Being productive is a habit anyone can adopt. I have been waking up at 5 AM for the past two years and it has really changed my life, so I decided to share this post with you guys.
I believe that those who wake up early have a very clear advantage over the competition. While the competition is dreaming about success in the warmth of their beds, the early risers are up making things happen.
Here are my top five reasons on why you should wake up at 5 AM.
Reason One: It allows you to get into ‘flow’ of being Productive
Have you ever been doing something with such intense concentration that it seemed that you and the activity started merging into one? Perhaps you were playing golf and felt as if the club was an extension of you. Hours probably flew by you as if they were minutes. If you have experienced anything like this you were most likely in the *‘Flow’* state.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi the psychologist who is behind the book ‘flow: the psychology of optimal experience’ describes flow as being productive in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”***
The early hours of the day are a great time for us to enter the flow state, as distractions during the day are plentiful hindering our ability to focus.
We are entering an age of immense distractions where those who are able to focus will be rewarded. The ability to focus is now becoming an increasingly more difficult skill to have. Cal Newport mentioned this upcoming change in his book ‘Deep Work’ (must read), he said;
To remain valuable in our economy, therefore, you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things. This task requires deep work. If you don’t cultivate this ability, you’re likely to fall behind as technology advance”***
If you are serious about actually getting some focused work done, and creating some traction, get that alarm clock ready.
Reason Two: Removes Ego Depletion
‘Ego Depletion’ is a term that has been coined by scientists to describe the tendency for our willpower to deplete throughout the day. Many scientists believe that willpower is like a battery, the more you exert it the less you have to work with.
Some common things that drain our willpower throughout the day are:
• Filtering distractions
• Resisting temptations
• Suppressing emotions
• Doing things we don’t like
• Selecting long term over short term rewards
Some people, for instance, use up all their willpower to restrain themselves at work, only to return and unload on everyone at home. Many of us who have worked manual labour jobs often don’t want to do anything but chill when we get home. It’s not only the body that gets tired, but also the mind.
Waking up in the morning helps you overcome this problem. Fresh out of bed you will have your battery fully charged and can begin work on your most difficult task. You can ‘Eat the frog’ as Brian Tracy used to say.
Reason Three: Morning Routine
To save energy the mind automates various things, this biological set-up has made it easy for us to become victims of our own habits. You must consciously implement the habits that will directly benefit you in life.
A morning routine helps you do just that. It’s a list of things that you do first thing in the morning. My morning routine is:
• Read for an hour
• Cold Shower
• Begin ‘deep work’ on most valuable task for the day
If you can focus on implementing one crucial habit over the course of a few months, by doing it first thing in the morning you can change your life dramatically within a few years. People underestimate the power of good habits because they fail to understand the effects of small changes over time.
I recently had a dripping tape that managed to suck out an extra 24 litres from the water bill per day; this reminded me about how the small stuff can add up if you are not careful. Most people wake up and hit snooze, straight away allowing the day to dictate them. With a morning routine you are consciously taking control of the day, yes you might have work and other commitments but the morning is yours. The morning is sacred.
Reason Four: Time to think
Waking up in the morning allows you to have time to think. It is true that many of us think too much, however, most of our thoughts are random and lack clarity. The morning allows us to have quality uninterrupted time with ourselves, something that is hard to get during the day.
This time can be used for reflection and planning. We can ask ourselves some crucial questions that will give us some clarity about where we are headed. I like to consider the following each morning:
1. Am I on the path to hit the goals that I have set for myself?
2. Is this vision still alive or am I getting lost?
3. Am I living in accordance with my own personal values and ethics?
4. What am I grateful for?
5. If I was to die right now, will I be at peace? If not why?
You can come up with your own questions. The idea is to have a sense of clarity in regards to where you are headed. For many of us, we never get the time to really sit down and consider questions such as this. We might entertain them, but these sessions are always short lived due to the inevitable distractions of daytime. Without these periods of thinking and planning, there is no way I would have achieved any of the goals that I had set out for myself.
Reason Five: Psychological advantage
There is something about getting up early before most of your competition that makes you feel like you are on top of your game. It’s not uncommon for many athletes to wake up early in the morning to commence their training. Mike Tyson would wake up at 4 AM to begin his morning jog in the cold. Michael Phelps is in the pool by 6:30 AM.
I personally love getting up at 5 AM because of the sense of control you gain. When you wake up in the morning and commence your morning ritual, and get more done before 9 AM than most people do in the day, you can’t help but feel like a king. You can’t help but feel motivation for life when you start seeing consistent results.
Tips on waking up earlier
• Set your alarm to wake you up 10 minutes earlier each day until you get to desired time.
• Focus on going to sleep earlier.
• No TV or electronics in bed.
• Read a book or listen to music as you fall asleep.
• Avoid Preworkout supplements and Coffee after 5 PM.
• Have your alarm or phone under your bed or across the room to remove the possibility of hitting snooze.
• No midnight snacks.
• Darken your room so that there are no LED lights from phones and laptops. Darkness is your ally.
• Actually try
So what time will you be getting up tomorrow?