I was recently listening to the audiobook What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam. It’s extremely short, but very powerful and I highly recommend it. One of the habits she highlights is waking up early and completing the tasks that are top priority for the day. I wasn’t surprised. If you have read any articles on the habits of most successful people, you know as well as I do that getting up early always makes the list.
My morning routine includes waking up at 5:40am and heading to the gym to get a great workout. There is something so gratifying about accomplishing a workout and starting my day while many people are still dreaming. By the time I get home, my mind is clear and focused, I feel amazing, and I could not be more ready for an awesome day!
When my friends discover my daily routine, many of them say they wish they could do the same, but unfortunately they are not a morning person. I laugh because I wasn’t either. I didn’t love getting out of my nice comfy bed before the sun was out. And there are still days I wake up and staying in bed sounds really nice.
However, at this point I am way too addicted to being productive in the morning and getting things done. So I guess you can say I’m officially a morning person…by choice.
And for those of you who are interested in waking up earlier to get more out of your day, I wanted to share just a few tips to help you break the cycle of hitting the snooze button.
1. Focus on the Outcome
I usually wake up before my alarm goes off. But on the mornings where that is not the case, when I hear that music, I wish I could turn back time. I’m not going to lie, I do hit the snooze button every now and then. But for the most part I get out of bed immediately so I don’t have time to talk myself into staying there a few more minutes.
Instead of focusing on how tired you feel or how cozy your bed is, think about how you will feel after you accomplish whatever it is you want that day. For me, I think about the feeling I get when I’m walking out of the gym having already gotten a great kickstart to my day.
2. Create a Priority List
Have you ever asked yourself, “Where has the day gone?”, at the end of a day? It’s happened to all of us. Our goal is to be highly productive, but we start checking our emails, taking phone calls, maybe even grabbing lunch with a friend or coworker. And before you know it, it’s 6:00pm and you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. We choose how we spend every day. And without a rock solid priority list, it is too easy to allow our day to get away from us.
And a priority list is different than a to-do list. We tend to fill our to do lists with more things than one can possibly get done in a day. And when we don’t complete all of our tasks, we just feel bad about ourselves. Set yourself up for success by creating a list of no more than 3 tasks you want to accomplish that day.
Creating this list helps you stay extremely focused. It’s a great motivator for waking up early because you know exactly what needs to get done, and let’s be honest, it’s more likely you’ll actually get to those tasks in the morning before all of the craziness of your day begins. My old business partner has two sons. As you can imagine, her house is quite hectic in the morning. In order to get the most important things done first, she wakes up before everyone in her house, including her husband. This routine allows her to get the most important things done in her day before all of the interruptions start happening.
Having a priority list is also important so you don’t end up wasting your precious morning time. Waking up early simply to check your email and start getting lost on Facebook and Instagram, serves no purpose. In fact, many successful people share the advice of not checking your email at all in the morning. Check off one or two tasks from your priority list before diving into your emails and jumping on social media.
3. Give it a Month
If you are a not yet a morning person, getting up at 5:00am or 5:30am won’t be easy. But if you want to see real significant changes in your life and your productivity, make the commitment to start waking up earlier. Understand that at first it may be a little bit rough, but be committed and give it some time. Most of us have heard it takes 21 days to break a habit. Well, there is lot of other research that indicates it takes much longer than that. It also depends on the person and the habit. But I would say waking up early every day for an entire month, should at least put you on track to start this new lifestyle. After thirty days, you should be seeing and feeling the benefits which should be inspiration enough to keep it going.
Waking up early and getting things doesn’t only feel amazing, but it’s also great for business. Whether you work for yourself or not, have a solid priority list and starting to get things done will help you become more productive overall. When I used to work for the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, I loved getting into the office before anyone else. It was quiet and peaceful. And I definitely got more done in those couple of hours than I did when my team starting popping in and out of my office.
What about you? Are you a morning person? What advice do you have to give those who want to get more out of their day? And if you’re not yet a morning person, what are you going to do starting today to get your day started earlier?