Waking Up At 4 AM Will Not Make You More Successful, Do This Instead

I can tell you for a fact that the key to success is not waking up at 4 am.

When taken out of context, this waking up early concept is completely flawed and can actually be detrimental to your well-being.

The key here is “taken out of context.” Why? Because it’s not enough.

It’s not enough to wake up early, rush into work, start doing as much as possible as fast as possible.

You have to do more, you have to be more deliberate about yourself, your day, your life.

Imagine this — you wake up at 4 am, before you can even see right in the darkness of your bedroom and immediately assault your eyes with the bright little screen of your phone. You start scrolling through your email and skimming its contents, get an immediate surge of energy when someone emails you for advice, asks for your expertise. Sometimes you even feel anger when someone disagrees with you, piles more work on, asks that same question you answered last week.

Then, like a mad person you run to your computer screen, type out a response, to get back to that person right away.

You think they will be reading it right away? No! They are asleep!

Waiting two more hours to respond will be much more beneficial, it will also allow for any blinding situational anger or bias to subside and you will write a much more well rounded email.

For years I would wake up at 3 am, sometimes 2 am and start working right away, sending out emails. People would always comment on my unusual work hours, I would feel proud. I was working harder than them. I though people were looking up to me, in amazement, thinking how dedicated I was, how determined. The truth is, they likely just felt bad for me and maybe thought I was a little crazy.

Yes, I got a lot of stuff done (at work), yes, I was tired, yes, I worked days, nights and weekends and yes, everyone thought I was doing a great job and the accolades kept coming in.

Yes, my work build a significant foundation for the organization I was working for, it accomplished something that would have never been achieved had I not done it. It truly changed the environment for the better, it changed me.

I grew stronger and smarter and for that I will always be thankful for the work. But I should have not woken up at 4 am consistently for 3 years to rush to my laptop.

I would have been just as successful had I started my workday at 8 am consistently and flexed up when I was really busy with the occasional early morning.

I always read articles about productivity and success and noted the “start your day early” advice. I thought I was ahead of the curve because I was doing exactly that, I was waking up extremely early and starting work.

While I was very successful at work, I did not understand why I was not achieving the same success in my life outside of my job.

What to do instead of waking up early and starting work right away? Build a morning routine.

Wake up early if you must, but not to rush into your work. Wake up early to give yourself the time you need to be deliberate about your success.

A morning routine was something that I was hearing more and more about for people I look up to, people I consider successful in a well rounded manner, both at work and in their personal lives.

As I started thinking more and more about giving the morning routine a try to see how it goes, I had two misconceptions:

Misconception #1: The cynical, A-type part of me, thought it was likely just a way to avoid doing the things that need to get done and postpone them by a little bit of time. In fact, most productivity advice recommends that you do the hardest tasks first thing in the work day.

The 30 minutes or so in the morning is not a way to procrastinate. Taking this time allows you to have a more clear perspective on your current state and become more deliberate about your day.

Misconception # 2: I thought it would be easy to implement a morning routine.

After 30 days, the routine has become a bit easier but sometimes I still want to rush through it. At first, I actually had a hard time wanting to stick to the simple tasks I set to myself and was anxious to “get to my day.” As time passed, I realized I was already in the day. The morning routine is not some level I have to pass (like in a video game) to open the door to the day, instead it is a small window of time I have gifted to myself that is just about me.

Some examples of things to incorporate into your morning routine:

There is truth in the concept of waking up early to have a more successful life but sometimes it is taken out of context. We are all incredibly busy, we might not have much of a choice but to wake up early in order to allow ourselves a few minutes for ourselves, without the noise of the world pouring into our lives.

Maybe a better way to frame this advice is this: wake up at whatever time allows you some time for yourself and your thoughts before rushing into your day.

I now wake up at 5 am, without an alarm. I have always been an early riser and I like the quietness. I have a morning routine which does not include my phone or my laptop. Some days it is still hard, I want to rush though the routine so I can get myself to my laptop quicker but I remind myself that in order to be able to show up as the best version of myself, I first have to be that.

Thank you for reading!

Waking Up At 4 AM Will Not Make You More Successful, Do This Instead

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