BY Johnathan Long
I’ve always been a “morning” person: I never had a problem waking up early in high school, and college was no different: I could party all night and still wake up like a champ, making it on time to my classes while my roommates remained comatose until midday.
Yet, despite my morning wakefulness, I only found out recently how to take advantage of starting my day early: This involved bumping up my alarm by an hour and getting out of bed at 5 a.m. Yes, that’s right: 5 a.m.
While no one schedule will work for everyone, you too can leverage getting up early the way I do; here are some ideas to create your own early-morning block of super-productivity time.
Why 5 a.m?
Working out early eliminates excuses. Entrepreneurs have hectic schedules, and while everyone knows that working out and other physical activities are extremely beneficial, few are able to maintain any kind of fitness routine. I myself was guilty of this in the past, always making excuses.
Then, last December, I started my fitness journey, and I’m happy to say that I have stuck to it and experienced great results. No magic pills or powders can replace hard work in the gym and a rock-solid diet. Just as with your business, you need to be willing to work your butt off, if you want to be successful.
And, when you commit to working out early in the day, you eliminate any excuse from getting in the way. Other than the gym, what do you have to do at 5:30 a.m? Nothing.
You get two hours of prime productivity. My schedule provides me with two hours of uninterrupted time after working out. This is time when I know I won’t have phone calls or other distractions. This little block of time also allows me to be more productive than during the entire rest of my day, because it’s 100 percent interruption- and distraction-free.
4:55 a.m. The alarm on my iPhone goes off at 4:55 every morning. I keep my phone on the other side of my bedroom, which forces me to get up to turn off the alarm. While I don’t normally have trouble rising, some mornings can be difficult, and having to physically get out of bed to shut off the alarm helps in those situations.
5:00 a.m. I’m on my feet and getting ready for the gym. I throw my gym clothes on and mix up a pre-workout drink. I try not to waste any time — I make it a point to get out the door ASAP.
5:30 — 6:30 a.m. A solid hour in the gym is all it takes. I’m not there to socialize or waste time. I know exactly what I need to do each day before I get there; my workouts are planned in advance. When you take the time to prep and plan, you can get everything done in an hour.
7:00 — 9:00 a.m. I have showered and am ready to tackle the day by 7 a.m. The next two hours are my time to attack tasks on my to-do list, answer emails, brainstorm growth strategies for my agency, write or read. If I have a crazy schedule ahead, with calls and meetings, I use this time to get all of the little details out of the way. If I’m caught up, I read or write, two things I truly enjoy doing.
The 7-to-9 a.m. time is also a block of time when your phone won’t be ringing and you won’t have customers or employees requiring your attention. Such distraction-free periods allow you to be very productive. How you use them is entirely up to you. I find that I can get more done in my little two-hour slot of morning time than I can get done the remainder of the day.
9:00 a.m. The normal day starts. If I’ve taken full advantage of the previous two hours, the day unfolds stress free. Your days, too, can become much more manageable and predictable because of that early morning block of time. So, why not use it?
If you feel that you might benefit from an early start, but still need some extra motivation, connect with me on social media — Twitter, Instagram orFacebook. I’m more than happy to provide a little motivational nudge!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jonathan Long is the founder and CEO of Market Domination Media, a Miami Beach-based SEO and online marketing consulting firm. Market Domination Media also offers SEO coaching programs for companies and individuals that want to learn how to build their brands online using search engine marketing. Long also founded EBOC, an exclusive private community for entrepreneurs and business owners.