If you’ve got plenty of time, this post may not be for you.
But if you struggle to carve out time in your busy day for the important stuff, I have a suggestion. You may cringe (as I did at first), but hear me out: it is easier and more rewarding than it sounds. And there’s no need to commit, as it’s easy to try out for a few days.
Wake up 1-2 hours earlier.
I’ve been waking up at 5:00 AM most weekdays for a few months now. I use the time to write (I’m typing this at 5:55 AM), to read, or just to get a handle on the day, and it is almost always the most productive part of my day. By far.
Early in the morning, the world is quiet. There are no text messages, no frantic emails, little social media activity. In my case, the family’s still asleep. It’s the perfect time for focused work or just some time to oneself.
And the “sleep cost” is close to zero, for an interesting reason: By going to bed earlier, we’re able to trade low-quality time for high-quality time.
Our late evening hours usually aren’t well-spent. Personally, I’ve been known to spend 10:00-11:30 PM mindlessly consuming videos and news articles on my phone. Now, I go to bed at 10:00 and wake up at 5:00. I’ve just shifted my schedule a bit.
Waking up earlier is easy to try, and if the idea of 1-2 hours of peaceful, focused personal time is appealing to you, I’d ask you to try it tomorrow. Expect an adjustment period, but after a week or so you’ll know whether it’s something you want to continue.
Worst case, it’s ineffective and you return to your old schedule. No harm done.
Best case, it improves your productivity, mood, and sense of control over your time.
That’s worth trying.