We’ve all said it. “There’s just not enough time in the day.” But what exactly do we mean?
Are we wishing we had more time to spend working? Maybe. Most of us, however, already spend a fair chunk of our time doing that. Are we wishing we had more time to catch up on Game of Thrones? or play an extra hour of Call of Duty? Doubtful. We already find ways to fit little pleasures like those into our schedule.
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When we say we wish we had more time, we’re referring to moments that bring about fulfillment. We are looking to fill up on experiences that bring growth and meaning, not simply temporary pleasure.
Taking advantage of the early hours is a way of filling up on the meaningful time you may be missing.
The reservoir of early hours is available to us all. We all may access this secret supply of time by forming the habit of early rising — waking up between 5am and 6am.
You may want to write this off — wait.
Imagine having time — every day — for writing your blog, for working on your startup, for marathon training, for communing with God, etc. Imagine more time for meaningful pursuits, things that truly fill you up. Just imagine a dedicated, distraction-free hour or two focused on growth and learning.
Here’s how I arrived at 500 extra hrs of free time per year:
2 hrs per day x 5 days per week x 50 weeks per year = 500 hrs
Waking up 2 hours earlier than normal every weekday for a year (minus two weeks for vacation) would yield an astounding 500 hours, the equivalent of 62 extra eight-hour working days. That’s an additional three working months of time per year!
You can now see why Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
He also wrote a book on the subject that’s in the public domain and free to download. It’s called “Early Rising: A Natural, Social and Religious Duty”. There is no question, the habit of waking up early is an advantage to anyone who is wise enough to form it.
In the early morning…
The early morning is the best time to do the most important work of your day. And for all of you night owls who are vehemently nodding your head in disagreement, here’s why:
Your body, mind and spirit are starting from a full charge
Every part of you has had the opportunity to shut down and rejuvenate.
Stillness and quiet are most easily acquired in the wee hours of the morning.
The cares of the day have not yet befallen you
Days can get messy and in a hurry. New appointments pop up, schedules get rearranged; your workday and evening can shift on you at a moment’s notice. This is less likely in the early morning because few are stirring.
You make a statement to yourself about what you choose to do first
I guarantee that on your death bed you aren’t going to be wishing you had watched more TV or surfed more of the web. Be intentional. Do what matters most, first.
When you think about it, you really have all the time you need. The wee hours in the morning are available to you every day.
When you wake up rushing to get out the door, you’re saying ‘no’ to growth and denying yourself a moment to fill up. When I miss an early morning, I know that there was time missed, an opportunity for growing personally, spiritually, professionally lost.
As an entrepreneur I’ve learned that “time is money”. As an early riser I’m also painfully aware that “time is learning”. Here’s another way of reading Uncle Ben’s famous quote:
“Late to bed, late to rise makes a man poor, pitiful and altogether unwise.”