“The Early Bird Catches the Worm” – Anonymous
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin
I am sure that you have read other quotes like these about the benefits of waking up early.
I have too for years- yet I have struggled with this until my late 20s. I remember my pre-teen and teenage years when my alarm clock was my father. Each day he had to wake me up at least 5 times before I finally rolled out of bed… Groaaaannn.
I never realized the value & benefits of waking up early until recently. For the past few months, I have been consistently waking up early (most weekdays at 5.10 am) and weekends at 7.30 am.
The experience has been truly life-altering!!
OK, I won’t go that far. But I have experienced numerous benefits with my new schedule. Over the days, weeks, and months, it has now become an automatic habit.
Here Are the 7 Benefits That I Have Experienced by Waking up Early.
1. More Control Over Your Day
I used to be the guy who woke up just in time to rush to work. You know what I mean right? I wake up at 7.30, then get ready quickly – skip breakfast and rush to the office in the dreaded commute – to arrive just in time for the 8.30 AM team meeting.
I kept doing this over and over again – until I reached a point where I asked myself the question “Why am I doing this? Am I insane?”. Before even my actual workday began I was already stressed out by the commute (more about this in a bit)
That is when I decided to change my schedule.
For the past few months I have been consistently waking up at 5 AM (OK I use the snooze button once – it’s at 5.10 AM) – regardless it is still early.
I immediately exercise in the morning – Have my morning breakfast- get ready for work – and head to work. I don’t have the feeling of apprehension that comes from rushing to work.
2. Get the Exercise Out of the Way
I am sure this happens to you. You have had a long day at work – client meetings, projects, phone calls, emails, etc. And you even stay an extra 2 hours just to complete the necessary amount of work. By the time you leave the office and head home – you are completely wiped.
The last thing you want to do is exercise.
This has happened to me many times – there have been many occasions I have skipped the evening workouts. And then you feel grumpy again the next morning.
When you wake up early and schedule some time for early morning exercise – this is taken care of.
For the past few months, I exercise first thing in the morning.
My muscles are tired, my brain screams not to do it but I do it anyway. And you know what? – It is completed before most people even begin their day.
More importantly – Once your exercise is done -you feel a sense of accomplishment right in the morning. You experience a sudden surge of energy. And you can reward yourself with a delicious protein shake.
3. Avoid the Crazy Commute
Whether you drive, take transit, or bike to work- commuting is a normal part of your daily schedule (unless you work from home). This is something most of us have to endure each day.
Here is an obvious truth you might already know – the commute gets crazier during rush hour.
You know this, right? So why would you purposely put yourself in that position every day?
I used to be part of the morning commute each & every day. By the time you got to work – you are already mentally and physically drained.
Ever since I have started to wake up early at 5.10 AM (to be precise) – I have been able to handle this. I completely avoid the rush hour crowd. I usually start an hour earlier. The commute is much more relaxed.
4. An Excuse to Load up on More Coffee
“You have 3 cups of coffee a day?” asked one of my colleagues.
“Yes,” I said, “and all that before 10 am”.
The benefits & disadvantages of coffee are debatable. There are various conflicting studies on how much coffee is optimum.
But if you are like me, who is a converted early riser- then this is a valid excuse to load up on your favorite Java.
Regardless of whether it is good for you or not, you can drink more coffee if you are a fan (or a java addict like me).
5. Less Difficulty Sleeping
If you are like most people who check their smartphones and tablets before going to bed (Thank you Netflix and Facebook), then you know how hard it is to go to sleep.
I bet you have had those nights where you are just lying in bed trying to sleep – you are either staring at your smartphone or the empty ceiling.
I used to have the same problem. And that justified me waking up late in the morning.
Now I don’t have that problem.
By the time it is 9.30 PM I am completely wiped. No matter what I want to do – read a book or watch Netflix – my body does not allow me to do it.
I have to sleep, I don’t have to try hard at all. No more sleeping pills or fancy teas that promise good sleep. Let nature take care of itself. Sleep like a baby each night.
6. Plan Your Day in Advance
Another advantage of waking up early is that you will be able to arrive at work much earlier than your peers.
This will give you some additional time to plan your day.
Surprisingly planning your day does not take that much time. It is a mere investment of 5 minutes.
However, it gives you clarity in knowing how your day is going to look like. This does give us a sense of control that helps to become more productive.
7. Use Quiet Time to Your Advantage
Having an extra 30 to 60 minutes in the morning allows you to do things that you might find hard to do during the day – for example, reading, journaling, goal-setting, etc.
I spend 10 minutes in the morning writing down & reviewing my goals.
This provides me a sense of control in knowing which direction I am going. Also, it puts a bit of healthy pressure under my butt to get to work and start working towards my goals.
In the months I have been waking up early I have noticed numerous benefits as described above. Most of the time I feel like I have more time in the day. Perhaps it is because I do not feel overly rushed as before.
Are you early riser?
How long have you been waking up early?
What other benefits have you experienced by waking up early?