We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle
This is the first of 12 posts on how the right habits can transform your performance to the next level. We are all at some level in terms of what we achieve. For many that level is far less than it could be. Given the right habits we can all achieve more, do more and succeed at levels we may now only imagine.
Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.
You do not have to be brilliant or extraordinary to achieve more. Most people who achieve at higher levels are not smarter than you are and do not have more innate talent than you do. It is now about their abilities; it is about how they use their ability to do more. This series is about just how to do that. It is about how to develop 12 key habits that will enhance your level of achievement on all levels.
This series is inspired by the writing of Tomas Laurinavicius, a blogger and designer from Lithuania. His ideas are not new or revolutionary. They capture some basic ideas about habits that will take you to the next level of achievement.
Getting Up Early
I know, for many people are not naturally “morning people” this idea is daunting. Most people love to sleep in. They love to lie in bed and hit that snooze button. I certainly do not suggest that sleeping in now and then, as on a weekend morning, is a bad thing. But when you try getting up earlier you will find you have time to do so many things you now think you just do not have time to do.
Getting up early is the foundation for the rest of the habits we will discuss in this series because only by making more time for yourself to practice better habits will you do them.
Yes, I know that there are and have been extraordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things who never rise before 9 AM. But they are rare. They achieve this by not doing a lot of other things that we want to do or have to do.
If your day is full of the “normal” demands from family and work that fill most of our days it is nearly impossible to find time in the day to do more. The only way to find that time is to make it – to go to bed a bit earlier than we may be now and to get up earlier before others are making demands on our time to do the things we want and need to do to improve ourselves and achieve more.
Early Time – My Time
I call this time you make early in the morning “early time”. It is a gift you give yourself. It may be an hour or two, but multiple that by even just 5 days a week and you have 5-10 hours a week to do things you think now you do not have time to do.
Exercise, reading, learning, meditation, writing – whatever it may be that you think you do not have time to do now you will have time to do in your early time.
One reason you will have that time is that you will be fresh from a good night’s sleep, not tired as you are during the couple hours before bed. Your mind will be sharper and you will have more energy. Maybe most important you will have less distractions – others will not be making demands on you at 5:00 AM or 6:00 AM like they will the rest of the day. This is your time to spend as you wish.
Incremental Change is Easier
If you do not rise early now and the idea is daunting, try moving toward it in increments. This is much easier. Say you get up now at 7:00 AM. Tomorrow go to bed 10 minutes earlier and then the next morning get up just 10 minutes earlier, at 6:50 AM. About once a week subtract another 10 minutes. In a month you will be getting up at 6AM and in a couple months it will be 5AM. You will acclimate to it especially once you see all its advantages.
You can read an inspiring story by Philip Castro Matos about how he did this.
As Matos observes it is important to still get enough sleep and to remove barriers to your new sleep schedule.
Spend a little time planning how you will use this extra time. It may be to get exercise, prepare a healthy breakfast, read, answer email, or write. It all depends on what you want to use it for.
Once you grow accustomed to this early time for yourself you will guard it. You will resist temptations to stay up too late or to sleep in.
No More Snooze Button
Of course this is not going to work if you use the snooze button. My alarm clock is on my dresser some distance from the bed forcing me to get up to turn it off. If it does go off I have to get up. I do not have to turn it off any more except on rare occasions. Once you get used to your new get-up time you will awake naturally. For me it is 5 AM.
After you’ve seen a few sunrises and experienced the fresh air of early morning, the silence and the birdsong of that time you will never want to miss that again either. It is as Matos says, a new way of seeing the world.
So, try getting up a bit earlier each day to achieve more. You will be amazed how much you can accomplish with an hour or two of early time for yourself.
Learn how to manage your time to achieve more of what you want to do in my book, Effective Time Management. Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.
Questions? Comments? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to post your comments or questions below or if you want to contact me privately you can do that here: CONTACT ME HERE.Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.