RISE AND SHINE
Not enough time in the day? Rather than staying up late to get everything done, when you’re probably already exhausted, just think what you could do with an extra two or three extra hours each morning. Perhaps now is the time to join the ‘5am Club’.
You might think that people are either early risers or they’re not. Think again. Getting up early and making your morning routine a springboard for the day ahead is a business skill just like any other.
Many top executives have taught themselves this skill at some point. Business Insider regularly publishes lists of them and it is people like Richard Branson (Virgin founder and chairman), Tim Cook (Apple CEO) and Bob Iger (Disney CEO) who never hit the snooze button.
You’ll find the time between 5am and 8am is blissfully free of interruptions, so you can achieve much more than when everyone else is awake. Secondly, the morning is when you’ll be full of good intentions and a little more verve and vitality than later in the day. Finally, the day will start off positively, with time to focus on the important things to you. And these things could be anything that improves your performance during the day.
Exercise is the obvious first choice, and will get your blood pumping and clear your mind of clutter ready for whatever the day throws at it. Most people vow to exercise more, but waiting for lunchtime or the end of the day means there is too much opportunity for other things to get in the way, including your own excuses.
You might want to go for a run and stop to watch the sunrise, or you might just want to try meditation for a few minutes. Maybe do some yoga or take some time to sit quietly and consider the day ahead, visualising those things you are going to achieve and do well. Getting your mind and body together first thing will mean you’re not playing catch up with your thoughts for the rest of the day and you’re not feeling lethargic by lunchtime.
After that, you’ll have time for a healthy breakfast, something that will set you up for the day in a way that a grabbed croissant from a coffee shop will never do. We’re talking about food that enriches you, makes you feel fantastic, not something that gives you a quick burst of energy until the next coffee. If there’s time, you might even be able to prepare something that you and your partner or children can enjoy together. You’ll start the working day knowing you’ve spent some quality time with those you love, rather than dashing out of the door shouting your goodbyes.
If there is a personal project you’ve been meaning to get underway or that you’re in the middle of, you could spend some time on it now. Imagine how good it would feel to do something entirely for yourself before everyone else wakes up and starts asking you to do things for them. You’ll feel much better about giving yourself up for them if you’ve already done something for yourself, whether it’s writing, painting, a craft project or some research.
It’s personal choice, but you might want to open your computer and scan the news sites and tick that off your list. Pushing it one step further, why not check your emails and social media at this time, so rather than the dreaded overflowing inbox flashing at you all day, you’ve already cleared the junk and flagged up urgent matters before the day starts afresh (and yet more emails arrive).
If you’re happy to get work underway, the morning is a perfect time to map out a schedule for the day. Getting to grips with exactly what needs to be done will make the day run more smoothly and your stress levels will plummet. Map out a schedule, including some time for a brisk walk, some meditation or a healthy snack, otherwise you risk spending the day trying to find a moment to take a break and failing.
You could also undertake some bigger picture planning, perhaps scheduling the week or month ahead. Rather than flying blindly from one day to the next, you’ll have a clearer picture of when your busy and quieter times will be, meaning you can make better use of your time. You’ll find your mind is better able to assess how to fit in everything you need to do when you’re in complete silence, and no one is bombarding you with more demands on your time.
Better still, if there is something on the ‘to do’ list that fills you with dread and you’ve been putting off, do it now. Get it out of the way first thing, before you have a chance to convince yourself it can wait another day.
JUST DO IT
If this sounds like it could benefit you, then you have nothing to lose from trying it. Give yourself a week to get it underway. Make sure you eat healthily and not late at night. You want to spring out of bed, not crawl. Set your alarm clock to 30 minutes earlier than usual, increasing it by 30 minutes every few days until you reach 5am. Place your alarm clock on the other side of your bedroom, so that you have to get out of bed to switch it off. Once up, turn the light on immediately and get moving around.
It might be painful at first, it probably WILL be painful at first, but the benefits to your health, your personal life and your career will be noticeable very quickly. You’ll be joining a long list of shining business stars and you’ll be living life to the full.