Times like these… So much to do, so little time to get it done… Sometimes it feels there is not enough of a day in a day to do all that we’d like. Well there is not much we can do about it. A day is 24 hours and amongst these there are some compulsory items: sleep, make a living, do our chores, prepare the food that we have to eat… These are pretty much the basic essentials for everyone of us and basically they are the things that take the most part of our time!
However, we often see some people who seem to get a lot done every day on various fronts although they have a day job and sometimes a family to take care of… I must admit it frustrates me to see these guys joggling smoothly with personal projects all around them while I struggle to organise my own personal life at some point! And I think it takes much more than discipline but more importantly organisation to achieve that. In this article, we’ll look into this growing trend of early morning aka « CEO/NAVY SEAL » aka 4:30AM routines and if it can really help you to get more days in one day.
From discipline to motivation.
Basically, I would be outrageously lying to you if I was to tell you that if you were to set your clock tonight to 4:30AM before sleep, you would be a completely changed man or woman by tomorrow night, just because you’d have got up at 4:30AM for one day… This takes an actual routine that you will repeat day after day. The reason is simple: the first weeks are going to be rough (I mean let’s face it: we’re talking about getting up on our feet before sunrise here!), your body will need to adapt and you will probably not get much done during these first days.
Back to when I was living in Europe, my morning listening on the radio was a show called « Get up and march ». That’s pretty much about this at this stage. You have to command to your body to operate earlier and pick up the pace.
Now, if I haven’t lost you after this highly intimidating opening, I’d say here are some tricks.
First, I think it’s important that, once you’ve started that routine, you transform that discipline that you’re forcing onto yourself into a game of motivation. Maybe I’ll divert with the view of many here, but I think that discipline works great when it’s applied on you (by someone/something) else rather than by ourselves onto ourselves. Discipline feels like hurting yourself. And you will do that only when you have no choice that to comply with something you have no control on. When it’s comes to our own body and way of life… You usually have the full control of these and therefore « discipline » cannot get you very far under this paradigm.
However, if in place of forcing yourself to do something without setting any reward, you give yourself some target, some goal that you want to achieve… You’re introducing some motivation with the help of rewards. It’s been proven that the concept of reward is a key in forging new habit. The first time I’ve applied this routine was when I was working some full-time job and had a documentary on the other side that I shot and wanted to get edited in order to get it to broadcasting. The goal was getting the movie done and my reward was being able to show my edited movie, hence motivation or « discipline » ! And I would get up every morning at 4AM, have some breakfast and the to some editing for 2 or 3 hours and then leave for work! Coming back home in the evening, I would work 4 or 5 hours to get things done.
In that regard, I think the outcomes of each of these videos are significant.
I think another aspect to consider attentively when planning to apply this early morning routine in to your life is implementing physical exercise in that new allocated time-frame. Indeed, getting your body up at cruise speed with a jog or a quick workout every other day just after a glass of water will help get into your day on a fresh start and spare you some snoozing later in the day.
I know… Most of us are already tired when we wake up and hardly make up through the day, « how could exercising get me less tired “. Well, I’ll spare the details but it seems that metabolism, when stimulated with pre-meal exercice, plays a big role in boosting not only our physical abilities but also our cognitive abilities with an increased resistance to stress (which we don’t suspect to playing that big of a deal on our tiredness – although it certainly does), as well as an increased capacity to focus on something, bringing this capacity higher than when we simply help it with caffein.
Do more !
Get on an early start for the day isn’t just good for your body and your mind. It’s also great for your schedule…
Let’s say that just after your morning workout (and shower) and breakfast, you get in business with some task that you need to get done. Early morning is pure prime time for that, as you have fewer distractions. No incoming emails, no phone calls, no social media notifications… Nothing but business waiting to get done ! No email in the inbox means that you can focusing more easily or that memo that you want to get out to your team… or theses contents that you want to write…
And not only then do you have time to get these things done, but you also some focus ability being the beginning of the day, your mind is fresh and spot on.
One thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t have to be necessarily 4:30AM if you have nothing to do that requires that amount of time! What I mean is, if you just have to do a 45 minutes workout because you’re lucky enough that you can afford to order your lunch to take-away, then obviously it doesn’t make any sense for you to wake-up before the break of down just to lay down on the coach watching TV or playing video games…
Although, if you really can’t see anything active that you could do with this added free time… Maybe you could still make it for some nice morning walk? What about reading some book and study a topics you have interest in?! The key here is making that time productive.
Overall, I think we never get enough time in our lives and in that regard I think adopting an early morning routine can be beneficial to everyone. If not to the end of fitness, it will certainly help you to increase productivity in performing daily tasks, as well as increasing self-growth. However, one needs to find the interest in doing it, which will allow to set some kind of reward, helping him/her to motivate toward achieving that goal, day after day.