Are you one of those persons who hit the snooze button 2 or 3 times before you manage to get out of bed? Do you get into a deep sleep around 5 or 6 am and get up about midday?
That was me a few years back. I loved lying in bed for as long as I could. When I got married things changed, family and work responsibilities re-organised my routine, back then, I always welcome the weekends to enjoy that extra time in bed.
I understand you if you are a night owl, and if that makes you happy, it is fantastic! However, for me, changing from being a night owl to an early riser has been the best thing I have done.
It was, of course, not an easy job to become a morning person. But it got a lot easier when I had something to do that gave me joy and satisfaction.
What are the benefits of Getting Up Early?
The Harvest Business Review reported that Biologist Christoph Randler surveyed 367 university students, asking what time of day they were most energetic and how willing and able they were to take action to change a situation to their advantage.
A higher percentage of the morning people agreed with statements that indicate proactivity, such as “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.”
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin
Scientists at Aachen University conducted brain scans of 59 people. Sixteen were early risers, 23 were night owls, and 20 were intermediate sleepers. The brain scans showed those who got up early had a significantly more white matter in several areas of their brain when compared to their counterparts.
White matter is the fatty tissue that facilitates communication among the nerve cells, meaning that early risers have different brain structures. This makes them possess higher cognitive function and be much more likely to be creative and productive. There’s a reason why the majority of successful entrepreneurs are notorious for getting up early.
Apple CEO Tim Cook gets up at 3:45 am, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne at 3:30 am, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi wakes up every morning at 4 a.m and Richard Branson at 5:45 am – and, as they say, “the early bird catches the worm.”
Getting up 3:30 am is a bit too early for me, however, since I decided to create a habit of getting up early, I am finding that my body clock is adjusting and now by 5:00 am I am ready to start the day.
The incentives are quite encouraging, starting the day early, you’re likely to be better at thinking proactively, anticipating problems, and being a big-picture thinker. All of these are defining traits of the successful entrepreneur.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has found that late sleepers are more likely to eat poorly and are more likely to become dependent on unhealthy habits. Additional research has found that those with reduced white matter are more prone to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
Maybe these studies haven’t changed your mind about getting up early, however, keep them handy for future reference.
Nevertheless, if you want to start getting up early to improve your chances at success, take control of your life, and get a lot more done, here are some tips that have worked for successful people and now I can see its benefits.
Plan Your Day the Night Before
Although I read this tip in the past, I admit it took me a while to apply it but when I did my overall productivity increased considerably.
Knowing in advance what I need to do has helped me avoid confusion, stress and worry. I know what I need to do and I find the time to do it.
Here is a short video to give you ideas about creating your to-do list. I prefer to write by hand, as several of my mentors emphasise that it is a much better way to learn and create new habits
Writing down a to-do list for the next day forces you to think proactively.
I write my to-do list for tomorrow which includes any other small things that always popped up. But I still make sure that I give priority to the essential tasks and events.
Start Developing Morning Rituals
On average it takes 66 days for a habit to form. One of the first steps to becoming a morning person is a simple change of mindset.
As you start developing this new habit, you will find out that your mornings are going to be the quietest hours of your day, free from distraction.
What you’ll notice among successful entrepreneurs who get up notoriously early is that they don’t immediately go to work. By the time they do get to work, their mind’s at a great place, and they can start the day off right.
The following are some routines successful people do every morning. They have worked out well for my well-being and mindset. When you begin to apply them, you will feel the difference.
- Drink water first thing in the morning. Water sets off your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body remove toxins, gives your brain fuel.
- Morning exercise – Doing some exercises in the morning will help you improve your flexibility, your mood and you will feel more energised during the day.
- Make your Bed – “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. Making your bed will [reinforce] the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.” – U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McCraven.
- Mental Exercises – Read uplifting books to start your day with a positive frame of mind. Writing in a journal is a good way for releasing limiting beliefs and thoughts, finding new meaning and purpose and supporting spiritual growth.
- Breathing and Energy Exercises – These are fantastic not only for the morning but all through the day.
- Nourishing morning breakfast – Apart from providing us with energy, breakfast foods are good sources of essential nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fibre. … If you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to reach for high sugar and fatty snacks mid-morning.
Find Your Purpose in Life
Unless you have something to keep you excited, you won’t change your habits.
Is there anything that excites you? The only way you will look forward to tomorrow is by making sure there is something you enjoy doing when you wake up.
A good start is by finding small, simple things to appreciate. The fact that you are alive is a perfect start. Your family, environment, the things you enjoy in life.
If you are an entrepreneur, remember you are doing something that most people in the world fear to do themselves.
“If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.” – Larry Page
Focus on Relaxation
Being an entrepreneur can be stressful, and for many, it takes hard work to learn to relax. This is another area I am working. Even though I think I am relaxed my body tells me something different.
To take my mind off work, I take brakes every 35 minutes, I go out and walk along the Swan River and Sir James Mitchell Park, I read one of my favourite books while I am in the park or I enjoy the sound of the birds.
Before going into bed, I do a 20-minute yoga relaxation and 10-minute meditation, doing this routine I am preparing my body to rest before I get into bed.
When you get into the habit of getting up early, in those quiet couple of hours, you will have peace to yourself. Do yourself a favour, start preparing for tomorrow. It is a fantastic feeling. Try it.
How about you? What is your routine when you get up in the morning? Let us know in the comments.
With much appreciation