Why You NEED To Get Up Earlier (And How To Do It!)

By January 10, 2011Uncategorized

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By now, most of you know that I’m a super-early riser. If you do some homework on the subject, you’ll find that many successful CEOs are, as well. It’s simply ingrained into us – If we want to be successful, we need to be working when others are not. It’s like the classic running quote:

“Somewhere, right now, someone is training while you are not. When you race him, he will win.”

So I get up early because I believe it’s worth it. Here’s some of the benefits you can get from doing it, and as a bonus, here’s how to actually do it!

It’s time to wake up…

Top ten reasons to get up early every day:

10) Learn! You can browse seven websites in a row (news, news, gossip, financial, gossip, sports, weather) without being interrupted by one email. You’re now smarter for your entire day.

9) This early, it really IS all about you. You get a few minutes of pure “you” time. For me, it’s waking up and making coffee. While I’m doing that, I can pet Karma and NASA, and not in just a “scratch behind the ears once because I’m late” way. I can sit with them as I drink my first cup of coffee and enjoy the calming effect that a pet has on you. I have no doubt this helps to set my mood for the day.

8) We’re not as big as we think we are. I can watch the sunrise. We take certain things for granted. Light, air, clouds, etc. Get up one morning and actually watch the sky turn from dark to light. It’s amazing. It changes your entire perspective from how big we are to how small we are when you realize that we’re nothing in the universe, just starstuff on a much, much bigger plane. That affects how you think, and changes for the better how you look at things.

7) You’re automatically early. Getting up even a half hour early eliminates the “rush” that comes with leaving the house in the morning. Get up earlier, and you’re calmer. You remember everything you need to take. You walk out without being stressed. This leads to a calmer day. Also, studies have shown that being on time is one thing that good leaders master, as well as demand. Want to be on time? Get up earlier.

6) EAT! Getting up early lets you have breakfast, which, as trite as it sounds, really is the most important meal of the day! Before you go to sleep, set out a bowl, a spoon, and a pot. When you wake up, pour some whole-grain oats and water into said pot and turn on the flame. Make your coffee and pet your cats or watch your sunrise. The oats will be done in 10 minutes. Add some fruit or whatever you like – I’m a fan of just a touch of butter and some salt. Eat your oats, and feel the sustained energy kicking into your system. Throw in two hard boiled egg-whites for protein as a side dish. (One if you don’t exercise.) See my other blog for more tips on better ways to eat fast, but healthy.

5) Speaking of exercise… When I was training for my Ironman, there were days I had to do 100 mile bike rides. Most people get up at 6, and are biking by 6:30. The problem is, that means most people are in the park/on the roads at the same time. I got up at 3am, and was in Central Park by 3:30am. I got to ride for three hours, by myself, with no distractions. I owned Central Park for three hours! Getting up early and exercising, whether at the gym or by yourself, puts you in a very small, yet very powerful group of people. Get up, get it done, and get on with your day. Come on – You know you’re not gonna go to the gym after work, and now you don’t have to!

4) Easier commute! I don’t have a commute, but for years growing up, I did. My parents and I would ride together into the city when I went to high school, and we were always on the road by 6:20am. At 6:20am, we’d be in Manhattan in 10 minutes. If we left even 20 minutes later, at 6:40, the trip would take an hour. Get up early, get to the office, and your commute is done before traffic goes to hell. Easiest commute ever.

3) Be a power player. Be a market maker. Want to know who the real power players are in the business world? Try scheduling 7am breakfasts with them. I’ve been at 7am breakfasts with some of the biggest and most powerful CEOs in the world – Why? Because they know that the demanding schedule they have won’t allow for lunches. What did Gordon Gekko say? “Lunch? Aw come on, Marty. Lunch is for wimps!” He was right. Want to meet with the power-players? Egg-white omelet and coffee at 7am at the Plaza.

2) Do something you “never have the time for.” When do you think I write a lot of these blog posts? When do you think I answer a ton of emails? Review new software? Write my book? Yup. While you’re still sleeping.

1) Change the world. The number one reason to get up super-early? 30 minutes can change the world. Getting up early each day can truly make all the difference in your life. Imagine getting up early and just doing a few of the things listed above. Would you be more productive? Make more money? Reach more people? Get more deals done? I bet you would.

That was the “why.” Here’s the “how.”

Top Six ways to make sure you get up early.

6) DRINK! Keep a giant glass of water by the bed. As soon as the alarm goes off, BEFORE YOU SHUT IT OFF, drink the entire glass of water. Water is the most awesome wake-up tool for your body ever. Drink the water, it opens up brain cells, rejuvenates your eyes, allows you to come out of sleep. Drink water!! (Thanks to Lara Dalch at Dalch Wellness for this tip.)

