4am is the new 6am
I woke up early on a Wednesday a few weeks ago, after passing out the night before at 10 pm. It was roughly 4:30 am. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I was focused too much on what I needed to do and getting ready for the day. I was able to conceptualize most of my day’s agenda in the shower before jumping out, and jotted things down into my journal where I plan my day, manage my time, and increase productivity. It was scripted down to all of the to dos I wanted to finish before starting my vacation at the lake house that weekend, which started the next day!!!
The Right Stuff
And I began to think about what if I got up at 4 am every morning? In order to fit in all the good habits that will make me run like a lean mean entrepreneur machine, I have to get up a bit earlier. Time blocking, means you have a zero sum budget for your time. Each hour is accounted for in a general sense, and then you have the flexibility to fill in the relevant details. It makes you visualize your time, so you ensure you are spending time on the things that matter to you the most. This makes it clear and easy to answer the question “Are you focusing on the right things?”
That Wednesday was a power day. I got up at 4:30, showered and planned for the day and had just enough time to send two follow up emails, check my general inbox, pack, and plan for that day’s training. I had perfect timing to leave for my full day in the city. It was crazy productive time.
Time For Myself
On any other day of the week (a non workshop day in the summer) this means I would be able to write my 750 words and workout before getting the kids ready for drop off. I could then come back to the house to start my work day at 8 am. But the workout and the writing practice doesn’t get to happen if I get up any later than 4:30. By 5:30 my day of prepping for the kids starts. Getting up later means by the time I get back to the house, I have already usurped the best hours of my day.
Personal time gets priority in the day, before the sun comes up
Instead of starting at 8am with email, I could have that part of my day completed and instead be able to dig in on the sales calls, or the proposals/prepping for my MWBE app – money making tasks at my prime hours of the day. The personal time gets first priority, before the sun comes up. Then my best thinking hours between 8 and 12 noon are freed up to focus on making money, generating revenue, and driving new business.
My afternoons, when I am feeling victorious, become open to coaching clients and maintaining business. I go into the early evenings of picking up the kids, feeling confident that I have finished business. Finally, the evenings are now dinner, bed, bath, homework and putting the kids to bed by 8:30 pm.
Night Owl No More
I have figured out how to time block and the key is starting earlier than I ever thought possible. I used to be a night owl. I used to stay up until 3 am watching Lifetime movies until the infomercials came on. But now, I am excited to get up early and start the day before the sun. Going to bed earlier, means that I get to have everything. Instead of being all business, making time for personal time to happen gifts me peace and clarity. As long as I can make 4:30 the new 6 am.
a sacred time to focus inward and fuel your creativity and insight
The even crazier part is that I am certain, I am not the first person to discover this. I know a fellow solopreneur, Franny, of Let Me Be Great Inc and my friend Diane in her Primerica spare time business are both getting up early enough to make sure they can get to the gym for when it opens. They start their day with endorphins and oxytocin.
The best in business tout the benefits of extreme early rising as a way to create space for your own mental and physical quietness – a sacred time to focus inward and fuel your creativity and insight. Not to mention you walk into your day before anyone else calls dibs on your time. I can start my day on the high I need to work 8 hours on business as long as I get the prior 4 to myself. The following 4 go to my kids. That leaves 1.5 to my husband, and the final hour of each day I get to grow my brain. And that leaves 5.5 hours of sleep each night. The clutch is getting up early enough, for long enough to see the benefits of consistent personal time pay off.
13 Weeks On For 1 Week Off
That’s not a bad life. It’s an efficient life, and I can do it in madman cycles where I push through a 13 week journal on these cycles, then take a one week break to recharge in a quiet space, and celebrate my successes, before diving into it all over again. I can reward my personal time with . . . more personal time. The sacrifice is discipline. The reward is clarity.
I think I have figured out life. The secret to doing it is 4:30 am. 4 fucking 30 am! Who would have thought?! Talk about being a grown up.
Do you have a morning routine that is rocking your socks? Please share in the comments.