What I learnt when I took up the challenge
Starting the day early has been the cornerstone of many success strategies, but does this habit really live up to the hype?
When it comes to success trends, rising early has probably come across your radar. In his book, Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod has much to say about how this practice changed his life. He even came up with an acronym (SAVERS ) for the things one should do upon waking.
S — Silence
A — Affirmations
V — Visualisation
E — Exercise
R — Read
S — Scribe
There have long been claims about waking up early and achieving success. Early risers are viewed as people who get more done. Influenced by this hype, I decided to follow a success guru who is an early riser, and joined the 5 a.m. Club. It was fun, it was challenging.
Every morning we had to post a photo of the time we woke up as well as a photo of the sunrise or skyline. I think the idea was to make sure we got up, got out of bed, and got moving.
I did the challenge for a month. I can confirm, from first-hand experience, that I was definitely more productive during that time. It was so nice to be able to complete a half day’s work before the rest of the world woke up. I felt as if I was not only ahead of the game, but in control of the game. I am no longer part of the 5 a.m. Club but I still wake up earlier than most people, though I prefer my night owl ways.
Apart from my own personal experience, how much truth is there in the benefits of being an early riser, and it’s impact on your future success? Is it worth changing your routine?
I read up on the topic and also spoke to various groups of people about being an early riser. My conclusion was that, overall, early risers definitely seem to have head start.
This does not mean that that you will not succeed if you’re not an early riser. A good example of this are those who describe themselves as night owls. The advantage they have over early risers is that they do all their work the night before, hence the reason they go to bed late. They can therefore have a later and more relaxed start to their days.
Night owls have dispelled the myth that early risers are more productive than any other group of people. Their view is that it’s not the time that you wake up which makes you successful. It is how productive you are during your waking hours.
This also ties into such things as:
- How well you plan your days. If your days are not well planned and structured, waking up early won’t necessarily change this.
- How good you are at setting and enforcing boundaries so that you can get your work done. If you’re not good at saying no to interruptions then an early start could be your saving grace. There’ll definitely be less interruptions.
The assumption has always been that people who get up early are more productive, more focused, and therefore more successful. This is not always the case. Good outcomes are a result of good habits, practiced consistently over a period of time.
While the people I spoke with agreed that being an early riser is not the only route to success, they also acknowledged that there are more benefits to it, including how people perceive you. Getting up later in the day has always been associated with laziness. Unless you are self-employed it can be very difficult to get away with this in the workplace.
I once worked with a man who told me that he had worked very hard to get promoted to a senior management position, so that he could come to work later without being questioned. He hated early mornings.
In conclusion, it would seem that waking up early is not necessarily as good for you as everyone says it is. It all depends on your lifestyle preferences.Waking up early will not necessarily guarantee you success either, if not practised with other good habits. So, night owls you can relax, and keep doing what you’re doing.