probably not
- 3ish- Remember errands I had to run, get completely derailed
- 6ish- Eat dinner
- 7ish- Finally get to work
- 10ish- Cry
- Midnight- Better get that work done!
- 2am- Either still working or playing games
- 4am- “Why the hell am I still awake?”
But now, I get everything done that I need to get done by 11am/12 noon. That leaves the rest of my day to run errands, read, research, practice music, play Smash, go out… whatever I want to do. Most of all, I don’t feel rushed or hurried during my day anymore, which is definitely something I’ve felt for a very long time. I feel like I can do so much more just by giving myself a few hours early in the morning.
With this new sleep/wake up schedule, I feel like I am disciplining myself a lot more. In turn, I feel like shifting my work hours to the early morning has made it easier for me to get my work started. My new wake-up schedule coupled with use of the Pomodoro technique has been amazing (something I’ll be going into more detail about in a future post). I’m waking up early specifically to work, so I get work done in a disciplined way. It’s great.
So in short, try getting up earlier if you want to be more productive. In fact, many successful people attribute waking up early as the key to their success. Now this article I just linked mentions 4am as that golden hour to wake up. I’m not quite there yet… but I can say it feels good to be so productive thanks to waking up early. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll do the same.
As always, feel free to discuss this post with me on Twitter!