Let’s skip back five years.
If I had the chance to ask my future self a question back then, there’d be one I’d reach for immediately.
“Why on earth do you get up so early?”
Let’s get one thing straight – I’m absolutely rubbish in the morning. If you ever have the misfortune of coming into contact with me before 9am, you’ll be met with a pillow-marked face, tired eyes, slightly grumpy demeanour and a voice Barry White would be proud of.
Sure, I’ll put on a brave face and smile, but it’ll be the last thing I feel like doing – trust me.
So – and returning to my past self’s question – why do I get up at 6am and start working almost immediately? And, more importantly, how have I managed to apply business productivity exercises to home working?
The answer is simple, because despite my ineptitude at being human in the morning, I’ve discovered I can be massively productive.
If you’re struggling with low productivity levels, it might work for you, too.
Here’s how to get into the early morning mindset:
Prepare the evening before
I sleep far more soundly if I know my to-do list is in order for the following day.
This is why my preparations for early morning working always start the evening before. I’ll review my list of jobs and be ultra honest with myself in terms of what’s achievable. That way, I know I’ll wake up with a clear conscience and solid idea of what needs to be done.
Ignore email for as long as possible
Admittedly, I occasionally fall foul of this, but if you can leave your email inbox for as long as possible in the morning, you’ll be able to crack on with the promises you made the night before.
Head into your inbox straight away, and you’ll be met with a barrage of distractions that throw your day into disarray and put you in an even grumpier mood.
Don’t think about time – think about your energy
I once tried to get into the habit of going for early morning runs before work.
And failed. Miserably.
It simply didn’t work, because my body wasn’t particularly up for it and, if I’m honest, my heart just wasn’t into it. So, I decided to switch it around and move my exercise to later in the day.
That worked, brilliantly.
The process of managing one’s energy rather than time is a key component of being highly productive. Ask yourself: what type of energy do you have early in the day and how can it be best spent?
Leave your phone in another room
Confession time – the first thing I do upon waking is check my social media feeds. I find it slowly wakes me up and, sometimes, even manages to put a smile on my face.
However, when that’s done, the phone is put away until I need it later. My early mornings are just me, the laptop and a mug of coffee – nothing more.
If you’re a bad early riser like I and this all sounds too good to be true, bear in mind that I would have thought the same several years ago.
As it happens, early morning working has been a revelation for me, and if I can do it, anyone can!
So, wipe away those sleepy eyes and give it a go!