Life Lesson – Up At Dawn

Good Morning All!

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Via

I am, without a doubt, a night owl. I don’t like getting up early and when I do, I often feel groggy. Sure, I get a lot done, but the entire time I’m being productive in the early hours, I’m dreaming about taking a nap or going back to bed. I’ve also learned that sleep is incredibly important to me, so I try very hard to get between 7 and 8 hours each night.

However, when I recently took over new projects at work I quickly became overwhelmed. I’d get up at 7:30 and grab some food, take care of the pup and sit down to work. I’d find myself sitting in this same spot for the next 9+ hours, with a little break here and there for food. One downside of working from home is the vanishing line between work and life. It’s too easy to grab food from the kitchen and eat it back at my desk, and so on. After work, I’d feel rushed to get out the door to walk the dog, find sometime for myself to relax, eat dinner, and still get a workout in somewhere before going to bed.

So a few weeks back I had a revelation that if I shifted my work day by just one hour, I could get more done in the morning and not feel sleep deprived. After a little time to transition into the new plan, I have started getting up at about 6:45 each morning (without an alarm!), taking my dog for a long walk, finishing my workout, eating breakfast and grabbing a quick shower. All before I sit down to start work at 9am.

My usual schedule was to work from 8-5pm. However, starting work at 9am works so much better for me since my boss works late hours and is more likely to call me at 5pm rather than 8am. I also end the work day much less stressed (about life at least) than before. Now at about 6pm I try to shut down my computer for the night and I won’t have to run out the door with the dog since had his long walk in the morning. I can actually take more time to cook a healthy dinner, read a book, work on house projects, or run errands.

How I transitioned to getting up earlier.

  • Change slowly – For the course of a few weeks, I started going to bed earlier. Sometimes I would read if I wasn’t quite tired enough, but most of the time I was out like a light shortly after my head hit the pillow. I think we’re all so trained to do more all the time, that we don’t really realize how tired we are. My alarm is now set at 7am everyday, but I often wake up before it goes off which is a nice way to start the day. Don’t try to change your sleep pattern in one night or you’ll crash at some point, hard. Take a week or two to make the change and it will seem much easier to stick with long term.
  • Workout in the morning –  Even if it’s only 30 minutes, it’s amazing how much of a boost it gives you throughout the day. Not to mention the fact that there’s no stress about fitting in your workout when life gets busier as the day goes on.
  • Relax a little  – One thing I miss when I’m stressed is a relaxing morning routine. Find a favorite routine and really enjoy it each morning. Maybe it’s sitting in the backyard with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, or perhaps you prefer to stay cuddled up in bed with a cup of hot chocolate and a full blog reader. Whatever the case may be, find something you love and learn to enjoy the quite moments in the morning.
  • Get Ready – This step is really more targeted to those that work from home. My office is right down the hall from my bedroom which is both convenient and annoying. On the bad days, I find that I often get up and go straight to work, yes, in my PJs sometimes. The simple act of getting dressed, showered, and putting some makeup on, makes a huge difference to how I feel going into my work day. Being more presentable makes me feel more in control and I find I’ve had a better day when I put in the effort.
  • Eat Breakfast – Start your day off right, enough said.

 

Does it always work? As with all things in life, everything has it’s ups and downs. Case in point, I started the above portion of the post a few weeks ago and I’ve slipped lately. Work has eaten more and more time from my life so it’s been harder to get up in the morning. Especially when coworkers think that 7am is an appropriate time for conference call (once in a while is fine, but please not everyday). However, when I stick to the plan, it does work amazingly well. So a goal over my upcoming vacation is to get back into a healthier schedule that isn’t so dependent on work hours.

 

On a side note:

A few people have asked where I’m going on vacation. Truth is, I’m not going anywhere. It’s more of a stay-cation of sorts. I just need to mentally unwind and decompress, so aside from a few visits to family or friends, I’ll be home. I have a few projects lined up and I hope to be posting throughout the week. I decided against spending the money to go somewhere, when I know that I really just need to shut down the work computer for a while and get my sanity back.

 

 

Any early birds out there? What are your tips to start the day off right?

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