Rise early – to raise your Productivity.

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Have a baby.. I’m joking but it helps.

To be honest I’ve been a ‘morning person’ for a lot longer than that. I’ve always had a fairly long commute into work and have always preferred getting up and starting my working day by 8:30am at the latest. This meant I had a longer evening and around 6 years ago a lie in was only until 8am although I would consider 7am pretty decent now.

I was initially forced to have an early start, usually between 5:00 – 5:30am but over the last few months its become a habit, the darker mornings do make it hard.

It doesn’t matter what you do or where you work, everyone is looking for ways to be more productive.

Excessive amounts of caffeine and complex list making won’t get you any closer to reaching peak productivity levels today.

We are all so obsessed with productivity and it’s probably because in this digital age, staying focused on tasks and avoiding distraction is harder to accomplish than your actual work. Not to mention the great feeling of a productive workday.

There is a misconception about what productivity really is, it’s more than checking tasks off your to do list, truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more. Make a reasonable to do list so you don’t overwhelm yourself. To do lists often fail because we make them too complicated or the tasks unequal. Some tasks will take a long time to complete and others can be ticked off easily and quickly. This creates an unbalance in the way we distribute our time and then what happens is that our list then becomes a procrastination tool. You will end up doing the easy things first and not focus on the hard or long-term stuff properly.

I discovered one very effective habit that has transformed my day and my task list completely and it was to become an early riser (as well as prioritising but more on that in my next blog). I appreciate mornings aren’t for everyone but the benefits are huge if you’re willing to try it. Here is what you do with your extra time:

  • Have a proper breakfast
  • Avoid the morning rush – at home or commuting
  • Prepare things for the day ahead
  • Exercise
  • Tackle a particular piece of work
  • Make a good start at achieving a difficult or long term goal
  • Read a book
  • Learn something new

Sometimes I just need more sleep, but I try to make early starts a positive and productive time that I look forward to and enjoy. Surprisingly my mind is actually a lot clearer and not foggy from sleep, there are less distractions and you don’t have to wake up at 4am, not unless you want to!

Here are my tips for becoming an early riser:

  • Start slowly – don’t make drastic changes, try waking just 15-30 minutes earlier for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes until you get to your goal time.
  • Allow yourself to sleep earlier – you might be used to staying up late, perhaps watching TV or surfing the Internet. But if you continue this habit, while trying to get up earlier, sooner or later one is going to give. Try going to bed earlier, even if you don’t think you’ll sleep, and read while in bed, this can help you unwind and relax your mind. If you’re really tired, you just might fall asleep much sooner than you think.
  • Put your alarm clock far from you bed – if it’s right next to your bed, you’ll shut it off or hit snooze, don’t hit snooze.
  • Go out of the bedroom as soon as you turn off your alarm – Don’t allow yourself to think about going back to bed, just force yourself to go out of the room to the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Be positive and don’t allow your brain to talk you out of getting up early as you may never do it.
  • Allow yourself to sleep in if you really need it – you know if you’re physically or mentally tired, sometimes a nap will do the trick, other times you need to rest, really listen to your body.
  • Make waking up early a reward – soon you will look forward to waking up early. Maybe you’re reward is as simple as sitting in peace with a hot cup of tea or coffee, nice breakfast, meditating or going outside for 10 minutes.. Find something that’s pleasurable for you, and allow yourself to do it as part of your morning routine.
  • Take advantage of all that extra time – Don’t wake up an hour or two early just to catch up on social media, unless that’s a major goal of yours. Wake up early and have a plan.
  • Now it’s getting colder it’s not very appealing to get up early but try and enjoy it and go outside or even just open a window, it’s very quite and peaceful.

Will you try it? Let me know how it goes for you.

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