When Chloe was a tiny baby, one of my friends needed me to watch her kids super early in the morning. I was happy to help her out, so I dragged myself out of bed at around 5:45. I cleaned my house thoroughly, made some pumpkin muffins, and read my scriptures all before 7:00 am! I was astounded!
That was 13 years ago, and I often think back to the amazing productivity that happened just because I got out of bed 3 or 4 hours earlier than I usually did. Sadly, it didn't stick, except for the occasional day here and there when it was required of me to get up super early. Instead, I stuck to my night owl ways—and while I was often productive in the middle of the night, it never quite reached the levels of productivity that happened when I made myself get up early.
But now I am working on changing my life via small habits. The first habit was going to bed early, so it naturally follows that the second must be to wake up early. And so, I am working on dragging myself out of bed at 6:30 in the morning.
Believe it or not, it's getting easier...but I'm not quite there yet.
The biggest surprise of all, though, is that I'm finding out that getting up early is actually worth it.
6 reasons getting up early is worth it
1. More productivity
For me, this is the biggest reason to do it. Now, I'm not super productive and energetic in the morning naturally, but as I have been training my body to be up earlier, I'm noticing that I'm starting to have more energy in the morning.
Right now, I'm getting up at 6:30, which is when my kids need to get up for school. Until about a month ago, I would wake them up and go back to bed and do all of my morning mothering from my bed (true confessions). Now, I am helping them and we are actually reading our scriptures together as a family at 7:00 as soon as the girls are totally ready. We are eating breakfast together. We are working on homework or memorization before the kids are off to school. It's really nice.
Once they leave, I am no longer going back to sleep and am instead getting up and doing something productive. There are still not enough hours in the day, but I feel I am using my allotment of hours much more wisely than I was before.
Speaking of productivity, a 2008 Texas University study found that students who were early risers got better grades than their night owl counterparts. Their GPAs were, on average, a full point higher! In my mind it isn't about smarts or ability—it's about productivity. The early risers simply studied better (and probably got more sleep in the process), than those who stayed up late.
2. More time to exercise
Exercise is another small habit, but I think I only manage to get it in when I get out of bed early. I have often tried to do it at night, but it does seem to be pushed out of the way. Getting up early to get it done seems like a great way to make sure it happens.
3. More optimistic
Another study, reported by Forbes magazine, says that early birds tend to be more optimistic. Perhaps this is related to their productivity levels, but I'd like to have one more tactic in my arsenal to stay more positive, wouldn't you?
4. More quiet time
I am a person who needs a great deal of quiet time and solitude. When I don't have it, I start to go a little crazy. As you may have guessed, I have gotten that time during the middle of the night for most of my life. But now I can have the same time in the morning—plus the other benefits waking up early will bring.
5. More time to do what you love
I think one of the biggest advantages to getting more done earlier in the day is that you have more time to do what you truly love later. Whether that's spending time with your family, reading a good book, going on a hike, or doing crafts you won't feel guilty because everything else is done!
At least, that's my hope. But I have noticed that my morning people friends do get the main things done quite early, while I struggled to get them done at all. So I think it's possible, and I really like the idea of doing more of what I love!
6. More self discipline
Getting up early has helped me to master myself better than anything. I had to get up at 6:30 every morning when I served my LDS mission, and I know I reaped all of the above benefits and more. More importantly, I was more in control of my emotions, my body, and my habits. I was more kind to people (even in the morning), and I worked harder. I really want that for myself again.
So, we're starting with 6:30, but I'm working towards even earlier (am I crazy? Maybe.) so that I can be up and ready to go before I even need to wake up the kids. I've tried it before, and it is a bit difficult to change my chronotype, but I think it's entirely possible.
Small Habit: Getting up early.
Big Difference: Get more done, have more time for the things you love and for the things you have to do, self-mastery.
If you are interested in truly changing your mornings, try the Make Over Your Mornings e-course by Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom.
This post is part of my Small Habits That Will Make a Big Difference 30 day challenge. To see all of the posts in this series, click here. Or, join the challenge and receive a daily email with a new small habit that can affect your life in a big way.
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