Waking up early is hard. It’s not easy to make yourself get out of bed when you know that you have more time to rest. But you know what? You should do it.
You’ll make more money and have a happier life. What’s not to like?
Some of the most successful people wake up early:
Ben Franklin woke up every day at 5 am. The quote “Early to bed early and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” comes from him. In fact, there’s even research that backs this quote up.
- Tim Cook the CEO of Apple wakes up at 3:45 AM.
- The Rock wakes up at 4 AM every day to work out
- Richard Branson wakes up at 5:45 AM.
- Oprah Winfrey wakes up between 6:02 AM and 6:20 AM.
Dr. Christoph Randler found that people who woke up early were more likely to get better grades and be more proactive. His research also found that a higher percentage of morning people agreed with the statements, “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.”
So how does waking up early lead to more money and more satisfaction? Well, it’s pretty easy to understand if you think about it.
People who wake up early find more time to focus on something that’s important to them. Some of those people go into work early or use the morning to work on a side hustle project. For others, it may be the only time they have to get to the gym, go for a run, or meditate.
What all of these people have in common is that they are able to start every day doing something that they want to do. They start off the day investing in themselves.
Once they’re on the way to work, or taking the kids to school, or traveling, they are on someone else’s time.
Life’s time chips away at your personal time.
Let’s talk about how to have a productive morning routine.
How to Overcome the Alarm Clock
Think of waking up earlier as quitting a habit and starting another one at the same time. Your old habit is waking up at one time and your new habit is waking up at a new time. Habits are hard to break and creating a new habit takes time, but these tips will help you make the change.
Don’t Let the Alarm Make a Coward of You
This is the battle. Every day, it comes down to this. How you react to the alarm going off will determine if you can get yourself out of bed and on your way to a productive morning. Don’t dread the alarm going off. Change your mindset. Be relieved the alarm is going off. I know it sounds ridiculous to say. But you know what? This is what separates you from everyone who lies in bed. You don’t have to wake up. You get to wake up. Try it.
Ease Into it Slowly
If you decide that tomorrow you want to wake up 2 hours earlier than usual, you’re going to have a big shock in the morning when the alarm goes off.
Instead, try setting your alarm 15 or 30 minutes earlier. Then work backward from there. It won’t seem so daunting if you’re doing it incrementally.
A benefit to doing it this way is that you may find that you don’t need those two hours after all. Maybe you just need 90 minutes. When you’re starting plan something enjoyable for each new increment. Maybe your first 15 minutes is to sip a coffee or tea while you read a book. Find something that will make waking up worth it.
Put the Alarm Across the Room
You have to get out of bed to turn it off. There’s no rolling over to hit the snooze and then falling back to sleep.
You Snooze, You Lose
Whatever you do, don’t snooze. To stick with the battle analogy, the snooze is a retreat. Is the battle lost? Of course not, but it’s not looking good either.
Tips for a Productive Morning
Edison Research did a study and found that nearly half of all Americans ( 49%) wake up between 6 and 7:30 AM. Only 8% of the country wakes up at 5 AM. So if you wake up at 5 or 5:30 in the morning, you’ve got somewhere between 30 minutes and 2.5 hours on nearly half the country.
The last thing you want to do if you wake up early is waste a morning.
So let’s talk about tips to help you have a productive morning routine.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for your overall health and well-being. And if you want to start getting up earlier than usual you need to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of sleep. That means going to bed earlier. The last thing you want when you wake up in the morning is to be in a fog because you’re tired. Don’t let a late night ruin a productive morning.
To Do the Night Before
A big key to a productive morning is preparing the night before to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. So think about setting out your gym clothes the night before, packing your lunch so you can grab and go, or showering before bed. It doesn’t take much pre-planning to ensure you have a good morning. Take 10 or 15 minutes before you turn in to make sure your day starts off on the right foot.
If you want to be productive, get up and change clothes. Get out of your pajamas and put some clothes on. Whether you are taking your dog for a walk or going to the gym or getting some work done at the computer, the act of changing your clothes leaves the night behind and starts your day.
Water makes up about 55% to 60% of our body composition. It’s vital to essential body functions like digestion, temperature regulation, and brain function. So start the day with a glass or two of water.
Angela Lemond of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that “Our bodies are pretty dry when we wake up in the morning,” she said. “Drinking a couple of glasses of water to allow the body to rehydrate allows for better digestion when you do eat. It also helps with moving the lower bowels for regularity in the mornings.
“If you are not properly hydrated, body processes do not work as efficiently.”
