I am not a morning person. I love to sleep. If I did not set an alarm, I would wake up at noon every day. Not because I woke up earlier and went back to bed, I would literally sleep uninterrupted until noon.
From 2012 to 2014, I used to wake up at 4:30 AM Monday-Friday. A great friend and fellow co-worker at the time, Reid Wolfe, and I used to meet every morning at 5 AM to work out. We would cut out around 6:30 AM. I would then head to the office to grab a shower and would be up at my desk around 7:15 AM. This gave me a solid 45 minutes to prepare for the day (95% of the office was empty at this time) before the 8 AM meeting I lead every day. Unfortunately, when I switched jobs and moved, I lost my workout buddy and my abs of steel.
This time did leave me with a takeaway that I have built upon through the years. You can accomplish a lot in the early morning hours. The main reason is simple, you don’t have distractions. While my office most days is in my basement, we are connected more than ever.
The number of slack messages I receive on a given day can be overwhelming. So much of my day is spent ‘putting out fires’. A slack message asking about the progress of a project, a glitch we found on one of our sites, a situation that needs to be addressed on social media, the list really is endless. Combine Slack with email flow and the efficiency of the day can take a dirt nap. I find myself scheduling blocks on my calendar throughout the week where I have to pause notifications on Slack and not look at email. If I don’t, mission-critical tasks will NOT get done. But, let’s get back to the topic.
Now, I wake up at 6 AM. By 6:10, I have taken the dogs out, grabbed an energy drink, and I'm staring at my monitors. The next 2-3 hours of the day are my most efficient. The vast majority of my co-workers are still asleep or have not started their workday. There are no distractions (good or bad). I normally attack a couple of tasks that are not fun that I would like to put off to another day but need to get done. I am reviewing the day and week and making sure that I will be as efficient as possible. Tasks that are impossible to accomplish that morning, I am scheduling for another early morning that week.
Occasionally I am able to knock out a multitude of tasks that I thought would bleed into the normal morning in less than an hour. When this occurs, instead of giving myself a pat on the back, I turn up the volume. I attach my inbox, trying to get the unread number as low as possible. I start looking at future tasks and projects seeing If I can complete or start them now.
Maybe you think I am crazy. Why would you wake up 2-3 hours before you need to!?!
Try it. Maybe start waking up an hour earlier and see what you can accomplish! Efficiency is addicting.
Now, I just need to figure out how to get back into the gym. I have not figured out how to solve this one in a few years, the struggle is real.