"I would exercise more if I had the time."
"I don't have time for hobbies/vacation/fun."
"If I had the time I would work on my book/passion/invention/etc."
If you have, you are not alone. "I don't have enough time" is one of the first defenses people use for why they aren't taking the action they keep talking about.
The truth is, we all have the same amount. People who earn millions haven't figured out how to buy more of it. That super fit woman you see running each morning as you drive to work has 24 hours a day just like you and me. People who take vacations every year have 52 weeks just like the rest of us.
So what are these people doing differently? What secret have they discovered?
Wake Up Early
Even earlier than that...
I discovered a wondrous, magical world hidden in plain sight: the morning. I’m not talking about 8:00 in the morning. I’m talking about waking up before the rooster early. Rising before the sun early. Fantastic quiet time before the rest of the world is up early. It is very difficult to be successful at anything if you do not start early in the morning. Here are three easy steps to get you going.
Step one: Stop with the Snooze.
I started seeing big changes in my life after I did the math on how much time I spent each week lying in bed after my alarm. The bell would sound, and I would quickly turn it off. I spent a half an hour or more each morning during the week and over an hour each day of the weekend. That’s about 5 hours of completely wasted time right there! 5 hours a week may not seem like much, but think about what you’re missing now that could use a little more time. All of a sudden I was gifted with all of those hours I “couldn’t make it to the gym” or hours of time with friends I “never have time to see” or a long, hot bath plus a movie or catching up with Mom on the phone or making a tasty Sunday breakfast for everyone or dedicating it to that hobby I keep putting off or utilizing some of the tools these posts talk about that I thought I wouldn’t have time for or… you get the idea. 5 hours when used with purpose is a game changer, and that’s just talking about waking up on time! Now let’s get into early.
Commit to getting up thirty minutes earlier than usual tomorrow. That’s it. Just half an hour. If you’re thinking, “I can’t do that. I don’t get enough sleep as it is”, trust me I feel you. I used to always battle to get even the bare minimum of sleep. However, 30 minutes really didn’t affect my energy or ability to function at all, and I found the transition pretty smooth. If you are like me and hit that snooze, you have now just found over 8 hours of time in your week that has just freed up!
Tonight before you go to bed place your alarm across the room or in a location that is not easily accessible from your bed. Put it somewhere that requires you to be on your feet to turn it off. Here is the tough part - when it goes off, get up. Go across the room, turn it off and don’t go back to bed. Middle of the Day You reading this is thinking, “Really? That’s your big advice? Get up with my alarm?” Too easy, right? Just wait to hear what First Thing in the Morning You has to say about it. Fight the siren’s call of warm, fluffy sheets! Begin your day and your new life!
So why does waking up early play such a big role in success? Clearly having more time to dedicate to other areas of your life is a big factor here, but it isn’t the only thing. I found when I was up early I felt quite determined to be enduring that pain for a reason. I was always a "night owl", so the thought of being up before the sun made me pretty grumpy. As a result, I figured “If I’m up at this hour, there better be a good reason for it”, and I found that I quickly ensured that there was.
Not only did I find a good reason to be up, I also found that this allowed me to do things before any stress from the outside world attempted an attack. Since this was “found time” there were no pre-established obligations to attend to. The rest of the world thought I was still sleeping, and my brain could prepare for the new day calmly and attentively.
Another huge benefit to being up early is quiet time to focus on your important tasks. If you are up before everyone else in your household, you have a unique opportunity to get things done without being disturbed. I don’t know about you, but that is a rarity in my house. If you’re a parent, waking up well before the kids gives you perfect space for some dedicated “me time”. You can fill this part of the morning with that which helps you be the best you. For me this includes things like prayer to my Higher Power, meditation, journaling, light exercise, reading, meal prep, etc. When I start my day off right, everything else seems to fall into place.
I learned that there really isn’t such a thing as morning people and night people. Night people are simply those who do not prepare for the morning. How could I ever be a morning person if my previous day was so hectic that I didn’t get to sleep until 3am?
If you begin the day earlier, you conscientiously start at a more mindful pace, you take better care of yourself, you can start slowly and avoid the anxiety of rushing around, you get more done and you are able to set a plan for your day to make sure you don’t make 3am a habit. It doesn’t take long to get used to waking up 30 minutes earlier. It’s a pretty low price to pay for everything you get in return.
I dare ya!
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