OK, so maybe you don’t want to take over the world. But how about taking over your life? That sounds pretty good, right?
But there’s one problem: you just don’t have enough time.
You wake up, take care of bathroom business, eat some breakfast, get showered and dressed, and head to work. Then you come home spent, crack open a cold one, eat some dinner, and spend the rest of the night watching lame reality shows. You don’t have energy for much else.
That’s just how it goes.
Here’s a Different Scenario
But what if it went more like this: the alarm goes off at 5am, you jump out of bed, take care of bathroom business (always the first priority), and then . . . what?
Read a book?
Study for your exam?
Do some writing?
Go for a walk?
Draft up that business plan you’ve been putting off for years?
Wake up early enough, and you can do all of the above . . . before you even sit down to eat breakfast.
The Power of A.M. Productivity
Let’s face it. Most of us are pretty damn useless after work. After a long stressful day we just want to come home and chill out a bit with the fam, or maybe enjoy some time alone with a good book.
We want to wind down, not get busy.
But mornings are a different beast altogether. If we can learn to take advantage of them, that is.
In those first few early morning hours we can accomplish so much. We’re starting the day fresh. We haven’t been worn down by the hours spent at our dreary or hectic jobs.
We have potential.
Potential to get shit done. So why not make the most of it?
The Tale of a Reformed Late Riser
I didn’t always get up so early as I do now. Back in the day, if I was out of bed before 10am it was a goddamn miracle. Oh sure, I’d try every now and then to change my wake up time. I remember getting up at 7am for a spell in order to go on morning walks before work.
It felt strange stepping out into the cool morning air. I wasn’t accustomed to it. And it didn’t last long. I just couldn’t cope with the early rise.
It wasn’t until I started weightlifting that I successfully made the switch to early mornings. I had to. There was just no way I had the physical energy to train after a day spent busting ass in front of a hot brick oven at the bakery.
So I became a 6am riser. And truth be told, it was tough. For the first few months it was a serious struggle.
I would get out of bed, pour a cup of coffee, then lay down on the floor (cause I’m weird like that) with my eyes closed and the T.V. set to the boring white noise of The Weather Channel, drinking my coffee while half-asleep.
An hour and two more cups of coffee later, I would finally be awake enough to get busy. It wasn’t ideal, but it still left me enough time in the morning to get a good workout before heading off to work.
The Leap from 6 A.M. to 4 A.M.
How does one shave 2 hours off their already early alarm setting?
I attribute this to my move from the “city” to a more rural area here in Vermont. I actually moved into a little red barn. I’m just that cool.
In the city, I had to keep the blinds closed since the street lights made it too bright to sleep. And I needed to keep a fan going to drown out the sounds of traffic. Earplugs helped with this as well.
But out here there are no street lights. There is no traffic. Just beautiful quiet darkness. Perfect for sleeping. I didn’t need the fan or earplugs, and I left my windows unshaded to let in the starlight.
And a strange thing happened my very first morning here. I had set the alarm for my usual 6am wake up time, but around 4ish I woke instead to the sounds of birds chirping and just a hint of sunlight.
What the fuck?
That was my first thought. Profound, huh?
Every morning thereafter I would wake with the birds and the sun. I was even up before Larry the rooster began his morning rabble.
When the cold months started creeping in, and the sun began rising later, I had to resume setting my alarm in order to wake, but now set to 4:30am – I had become so productive in those early morning hours I couldn’t give them up.
Finally, the creation of this blog spurred the last step to 4am. I just needed a little bit more time in the morning to dedicate to blogging.
What You Will Have to Sacrifice
I ain’t gonna lie. You cannot just keep setting the clock back earlier and earlier without giving something up. You still need 7-8 hours of sleep after all.
So you give up your nights. At least a good chunk of them.
What this means is different from person to person. When I was a late riser my nights were spent watching SouthPark and Adult Swim while munching on chips or cookies.
Not too productive.
So the loss of those hours are a small price to pay for the productivity I’ve gained. Not to mention the much improved health I’ve attained from my morning workouts.
For partiers and leisure driven folks, nights may not be worth giving up. But for those who are actively trying to achieve something worthwhile, perhaps giving up late night T.V. isn’t such a sacrifice after all.
Finally, Here’s How to Do It
There are really only two things required in order to successfully make the transition to an early riser.
If you don’t have a good reason for getting up early, it’s not going to stick. And if you don’t have a reason, why should you even bother?
If you think you’ll get more done just because you’ve woken up earlier, you will be sorely disappointed. You may complete a few more chores than usual, or maybe even prepare a home cooked breakfast for a change.
But it won’t last.
You need a compelling reason to keep getting up at the crack of dawn. Folding laundry and scrambling some eggs ain’t gonna cut it.
2. Get. The Fuck. UP!
This doesn’t require any explanation, but I’m going to elaborate anyway. I’ve seen many suggested tricks and strategies designed to teach people how to get up earlier. Some seem reasonable, like setting your alarm back one minute earlier each day until you’ve reached your desired wake time.
I don’t have the patience for that shit.
If I want to change, then I’m going to fucking change. I understand that it will be uncomfortable. Change always is. I’m not going to try to make the transition as smooth as possible. I want the difficulty. The challenge makes it worthwhile.
Then there are those suggestions that seem downright laughable – like practicing jumping out of bed when the alarm goes off . . . during the day while you’re wide awake. Hey, maybe it works . . . you never know, but I’d feel like such a tool jumping in and out of bed trying to “learn” how to wake up earlier.
Better to just get up. You have about 20 seconds, if that, to get out of bed after that alarm goes off, otherwise you’ll fail. Once you hit snooze, or start thinking if you should even get out of bed, it’s all over.
Get up. Pour some coffee. Get busy.
Simple as that.
Now It’s In Your Hands
So you’ve decided you’re going to make the switch. No more late nights. No more noon sleep-ins. You’ve got shit to do and now’s the time to start.
My question to you is this: what is your purpose? What is that compelling reason you need to get up so early in the first place? Do you really think you can make the change?
And if you’re already an early riser, has it always been so? Or did you make a similar transition yourself? If so please share how you did it. A little insight is always welcome.
(Photo by dspruitt at stock.xchng)