Get up and Get Moving
The farther you get away from your bed, the better. Besides that, the point of waking up early is to accomplish something, so don’t dawdle. Get to it.
No Days Off
To be successful in this endeavor you need to make it a habit. It’s hard to do that when you’re waking up at 4:30 during the week and sleeping in on the weekends.
Traditional mythology states that it takes 21 days to create a habit. However, more recent studies have shown that, depending on the type of habit you are trying to create, it can take much longer.
Psychologist Jeremy Dean in his book Making Habits, Breaking Habits, found that each person is different and for some, it can take up to 66 days to create a habit.
You’re going to have a really hard time creating a habit by taking 2 days off a week.
Eat the Frog
Mark Twain said that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing worse is probably going to happen to you for the rest of your day.
Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, and author, believes the key to having a productive day is to get the most important thing (or frog) out of the way first.
What do you do when you have more than one frog that you need to eat?
Choose the one you are dreading the most first. Once you get that one out of the way, you’ll be filled with relief and satisfaction and confidence. This will help buoy you through the rest of the day.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Jocko Willink is a former Navy Seal turned author, consultant, and podcaster, who wakes up early every morning.
4:30 early. If not earlier.
UNMITIGATED DAILY DISCIPLINE IN ALL THINGS. pic.twitter.com/SZfIDcxynB— Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) November 14, 2018
He does this because he noticed that when he was a Navy Seal, the best performing Seals were the ones that woke up earliest.
So what does this have to do with being accountable?:
Jocko tweets out his wristwatch with a time and date to his followers.
Jocko believes in a concept called “Extreme Ownership.” Extreme Ownership means taking responsibility for everything in your life or business. A leader must lead by example and realize when things go wrong in their orbit, the buck stops with them. A person must be accountable to themselves and others.
Find someone who has the same goals to wake up early and work out a system with them to hold each other accountable.
Get Your Blood Flowing
If your plan is to get to the gym or go for a run you already recognize the importance of getting your blood flowing. However, if the gym isn’t in the cards for you, it’s still important to get moving.
Consider taking a few minutes to stretch or drop down and do some pushups and sit-ups; or better yet, a combination of both.
Spend Time in Thought
Why are you waking up early? This is important. Waking up early isn’t easy, so the reason needs to be important. Do you want to get to work early? Do you want to exercise? Maybe you need to make time to work on your side hustle, or just want to get some private time to yourself. Whatever it is, if it’s important to you, make it happen.
Think about what you’re grateful for. Doing this grounds you. This is something that you should do every day anyway. it doesn’t have to be in the morning, but since you’re going to be up…
Think about a quote or saying that you like. This can serve as the kick in the butt you need to get moving.
Today I will do what others don’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.
It’s supposed to be hard…
Fortune favors the bold.
Don’t Check your Phone
Your phone is a time sink. Don’t look at it. You’re up early for a reason and that reason most likely isn’t to waste time messing around on your phone. Leave it on the charger.
Make the Bed
Admiral William H. McRaven is the man credited with creating and overseeing the special ops raid that leads to the death of Osama bin Laden. He also believes that you should start each day by making your bed.
Why does that matter?
Admiral McRaven believes that making your bed is the first task of the day. And if you accomplish this little task you get a small sense of pride. And little things matter. It also makes it easier to accomplish other tasks during the day. And if you’ve had a tough day you come home to a freshly made bed.
“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
Count Your Wins
Life is hard. Bad days can be expected or pop up out of the blue. You’ll never know if today is going to be a good day or a bad day. So instead of being beaten down after a long day, it’s important to count your wins.
Simply achieving something, no matter how small, is a win. Don’t brush off wins. Be proud of them. Check the win column and then move along.
Getting up early is hard. You know it. Everyone knows it. But if you do get up early, that’s a win. If you get to the gym or get work stuff done while the world sleeps, that’s another win. Or maybe you just like watching the sun come up with a cup of coffee in the morning. Well, that’s definitely a win. Feel good about it.
Don’t put yourself in a position to look back at the day and only remember the losses. Losses are heavy and weigh you down. They can stick with you. It’s important to keep the wins with you too.
Before deciding that you want to start waking up earlier every day, think about why you’re doing it and whether it’s worth it to you. If that answer is yes, then plan ahead the night before to set yourself up for success.
Take baby steps to ease into it, but once this becomes a habit, use that time by accomplishing something, whatever that something might be.
Over time you might find that by having a productive morning routine your life has become more enjoyable and maybe you’re even making more money.