I used to sleep until well past noon. I thought I needed to lay around in bed “recovering” from a long week’s work. Of course, I was fooling myself. I just didn’t want to get out of bed.
I would lie around not doing anything, until eventually I was forced get up because I had to use the restroom or eat, whichever Mother Nature called first. Had she not interrupted me, I may still be lying there.
As a result of my laziness, I would often be groggy and cranky, and my day typically wouldn’t start until sometimes well into the afternoon.
I was on a track of daily frustrations and disappointments. I used to be consumed with a sense of guilt, yet this cycle continued day after day, week after week, month after month.
What made this bad habit worse was it would often dictate my actions for the remainder of the week. I would wake up late for work or constantly sleep until the last possible moment before springing out of bed to be to the office on time.
Having to rush would often set the tone for the day. There was no semblance of structure in my morning, just a chaotic overture of one part good intentions, two parts failure.
This pattern was not conducive to productivity. Instead, it hindered my growth as a businessman and individual.
BREAKING THE CYCLE
I would often read about how the CEOs I admired would get-up very early in the morning and be productive before 6:00 a.m. I was envious of them.
When I decided I needed to make a change, these were the types of individuals I wanted to model myself after – I wanted to emulate their morning routines. They seemed happier, more focused and outwardly relaxed, even though they probably weren’t internally.
I accomplished this by doing four simple things:
I set goals. I outlined what I wanted to accomplish in the morning and why I wanted to accomplish it.
I started waking up 15 minutes earlier every other day until I finally rose from bed at my desired goal time of 5:00 a.m.
I created a strict routine to follow to ensure no matter how much I wanted to stay in bed, even if I didn’t get to bed early the night before, I would have no choice but to get up. Exercising, strict reading and writing assignments, anything to force me to take my head off the pillow. I did this even on my days off.
I adjusted my bedtime. By focusing on my wake time, I permitted my body to adjust its natural sleep cycle. By waking early each day, my body didn’t want to go to bed late anymore.
It wasn’t easy, but eventually, after my body and mind begrudgingly accepted, I was able to become comfortable with the decision to consciously wake-up early.
When I had been working a regular schedule, start time was 9:00 a.m. Instead of my normal routine of waking up at 8:15 a.m., taking a quick shower, then rushing to work, I was now regularly waking up between 5:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.
It permitted me to read and write with more frequency – two activities which I love to do. Consequently, waking early allowed me to ease into the day – to remain calm and discard the stress associated with rushing. Waking early gave me a sense of purpose and gratitude.
LIFE DOESN’T CHANGE OVERNIGHT
Breaking this pattern was something I had to consciously make a decision to do and work hard to accomplish, and I’ve been thankful every day since for this welcomed change. Not only am I more productive at work, but I’m also more productive in my personal life. I have more time to pursue the things I love to do, and because I do not feel an unnecessary sense of urgency, I have more time to enjoy the work I do as well.
Waking up early has made a positive impact in my life and I suggest, if you are striving to be successful, you make these types of changes in your life as well.
Most importantly, because I wake-up early, I no longer feel like I’ve wasted a day. The guilt associated with gluttonous sleep has waned and I now value my time more than anything else in my life.
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