Daily routines are incredibly important and powerful. In order to achieve anything meaningful and creative, your mind has to be free of the clutter that can get clogged up in there along the way. Such are the hazards of the information age. A routine allows you to place on auto pilot that aspects of your day you should not be having to think about.
Human beings are notoriously terrible at decision making. In today’s society we are faced with an overkill of choices. This is actually detrimental and leads to mental torture – have you ever just fancied “some chocolate” and then stood in front of the chocolate at your local shop struggling to decide exactly which bar to get? This is because the choice is overwhelming.
Overkill of choice leads to inertia. Stripping down the decisions and choices you have to make in life is a sure fire way to achieve mental clarity. One of the most powerful things to assist with this choice reduction is having a concrete daily routine. A daily routine puts on auto pilot all the small decisions you have to make during a day – when should I get up? What should I have for breakfast? What should I wera? When should I set off for work? Ad infinitum.
Having a concrete routine enables you to bypass these small decisions and gain the mental clarity you require to achieve things. One aspect of a solid daily routine I have truly embraced is getting up early. The formula is a common trait among a raft of successful people throughout history. The early bird does seem to catch the worm! I currently get up at 5am, heading straight downstairs and making a cup of coffee. I will then arrange my todos on trello, and get started on them straight away. My first activities usually involve writing blog posts, sending emails, coding on the site, strategising on what the company should do next etc.
I find that my brain works so much better at this time, and I am less likely to procrastinate. My concentration levels are so much higher – this may be something to do with the fact that it is tired and unable to object to the thing that is directly in front of me so just carries on and works!
So, as added weight for the argument of getting up at 5am, here is a list of successful people who all rise at 5am.
1) Benjamin Franklin
One of the founding fathers of America, and a man of diverse talent, Franklin rose at 5am every morning. He would plan his day’s work and often ask himself what good he was going to do that day.
2) Jack Dorsey – Founder of Twitter
The man who gave the world the micro blog is often up at 5:15. He also founded payment firm Square, and held down the CEO role at both companies, working 8 hour days at either. He would often use the extra time an early rise afforded him to take in some exercise and clear his head for the day ahead.
3) Howard Schultz – CEO Starbucks
Schultz rose at 04:30 and was usually in the office by 06:00. I bet he had a good cup of coffee to help him!
4) Tim Cook – Apple CEO
Cook is up by 04:30 and can be often found in the gym by 05:00. He sends out company emails ridiculously early and, as a matter of principle, the first man in the office, and the last man out. Talk about setting the example!
5) Mark Parker – Nike CEO
The company slogan would appear a mantra that their CEO lives by, as he just does it every morning, working out 2 hours a week starting at 05:00. The Ironman competitor gets his daily training in before most of us have even considered seeing what the day looks like!
There are many benefits to be got from waking up early. For me personally, I find it comforting that by the time I get into the office, I have already had 2.5 or 3 hours worth of work under my belt. The day suddenly seems less stressful, and the clarity you gain is well worth the effort.
The key to getting up early? Well I have to cite the nike slogan. You have to “Just Do It”. The trick is that, as soon as the alarm goes off, you jump up and get out of bed without even a second thought. If you give your body time to object, it most likely will. Before you know it, you will be back down and dreaming. Action is the key. If you struggle with this ruthlessness with yourself, put your alarm on the other side of the room where you have to get up to turn it off. That’ll get you out of bed!