After I published my last blog post on Optimizing your life (linked here) I had been asked some great questions. One question that was asked by a friend of mine was “Where do I start?” – great question. You would think that there is an easy place to start and the answer would just fly off my tongue automatically but it didn’t, and it made me think… Where should someone start? Optimization means efficiency – making something easier with less friction and better results. Although there are countless habits, actions, steps, and ways that I feel one can optimize their life, you can’t perform them all at once and figuring out where to start can get very tricky. Before I jumped to answer the question I pondered on my answer and wanted to make sure I was giving helpful unbiased advice. When a friend asks your for advice it’s hard not to be biased and answer as neutral as possible given the past experiences that you have shared with this person. Then it hit me. The one thing, the very first thing that one can do to create momentum towards optimizing their life… Waking up earlier.
I believe with all my might that this one thing, waking up earlier, would benefit and yield incredible results faster than any other thing and the best part about waking up earlier is that you can start tomorrow. Waking up earlier seems like a no-brainer but it’s easier said than done. However, if executed and repeated this one thing can lead to greatness and help you accomplish your goals and dreams faster if implemented every single day. So as bad as I want to tell you that there is a magic recipe or a quick cure on how to start optimizing your life it’s just not that easy but, waking up earlier would be and will be an incredible start and I believe the first thing you should do when starting to optimize your life for greatness. Tim Cook, Richard Branson, and Howard Schultz all wake up at the crack of dawn and it seems to be working for them – most of the top 1% of successful people in the world wake up before 6am. This provides concrete evidence that it’s no coincidence that waking up early leads to more productivity.
So what’s stopping you? Let me guess, “you’re just not a morning person” or you “need your 8 hours.”
Well here are my answers to that, none of us were adults when we were children. So you’re only not a morning person because you haven’t become a morning person yet. Maybe this is a bad metaphor, but you get the point. I wasn’t a “morning person” either until I started waking up at 7am, then 630am, then 6am, and now 5am. It’s a process and it takes time but there is good news and the good news is you can start tomorrow. How great is that?
So when should you wake up? Well it depends what time you currently wake up in the morning and how early you need to be or start work but rising before the sun is extremely powerful. Being up before the sun and getting a jump start on everyone else not only gives you a time advantage but it gives you a “peace advantage.” There is something about waking up early before the hustle and bustle of everyone rushing to work that provides a lot of clarity and invaluable time to think, reflect, plan, and pray. No one expects to receive a phone call or text or have any exterior distractions this early and you sure as heck aren’t expected or obligated to answer any calls or texts before 6/7am so use this time of peace and quiet to your advantage and get ahead of the crowd.
How can you use this time to your advantage? Well this is an opportune time for you to accomplish a lot of the things that you wish you could get done but don’t seem to have the time for during the working day. Write that book, start that side business, meal prep, go to the gym, etc. Whatever you think your life needs more of – do that.
So what’s necessary to start waking up earlier?
Building a World Class Routine – Like I said before, this is important. Nothing screams world class and greatness like waking up at 5am. It takes grit and discipline to get out of your warm comfy bed and onto your feet in the morning but when you wake up with a purpose it gives meaning to your morning.
We are creatures of habit and after a few short days or weeks of getting out of bed when you really don’t want to it will become second nature. You will create a habit around waking up earlier and your body will eventually adapt. Success is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle, and great at the end – remember that. Creating a routine for your first few hours out of bed will allow you to be as efficient as possible and create your new path to greatness.
So what’s my morning routine? I thought you’d never ask! The two activities that I complete without fail, every single day in the morning are reading an inspirational book and meditation. I use my morning of peace and quiet to learn, plan, and reflect. It’s important to choose activities that you can do every single day without any rest or excuses. So creating a morning routine around a 5 mile run might not be sustainable. Your morning routine should be something that you can do every single day for the rest of your life and the act of reading and meditation is something that I know I’ll be able to sustain for the long haul.
My Morning routine
- Alarm goes off at 445am – immediately play audible (education book on my phone or positive affirmations).
- Get on my feet by 5am.
- Walk to my Keurig and start to brew my coffee and chug water.
- While my coffee is brewing I go to the bathroom and make my bed.
- After I make my bed I grab my coffee, put on clothes, and walk out the door.
- I drive to a Tesla charger and meditate in my car while my car is charging.
- I then drive to Starbucks and read a book (I do not buy coffee, but I tip the barista every once in a while for using their Wi-Fi).
This is my non-negotiable morning routine – am I perfect at it? No. I’m human and we all make mistakes and don’t always follow through on our commitments but this is a morning routine that I can do and plan on doing for the rest of my life. Creating a World-Class morning routine around how you want to live your life, not how you feel obligated to live your life is key.
Fun Fact: According to sleepcycle.com the average person wakes up at 7:09am… If you wake up just 1 hour earlier at 6:09am then you would get an extra 7 hours a week on the average person which amounts to an extra 15 days a year!