A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about the benefits of rising at 4:00 a.m. so intrigued me that I felt compelled to pen a post about getting up before everyone else.
First, though, a disclaimer: I am not now, although I have been, a confirmed early riser.
My Time as an Early Riser
At one time in my career with General Motors I regularly commuted (twice a month) from Michigan to my home in Los Angeles. While I worked in Michigan, I had to travel to downtown Detroit from the suburbs where I stayed at the home of relatives. To escape the traffic gridlock, I left for work in the pre-dawn hours and returned well after the regular dinner hour.
Here’s what I learned from that experience.
- Getting to/from work was a breeze – even in the worst winter weather. At least there were fewer vehicles on the freeway and surface streets to contend with. And having lived in Michigan most of my life, I knew how to navigate snow and ice.
- I could catch up on emails before anyone else stumbled their way to their desks or hung out at the coffee room trading small talk.
- Working on a speech, writing a press release, or editing a presentation was much easier when the din of conversation and machines wasn’t present. There’s something sublime about looking up and not seeing anyone else’s head in the room. This was such a productive time that I realized an early start was the best way to tackle an important project or task. I adhere to this strategy today and it’s never failed me.
- Knowing that I got so much done in such a short period of time was like a gift. I knew that this was something I did for myself.
Today, however, I confess I get up at a much later hour. Unless I’ve stayed up late the night before, I’m usually awake and out of bed before 7:00 a.m. That may sound luxurious or indulgent from the standpoint of those who have to travel long distances or commute in heavy traffic, but consider that I work from home. The farthest I have to travel to get to my office is a few feet.
What I Like About Getting Up Early
Still, there are benefits to getting up early that I enthusiastically recommend. Some of these tips include:
- Having some time for yourself.
- Getting through your inbox without a deluge of new mail.
- Spending a few minutes reflecting on what you’re most grateful for in life.
- Prayer or meditation (which, for some, may be synonymous).
- Leisurely enjoying a home-made hot latte, breakfast or juice smoothie.
- Jotting down a list of priorities for the day.
- Rearranging those priorities to suit a) preference, b) resources, c) timing, d) energy, e) due date or deadline.
- Making full use of your creativity when it’s at its best.
- No distractions to get in the way.
- A sense of being ahead of the game.
- Knowing that you’ve given yourself an added boost means you’ve got time left over to devote to something you want to do – like take a walk at lunch, meet a friend for an early dinner, go shopping, get a massage, make a date with your spouse or significant other…
- No phone calls to interrupt your stride, demand immediate action or make you lose focus.
- For those with small children, adolescents or teens (or all of these), getting a jump on the day means you’ll have more energy and enthusiasm to give to them – and they will soak it up like thirsty flowers. Been there, done that, highly recommend.
What Do You Think?
What benefits do you find from getting up early? I’d love to hear them. On the other hand, if you care to list what’s to love about getting up later, let’s get a discussion going on that topic as well. Could be the subject of another blog post.
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