Could you wake up two hours earlier every day? Rachel Gillett at Fast Company tried it for a week, rising at 6:30 a.m. and tallying up the ways in which it improved her productivity and happiness, both in her personal life and at work — plus, a few of the challenges involved in resetting her daily clock.
(Photo Credit: Art4TheGlryOfGod/Flickr)
First things first: waking up earlier won’t work for everyone.
1. Experiments like these are easier if you’re not a working parent.
“Many [parents] pointed out that they rarely have the luxury of sleeping until 6:30 a.m., which would make their wake-up time for this project much earlier,” writes Gillett. “This seems implausible, though some have done it.”
Her colleague Scott Thigpen, for example, regularly rises at 3:50 a.m., in order to have some peace and quiet before his two children wake up. He often meditates during his morning hours, which sometimes just consists of quietly enjoying a cup of coffee without interruption.
2. Not everyone’s work and life rhythms are the same.
If you’re a morning person, waking up earlier buys you extra hours to create and think, but if you’re a night person, you might just feel exhausted, as if you’re tacking on more unproductive time long before your brain kicks in.
If you can get stuff done in the morning, however, there are rewards to getting up much earlier than usual, including:
1. Increased energy, especially if you, like Gillett, use the time to work out first thing in the morning.
2. Weight loss. Again, the early morning workouts might help, but so can having a bit more time to plan meals, eat slowly, and just generally reduce stress.
3. Improved punctuality. One reader tells Gillett that getting up earlier makes it easier for her to make early-morning meetings and flights.
4. More time to yourself. Want to train for a marathon, write a book, or pick up a hobby you abandoned years ago? Getting up earlier than everyone else is a great way to do it.
5. Less rushing around. Some stress is healthy, inspiring us to do our best work, strive for a goal, or improve ourselves. The pressure we feel when we’re constantly just a few minutes behind isn’t that healthy kind of stress. Get up earlier, and you start the day ahead, instead of behind.
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