As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm, and in the world of business it seems that early rising is a characteristic held by many successful individuals. In addition to business success, early rising has also been linked to higher levels of happiness and health. The next time you reach for the snooze button, consider the benefits of jumping out of bed, taking control of your mornings and improving your performance at work.
We all know that feeling when we're running late - one negative event follows another and before we know it we're having a bad day. One of the benefits of getting started early is the sense of control it gives us over our surroundings. You don't simply feel you have more hours, you actually have them. This gives you the opportunity to plan your day, prepare yourself mentally and eat a healthy breakfast to fuel you for the day ahead. This final point has long been recognised as an important part of a successful morning routine, yet so many of us relish those extra five minutes in bed to the point where we rush out the door, only to feel lethargic and unfocused soon after.
Another factor that gives early risers an edge is the momentum that is created when you are able to start the day positively. When we begin productively, we tend to continue this way throughout the day. Having extra time in the morning gives us a head start on our goals and some breathing space before the chaos begins. Many early risers also take the opportunity to squeeze in some exercise, which has also been shown to have far-reaching mental and health benefits.
Change is always a challenge, so planning ahead is important. Getting up earlier is all well and good, but if you don't change your nighttime routines you can quickly find yourself slipping back into old habits. Try to have a rough plan for your morning in mind before going to bed. It's important you do this before sleep as you don't want to be stressing over all the things you need to do when you should be actually be sleeping. Then there is the point we are all aware of, but often struggle with - going to sleep earlier. Your desire will naturally increase as a reaction to your earlier mornings, however this can be a difficult habit to break. Remove temptations such as television and internet use and focus on the benefits you will experience the following morning.
Enjoy the moments of solitude
As with all behaviour modifications, rewards are a crucial part of ensuring success. This means making your mornings rewarding to you. For some this might mean an early walk to clear their minds, for others a treasured sweet caffeine drink at a favourite cafe. Whatever it is, finding time to simply enjoy a moment of solitude can give you a sense of inner peace and stillness as you prepare for the day.
Make it count
Getting up earlier gives us a chance to get things out of the way. From bills and filing to answering emails, making the most of those extra moments can give you the added time to focus on the bigger issues during the day. It can also give you the benefit of reaching the office earlier, bypassing the traffic and picking up on any problems that would normally not be picked up on until later in the day. Again, each individual is unique so aim to identify which tasks will make your earlier start more useful. Behaviours that serve a purpose are more likely to be continued.
Whether an earlier start gives you a chance to get ahead on some business-related matters, or simply a moment to disconnect from work completely, the main benefit an early riser experiences is the gift of time - something we all need a lot more of.
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This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Nick Petrovic is a registered psychologist and head of clinic at the Mind Profile Psychology Clinic and has more than 10 years' experience in the allied health and business. Nick has contributed to regular columns in more than a dozen business magazines and newspapers, advising on issues such as mental health, work related stress, strategic planning, business analysis and human resources.