Over the years we have all heard about the benefits of waking up early. How getting up early is going to change your life for the better. The fact of the matter is, it is hard to wake up early every day, but waking up early is how I am able to get things done.
A little background and context about me.
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Steve Boehle, I am the proud father of 4, husband, and darn good marketing professional. The truth is, there was a time in my life that waking up early was just not going to happen because the kids woke up in the middle of the night, the baby was crying and needed a diaper change, or whatever. These are not excuses for sleeping in, but reality. I am sure that some of you can relate. Trying to get up before the sun is very hard when you have small children.
On top of that, I have never been a morning person, both my wife and I have always been night owls. While going to graduate school, I took night classes. I would come home, study, and go to bed around midnight, then get up at 7:30 to make it work by 8:30. This worked for me during this time of my life. The schedule was “free”.
Now that my kids are older, youngest just turned 3, and I can actually sleep through the night, it has become easier to get up early, but it is still not in my blood. To this day I struggle to get out of bed and get the day going while the sun is still sleeping. If I could hit the snooze button for another 15 minutes it would probably happen, and some days it still does.
That being said, I have found that waking up early has been very beneficial, both personally and professionally. I wake up early in the morning for 4 main reasons:
- Help Focus on the Day
- Move Forward in Business
- Focus on my health
- The power hour
Before we jump into the meat of this blog post, I want to set up my typical day for you. Remember, I have 4 kids so free time is very slim.
- 5:20 – The alarm goes off, maybe I hit the snooze
- 5:30 (ZeroFiveThirty) – Hit the shower and get the day going
- 5:50 – Read with a cup of coffee
- 6:15 – Write down my daily tasks and goals
- 6:30 – Proofread writing from the day before (Blogging for business is a daily habit)
- 6:45 – Get the Kids up for school, make lunch, and finish getting ready for work
- 7:30 – Get the kids out the door for school and drive to work
- 8:15 – Get to work and get started on the most important tasks and goals for the day
- 11:45 – Eat Lunch and write for the blog
- 12:45 – Finish out the day
- 4:45 – Head home from work
- 5:30 – Eat Dinner and hang with the family
- 7:45 – Get the kids in bed
- 8:00 – Hit the gym with my special lady
- 9:00 – Get home and write some more
- 10:30 – Go to bed and get ready to do it all over again
You can see there is not much time in the day to mess around or get sloppy. This is why I wake up early in the morning. I try to make the most of every day and squeeze out as much productivity as possible. Getting the most out of the day starts early in the morning, not at night.
Okay, so here are 4 reasons why I wake up early in the morning.
Getting up early has helped me find focus
There are 15 minutes in the morning that I need to be very quiet, probably the most important 15 minutes of the day. These 15 minutes are when I start to put together my daily task list. These are the 5 most important things, I must accomplish during the day. If I get these 5 things done, I can go to bed knowing that I made progress.
Waking up early is the only time that my house is quiet. I don’t know if you have ever been in a house with 4 children under the age of 10. Trust me, it is not quite. These moments come at a premium. If I do not get that 15 minutes of reflection and focus in the morning, the entire day is off and unproductive. This time before the kids are up, helps me get more out of the day and increases my productivity.
I used to do this at night. What I found was I would focus on the most recent items that were pressing. I would write those items down. I found that if I go to sleep and it is still top of mind, then it is really important. If I forgot about it, the task was probably a solid medium at best and can wait for another day.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to focus on both short term and long term goals. On the 1st of the month, I always reflect on the big picture and adjust the daily activities based on the need for the long term results I am looking for. This gives me enough time to ensure that I am moving in the right direction and it gives me enough time to change direction if needed.
I wake up early in order to focus on the things that are most important both personally and professionally.
Waking up at 05:30 has helped me move forward
During college, I read a ton of books. Yeah, most of them were forced in order to pass the exams, but the fact of the matter is I was able to learn a lot and keep my personal development moving forward.
After school, I stopped reading. Not because I don’t like reading, but because I was watching TV after work (pre-Netflix). I have a goal to read 12 books every year in order to develop new skills and continue to improve. Again, it needs to be quiet to read or I will get distracted (Squirrel). So, the morning, before the family is moving around is the best time for me to read.
We have all heard the benefits of reading, so I am not going to bore you with those details. I will say this, if you are not reading on a continual basis, you are not moving forward or even keeping up with the times. Others are going to leave you in the dust.
For example, during my college years, I learned a lot about marketing and leadership. Well, now that I have been out of school for 10 years, I am really getting old, things have changed. I mean social media was just coming up as a cool new thing, not a must-have marketing channel. Don’t even get me started on social media advertising, what is this magic. The point here is that the world continues to pick up the pace of change. Pick up a book and continue to move forward.
Side story: Okay, you are not a reader. That is fine. This time in the morning could be labeled self-development. The goal is to continue to learn and move forward, not be left in the dust. However, you like to learn is up to you. Podcast, video, audiobook, whatever you call dude.
Finally focusing on my health
You see in the daily “normal” (what is normal really) schedule there is an hour after the kids are in bed to hit the gym. I know what you are thinking, who is watching the kids. This is why my parents live with us, not because they are old and need to have someone watch them (this is also true), but they can watch the kids while I and the wife hit the gym.
Enough about the personal stuff, when I am regularly working out and exercising, I feel better about myself, I have increased my confidence, and I have way more energy. The benefits of exercising have been documented, so again I will let you do your own research.
For me, the only way I am able to get to the gym is if I get things done in the morning. I know what you are thinking, going at night has nothing to do with getting up at the butt crack of dawn. Well, it has everything to do with getting up before the rest of the world.
If I did not get up early, prioritize my day I would probably still be working once the kids went to bed. So, I wake up early in the morning to be able to go to the gym at night. Totally backward I know, but it works for me.
So, get to the gym and take care of yourself, you will not regret it.
The hour of power
Getting things done for your business can be difficult. That is why I start the day with my most important tasks. I purposely block my calendar at work from 8:30 am – 9:30 am. There are no phone calls, no meetings, no interruptions. I put the headphones on and get more done in this hour than my counterparts get done all day.
Again, this goes back to getting up early and prioritizing my day. Once I hit the office, grab another cup of coffee, and put the headphones on I am able to focus on the tasks and items that need to get done. If the rest of the day blows up because the sales team comes in and starts chatting about, who knows what, I am able to get my stuff done and not be the a-hole that hates sales and locks myself in my office while they are in town. Remember, marketing and sales should get along, right? Don’t be that guy.
The hour of power is the most important hour of my day. Without prepping for it in the early hours of the day, I would be lost. I would not be able to get as much done as I do. The department of one, me, would need to be a department of 2-3. So, use your hour of power to do good.
Side story. At my company, we have been using CRM for 8 years. We have never set it up correctly and this has been causing pain. In one week I was able to use the hour of power to reconfigure, create multiple sales pipelines, and fix our reporting to actually make sense. So, the hour of power is no joke. With great power, comes great responsibility. Use it wisely my friends.
Why I wake up early in the morning
Okay, as you can see the early morning is very important to me. Getting up before the day gets started for most is how I get more done throughout the day. If I am being honest, it is how I manage to be the Head of Marketing, update ZerpFiveThirty, and still have a family.
So, now you know why I wake up early in the morning. Why do you wake up early or what is keeping you from getting up early and dominating the day? Please, leave a comment or hit me up on social media.