Why is it so hard to get an earlier start to your day? This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately. I consider myself a morning person and used to easily get up between 5 and 5:30 am each day during the week.
A few years ago, I even remember going to a 4:45 am workout class at the park district which would seem nearly impossible for me lately. What changed?
Do you feel like you just can’t get an earlier that to your day no matter what? Do you plan to start working at a particular time but somehow always happen to miss the mark? This is not uncommon. In fact, there can be a number of reasons leading to why you can’t get an earlier start to your day.
Here are some common issues that you can start cleaning up.
Not Preparing the Night Before
Preparing the night before is crucial for getting off to a good start the following morning. If you find yourself feeling disorganized in the morning or having to finish off tasks and catch up on emails that should have been answered the day before, this could be taking up a lot of extra time.
If you establish a solid evening routine that helps you get yourself up for success, you’ll find it much easier to get an earlier start to your day. It only takes a few minuted to do things like prep your food for the following day, pick out an outfit, get your email inbox down to zero, and review your calendar or plan out tasks for the next day.
Do as much as you can to prepare the night before. That way, all you have to do when you get up is start taking action.
Not Going to Bed On Time
This is an obvious set back that will prevent you from waking up early and getting your day started. Let’s say the average small business owner wakes up at 7 or 8 am. If you get up at 5 am, that will give you an extra 2-3 hours per day. This adds up to an extra 10-15 extra hours each work week.
That means you’ll essentially give yourself hundreds of additional hours to be productive and reach your goals – simply by waking up earlier. You can’t accomplish this if you don’t allow yourself enough time to sleep. Try to shoot for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night on average.
Sure, this means going to bed early and giving up that extra television episode, but it’s worth it in the long run. If you plan your day out strategically, you may even have time to watch that show earlier around 7 pm.
Giving in to Common Distractions
Have you addressed the common distractions that cause you to waste precious time throughout your day. There are probably dozens of distractions that sink in from the moment you decide to sit down and work until the time you call it quits for the day.
To identify which distractions are most damaging to you, start tracking your time and log which distractions occur and when. Do you feel tempted by the notification sounds on your phone in the morning? Are you hungry often? Do you find yourself obsessing over that cup of coffee that you’ve been trying to avoid in the morning? Does social media have a huge hold on your time?
Be intentionally tracking your time and recording the source of your distractions, you can learn how to overcome and avoid them altogether. Put your phone on airplane mode. Eat a filling breakfast. Drink the cup of coffee or have decaf. Give yourself 10 minutes to browse on social media. Do what it takes to stay strong against your everyday distractions so you can get more done.
Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy when it comes to getting an earlier start to your day. If you feel like you constantly sabotage yourself when it comes to getting your work started on time, try to switch up your schedule.
I know I’ve recommended time and time again to start with your most mentally challenging task first but perhaps that advice won’t work for you. Maybe you need to switch things up and try to ease into your workday with an easy or exciting task that motivates you. I switch my work schedule around all the time to accommodate my needs and mood at the time.
Some days may be good for diving in headfirst and knocking out a big task. For other days, you may want to plan carefully and get into a focused work mode before you start doing serious deadline work.
You Don’t Dedicate Enough Time To Yourself
This is a big one. If you can’t get an earlier start to your day it may be because you are in a constant state of catching up. Dedicate time to do important things like plan out your week but also take care of personal errands and household tasks.
I’ll be the first one to admit that when you avoid taking care of yourself and getting important things done, it always comes back to bite you. Even if you want to get your day started earlier and are prepared to do so, it may be hard to pull it off when non-negotiable tasks pop up.
Other things you can do to get your day started earlier include:
- Setting an alarm and placing your clock or phone across the room
- Agreeing that you’ll do 10 push-ups for every time you press the ‘snooze’ button on your alarm
- Beginning your day by spending 10-minutes of doing something productive that you enjoy like reading, exercise, or mindful meditation
- Tweaking your morning routine
- Eating a healthy meal
- Relying on a little caffeine to jumpstart a successful day
Ultimately, it takes time and practice along with a solid strategy to help you get up earlier and actually start doing productive work sooner. Think of the benefits you’ll get though like accomplishing more overall and possibly wrapping up work for the day a little earlier and getting to spend more time with loved ones.
Start taking small steps each day and form a lifelong habit.