I’ve never been a morning person. Years ago, (who am I kidding? Even earlier this year) each time I’d hit the snooze button I’d think about what I could NOT do to earn 7-21 additional minutes of sleep.
First snooze: I don’t need to do makeup today.
Second snooze: I’ll just wear something that doesn’t need to be ironed.
Third snooze: I can just tell my boss that one of the kids got sick. (Don’t judge me.)
I refused to roll out of bed until the absolute last minute.
Fast forward to present day, I start my days no later than 5am. I’ve found that by waking up earlier I’m able to get much more accomplished and I don’t feel overwhelmed by my workload.
Here’s how I transformed myself into a morning person:
I Set Early Appointments
I’ll procrastinate when I have something to do for myself like scheduling a facial or writing a blog post. However, if I “owe” something to another person… I’m on it! Knowing this about myself, I set early morning appointments for my VIPs (very important people/projects). Earlier this week, I set an 8:00am call with an editor about a cool opportunity to freelance. Of course, I needed to prep for the call. I woke up at 5:30am to meditate, make it to the gym, have breakfast and be ready to take the call at 8:00am. As a result of setting that early call, I was able to check three things off of my to-do list before most people wake up.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or work a 9 to 5, think about your most important project deadlines or meetings this week. Set specific early morning deadlines (I’ll have the report in your inbox by 9am vs I’ll send the report first thing in the morning) and you’ll be amazed at how much you’re able to get down by waking up a couple of hours earlier in the morning.
I Save the Best for First Thing in the Morning
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that you’ll always like every aspect of your work. I don’t. I really like writing articles about topics that I have personal experience with like productivity hacks and professional development. I like editing fashion videos from my phone for social media. I don’t like writing articles that require tons of research or transcribing hours-long interviews.
I’ll finish the least desirable work in the evenings. It leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment to know that I no longer have that work hanging over my head. I’ll save the work that I’m most excited about for the morning. I’m most creative in the morning and after an evening of the “un-fun” work, I look forward to the opportunity to create content that I'm connected to.
Look at your to-do list for any given day. What do you look forward to doing or want to do more of? Save those activities/work for the morning so that you have something to look forward to when the alarm goes off.
I Know That What Got Me Here Will Keep Me Here
The goal is to elevate, right? In March, I did a self evaluation. I thought about where I am currently in my career as a writer. I listed the things that have gotten me here. “Here” is maintaining my blog, paid writing gigs for six publications and frequent speaking engagements. Some of the things that I listed were drive, networking, pitching and consistency.
Then, I started thinking about what I’d need to do additionally to get to the next level. Next level for me is having a column in an international publication, a host of high profile clients for my ghostwriting services and delivering regular keynotes at conferences around the world.
Among other things, increased productivity was one of my primary areas of focus. I know that in order to expect people to pay you for a service, you’ll need proof (aka media kit or portfolio) that you’ve actually been doing the work. If no one else ever hires me, I can always post on my blog. Blogging takes time and between my corporate consulting work, kids and a social life.. I’ll look up and it’s been weeks since I blogged. Early mornings work best for me to get this important task done. Blogging is the liaison to getting the paid opportunities and ultimately achieving my goals. So setting my alarm for 5am is much easier when I look at it as an avenue to my overall success.
Hope this was helpful! What time do y’all wake up?