It’s a secret weapon all people have access to but only few choose to take advantage of: the early morning. Ask almost any top manager or professional athlete and they will tell you that one of the main reasons behind their success and high levels of productivity, is an early start to the day. It’s true, the early bird really does catch the worm. Here’s why:
What science says
What if you’re the type of person who prefers those few extra hours in bed? Does this mean you’re missing out on something? That you’re not reaching your full potential? Science says yes. The reason for this lies in the interaction of the sleeping hormone melatonin and the stress hormone cortisol. The pineal gland in our brain spills out melatonin in the night and when it gets dark. This means that the melatonin decreases during the day whereas cortisol increases. Depending on the length of the day and whether it’s in summer or winter, the peak of the cortisol production is reached at around 6:30am when only a little melatonin is left in our blood. From a hormonal perspective, it is during this timeframe (6am – 9am) that we reach our optimal mental performance.
What the early bird says
Science is often reliable, but not always relatable. So we asked a few early birds how those extra magical hours have become their competitive advantage.
Reason #1: It’s a mood booster
“I wake up early so I have time to meditate – otherwise I would be super grumpy all day.”
“Working out in the morning makes me feel energized so I start the day on a higher level.”
“Getting up early whilst others still sleep gives me the feeling that I’m ahead of the game.”
Reason #2: It’s time for yourself
“This is the only time of the day that is completely mine. A lot of people work out but I read and write. By the time others wake up, I’ve already written three pages and usually read for an hour. You get to know yourself better when it’s just you and your thoughts. Also you accomplish things you didn’t think you had time for. I’ve read about 20 books this year and written some short stories. When would I have time for that if I didn’t wake up early?”
“Every morning I wake up at 5am, train, stretch, foam roll, then enjoy a nice coffee and delicious breakfast – all at my own pace, with no rush. This means every day begins with me working on my own personal goal. I can then start with work and other responsibilities after, satisfied knowing that I’ve already done something for myself – this is super important in my opinion.”
Reason #3: You get s*** done
“I answer some messages and mails – so by the time people arrive in the office, I’m up to date and can already start with my actual work.”
“It’s the calm before the storm – a time where I have the best concentration and can be productive without anyone disturbing me.”
Reason #4: It’s the most beautiful part of the day
“ A lot of people are not aware of how much a sunrise over an empty street can have a huge impact on your day! When you work long hours in winter, this can be the only sunlight you see.”
“For those who are always busy, mornings spent with loved ones on the training ground can change your whole relationship.”
“You appreciate the calmness. There’s not so much hustle and bustle – no waiting in a queue to get your morning coffee and there’s always an empty seat on the underground.”
All it takes to become a super productive person is a few simple changes to your routine. Tonight, give the TV show, dinner date or late night surfing a miss. Instead, go to bed earlier, wake up earlier and do all the things you never usually have time to first thing in the morning. “No time” is not an excuse. It is a reason.
Life is meant to be lived, not slept through.