Life hacks are provided in abundance in today’s clamorous digital world – a world riddled with audio books, TED talks, and self-proclaimed gurus dishing out information on every subject. It’s an era of constant feedback – and it’s all great. But few life hacks are as life-changing as waking up early. De facto, the moment you realize the significance of this simple principle, you will start to discover your true self – the one filled with untapped potential, waiting to be unleashed in a society that needs you.
But what’s really so special about waking up early?
Imagine if you have four extra hours to do whatever you wanted to do – what would you do with your time?
What if, you got to the office at 6 am instead of 9 am? What if, before you even sit down at your office, you’ve already finished your workout for the day?
What if, instead of scrambling to work – stressed and flustered sitting in the eternal hell that is rush hour – and reaching for the closest granola bar and banana chocolate chip muffin, you’ve already had a healthy sitting of quick oats and eggs to keep you alert and nourished for the day?
What if, before the sun even rises, you’ve launched that blog you’ve always wanted to launch?
Before you read further – I want you to eliminate any perception that this blog post is an op-ed.
Because early risers are successful – it’s a tangible statement and it’s backed by some of the most successful people on the planet throughout history. From Greek philosopher Aristotle and one of America's Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, to NBA great Michael Jordan and Apple CEO Tim Cook – and a plethora of successful people in between.
They all have one common trait…
They’re awake while you’re still dreaming and furiously hitting snooze. They’re half-way through their day while you’re in bed dreading yours.
They’re hustling, while you’re sleeping.
Feeling better about yourself physically induces confidence.
Confidence leads to productivity. Confidence – paired with humility – gives you the ability to bring out your best self.
We all know the feeling of reaching out for convenient food. When we don’t have time to cook, we tend to grab convenient food, which is typically devoid of nutrition. Set the tone of your diet by waking up early and planning your meals for the day. Consume your nutritional breakfast, and pack your lean proteins and vegetables. If you have your meals ready, you’re less likely to snack on empty calories throughout the day.
In conjunction, if you wake up early, you’re more likely to get your workout in for the day as opposed to missing it.
If you exercise in the mornings – you have the mental clarity of knowing your workout is done for the day without dreading going to the gym after a long and tiring workday, when all you want to do is go home. Ideally, you want to make sure you have a workout routine that you don’t dread – this is true, but it’s realistic to assume you’ll be tired enough to make an excuse not to exercise after work.
Besides, have you seen how busy the gym is at 5 pm? It’s pretty well impossible to do your routine.
Exercise in the mornings and have the gym to yourself without the added distraction of socializing in-between your sets.
As Branson puts it, waking up early can give you the opportunity to spend time with your family, but it can also free up your time to spend with them in the evenings too.
Let’s face it, planet Earth is basically just one giant 9-5. The world works strategically for eight hours of the day and nothing beyond it.
If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you’re working late while your family (who are probably in the 9-5 world themselves) gets home to enjoy the rest of the evening.
Assuming you restructure your day to get your evening tasks done earlier because you’ve woken up early gives you more time to spend with your family at the dinner table and beyond.
Got some extra rest for today’s event. Slept in ’til 4:30.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 9, 2015
Tim Cook is well known for waking up early, and he’s not lying when he states that 4:30 is considered sleeping in for him. The Apple CEO sets his alarm for 3:30 am daily, checks his e-mail, exercises, heads to Starbucks to plow through some more e-mail, and then heads to work.
Can you imagine how thrilling it is to wake up at 3:30 am and heading to work – completely eliminating the stress of rush hour from your life? You’ll get to work in record time, and your mental make-up for the day will be much calmer than it typically would be had you just sat through an hour or two of bumper to bumper on the freeway.
Having enough time to pray or meditate in the mornings before you leave the house can lead to making better decisions. Meditation helps you handle stress better, improves brain function, authenticates yourself, and reduces anxiety, among other things. Many successful people rely on meditation – everyone from Oprah Winfrey and Rupert Murdoch, to Bill Ford and Larry Brilliant. Steve Jobs also relied on Zen meditation.
Do you think Tim Cook could so easily wake up before 4 am if he didn’t love what he does? If you’re having troubling digesting the fact that life is really all about shaping your environment to the point where you’re excited to jump out of bed – it may mean that you don’t necessarily enjoy what you do.
And, that’s ok.
Because that should motivate you to wake up even earlier. It should motivate you to work on a side hustle so diligently every day at 5:30 am for a few months until you’ve built something on the side that’s become successful enough for you to leave your past life behind.
Meditation and physical activity are just but a couple of the examples given in this post of what you can do with your time when you wake up before the sun has risen. But that may not necessarily appeal to you. If it doesn’t, create your own goals. Maybe you’d like to start a blog, submit an article, create art, start a side hustle, or maybe you just want to bake cupcakes every morning – it really doesn’t matter. Do what makes you happy.
Make a list of all the things you love doing or have always wanted to do. Once you have this list, you’ll be itching for that 5 am alarm to go off so that you can start executing your tasks.
Waking up early will be conducive to your life in more ways than this article can ever depict. Try it, and say goodbye to Mr. Snooze forever.
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