Friday, 21 September 2012

Early Bird

Many life coaches and motivational speakers suggest that waking up early is the best way to start your day.  It's your chance to make time for yourself and own your day. 

I think we all know it, intuitively. And there's that expression about the early birds and the worms. So it must be true, right?

It's about more than catching worms though.  I first really came across the idea reading The Leader Who Had No Title, by Robin Sharma.  He, along with other inspiration leaders, suggest that waking up early each day can be the key to your success because it allows you to own your day, and devote your best energy to yourself.  Robin Sharma even demands that we should wake up at 5 am (!) in order to spend time in personal development: reconnecting with our values, renewing, regenerating and regrounding ourselves.  Life coaches acknowledge that its not easy, but stress that the discipline it takes to get up so early will permeate into other areas of your life.  They also suggest that to get yourself in the habit of waking up early you'll need to go to bed earlier, plan on an activity that you'll enjoy, and write out your worries so you can sleep better and awake refreshed.

Now, I always take motivational speakers with a grain of salt, but I love the idea of having some quiet time to myself before anyone is awake.  Before anyone is demanding milk, and toast, and opening the fridge grabbing random foods.  And so, I've been working on making it a habit. 

For a while in the summer, I got onto a really good roll.  The alarm was set for 5:36 am so that I could sneak out the door before, and without any of the children waking up.  (My wake-up time had already been pushed back by 10 minutes after my youngest kept waking up before I got out the door.  Then I even oiled the hinges on the bathroom and front doors, and figured out that changing into my running clothes downstairs and putting on my runners outside increased my chances of making my getaway.)

And I had some great early morning runs along the boardwalk.  Or on some mornings, I practiced some yoga.  The time to myself was wonderful.  It was so quiet.  And I could think clearly for myself.  Not to mention how virtuous I felt for getting exercise before I had even really started my day.   

My strategy included going to bed by 10:30, even if it meant leaving the lunch-making and tidying up until the morning.  After all, with an early start, I still had a bit of time in the morning to finish up some loose ends. 

Or did I?  At least one of the girls (usually the youngest) was almost always awake by the time I got back from my run, sometimes having snuggled with Daddy until she heard me unlocking the door.  Then the girls would 'help' me with my stretches and ab work out (Tip: plank can be made more challenging by adding a 35 lb daugther to your back, or by having a preschooler crawl underneath the tunnel.), or interrupt me with demands for milk and breakfast while I attempted some push-ups.  So in the end, my morning seemed just as rushed as always.

However, I did thoroughly enjoyed my quiet peaceful morning run.  It was a great to start the day with uninterrupted thoughts and time just for me.  And it's true, by extending my day, it seemed longer, but in a good way.

Unfortunately, I fell out of my routine in late August when I got a cold and nutured myself by sleeping in to the ripe old hour of 6:30, or earlier depending on how early one child or another crawled into my bed.

Then, it was the first week of September, and I decided to figure out how the new morning routine was going to work before I resumed my early mornings.

And then, the earth shifted, and it started being dark.  It is awfully dark at 5:30 in the morning.  So, I hit the snooze button too many mornings in a row.

And now, I'm fighting bronchitis.  But, I do plan to get back into the habit.  Perhaps I'd better check out Robin Sharma's video on how to train myself to get up early...

How do you carve out time for yourself?  Does waking early make a difference to your day?  How do you motivate yourself to do it?

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