It’s important that I start this article by saying that I’m a bit odd. I like getting up early, I probably drink 3 coffees per week at most, and I find I can do just fine with 6 hours of sleep per night. Part of my life as the world’s strangest man is doing my best to make the most of my day. I often find myself stressing over the small details of my life, so I take steps to reduce the number of things to think about on an average day by creating a routine. There’s about a million articles out there telling us that waking up early is the key to success, and in the last couple of years I’ve been doing my best to work out how true that is. I’ve found the key is not necessarily when you wake up, but how you use your time.
Why should I wake up early?
Now, we’ve already established I’m kind of a weirdo, but if you want to add something to the list, I like to work out four times a week. I find it energizes me and, most importantly in this case, it gets me out of bed in the morning. On days that I go to the gym after work, I don’t get home until at least 8PM. By that time all I really want to do is eat dinner, watch TV and head to bed. On the other hand, when I work out in the morning I generally start work earlier, leave on time, and end up with nearly 5 hours in the evening that are entirely my own. I have more time to socialize, read, clean or whatever it is that takes my fancy on that day.
Even on days when I don’t work out, I still find myself waking up early and simply taking the time to have a chill morning. There’s no need to use pretentious phrases like ‘Mind Time’, we all know that a lie-in is one of the best things there is. On those days I’m so relaxed by the time I get to work that I find all the stresses of the day are significantly reduced. You might even decide to call me a ‘Morning Person’ sometimes, but I find the secret to being jolly at 9AM is not speaking to anyone for 2 hours before that.
What’s the alternative?
Essentially the key making the most of your day. Everyone went crazy recently about Mark Wahlberg waking up at 2:30AM to work out, but almost every article fails to mention that he goes to bed at 7:30PM. He’s got young children so he just matches their bedtime. This way he can spend as much time as possible with his family whilst still getting plenty of sleep and allowing him to have a normal work day. I’m not saying his routine isn’t crazy, but he’s not exactly a robot.
As much as I would like to steer clear from the whole ‘time is a construct do what you like’ realm of thought, the reason celebrities like Mark Walhberg can live the way they do is because their world just works differently to most of us. Most of us have normal 9-6 working hours, so life is just a little more difficult to distribute Wahlberg-style. Studies have shown that really we just need to be finding what works for us and going with that, just as long as you get a good night’s sleep and see sunlight at some point you’ll do fine.
Finding your routine is a difficult thing to do. For me I find that getting up early to work out does me a lot of good. The best place to start is to assess how much you use your time out of the office, and what you can do to use it more efficiently. These things take trial and error, and doing the exact same thing every morning can be boring, so don’t forget to switch it up occasionally. Once you find out what works, you can focus on the big tasks while the small things take care of themselves.