I am not a morning person. When I wake up, I need a good 30 minutes to either watch tv or scroll through Facebook and e-mail. I need to do something easy while my mind slowly rises from its still sleepy state to a productive, awake state.
Getting Up Early Wasn’t For Me
I have frequently read how other bloggers got so much more done when they got up early before their kids. That’s all great, I thought, but there are two problems:
- I’m not a morning person.
- My kids wake up at 6 a.m. How early would I have to get up to get anything done before they wake up?!
In Need of a Schedule Change
My kind husband lets me sleep most mornings until 7 a.m. in the hopes that I’ll work late in the evening on my freelance writing and virtual assistant work. What usually happens, though, is that after a busy day of homeschooling and playing with three kids, cooking meals, running errands, doing laundry, and cleaning house, I’m tired. I don’t want to work.
Then, I only have the weekend to do my work, and I miss out on family time.
Clearly something had to give, but I wasn’t prepared for it to be sleeping in.
Waking Up Early Was Accidental, Until It Wasn’t
The other night, my daughter woke me up at 4:30 a.m. because she had a bad dream. I put her back to bed, but then I couldn’t sleep. After tossing and turning for 15 minutes, I decided to get up and start working.
I got so much done, I’ve gotten up at 4:50 every day for the last two weeks.
Doing so is difficult, but I’m so much more productive than I am at night! I still need about 20 minutes to wake up, but by 5:20 or so, I’m ready to start working. In the quiet of the morning, I’m amazed how much I can get done.
In just the 40 minutes before the kids wake up, I can write a blog post. I can do some of my virtual assistant work. I can work on my own blog. Because I’m wide awake and focused, I’m much more productive than I am in the late evening or when the kids are around during the day.
Even better, at least some of my work gets done before I start the day. When I waited to work until the evening, work sometimes didn’t get done at all.
Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think, explains, “The reason to institute a morning routine is that mornings are a great time to do things that matter to you, and that life has a way of crowding out” (lauravanderkam.com).
Another Unexpected Benefit of Waking Up Early
There is one other unexpected benefit of waking up early. When I start working in the morning, I sit on our couch which is adjacent to a sliding glass door out to our backyard. For 20 minutes, I can watch the most amazing sunrise over the mountains. I love to watch the darkness dissipate and the bright orange peek out behind the mountains and then become brighter and brighter. It’s truly gorgeous and grounds me for the rest of the day.
A Habit I’ll Keep
I’ve only been waking up early for two weeks in September, but I plan to do so for all of October. I’m hopeful that this increased productivity will mean that I have to work less on the weekends so I can have more time to do fun things with my family. I don’t think I’ll eliminate my weekend work entirely, but I may free up one day on the weekend when I don’t have to work.
If you aren’t the type to wake up early, I urge you to try it just for a week or two. You may like it as I unexpectedly did.