In the past couple of years or so I’ve been waking up early to get a head start on the day.
I find that by mid-day I’m often distracted or wanting to go to the gym without having accomplished much so I decided to start waking up a couple of hours earlier to work on projects or assets that will help me more with my long term goals.
I noticed that in the past 6 months or so I been really wasting those first few hours of the morning though... I’ve been waking up early but not actually completing anything of value.
It seems like I was waking up, grabbing a coffee (or several…), checking my email or Facebook or whatever (insert some form of distraction here) but not actually accomplishing anything.
Numerous days in a row I found myself not actually sitting down to work on essential projects until 9am at the earliest, and that’s right around the time everyone else wakes up and fires need to be put out again…
That’s 3.5 hours wasted, only to transition into working ‘in’ my business vs working ‘on’ them.…and if you are getting up early to be productive, it seems like wasting those several hours defeats the purpose.
I became tired of this, so I sat down and looked at my habits when I first woke up to see why this was happening.
It seemed like checking my phone or laptop, whether or not it was texts, emails, Facebook or Instagram as soon as I woke up was leading me into a spiral of distraction.
So, I changed my morning habits not to allow myself to look at my phone until at least Andrea wakes up which is usually around 7:30 am. This gives me a minimum of 2 hours to focus on things that I feel are important, not what’s important to everyone else.
I’m not starting the day putting out fires but working on tasks that will help me keep momentum for the long term.
Since I made the change, and arguably it’s only been several weeks, I’ve been significantly more productive in the morning, which has spiralled into being more productive throughout the day.
When that voice inside my head tries to distract me and get me to start down the rabbit hole of watching amazing dog tricks on YouTube, I can remind myself that I was able to remove the distractions from my life earlier in the morning, and I can do it again vs being struck with the temptation to start scrolling...
For me, having a productive start to the day sets the tone for how fruitful I’ll be the rest of the day. To me, being productive doesn’t necessarily mean working more either. Sometimes it means working smarter and focusing and therefore accomplishing what I want to be done faster so that I have more time to myself again.
I’m currently reading Rick Pitino’s book Success is a Choice. I didn’t pick it up because of the motivational self-help context but because he’s one of my favourite basketball coaches of all time and it’s March Madness, and for some reason, I decided to read a couple of the books he wrote this month.
In his book, he discusses removing distractions from your life to be more focused on what is important to you.
I couldn’t agree more. During those first few hours of the day I sometimes even turn off the Wi-Fi on my computer so that I don’t see the distracting messages that pop up while I’m using it.
Every morning there’s a choice, I can wake up and waste the first few undistracted hours I have by picking up my phone. I can immediately start looking at notifications and start the day by reading emails, which directly brings me to the start of unproductivity. Or, I can choose to not look at my phone or the interwebs for the first few hours I'm awake.
For me, I have found that removing those distractions early in the morning helps me build momentum for the rest of the day too. Feeling like I haven’t wasted those first few hours is excellent motivation to keep the ball rolling.