It’s Sunday, and here I sit a 6:24am fully dressed down to my shoes. My keys, wallet, and knife are in their pockets; I’m ready to walk out the door. I don’t have anywhere to be until church at 11am. The
little monsters sweet children get up around 8 every day. So why?
Because I want to be productive. My web developer, Jason at Placer Marketing, told me about an article he read about productivity and the power of getting up early. He sent me the link and I’m convinced to give it a try. Click here to read the article by Benjamin Hardy.
When I think back, the most productive times in my life have been when I consistency woke up early
When I think back to the most productive times in my life, they have been the seasons that I intentionally woke up early. I remember my first job as a part-time youth minister while in college, I was so excited and driven. The biggest perk was I had a nice office, and keys to the building. For the first few months, I was there by 7:30, no one else was there until 8:30. By noon I had accomplished everything I needed to do that day including many long-term goals. My grades in college also improved thanks to my early rising and intentional planning of each day. Eventually, the excitement wore off and I fell back into the “wake up late, rush out the door, arrive barely on time routine the majority of people live in.
Most people spend their day reacting to situations instead of anticipating them
Most people spend their day reacting to their obligations instead of anticipating them. Yesterday was Saturday. Saturday in my world is “work on our house day.” There are chores do, children to play with, trash to take to the dump (We live in a rural area without curbside garbage service). I meant to start this “get up a 5am” thing yesterday but hit my alarm button as soon as I heard it and went back to sleep.
At 7:30 I was awoken by little ones hungry and ready to be awake (Saturday is my wife’s day to sleep in: she adamantly disagrees with anyone who says you should wake up before 9:00 am). Now I was in reaction mode, I had two hungry and fussy toddlers who had to get frustrated and loud enough to wake me from my sleep to get their needs taken care of. I had to jump out of bed and go straight to them and start getting their breakfast and sippy cups ready. Because I wasn’t ready to be awake this made my attitude…less than pleasant…and set my tone for the entire day.
Today will be different. I’m already up and can anticipate and plan my morning. My oldest gets up first then wakes up the middle-est (Yes I’m making up a new word). If I can get him up and out the middle-est can keep sleeping for another hour. I can have his pop-tart and cup ready and we can have some quality time first thing before getting ready for church. I’m anticipating my day instead of reacting to it. I’m taking back control.
Unplanned time is wasted time
Unplanned time is wasted time. Therefore, just waking up at 5am is pointless without a plan. So I applied Lean to my 5am wake-up time. Lean is about continuously improving a process. Your morning routine is a process and therefore can be improved to eliminate waste and increase productivity.
This is what my mornings were looking like:
- Alarm goes off at 6:40. Hit snooze until 7:20
- 7:20 rush to get dressed and out the door by 7:30, usually 8 if I’m working from home
- 8:00 get to jobsite or shop without any real plan on what I should be doing first
As you see I’m reacting to my day:
This is my goal for what my mornings will look like now:
- 5:00-5:15 Get up and get fully dressed. To me, there is something psychological about being dressed and ready to go. It’s always been a thing for me. I’m sure there is research to validate my opinion on this (this is the internet after all…).
- 5:15-5:30 Stretch, get moving. From past experience I know if I get up and go straight to a desk (or couch) I will fall asleep there or just sit there in a zombie state. Stretching has tons of benefits and feels good. I don’t exercise in this time I’m just on my feet.
- 5:30-5:45 – Bible reading, prayer, meditation. This is something I have neglected in my life for much too long.
- 5:45-6:00 – Physical Activity. My body is still fighting consciousness at this point so I do something to get the blood moving. I got this awesome punching bag for Christmas but it’s on the back porch and I would wake the family up using it at this time. So shadow boxing.
- 6:00-6:15 – Plan my day, 3S (a Lean thing), make an actionable plan for self-improvement.
- 6:15-7:00 – Computer time to blog, edit video, return business email, work on estimates, etc. Today I’m writing this blog post. And it’s my Sabbath so I’m not doing any real work. This blog post is different somehow, I think because it’s more personal, so I don’t consider it work. I’m also bleeding into my next block of time. Also, no social media during this time.
- 7:00-7:30 – Continued computer time, load up the trailer to head to jobsite, or start cleaning shop to start work at 8:00
- 7:30-8:00 – Travel time to jobsite. It takes me roughly 30mins to get to a location, and I cant really start making noise until 8:00 due to city ordinances and common courtesy.
- 8:00 – Saw Blades spinning. Out of respect for my neighbors, I don’t start any loud equipment until 8:00. I have stood there with my hand on the saw and a clock at 7:59 waiting for 8:00.
This is my planned morning routine. It’s not set in stone and I can change it as I see fit. However, following my planned morning routine is set in stone in that whatever plan I set I will follow. So far I’ve had a calm and productive morning.
Remember: Your morning routine is a process and all processes can be continuously improved.
What does your morning routine look like? What changes can you make to improve your morning productivity?
Be sure to read the article that inspired me to start this new 5am madness: You Make Or Break Your Life Between 5-7 AM by Benjamin Hardy