As I begin typing this post, it is 5:44 in the morning. I have been awake for the past 44 minutes. Awake, yes; energized and excited, not necessarily. But at least I have been awake and working to accomplish some things for that time.
You see, I have a tendency too often to do what many people do every single day – hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off and go back to sleep for 9 more minutes. (By the way, how is it that seemingly every alarm out there gives you another 9 minutes? Did some government sleep cartel decide that 9 minutes was the optimal amount of extra sleep we need each morning?)
Also, for many people, hitting the snooze button once is not nearly enough. So they hit it again after 9 minutes and again after another 9 minutes and again and again until they have lost 36, 45, or 54 minutes of their morning, trying to catch a few more Zs in hopes that they will awaken refreshed, alive, and ready to take on the day.
You Snooze You Lose
The problem with that behavior is that it completely undermines any productivity goals that one may have for the day. Unless your goal is to waste the first half-hour to hour of your day, all you do when you keep hitting the Snooze button is prolong getting a start to your day. Studies show that the sleep you are getting in those 9-minute intervals is not the good solid REM sleep that you need for true rest anyway.
And yet, it feels SO good, doesn’t it? I feel jealous right now of all of you who hit the snooze bar this morning, rolled back over and fell into what felt like a deep sleep for 9 more minutes.
But as I think about it, I’m really not jealous of you at all. In fact, I almost feel sorry for you. I know what doing that just did to your day. Or at least I know what doing that does to my day EVERY SINGLE TIME I do it.
In fact, yesterday I hit the snooze button and rolled over and went back to sleep. I only did it once, so I only lost 9 minutes. But losing just those 9 minutes can throw off the entire morning. And that’s exactly what it did to me yesterday, and it seems like it does every time I hit Snooze.
Following the Gurus’ Advice
For many years now, I have been a student of leadership and productivity gurus around the world. I love learning ways to become the best I’m capable of becoming in many different facets.
One of the most important lessons I have learned from some of these gurus is the importance of starting off your morning the right way. From Michael Hyatt to Brendon Burchard to Alan Stein, Jr. and so many more, I have read their thoughts on productivity and the impact your morning has on it. I have read what they do in the morning and why they do it, and I have tried to adopt some of their routines and habits into mine.
A few years ago, I read The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. In many ways, The Miracle Morning changed my life. While I don’t know that I’m a different person because of it, I have a better mindset, focus, and routine when it comes to my morning now.
That’s not to say that before reading it I was a floundering idiot in the morning or anything like that. I had always tried to have some kind of a routine in the morning that I might follow in order to make my mornings productive. From my own ideas to those of the people mentioned above as well as others, I have always tried to make the beginning of my day productive.
But after reading The Miracle Morning, I found some specific things to focus on and try to make part of my morning each day to help me get started in a positive way. I also found that no matter how the rest of my day went, if I had done some of the things that Elrod talked about doing, I could say that at least the beginning of my day was a success.
But the cool thing about having the beginning of the day be a success is that, usually, the rest of the day has an increased chance for success, as well. The more I start off the day in a positive, productive way, the better chance I have that I will continue to make the day positive and productive.
Get Up Earlier
One of the big things that all of the gurus say is to start your day a little earlier. (I’m sure many of you wish you could hit the Snooze button right now after reading that!) Elrod says an hour earlier is ideal. He gives you certain things to do each morning, using the acronym SAVERS to help you remember what they are.
Whatever you do with your morning, though, when you get up earlier, you give yourself a chance to do some things that you wouldn’t have done if you slept until your usual time. You have a whole hour (or even a half-hour if that is all you can give yourself) to do something for you, something productive that will make your life better.
It could be reading, journaling/writing, exercising, meditating, affirmations, spiritual time, or something else that you find helpful to you. In fact, those are some of the things that Elrod and others suggest you do with your time. The key is that it is your time.
9 Work Weeks!
Consider that if you do this every day for a year, you will have added 365 hours of productive time to your year that you otherwise would not have had. That is over 9 weeks-worth of 40-hour work weeks that you will be giving to yourself to help you in whatever way you want it to help you! 9 work-weeks that YOU determine what you do for those weeks, not some boss telling you what to do.
People often say they would love to be their own boss. How about starting with being your own boss for 9 weeks out of the year? You can do that all by just getting up one hour earlier every day and committing to doing something just for you.
One extra hour a day can make a huge difference. One of the best ways I can explain how is by talking about the other side of it – by talking about what happens when I don’t start off my day right.
The Lack of Success Spiral
The moment I don’t wake up at the time I want to wake up, it seems as if my day starts an immediate downward spiral. Everything feels like it’s a bit off. No matter if I’m an hour, a half-hour, or even just 9 minutes late, I’m behind, so I’m immediately playing catch-up. Something has to give in my day.
However, I like the various elements of my morning routine to get me going in the right direction. So I don’t want to give something up then. So what happens?
I don’t do any of them as well as I normally would because I am either rushing through them, or I at least feel like I am having to rush through them. Think about how often you do your best at things when you are rushing through them. Let’s start with “Never” and go from there.
So now that I am on a bad path to start the day, once I get to the “meat & potatoes” portion of my day, I don’t feel good about it. I may have a few different things scheduled in the morning to get done. But because I didn’t get my day started on time, the timing for those things to happen got either pushed back or squished together. Either way, success is not going to be easy to achieve in either scenario.
So now I am in scramble mode, trying to get myself back on track so as to make the rest of the day better, make it what I was hoping it would be the night before as I was planning it out (another thing that Elrod and all the gurus say we should be doing). “Scramble mode” is not the ideal mode for us to be operating in if we are going to maximize our chances at creating a successful day.
And so on these days, I find that by missing my hour or half-hour, my day is affected so negatively that by the end of it, I look back and realize I accomplished so much less than I was capable of accomplishing, all because I started out hitting the snooze button and sleeping in for a little bit.
Have a Plan
This is not a recipe for success. We need to make sure that we have a plan and that we then follow that plan. Use a day-planner of some sort to help you create the day you want. Then follow that planner. Schedule your morning time in your planner, and then get up on time and do what you say you will do. This will help you start down the road to the success you seek, no matter what realm you seek it in.
Get the right mindset. Don’t snooze your way through life. Do all that you can to make the most of every day by starting every day a little earlier and doing all that you can in the time that you have given yourself to do it. Then, watch your productivity and your success soar!
* By the way, it is now 6:49. Within the first two hours of my morning, I wrote an entire blog post that is ready to be published. If I accomplish nothing else today (and I certainly hope that doesn’t happen!), at least I will have accomplished that, and I will look on it as a victory for today.
** If you click on a link and purchase something based on clicking that link, I may receive a small commission from that company. However, your cost is not any greater because of purchasing it through my link.