Why I Get Up at 0445 Most Mornings

Computer with coffee mug and telephone on table during rising sun.

Getting up early in the morning has important benefits. A key feature is the realization that you are awake before everyone else, thus giving your productivity an edge. While they are all asleep, you are making things happen, sharpening your axe, and burning the lamp oil. Thus getting up super early affects both your overall productivity and your self-esteem.

I have learned to wake up at 0445 most mornings because I know that I can get more done over the course of the day. I don’t wake up at 0445 every morning due to a natural ebb and flow to my energy cycle—and I also think it’s healthier for both the mind and body to have some variance.

However, if I regularly get up later things don’t go so smooth, even if I give myself ample time to start outdoor tasks. Constantly getting up later seems to adversely affect my psychological feeling of accomplishment because the hours have gone and I haven’t gotten much done yet. Couple that with subconsciously comparing myself with the rest of the waking world and I feel like I’m behind.

Though working late into the night can be productive, it only works when I’m not tired and don’t have early appointments the next morning. Likewise, sitting up late to do tasks can also be less effective if my peak energy is pretty much over; most of my energy lies in the first half of the day. Therefore, it is almost always better to get up while it’s still dark. I seem to accomplish so much more!

Using multiple iPhone alarms or just one?

I used to set two alarm clocks if I felt that one would not do the job. One would be the initial alarm, and the other (a minute later) would be the fallback. I realized just recently that there is no need to have two alarms. If I keep my phone on the other side of the room, at my desk, it forces me to get up out of bed to turn it off. That way, I am more likely to stay up and start the day rather than lie back down. Nevertheless, do what works for you.

We all know innately that if we just give ourselves more ample time throughout the day, we could abolish trends that hold our productivity back and thus accomplish more. We can finally get to do those sacred things that we have only dreamed about, but never did because of limited time. Part of being an adult is learning responsibility, which includes the self-discipline of prioritizing and time management.

It’s quite silly when you think of how we spend our 24 hours. Everyone on earth—old and young, rich and poor—has the same 24 hours. It’s just that the successful people are the ones who make themselves do what they know they should do whether they feel like it or not.

The first hour is your “golden hour”

Personal development teacher Brian Tracy calls the first hour of your day “the golden hour.” I agree. It’s truly magical what happens when you make yourself get up start your agenda while it’s still early. The best time for me is about an hour before dawn. There is a clarity I feel at this time: an opportunity for easy focus, reading, and self-contemplation. There’s a unique peace I feel at this time of day compared to every other.

Simple chores for order and routine

When I first get up, I immediately: (1) make my bed, (2) go to the bathroom, (3) brush my teeth, (4) sweep my hardwood floor, (5) make coffee or tea, and (6) start my morning meditation and yoga or exercise. These 6 steps are vital to my overall productivity throughout the day. They literally set a precedent for a firm foundation to build all of my tasks upon.

Without doing these simple chores, my ability to focus on the heavy stuff just seems to dwindle. There is something powerful about making your bed each morning. Though theoretically in your logic mind you might think that making the bed has no significance over what work you do or don’t do; but assuming that is a big mistake. When you make your bed, it sets a framework in your subconscious mind for your psychological wellbeing. Sounds complex, but trust me it works.

The days in the military of getting up early

I can remember countless times in the Marine Corps when I would be required to get up with my unit at 0400 (or another near time). I would get SO MUCH accomplished by the time 0600 rolled around, it was like I was working for 15 hours!

It was truly amazing. I distinctly remember how much we were getting done as a platoon by just getting up at zero-dark-thirty to carry out the plan of the day. We would have it all laid out before us on a blocked-out calendar. The entire day’s hours would be segregated into squares. On the first hour, we’d do what we called BMR (basic morning routine), which included the human necessities of hygiene, making our racks, and getting dressed.

After that we would follow the hour-blocked schedule exactly by doing the next thing listed. The key factor I learned which will either make you or break you in this process is moving with a purpose. That implies not wasting time as you go from one task to the next. Now, you don’t want to move so fast that you make mistakes. Rather, you want to have mindfulness as you move with haste to finish the little jobs that are written down.

Applying military discipline to my daily morning ritual

Though I’m not as intense as I often was required to be as a Marine, I have learned valuable life lessons in the USMC about time management that I regularly apply today. Employing these basic foundations to my morning routine help give me that extra edge.

I don’t waste time. I simply get up, force myself to make the bed, go to the bathroom, sweep the floor, etc. etc. Sometimes I struggle, and sometimes I fail. Believe me, I have shut the alarm clock off a number of times and rolled back into bed. However, every time I did—I suffered the consequences. I saw how late it was after I had finally gotten things together. The day lagged on, and by the time night came I would only get half as much work done as I had originally set out to do.

Therefore, all the little details about self-discipline count. Just don’t wast time—instead get moving!

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