Do you love to sleep in? You’re not the only one. While it can feel pretty good to hit the snooze button and stay in bed as the sun shines through your window in the morning, you may justify it by reminding yourself that sleep is essential for your success. And this is certainly true. What you may not know is that for many people out there, the time you wake up is just as important as how many hours of sleep you catch.
Waking up early is all the rage in the business world. Whether you’re looking to eliminate busy work before getting into the office, hit the gym for a good workout, or just take a few moments for some introspective meditation or contemplation, there’s a lot we can do in the morning to set us up for a successful day.
Here are our three favorite reasons for waking up early in the morning:
1. Limited Distractions
Waking up early in the morning isn’t about gaining more time out of your day (you still need a healthy eight hours of sleep every night to keep yourself running at peak performance). It’s about finding more productive hours.
The best part about waking up before everyone else is—well, you’re awake before everyone else. In the morning, you’ll be the only one vying for your attention, meaning you’ll have the opportunity to be totally focused on the most important tasks at hand. You may be thinking “Why don’t I just stay up late and wait until everyone else goes to sleep?”
As your energy wanes so does your focus, initiative, motivation and general will to stay on task. That’s not to say that there aren’t any night-owls out there—we’re just saying that you’ll always get your best work done when you’re feeling refreshed and ready to go!
2. You Can Eat a Good Breakfast
Maybe the tastiest part about waking up early is that you’ll never have to skip out on the most important meal of the day. If you’re one of the 15 percent of Americans who skip breakfast regularly, you should probably think about putting the griddle back on the burner.
The importance of the first meal of the day isn’t some hocus-pocus that our parents drilled into our heads throughout childhood—it’s a scientific fact that eating a nutritional breakfast is vital to our health. Eating breakfast has been shown to increase cognitive memory, reduce the likelihood of being overweight, lower cholesterol, and increase physical activity.
3. A Moment of Clarity
The early morning offers an exceptional vantage point for your day and week. Sitting down at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and your planner out is never a bad way to get organized for the day ahead.
With limited distractions in a time frame that is absolutely under your control, you’ll likely experience more moments of clarity than you would in your first minutes at the office. Use this time to gain perspective on your priorities and to mentally prepare for what’s ahead. With a fresh mind, it can be easier to get into the right mental place to take on the most daunting tasks at hand.
All habits take time to build. In The ONE Thing, we discuss that it takes 66 days on average to build a habit—and that includes the habit of waking up. If you have trouble getting up earlier, we don’t suggest going in full-throttle. Instead, work your way toward your desired wake-up time.
Start small by making a habit of waking up fifteen minutes before your typical wake-up time, and be sure to put your alarm out of arm’s reach (that way you’ll force your future self to have to get out of bed to turn the alarm off). Once you’ve conquered that time frame, wind back the alarm clock another 15 minutes. Keep adjusting your wake up time until you’ve built the habit of getting out of bed at your desired time.
For some extra motivation and accountability, be sure to leverage the 66 Day Calendar as a way to measure your progress!