We talk a lot about sleep, and don't confuse this concept as an endorsement of slacking on your sleep. But if you can get to bed earlier, sleep six or seven hours and rise a few hours earlier than you have been, you'll notice a world of productivity will open its doors to you. You'll get to work earlier (and finish your tasks and projects sooner), you'll get home earlier (giving you more time to spend on your hobbies or with loved ones).
Arriving to the office before everyone else provides you the opportunity to work in a quiet, serene and library-like environment. You'll find that your peak cognitive performance is before lunch, so maximize those early hours with any serious critical thinking. If your job has a more rigid start and end time, then utilize the extra hours to workout, read or meditate before going in. You'll notice how much more relaxed and prepared for the day you are.
I recently felt like I couldn't quite accomplish everything I wanted done—there simply weren't enough hours in the day. And each evening, I felt defeated. The only viable option was to get up earlier. And I wasn't crazy about that idea. I like my nights. Staying up late, with a bourbon or glass of wine ... that's my time to relax and unwind. But I realized I'd have to cut into my precious night and go to bed at a reasonable time so I could get up an hour earlier. I won't lie, it kinda sucks at first. There's something unnatural about getting up before the sunrise, don't you think? But damn if it's not effective. Here are three solid benefits I discovered about rising early.
Metcon training sneaker, $130 by Nike
Fitness becomes a priority.
I moved my workouts to first thing after waking. I used to work out in the afternoon, and when the day got away from me, I'd usually scrap my workout in an attempt to catch up. Then I'd feel like crap. Now I never miss it. Plus, early morning exercise stimulates both the body and the mind. You get the blood flowing, endorphins are released and your brain starts firing and thinking about the day ahead.
Metcon training sneaker, $130 by Nike
A meditative start to the day.
Because I'm now getting up while it's still dark out, I see the sun rise through the window of my gym. The black sky gives way to rich shades of blues and orange. I don't always take time to appreciate it, but most days—even if it's just for a few moments—I stop and enjoy the quiet, peaceful scene outside. It's the perfect time to say a prayer, set my intentions or just remember to be grateful for everything I have. I don't sit down and properly meditate (the way I probably should) but there's more mindfulness than when I was simply racing to get to work.
Maybe my workout is a better boost than just the coffee I was relying on before, but I find that I'm more energetic when I get to my desk and thus able to burn through more stuff right away. The sense of accomplishment tends to last throughout the day too. Because I hit the gym first, I only get to my desk a half-hour earlier but since I am no longer taking time out of the afternoon to workout, I get a lot of time back then too. This all adds up to feeling like I'm no longer racing the clock, which relieves a lot of pressure.
So if you're feeling the way I was, like you need to accomplish more in your day, try going to bed a touch earlier and starting your day an hour ahead. Maybe you'll use the time to catch up on emails before heading into the office. Or work on a side project before your kids get up. Or simply make and enjoy a nice breakfast without feeling rushed. Whatever you decide, make the time work for you. I guarantee you won't regret it.
Volume 10 // 2018
31 Days is back ... And 2018 marks its tenth iteration. When we started this a decade ago, we never imagined that these daily guides to being better men would take off and become one of Valet.'s most popular series of all time. So thank you for your continued support and belief in our mission. This year, we're focusing on productivity—ways in which you can streamline and improve your days to make your job less stressful, your work more efficient and your life run just a bit more smoothly. It's time to raise your game.