5) MOVE! Set the alarm clock somewhere you can’t reach it. Get out of bed to shut it off (after you’ve drank your water) and you’re up and mobile.

4) FEED SOMETHING! Get a pet. Seriously. Feed the pet ONE DAMN TIME at 5am, and you’ll never sleep through 5am again for the entire life of the pet. Trust me on this.

3) THERE IS NO TRY. Don’t think, just do. It’s amazing what we can rationalize at 5am. “Oh, I’ll just sleep for an extra hour, then do the treadmill at double the speed for half the time so I can still make it into the office. You know that’s BS, you know you’re not going to, and you know there will be no working out for you today. Don’t think. Just get your ass out of bed. Think later.

2) GET OUT! The Bedroom is for sleeping and sex. Once you’re awake, get your ass out of it. Go to the kitchen for your coffee. Go to the living room or your home office for your computer (see #10 above.) You’ve slept. Now get out of the bedroom.

1) SLEEP! Hands down, the number one way to get up earlier? Get to sleep earlier. I know, I’m blaspheming here. How dare I waste a perfectly good night where I could go out and be a drunken idiot, or go to a boring party? End result, I LIKE going to sleep earlier because I know what it’s going to do for me on the flip-side. I still go out, but I limit it. Remember when you were a kid, and your parents made you go to sleep early on a school-night? There’s a reason for that. Go to sleep earlier. Countless studies have been conducted showing that lack of sleep is hurting us, causing us to lose money, hell, even making us ugly! – Chances are, not sleeping enough is the root of a lot of your problems.

Bonus: Even remotely overweight? Got sinus issues? Always feeling tired? They might be connected. Learn about sleep apnea, and see if you have it. Turns out, I have massive sleep apnea – to the point where it was actually raising my blood pressure. Losing weight is the best thing you can do for it, but there’s a host of other things you might want to check out.

  • I read this post when it was new – or at least when it was newish – and filed it away in my brain as something to remember. I think of your “Top 6 ways to make sure you get up early” regularly and that I have put several into practice as I’ve recently begun a morning exercise routine.
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Jenn

  • I read this post when it was new – or at least when it was newish – and filed it away in my brain as something to remember. I think of your “Top 6 ways to make sure you get up early” regularly and that I have put several into practice as I’ve recently begun a morning exercise routine.
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Jenn

  • Definitely agree! (Found this post again today after you posted it to FB.) When the weather was nice, I was a 4am walker around a certain path in town. Really helped being alone with my thoughts while getting some kinetic workout. Today, I was up at 3:45 to hit the gym at 4, so I can concentrate on what I want to accomplish without others being around talking, etc.

    I could get up at 5 and do the same thing, but the extra time to let things wake up and start the mind working is extremely valuable.

  • Definitely agree! (Found this post again today after you posted it to FB.) When the weather was nice, I was a 4am walker around a certain path in town. Really helped being alone with my thoughts while getting some kinetic workout. Today, I was up at 3:45 to hit the gym at 4, so I can concentrate on what I want to accomplish without others being around talking, etc.

    I could get up at 5 and do the same thing, but the extra time to let things wake up and start the mind working is extremely valuable.

  • Lindsey

    I haven’t ever really been a ‘morning’ person – but I agree with you Peter. Those early mornings are great. I used to run in the morning and watching the world come alive is great. I loved running early in the morning and then starting my day – because I already felt like I accomplished A LOT. It was a beautiful thing.

    But then my little miracle happened – and now my morning runs and ‘me morning time’ have disappeared. Insert a new baby who still isn’t sleeping through the night and who stays up until 9:30-10pm. And after he goes to sleep, I run around like a mad woman getting everything cleaned up and ready for the next day. So, while getting up early is great in theory – it is all I can do to get up at all. I’ve been running off of only 4-5 hours of sleep for almost a year now.

    So any suggestions for the moms and dads out there who are running off of a minimum amount of sleep and have a hard time waking up early? Because the early motivation I once had has now gone away. And for those parents who can still muster up that motivation early in the morning: Seriously. You are my hero. Any tips? 🙂

  • Adrian Miller

    I’m up at 5AM and LOVE my morning time when I KNOW there will be fewer emails and no calls and the world still seems serene:)

  • Lindsey

    I haven’t ever really been a ‘morning’ person – but I agree with you Peter. Those early mornings are great. I used to run in the morning and watching the world come alive is great. I loved running early in the morning and then starting my day – because I already felt like I accomplished A LOT. It was a beautiful thing.

    But then my little miracle happened – and now my morning runs and ‘me morning time’ have disappeared. Insert a new baby who still isn’t sleeping through the night and who stays up until 9:30-10pm. And after he goes to sleep, I run around like a mad woman getting everything cleaned up and ready for the next day. So, while getting up early is great in theory – it is all I can do to get up at all. I’ve been running off of only 4-5 hours of sleep for almost a year now.

