We’ve all heard it. The early bird gets the worm. Countless articles have been written about how all of the top achievers get up early and accomplish more than many accomplish in a week by the time 6am rolls around. Does this mean that if you aren’t, you’re missing out? Are all of these so-called high achievers mutant morning people who love to get up before the crack of dawn? If we get up late and go to bed late will we forever be behind? I did a little research and while the answer might surprise you, it makes far more sense than you might think.
Getting up early certainly has its advantages. For starters, nobody else is awake, so whether you are driving to work, going to the gym or just enjoying a cup of coffee, you are guaranteed to have fewer distractions. Your commute will be less stressful and the gym will be wide open! Maybe another advantage that you haven’t thought of is the fact that your competition, whoever that may be, is most likely still enjoying the comfort of their beds. Former Navy Seal Commander, Jocko Willink, says, “I’m up and getting after it by 4:45. I like to have that psychological win over the enemy.” While you may not be going into a battle of life or death like Jocko, there is no denying the feeling that you have one leg up on those who are in competition with you.
In addition to the psychological advantage, Forbes.com points out in a top 10 list titled “Top 10 advantages of waking up early” that “Various studies have shown that morning people exhibit character traits like optimism, being agreeable, satisfaction and conscientiousness.” How’s that for a list of qualities we’d all like to have?
This all seems well and good but what if you are a night owl? Should you just be expected to conform to these monstrous morning stipulations? Yes and No. Popular author, Gretchen Rubin, says in her book, Better Than Before that “… a night person shouldn’t expect to get up early to exercise; it’s just not going to happen.” She also points out that, “Being mildly but chronically short of sleep makes people more susceptible to hunger and temptation.” So clearly, we shouldn’t be sacrificing our precious sleep just to get a few more things done before the day even starts.
The conclusion I have come to is that, yes, there are multiple benefits to getting up early, but it isn’t for everyone. Early also may be different for some than it is for others. Maybe you start work later in the morning or perhaps work in the evenings, you most likely won’t be getting up at 4:45 like Jocko any time soon. Either way, you must decide for yourself if you want to get up at 8:00 am rather than 9, for example.
That being said, here are my top 3 tips plus a bonus to deal with this issue!
- Take it slow. If you think it’s beneficial to get up an hour earlier don’t do it all at once. Try getting up 15 min earlier one week at a time. You are much more likely to stick with these small changes than trying to shock your system into getting up before the sun’s out!
- Have a plan. Plan out what you will do with this extra time beforehand. It will be too easy to blow off this new you if there is nothing you are looking forward to doing. Some examples may be doing something like laying out your exercise clothes and have a workout routine/run planned the night before or having your coffee maker set on a timer and breakfast prepared the night before.
- Anticipate barriers. Leave your alarm clock (phone) out of reach. You are much more likely to get out of bed if you have to physically get up to turn off the alarm.
BONUS: Don’t stress about it! You have to want it. If you are a consistent night owl and just don’t think this is for you, don’t force yourself to conform. There are other ways to be productive.
If you do like this concept and want help getting there feel free to reach out! We love helping people find ways to be more productive and at peace with who they are where they are at!
- Brad Thiessen