Prior to becoming a real adult with a real job, I was never a morning person. In college I struggled to even make it to my 10 am job on time. But once I graduated and started working regular 40 hour weeks I realized pretty quickly that I was never going to reach my personal goals by only having time for myself after work.
Early in my time out of school I learned the most successful people were ones who did more than just clock in and clock out of their jobs. In fact, I’m not sure that clocking in and out is even enough to perpetuate a successful career now but that’s a whole different post. So I decided that I would take time in my personal life to pursue my other passions (like writing this blog). Then I realized I didn't have any time for that...until I became a morning person.
The Secret: Give Yourself an Incentive
The reason that I started getting up early was to write this blog. By the time I get off my real job at six, I’m not willing or able to take the time away from my wife to spend hours writing. But I knew that I was never going to wake up two hours before work without some special reason to get my lazy butt out of bed.
So I started going to Starbucks in the morning before work. This works for two reasons: 1. I love coffee and the occasional chocolate croissant and 2. It’s a great place to sit and write.
The incentive of waking up for Starbucks really helped me in the beginning to pull myself out of bed and now waking up at 6:30 has become second nature. I still set 3 alarms, but now I’m almost always out of bed by the time the third one goes off.
Why Being a Morning Person is Good for You
From a business and personal perspective, I found that I was really struggling with a lack of time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to work a 40 hour week, be a present husband, spend time with friends, and also read and write all the things I want to. Giving yourself two hours before work is a great way to carve out time to focus on the things that you want to do. If it’s time for chores, I doubt you’ll ever be able to stick to it. Make it something fun—something you care about.
Don Miller, who is one of my favorite authors, now has a series of how to create a life plan which helps give your days meaning (check it out here if you’re interested). The thing that struck me about his system is that he says the morning is the time when our brains are the freshest and when we should focus on our most creative work. It may not be true for everyone and of everyone’s careers but for me this was a game changer because I was tired of struggling through trying to write at night.
Another huge benefit is you go to work having already felt accomplished. Even if you didn’t finish a project, you at least woke up early and read, wrote, or created something you otherwise would not have. It’s made me a more productive worker from the start of the day because I’m already awake.