    So any suggestions for the moms and dads out there who are running off of a minimum amount of sleep and have a hard time waking up early? Because the early motivation I once had has now gone away. And for those parents who can still muster up that motivation early in the morning: Seriously. You are my hero. Any tips? 🙂

  • Adrian Miller

    I’m up at 5AM and LOVE my morning time when I KNOW there will be fewer emails and no calls and the world still seems serene:)

  • I have always done the opposite, where I’m working late while others are sleeping or partying. But at my age I’m not into saying up until 2 to work, to say nothing of what *that* does on the flip side in the morning. So I may well integrate a routine to get up earlier. Thanks for the recommendations, Peter.

  • I have always done the opposite, where I’m working late while others are sleeping or partying. But at my age I’m not into saying up until 2 to work, to say nothing of what *that* does on the flip side in the morning. So I may well integrate a routine to get up earlier. Thanks for the recommendations, Peter.

  • As a fellow early-riser (4:30am), I can relate to your entire perspective, and also really appreciate the tips. All the best to you for 2013. JIM

  • As a fellow early-riser (4:30am), I can relate to your entire perspective, and also really appreciate the tips. All the best to you for 2013. JIM

  • Agatha Kubalski

    I love all the subtle effects a pet can have on you….my cat definitely gets me out of bed for feeding time, and morning cuddle time does help put me in a good mood.

  • Agatha Kubalski

    I love all the subtle effects a pet can have on you….my cat definitely gets me out of bed for feeding time, and morning cuddle time does help put me in a good mood.

  • A lot of great info in here Peter, and I agree with much of it. But please keep in mind that not all of us masters (or mistresses) of the universe are single, without children, living alone with only pets. “Feeding something,” like say a hungry baby who wakes up at 5:30 means the morning is no longer yours. And as much as I love getting into the office early, these days my commute can’t start until the kids are safely in school.

    After that, let the world-changing begin!

  • A lot of great info in here Peter, and I agree with much of it. But please keep in mind that not all of us masters (or mistresses) of the universe are single, without children, living alone with only pets. “Feeding something,” like say a hungry baby who wakes up at 5:30 means the morning is no longer yours. And as much as I love getting into the office early, these days my commute can’t start until the kids are safely in school.

    After that, let the world-changing begin!

  • CEOParent

    So you say get up and pet your animals, what about kids. My daughter is the best to cuddle with in the morning. I stopped my 6:30 am workouts and decided to cuddle with my daughter instead, we have breakfast and I walk her to school nearly every day. I get work outs in later and have a much better relationship with her. I own and run 2 companies and do triathlons too. I do long for that nice quiet time to work out, but for now I choose my daughter, she’s 8 and I know it won’t last forever. Every once in a while I take a morning meeting and I’m sure my companies could be doing better if I did spend that time working. Any big bad CEO’s choose their children in the morning?

    • lightwate

      I think you’re doing the right thing. lots of families don’t have that, and i’m sure you’re daughter loves you very much

  • CEOParent

    So you say get up and pet your animals, what about kids. My daughter is the best to cuddle with in the morning. I stopped my 6:30 am workouts and decided to cuddle with my daughter instead, we have breakfast and I walk her to school nearly every day. I get work outs in later and have a much better relationship with her. I own and run 2 companies and do triathlons too. I do long for that nice quiet time to work out, but for now I choose my daughter, she’s 8 and I know it won’t last forever. Every once in a while I take a morning meeting and I’m sure my companies could be doing better if I did spend that time working. Any big bad CEO’s choose their children in the morning?

    • lightwate

      I think you’re doing the right thing. lots of families don’t have that, and i’m sure you’re daughter loves you very much

  • rebecca smith

    I highly recommend anyone curious about night owls versus early birds and sleep in general to read the book “Internal Time” — we really are hard wired to be most alert and physically capable at different times of the day, and it is wildly different among individuals. For some, the early morning is a time of regeneration and productivity. For others, it is a time of lows across the board.

  • rebecca smith

    I highly recommend anyone curious about night owls versus early birds and sleep in general to read the book “Internal Time” — we really are hard wired to be most alert and physically capable at different times of the day, and it is wildly different among individuals. For some, the early morning is a time of regeneration and productivity. For others, it is a time of lows across the board.

  • nerdygirlfromjersey

    I love that you added “how” here for people. And while it is true that folks w/ kids (and especially babies) will find this more challenging, there are still a whole lot of other folks that will be able to pull it off. I love the mornings for the quiet, the peace, and the amount I can get done in such a short time (with no interruptions! bliss!). I drink my coffee. I watch sunrises. Not only watch them, but when you do it long enough, you start to notice the differences in the sunrise, based on the season, and the weather. And you start to appreciate it all more. Really.

