Sleeping, it’s the bane of our existence. We’re sleep deprived. We have sleepless nights. We take sleeping pills. Hell, we’re headed for the big sleep. It’s no wonder then when our marimba alarm clocks chime every morning to start the day we loathe it with every fiber in our sluggish body. But this unhealthy obsession with catching up on sleep could be at the root of what’s preventing us from achieving our true potential.
Waking up early could be just the kick in the ass you need to turn lemons into lemonade.
The habits we develop to start our day are not only good for being more productive, but on a mental level, they allow us to have tiny victories which shape how we perceive obstacles throughout the day. Waking up early frees us of distractions, text and emails — and at that hour, social media posts from your shitty friends. In short, the bullshit of the world has yet to wake leaving you with plenty of time for self-care and personal and spiritual growth.
So how early must the early bird rise to catch the damn worm?
A Wall Street Journal report found that 4 a.m. might be the most productive time of the day — mainly because a plethora of successful people prescribe to this routine. Richard Branson, billionaire entrepreneur, wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning to hit the gym and be with his family before starting work. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, wakes up at the ungodly hour of 3:45 a.m. to workout and start conquering emails.
But waking up at 4 a.m. isn’t for everyone, even if you’re pulling down nine-figure paychecks. What’s important is waking up at a time where you can accomplish small tasks that create a proactive mindset for the day. Focusing on positive habits — exercise, reading, meditating — for yourself gives you a necessary boost in happiness and confidence that you take into other tasks throughout the day.
A Harvard biologist comparing morning versus night people had a similar conclusion when researching who was more productive:
“When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards," says Christoph Randler. "My earlier research showed that they tend to get better grades in school, which get them into better colleges, which then lead to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They’re proactive. A number of studies have linked this trait, proactivity, with better job performance, greater career success and higher wages.”
While career and personal success hinge on a multitude of factors besides what time you wake in the morning, rising early does have proven benefits besides seeing the drunk people stumble home from the bars. Win the morning and you win the day.