When you’re an entrepreneur and running your own business it can seem that there are never enough hours in the day to get done everything that you need to do. With all of the tasks that you need to complete, all of the customers that you need to contact and everything else that a business owner has on their plate, it’s not surprising.
What is surprising is that so few entrepreneurs take advantage of the best time of day to get things done, the early morning before most people have even gotten out of bed. The fact is, if you can tap into the power of those morning hours, a time of the day when there are much less demands on your time, you can increase your productivity greatly and your success with it.
Consider this; the president of Starbucks coffee, Michelle Gaas, has been getting up at 4:30 AM to go running for the last 15 years. Laura Vanderkam is a time management expert and in her new book, What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, she advocates the wee hours of the morning as being the best of the day and talks about how a small business owner can effectively and efficiently use them to better their business. Below are a few choice tidbits that we pulled out of her book. Enjoy.
First, the fact is that there are much less distractions in the early morning hours. The typical entrepreneurs day gets busy quite fast and, if that’s you and you wait until the afternoon or evening to do something meaningful for yourself (think exercising or self-improvement) you’ll more than likely not get to it at all. Indeed, the chance of being interrupted if you are taking care of something at 6 AM is much less than at 6 PM.
Many people, even if they aren’t you ‘morning people’ have quite a bit more willpower in the early hours of the day then they do at a later time. The fact is, like a muscle that can become fatigued, willpower will also fade with overuse. After a long day dealing with customers, employees, traffic and other work related factors, many people feel completely depleted of their willpower. Better to get important things done in the morning when it’s at its highest.
Another perk that you get from rising early is the opportunity to start your day, and your family’s day, on a positive note. Think about it this way; getting up early and getting some tasks finished before most people are even out of bed will put you in a positive mood and get you ready to tackle the day’s problems with a fresh mind and a great attitude.
4 very specific tips that Ms. Vanderkam gives are these;
- Keep a time journal. Most people who say that they hate getting up in the morning on the same people that stay up too late at night. Vanderkam suggest that a person keeps a time journal for a week or two in order to determine where they are using their time inefficiently. What she found is that many people who are proud of the fact that they are ‘night owls’ have found that they actually aren’t doing anything particularly productive in the later hours of the day.
- Picture in your head what a perfect morning before you would be. Giving yourself if you extra hours, or even one extra hour, in the morning to exercise, skim online headlines or even get a few business tasks done can be a real boon to your day. Vanderkam says that getting up earlier is about punishing yourself but instead giving yourself some really good reasons to get up early.
- Another tip; plan out your mornings. This really makes a lot of sense to us. After you’ve decided what things you’d like to do with this extra morning time, you need to plan how to get those things done and, if possible, set up as much as you can the night before. A great example of this would be to lay out your exercise close the night before so that you can get right into exercising in the morning. Another one would be to make sure that you have all of the ingredients to make yourself an excellent breakfast and have them all ready to go when you wake up.
- Finally, Vanderkam advises that you build your morning habit slowly. From what she’s seen, there’s much more likelihood to hit your ‘snooze button’ multiple times or simply drift back to sleep if you try to change your waking-up habits too drastically and too fast. For example, if you normally get up at 7:30 you may want to set your alarm clock for 7 o’clock rather than for 5 o’clock, which would be a real shock to your system. Also, she suggests that anyone wishing to get up earlier start going to bed earlier as well in the same increments.
And there you have it. Plenty of reasons to get up early and get your day started before the rest of the world. After reading this book many of the staffers here have decided that they’re going to try and incorporate some of these tips into their daily habits. If you do and you want to leave a comment after you’ve done it, please do so as we’d love to hear what kind of results that you have had. Thanks.