I was recently discussing some of what I consider to be the keys to discipline and time management with a young man that already shows a proclivity toward that lifestyle. I took about 15 minutes to describe the benefits of rising early and getting a jump on the day and the competition. (competition for your time) Since we don’t have that kind of time here, I will just say get up already! Five benefits that come with rising early.
1. Peace and quiet. Imagine working completely unmolested by coworkers or clients. We need both, but sometimes we just need peace and quiet. If I get to my office by 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. I have almost a half a day to work my own schedule before the first interruption.
2. Focus. You can safely turn off your email and cell phone because nobody is going to call you. The ability to focus on one item and put all your concentrative energies into it is a proven method to create more high quality work, faster. Multitasking means portioning one little sliver of yourself on 6 things at once. That just insures that all six get done in a mediocre fashion.
3. You are alert while others are still waking up. If I had a wasps nest to take out, it was always an early morning job. I wanted to be fully alert while they were still asleep. There is an advantage to being prepared for any meeting. There is a bonus for being awake and alert.
4. Do important things at the top end of your performance curve. The more stuff you heap on the brain during a day, the more it drains the reserves. The mental and emotional reserves for any given day have only so much capacity. It’s the P and PC of Covey’s seven habits. You run out of emotional or mental reserve and you are toast for the day. In the morning is when my performance capability is at its highest.
5. Info up. Get a quick Wall Street Journal fix or whatever information sources serve your industry. Be up on the important stuff. This would not include facebook updates or tweets about who had what for supper last night.
Many have mounted a good argument that they can create the same zone late in the evenings and get up at the crack of noon. Maybe so, but the boost that comes from the combination of the rest, the shower and the venti bold roast is a powerful tonic that the evening just can’t duplicate. I prioritize the steps to my goals and the most important tasks of the day for the first four hours. They deserve me at my best.
One more thing - go to bed already.