Wake up early
The debate about the merits and drawbacks of being an early bird or night lark has been going on for a long time.
Whilst not all successful people are early risers, it does appear as if a majority of them are. Research suggests that many successful people wake-up well before the work day begins.
Early risers share certain traits, such as discipline (to go to bed early the night before), pro-activity (to want to wake before the rest of the world) and a desire to bring forward daily achievements.
Businessmen that have been revealed as early risers include Apple CEO Tim Cook who rises daily at 4 am, followed Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at 4.30am, and Richard Branson (founder of Virgin) and Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) at 5am.
Richard Branson once stated;
“Over my 50 years in business I have learned that if I rise early I can achieve so much more in a day, and therefore in life.”
Set the alarm at the same time everyday
Successful people tend to set their alarm clock every day at the same time, even on weekends.
Waking at a regular time stabilises our circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a daily cycle. They are linked to our body clock are important in determining our natural sleeping and feeding patterns.
Waking up at the same time every day stabilises the body clock which should be beneficial for improving sleep and decreasing possible insomnia and sleep deprivation.
Better sleep quality is usually accompanied with a range of secondary benefits such as heightened alertness, a sharper focus and better mood. All of these factors should help improve job performance.
Make a to-do list the night before
A to-do list identifies all the tasks that need to be completed, allowing you to prioritise those that are important, and work through the others in the most efficient manner during the rest of the day.
A to-do list should be useful at keeping you focused on the tasks at hand, preventing the day from running away from you, so tasks get done.
Often it’s not until the end of the work day that you have the visibility as to what exactly needs to get done the next day. So to-do lists are best made at the end of the working day so that they can be most closely adhered to the following day.
Determine your biggest priorities and do the hardest things first
Try to tackle the hardest things on your to-do list whilst you have a significant reserve of mental and physical energy.
First thing in the morning your mind is at its most clear. The office should be quiet and competing interests challenging for your time will be at a minimum.
Early wins on your to-do list will give you momentum and a sense of accomplishment to carry you through the rest of the day.
The American author Mark Twain is cited to have said;
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
The adage proposes completing the most difficult task first, allowing you can proceed through the rest of the day with the satisfaction of knowing the worst is behind you.
Get energised immediately
The most inefficient you can be is to wake up early and then spend time procrastinating, passing the time day-dreaming in bed, fiddling on your phone or pottering around the house.
Procrastination is a deadly pastime for those needing to achieve something. It makes waking-up early redundant and establishes a bad habit for the rest of the day.
Try to wake up every day with purpose. Rise with energy and move with speed to the first phase of the day, whether this be breakfast, the morning commute or gym before work.
Take a cold shower or grab a cup of coffee to get the brain cogs moving. Use time efficiently; think about the daily tasks that need completing in the shower, and how you can be most productive during the morning commute.
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Written by Christopher Bolland