Yes, Get Up!
That’s what I’m saying, get up earlier and see what happens. I did and here’s my story.
I have spent the majority of my life telling people that I’m a “Night Owl”. Talking about how I’m not a morning person. Complaining about how much I don’t like getting up any earlier than I need to. What a bunch of garbage and self-defeating self-instruction that was.
When I worked in an office I’d get up just barely in time to arrive “on time”, no earlier. This meant preparing for my day when it should already have been in progress. This resulted in most of my days being a reactionary set of tasks which only raised my blood pressure and that of everyone around me.
OH, and those people who were the “early risers”, they sure irritated me! They would be at work early because they got up early. They beat the traffic and sat there happily sipping coffee and smiling that smile only a prepared and ready person smiles. I hated that!
But wait, it gets worse.
I started working from home. Now I could almost justify staying up late and sleeping late. Most of my work happened via email and the telephone. I could just get up, walk to my desk and start dialing. It seemed good too! I felt like I was beating the system, whatever that is. Just look at everyone else who has to get up, drive, be someplace, etc. Me? I could do whatever I wanted as long as I got the job done, or at least that’s what I thought.
But something wasn’t right.
Sometimes I’d need to get up early for an appointment or something. When I did, I felt really good the rest of the day. I got so much more done, I felt relaxed and yet in charge of my day. In fact, when I’d over-sleep I’d feel just the opposite. I’d feel like I’d wasted my day and I’d feel guilty about it.
So was I really a night owl or not?
I decided to try something out. I decided that for an entire month I’d get up at 5:30AM and see how my life changes. I’d see if the early bird was smarter than the night-owl. What do you think I found?
You guessed it, things began to improve. My attitude, my performance, my focus, everything!
It wasn’t easy at first. No it wasn’t. I had programmed myself really well and it was a hard pattern to break. I knew some of the tricks I’d use to avoid getting up this early, I knew also that it would mean failure if I didn’t do it. I had to trick myself into getting up and staying up. Here are two techniques which worked for me. First, I put the alarm clock across the room so I couldn’t hit Snooze. Second, I made my bed the moment my feet hit the ground.
Making my bed each and every morning has brought its own set of benefits, but that’s for another day.
I’ve adopted this new habit so deeply that I even get up early on the weekends. Believe me, the weekend seems much longer and more enjoyable when you simply get up earlier.
So what did I give up in order to make this change in my life? I gave up watching late-night TV. I gave up going out with friend during the work week. Actually I didn’t have to give up much more than that.
What I gained is so much more valuable and precious to me. I see the sun rise. I beat the traffic to work. I get to organize and plan my day before the telephone starts ringing. I get more done by 9am than I used to get done by noon.
And one more thing. I have that smile I used to hate seeing on the early-risers because now, I’m one of them.