The Cure for Laziness Step 1 – Why not get up at 5am?

‘Win the battle of the bed. Put mind over mattress. Join the 5am club. Dreams get done when you’re awake’ Robin Sharma

Give the best part of the day to yourself. You are productive in the morning, instead of giving your first few hours of productivity to your job or your employer give it to yourself. If you do decide to wake early make sure to plan what you will do, otherwise you may get up and spend your time scratching your head trying to find a task to start. Use the time in a structured way to work on yourself or your projects, goals and hobbies.

In the morning you have the motivation and the energy because you got up so damn early. Go out there and kick some ass in the morning, get into your exercise goal, or your business start-up plan. This is the stuff you are too tired to do at night so do it in the morning.

If you get up early you should sleep better. Your sleep pattern loves routine, if you have a routine wake up time it will facilitate a routine bedtime. Getting up at 5am you must go to bed earlier, you will see that you are probably tired between 9:00 and 10:00pm, go to bed then. The hours post 9:00pm are often underutilised or wasted hours, your tiredness and laziness kicks in – screens are indulged, they don’t serve you.

You are not a child anymore – you are in control of your bedtime routine. Decide to get up early, decide to go to bed early, it is your choice. You may be exhausted at night, perfect for a solid 8 hours sleep.

If you do not decide what time you get up then you are just a worker bee – getting up when work dictates you to. Assess your life. Who controls what you do and when you do it? What time you get up is just one of the most important decisions of your day.

These decisions define you. So, what is it going to be? A life of rolling out of bed just to immediately rush to the office? Or a life of jumping (you probably will still roll) out of bed and working on yourself for two or three hours? Good old ‘Future You’ will thank you for starting the habit of getting up at 5am.

Sunrise start and quiet time. I have heard yogis talking about special earth vibrations at and before sunrise. I am not entirely sure I buy that, but I am buying early morning is the most peaceful time of day.

It is just you and the world, a fantastic time to practice gratitude, reading or meditation if you feel like chasing goals. A great time to exercise, you can imagine while you exercise that in an alternate universe there is a lazy you – lying in bed. Maybe you are jealous of that alternate you – asleep all cuddled up. Don’t be, she is constantly tired all day, not happy with her body, she is always on fad diets and endlessly scrolling through Instagram at 1:00am because she can’t sleep.

Enjoy the sunrise it is special to see. Enjoy the peace it is wonderful to bask in and enjoy the decision you made to get up early.

Breakfast – forget the science and the studies on breakfast being the most important meal of the day. It is the most delicious meal of the day. You have the best sauce of all – hunger.

Give yourself time to have your trendy poached eggs with avocado, your hipster Acai bowl, your bacon and eggs or your oats. The joy of eating a proper breakfast with a hot cup of Joe is awesome. Not rushed, relaxed, with time to do something before and after.

In the summer open the windows while you drink your orange juice and, in the winter, look out at the snow while you warm your hands around a mug #mindfulness. Take your time to enjoy this half an hour. Without getting up early this is a fantasy, grabbing the toast while running out the door is no way to treat the magnificent meal of breakfast.

Research

A number a monetarily ‘successful’ people are reported to be early risers, such as Ricard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Mark Walhberg. However, waking up early to work must be recommended with caution as research found[1] that rising early to start work causes a reduction in a sleep time and may increase stress.

Getting up early should not come at the expense of a good night’s sleep as a person will not have sufficiently recovered energetic resources and therefore remain depleted from the previous day[2]. Sleep comes before productivity no matter what the motivational speakers say.

If you are ok with going to bed early then monetary gains could be yours as a 2019 survey found[3] that early risers (before 7am) earn almost 50% more than later risers. This might just be common sense, but it may come with the baggage of stress as was suggested earlier.

I am proposing rising early to work for or on yourself not necessarily for monetary gains and not for someone else. This is because your energetic resources diminish as the day goes on, with people showing greater self-control and cognitive ability earlier in the day[4].  The morning is the time to capitalise on your energy, decision making and cognitive abilities before you are drained.

Getting up early to exercise has been proved to increase cognitive performance[5] throughout the day. Another reason to exercise in case you needed one. Another study[6] found that amongst college students there was a strong correlation between waking up early and a high academic performance. No hangovers with those go getters.

Although a high school study[7] found teenagers benefited from a later start to school, citing the need for teenagers to get more sleep. How do these points sit with you? Are you now inspired to get up at the crack of dawn or content to stay snug until the last possible moment? I couldn’t find any inspirational quotes from those placating the virtues of waking up late (I wonder why) so I will leave you with Aristotle ‘it is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom’.

Challenge – Try it, get up at 5am tomorrow. Make sure you plan what you will do with this time and do it. Why not. Go for it, it may revolutionise your life.

Why get up when ‘the man’ dictates?

Why not get up at 5am?


[1] Kecklund, G., Åkerstedt, T., & Lowden, A. (1997). Morning Work: Effects of Early Rising on Sleep and Alertness. Sleep, 20(3), 215–223. doi: 10.1093/sleep/20.3.215

[2] Barnes, C. M., Schaubroeck, J., Huth, M., & Ghumman, S. (2011). Lack of sleep and unethical conduct. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 115(2), 169-180. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.01.009

[3] McClear, S. (2019, August 13). The most successful people get up at this ridiculous hour of the morning. Retrieved from https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/the-most-successful-people-get-up-at-this-ridiculous-hour-of-the-morning

[4] Clinton, M. E., Conway, N., Sturges, J., & Hewett, R. (2020). Self-control during daily work activities and work-to-nonwork conflict. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 118, 103410. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2020.103410

[5] Wheeler, M. J., Green, D. J., Ellis, K. A., Cerin, E., Heinonen, I., Naylor, L. H., … Dunstan, D. W. (2019). Distinct effects of acute exercise and breaks in sitting on working memory and executive function in older adults: a three-arm, randomised cross-over trial to evaluate the effects of exercise with and without breaks in sitting on cognition. British Journal of Sports Medicine. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100168

[6] Eliasson, Arne & Lettieri, Christopher & Eliasson, Arn. (2009). Early to bed, early to rise! Sleep habits and academic performance in college students. Sleep & breathing = Schlaf & Atmung. 14. 71-5. 10.1007/s11325-009-0282-2.

[7] O’Callaghan, T. (2010, July 6). Study: teens benefit from later school start. Retrieved from https://healthland.time.com/2010/07/06/study-teens-benefit-from-later-school-start/

Read more about Laziness and the traps of unconscious living – Read ‘The Laziness Gene’

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