I read an interesting article in The Times asserting that the business world has been blinded by propaganda about the benefits of early morning rising. While I understand that not everyone is a morning person, and that we all need different amounts of sleep to function, my own experience is very different.
I have always been an early riser. Like keeping a positive outlook, or keeping fit, waking up early is a habit, which you must work on to maintain. Over my 50 years in business I have learned that if I rise early I can achieve so much more in a day, and therefore in life.
Sleep is incredibly valuable for a busy life, and I try to get it whenever and wherever I can – especially when I’m flying. But founding a business comes with a lot of responsibility, and one of the most important things I can be is accessible. Getting up and at it early gives me time to get on top of things, and chart my day effectively.
No matter where I am in the world, I try to routinely wake up at around 5am. By rising early, I’m able to do some exercise and spend time with my family, which puts me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.
The author, Sathnam Sanghera, argued that starting early isn’t conducive for communication with others – but I find the period of quiet, before most of the world logs on, to be great time to catch up on news and reply to emails. These early hours give me the opportunity to start each day with a fresh and organised slate.
As the article stated: sharp minds need sleep – but our brains can be conditioned and nurtured to be productive in other ways. Exercise, reading, conversation, and a positive outlook also keep the mind active and alert. Passion is another huge factor in keeping focused. Passion breeds energy, and is essential to running a business that involves long hours and hard decisions.
Most importantly, life is not a dress rehearsal, so we should live each day to its full capacity. I think it goes without saying that the days that we stretched out are more memorable than those when we got a good night’s sleep. However, whatever works best for each individual should be embraced – working flexibly means working efficiently.
Being an early riser isn’t about trumpeting how hard you work. It’s about doing everything within your power to help your business achieve success; and if that means you have to get up at an hour not known to most, then you might as well enjoy the sunrise.
Why do you wake up early? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments below.