“Dear ‘The Early Bird Catches the Worm,’
The early worm gets eaten.
Sincerely, Sleeping In”
My husband posted on Facebook the other day about some successes we’ve had recently. In posting his gratitude, he acknowledged that our rewards justified waking up at 4:35 a.m. most days of the week.
The point on which most people fixated was not the successes but his admission that we wake up so damn early.
You don’t need to wake up early to be successful. Legendary night owls include Leonardo Da Vinci and Bob Dylan.
For us, though, it works to wake up early. Someone asked why, on earth, we do this. So, here you go.
We’re in control of how our days start.
We began this hairy scary schedule when we were both employed by a W-2 and decided we wanted to start a business. Between the commute and the workday, we were always preoccupied from what we really wanted to do. The only way to squeeze more time into the day was to wake up early.
To be sure, we could’ve stayed up later, but by the time we were done with the bullshit of a day’s worth of work for someone else, we simply wanted a bottle of wine, dark chocolate, and Netflix. We don’t crave mimosas until 10 am, so even on weekends waking up at 4:35 gave us five and a half hours’ worth of work.
We’re in sync with New York City.
Both of our careers have been in financial service. We were both traders once and our personal business is personal finance. It’s not a big deal, but for us, we feel like we miss the day if we wake up two or three hours after the stock market does.
Plus, more than half the country is in the eastern time zone and it feels easier to sync up with them.
Idle hands and all.
Waking early means we have more work hours available to us because we have fewer play hours. Knowing that the alarm will go off early tomorrow ensures better decisions early tonight.
We typically eat less junk food and dessert at night. That way, we fall asleep more quickly and we won’t have a glass or two of wine.
On the flip side, we’re not above partying until the wee hours of the morning. When we did, though, we were less productive. Sticking with an early wake-up call helps us avoid the late-night bender.
We have time to take care of ourselves.
Now that our side gig became my main gig and my main man still works for The Man, we don’t wake up at 4:35 am anymore to work. We wake up at 4:30 am to workout.
Working out and staying in shape is important to us. Even just working one full-time job makes working out hard. Add to that more work and our brains can easily talk us out of hitting the gym.
Plus, see above our evening craving for wine, chocolate, and Netflix. Working out towards the end of the day would require a violation of physical law.
We have time to take care of our spirits.
We didn’t fully integrate this practice, too, until I quit my W-2 and we had more bandwidth. Until then, this was a weekend luxury. Now, this is a daily practice before the sun rises in most parts of the United States.
While we’re the most refreshed and rejuvenated, we do our morning ritual of meditation, journaling, and affirmations. Busting these out first thing in the morning ensures that we do them and we feel all the better for it. If we waited until later in the day, we’d skip them.
Now, when we wake up, they’re the very first things we do. So, even while we’re waking, we’re getting ready for our daily practice that keeps us centered and grounded throughout the day.
We avoid the crowds.
Especially when we were both working a W-2, being efficient with our time was a necessity. Only a few crazies are at the gym before 5:30 am. We happily admit we’re two of them.
We’re at the gym when fewer people are, and we bust out a duo superset of weights and cardio all within an hour. We leave before most people arrive. And, my husband still has time to get to work, which is the other benefit.
Rush hour traffic where we live anyway starts about 7 am. If the husband can get on the road by 6:45, he misses most or all the traffic to start his workday early and end his work day earlier.
Our best sleep is the sleep we get before midnight.
As we get older, this seems truer. Therefore, we strive to have “heads on pillows” by 9 pm. It doesn’t always happen and whether it does or it doesn’t we can tell the next day.
Everyone else is doing it.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
However, many successful people do it. An amazing boss of mine said to me once, “Find out what successful people do and do that.”
There are many people, such as the Da Vincis and Dylans of the world who rock it late at night. They seem to follow in the sleep cycle of the more creative types.
There’s certainly a strain of creativity in what we do for our side business, but there’s a lot of business, as well as critical and strategic thinking required. For this reason, we’ll follow in the footsteps of Mrs. Obama and Richard Branson.
For us for now, the early schedule works. Very soon the S.O. will quit his J.O.B. (just over broke). After that, we may wake up later, like 5:30 am.
Or, maybe not.
If it’s ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.