Are you still asleep or up already? Are you a late riser or an early bird?
Long long time ago I was a late riser. Please do not confuse with a late bloomer. Anyway, I took every chance to start the day later. The weekend was always meant to sleep in.
Something's changed. Several years ago I changed my behaviour to the contrary.
It was at a time when I had trouble sleeping. I woke up at night, always thinking about the unfinished tasks, personal goals, ideas and rolled from side to side until I finally fell asleep again in the early morning. When my alarm clock rang, I pressed the snooze button again and again. This battle turned into a morning ritual. When I sat at my desk later I was drained and tired. I did the most urgent tasks and postponed all the others in the hope that I would be fitter the next day.
Procrastination is a vicious circle.
Now it happened that I got up when I lay awake around 4 am. It wasn't intended. I didn't even think about. I just decided to get up.
What happened now was interesting. I enjoyed the morning peace and quiet, started to work off my tasks and the to-do list was getting shorter. So I started thinking. I began to deal with the matter. Why did I sleep better again? Why was I more productive? Why was I more relaxed?
5 reason to get up at 5 a. m.
You have not yet been pushed to and fro by a thousand small and large demands from a thousand directions until you feel dizzy. No one is bothering you, neither mails, nor phone calls, nor life gets in your way. Your partner is still sleeping, your colleagues and your competition even more so. Television has nothing to offer.
Benjamin Franklin got up at 5 a.m. every morning to be able to plan citizen militias undisturbed, to design the US Constitution in his head and to invent the lightning rod. The philosopher Immanuel Kant got up at this time to smoke a pipe, meditate and think up his epistemology or phrases like "One who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him.".
At 5 a.m. there is only you, with your clear thoughts, your plans, your goals. Full of energy and time for you.
Why do we so rarely manage to do sports after work, or take care of our household or finally give our family and friends the attention they deserve? Why are most diets thrown overboard in the evening?
Self-discipline is like a muscle that goes limp during the day. Every little decision you make (Quickly cross the crossroads at yellow?), every tiny task you don't do out of pure joy or habit (Quickly iron your shirt before going to the office. Better to eat only the apple than the family pack of chocolate bars), strains the muscle of self-discipline. Like any other muscle, it needs energy. At the end of the day there is nothing left of it. All your plans to lose weight, to do sports, to meditate regularly, to start a business, to read more books or to learn to play the guitar, are confronted in the evening, unarmed, with an army of old, bad habits, light distractions and tiredness.
At 5 a.m., you're more self-disciplined than you've ever been that day. Why not invest this energy in yourself and your dreams instead of giving it away over the day to your job and the things that others want to do with you ("Heyyy, do you have a minute...?").
Between 6 and 9 in the morning, people tweet with the highest percentage of words like "fantastic!", "super", "proud" and "shit, that's cool!", according to the results of a major analysis. It's the people who, in all outward calm, did great things with joy while the sun was rising.
At 5 o'clock in the morning you still have plenty of time to do things that feel fantastic, bring you forward and make you feel proud. While your fellow men are still wallowing in bed.
Ernest Hemingway got up at dawn to write about old men and the seas, the war and snow on Kilimanjaro, securing himself a Nobel Prize in Literature and millions of readers.
At 5 a.m. you can hang on to the teat of creativity and drink from it with big gulps. Sounds disgusting, but it works.
The early morning attracts SUCCESS
James Citrin, CEO of a global recruitment agency and himself an early riser by conviction, asked 20 managers of international corporations when they get up and how they spend the morning hours. None of them started the day after 6 a.m. One of the interviewees was Steve Reinemund, former head of PepsiCo. Reinemund gets up at 5 a.m., goes for a four-mile run (outside or on the treadmill), takes a shower, meditates, reads a book or the newspaper, and then spends breakfast time with his children without rush before he drives to the office and starts the work day. He knows: what is most important to him must be done first. Because during the day, urgent things come to the foreground, which do not necessarily have to be important.
At 5 o'clock in the morning, the successful ones take the reins of their lives in their hands.
Thanks to my monk for reminding me. The five reasons may now appear to some to be somewhat contrary to the completion of tasks. No. I transformed myself into an early riser and realized that it is of the greatest advantage for my private life as well as for my job. Both spheres must be in harmony, in balance. By getting up early I managed to keep this balance.
Every day I got up just before 4 a.m. At first I allowed myself a delicious tea, which I enjoyed most of all on the balcony in the summer months in all peace and quiet. There is hardly anything better than the sunrise and the chirping of the birds in the morning. Afterwards I went for the morning sport. Freshly showered and wide awake, I got into the car after a leisurely breakfast to arrive at the office shortly before 7 am, two hours before business hours. In these first two hours I accomplished the most essential tasks. BTW, my to-do lists are not sorted by priority, because everything is always important or appears to be. My lists are divided into unpleasant, pleasant and enjoyable tasks. The unpleasant tasks are to be done first. Even for this there is a simple reason. As long as you know that you have an unpleasant task to do, you work less concentrated. The energy is vasted only with the thought "I still have to do this... shit.". But once you've done that, you just pat yourself on the back and say "Well done". Through the relief and the sense of achievement, you gain new strength but above all you are more relaxed and in a better mood.
At the end of the day I have more time for myself, for my partner,.... and so on. Just because I got up earlier, did not procrastinate, got things finished. Also on weekends I got up at this time. The best time to bake bread and buns.
I've learned that many people do not understand the importance of (self)discipline, (self)structure and (self)balance as essential tools to live a more fulfilling, positive life. Getting up early is a simple first step, which should be complemented later with further puzzle pieces, such as purposeful relaxation, meditation, etc. But it is a first step.
In the past weeks and months I was able to observe that especially those people of whom I know that they have a similar attitude towards life and use the same or similar techniques as I do, can deal with the current situation much better.
As is commonly known, some things in my life have changed in the meantime. I am still an early bird. Something that will never change. I wake up between 4:30 and 5:00 o'clock in the morning, get up and usually prepare an Earl Gay (a self-made herbal tea) with lemon. I enjoy it together with the pleasant silence and the sound of the waves on the deck. Pat and sometimes Ben join me about a half hour later. We swim a few lanes and jog a few kilometres before enjoying the breakfast my husband has prepared in the meantime (or we all prepare it together) in all comfort. After that we are ready for all the tasks and challenges of the day. In doing so, we also pay attention to balance, to enjoy the pleasant things and moments.
Being an early riser does not mean going to bed early. There is a German wisdom "Mit den Hühnern schlafen gehen." (go to bed with the chickens [and you hold the cock in your hand when you wake up]*) which says that you should go to bed early like the chickens. I realized that my body demands much less sleep than I had ever thought before. *the part in square brackets is a commonly known addition 😁
Life is energy. (If you have read carefully, you have already figured this out.) This energy can be channeled in a purposeful way.
Thanks for reading.
Please let me know by your comments if you are interested in techniques to transform yourself into an early bird and other ways to achieve more positivity, balance in your life.