  • nerdygirlfromjersey

    I love that you added “how” here for people. And while it is true that folks w/ kids (and especially babies) will find this more challenging, there are still a whole lot of other folks that will be able to pull it off. I love the mornings for the quiet, the peace, and the amount I can get done in such a short time (with no interruptions! bliss!). I drink my coffee. I watch sunrises. Not only watch them, but when you do it long enough, you start to notice the differences in the sunrise, based on the season, and the weather. And you start to appreciate it all more. Really.

  • katherine webb

    you have some good ideas here, thanks!

  • katherine webb

    you have some good ideas here, thanks!

  • YesGrrrl

    I was attracted to the headline, but you lost me at getting up at 3am for your exercise program. To “beat the crowd,” huh? That is pure CRAZYTOWNS. It sounds like you’re on coke.

  • YesGrrrl

    I was attracted to the headline, but you lost me at getting up at 3am for your exercise program. To “beat the crowd,” huh? That is pure CRAZYTOWNS. It sounds like you’re on coke.

  • Sue

    I never feel like there is enough time in the day to get everything done. I was inspired after reading your post. I thought in order to be successful I would start off slowly, waking up 15 minutes earlier than usual. I have to say its been a week and I can’t believe how much I’m able to accomplish with the extra 15 minutes added to my day . Feels good might graduate to 30 minutes soon. Yes, my 2 dogs are loving it too!

  • Sue

    I never feel like there is enough time in the day to get everything done. I was inspired after reading your post. I thought in order to be successful I would start off slowly, waking up 15 minutes earlier than usual. I have to say its been a week and I can’t believe how much I’m able to accomplish with the extra 15 minutes added to my day . Feels good might graduate to 30 minutes soon. Yes, my 2 dogs are loving it too!

  • Luke702

    I had trouble waking up early in the morning because i just couldn’t get to sleep. Alot of it has to do with your “Body Clock” it isn’t just a metaphor. It’s a place in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a small bundle of brain cells located behind the optic nerve at the bottom of the brain. It responds to the light from the eyes to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms “Aka 24-hour cycle”. Your body likes routines and so does your suprachiasmatic nucleus. Break that routine and you could be in trouble. These are tips i used to get back on track.
    1.Go to bed and get up at a fixed time each day.
    2.Eat a little dairy or carbohydrate-rich food before bedtime, but don’t sleep on a full or empty stomach.
    3.Give yourself at least one hour of relaxation time before going to bed.
    4.Don’t take alcohol or sleeping tablets. They may help you get to sleep, but they quality of your sleep with be impaired.
    5.Your body sleeps best when it is at its lowest temperature during the 24-hour cycle. Overheating at night is a major cause of poor sleep.
    6.One thing i tried is i started to workout, found a workout buddy an a good website with great supplements check em out they are new. http://www.athleticworx.com
    hope this helps.

  • Luke702

    I had trouble waking up early in the morning because i just couldn’t get to sleep. Alot of it has to do with your “Body Clock” it isn’t just a metaphor. It’s a place in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a small bundle of brain cells located behind the optic nerve at the bottom of the brain. It responds to the light from the eyes to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms “Aka 24-hour cycle”. Your body likes routines and so does your suprachiasmatic nucleus. Break that routine and you could be in trouble. These are tips i used to get back on track.
    1.Go to bed and get up at a fixed time each day.
    2.Eat a little dairy or carbohydrate-rich food before bedtime, but don’t sleep on a full or empty stomach.
    3.Give yourself at least one hour of relaxation time before going to bed.
    4.Don’t take alcohol or sleeping tablets. They may help you get to sleep, but they quality of your sleep with be impaired.
    5.Your body sleeps best when it is at its lowest temperature during the 24-hour cycle. Overheating at night is a major cause of poor sleep.
    6.One thing i tried is i started to workout, found a workout buddy an a good website with great supplements check em out they are new. http://www.athleticworx.com
    hope this helps.

  • Joshua

    This article is G R E A T !!

  • Joshua

    This article is G R E A T !!

  • I found the best way to wake up early was make it a challenge. Here is my experience with it>

    http://keystooptimalliving.com/6-am-challenge-the-benefits-of-waking-up-early/

  • Guest

    I understand what you are saying, but that final comment is entirely ludicrous. Prove that you have a higher IQ or are more creative — those are both things that can be trained, not inborn gifts that someone who wakes up early doesn’t have.

  • Jordie

    I love this. I bought my first business last year at 21 years old. Now 22 and putting nearly 100 hours a week into it and clearing over 7g a week. This is only the beginning for me and I wouldn’t be so successful if not for waking up while the world sleeps.

  • Priscilla

    I have been following you on Twitter and your early rise IG photos made me think of my new goal, now that I’m 28 I want to try the whole wake up early, be on time thing. Thanks!

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