Do you find yourself struggling to get the important stuff of your day done and you find yourself staying up way too late? It is a common mistake and it is one reason I don’t wake up at 6 am.
You see, there is something romantic about being a night owl. For some people, like my four year old, that it is her natural sleep habit to want to stay up later and stay in bed in the mornings. As she puts it “I feel alive at night mama.”
When you stay up at night to get work done, no matter how awake you are, you are not fresh and it negatively affects the amount of work you get done.
Staying up late negatively affects your productivity and the outcome of your content. In fact, at the end of the day you are tired and exhausted. The quality of work you put out is not your best work.
This biggest negative of staying up late to accomplish work is you always end up not getting it all done. You end up wasting another day to endless tasks.
Why Wake Up Early
I told you at the start of this article that I don’t wake up at 6am, and I don’t. I wake up at 4am seven days a week.
This means that I am in bed each night by 9pm. This is one of the rules for my life, and it is how I have managed to build a successful online business with four kids running around.
Waking up early gives you a head start on the day. When you wake up early you are able to get 60 to 90 minutes, sometimes even 120 minutes, of work done each day before everyone else wakes up.
When you focus your time in the morning and dedicate it to the tasks that need to be accomplished you will increase your productivity.
When you work on tasks, not projects, you can move through a step by step process and complete 2-3 tasks a day putting you ahead of the game.
When you dedicate time in the mornings on those tasks right away that carry priority you have done the work. The rest of your day is open and you don’t have to worry about blocking out time and trying to keep the kids busy.
You don’t have to worry about getting an afternoon walk in. Before you would have been trying to complete two tasks at once with the kids asking for a million snacks. Now the work is done and you can head out the door.
That is freedom.
How to make the shift
I am going to start this section off by the easiest way to break procrastination is to take action. You may create a plan through this section and put it off for weeks, months and then years. Don’t.
Take action today, and here is how.
Start the night before and create a plan. What are the 2-3 tasks, not projects, that need to get done tomorrow?
Take a look at consequences of things not getting done and also in what order things need to happen.
Write those 2-3 tasks out and set your alarm to wake up 20 minutes earlier. Yes, I know I told you that you could have 60 to 90 minutes in the morning. However, if you try and jump from 9am wake up to 7am wake up you will likely fail.
Its too much at once. Start in 20 minute segments and work your way up. This sets you up for success while still giving you 20 minutes of solid work time.
What is it that you need? Get everything ready to go so you can walk right in and work. Have the coffee set to go, have your Google Document opened for writing and your pen/paper handy.
Cut out the obstacles that will steal your time in the morning by having your stuff together so you can walk in and work.
With your tasks outlined, your alarm set and your gear ready you can go to bed. Sleep is one of the biggest self care rituals everyone needs. I don’t care if you feel like your body can run off of 5 hours of sleep. It will catch up to you.
Even with kids you can set yourself up for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. You may get less pending late night wake ups but at least you have planned for the seven to eight hours.
Pick a time and go to bed that allows you to get as much rest as possible. This resets your brain and your body and you will even more fresh in the morning and get some big tasks done with ease.
Creating the new habit
You may do this for a day or two and not see results. That is not how this works. Just like a diet, you cannot expect to eat two salads and lose 10 pounds.
The first few days you may be groggy because that 20 minutes feels like a huge difference. It is not, and you will continue to grow that 20 minutes to 90 minutes over time. Right now, it may feel like a huge difference because it is change and you may have some blocks around this.
However, if you stick with it you will push through and you will find that this is the most productive time you have each day. You can get more done in that window of time than any other part of your day.
Make it a habit to wake up on time each morning. Don’t hit snooze and lose all of the planning that you put into place. Take the next 21 days and wake up 20 minutes earlier and start work right away.
After that 21 days you can even go another 21 days and wake up 40 minutes earlier.
Waking up at 4am allows me to get my most important work tasks done each day. My kids wake up at 7am each day and play in their rooms until 7:30 (summer schedule). This allows me to work three and a half hours each day, uninterrupted. This is focused work where I get the majority of my work done.
I then have the entire rest of the day for my family. I don’t even have to think about work until I go to close out my day and set up for tomorrow.
Imagine having that uninterrupted time to build your business.