The other day, quite by accident, I came across the Hashtag “earlyriser” on Twitter. More to the point, I connected with a fellow translator and saw his tweet about the benefits of getting up at 5.30 every morning. Far from being someone who believes in signs, I still found the notion did tie in with a lot of stuff I had watched or read lately about how to be content and mindful, more efficient and less stressed. So, let’s say I believe in a nudge when I see one. I decided to give it a go. After all, I am usually motivated enough to get up at the crack of dawn when faced with a tight deadline – mainly because I am not a night owl and my productivity tends to go out the window by dinner time. Plus, I had actively been looking for a way to keep on top of an increasingly ‘diverse’ schedule: the daily grind (obviously), finding and keeping more and interesting clients, doing a 6-week CPD course, getting more involved in my local community, improving my climbing, preparing to take on an allotment (inching up the waiting list at the moment), and still having plenty of quality time with my partner and friends.
Straight away though, I realized two things: I needed a) realistic goals, and b) baby steps. If you’re anything like me, you frequently start a new project – be it personal or professional – with great enthusiasm, only to get bogged down fairly quickly, feeling overwhelmed for lack of time or because of a fear to not meet (mainly your own) expectations. So I decided not to get up at 5.30 or even 4.30 as some crazy people on the internet seemed to advocate, but to set the alarm for a more humane 6.06. I resolved to do 10 minutes of meditation, followed by writing out a list for the day, followed by 20 minutes of exercise every morning. This is where the baby steps come in – you can already tell it’s working for me because I’m writing this blog post. I have about 3-4 blog posts I have been meaning to write for quite some time now, but never quite got around to it. So I told myself I would keep this short and get it done before 8.00. Since it is now 7.48, I better get on with it.
I have been getting up at 6.06 every morning for three days now. Here’s what happened:
Day 1: I felt terrible. I really did. I was asking myself why I was getting up without any real urgent need, just to sit on the sofa and meditate for 10 minutes – or rather, falling back asleep for 10 minutes. It was a small struggle to sit down and concentrate on my breathing, but it went alright. I wrote my list and went for a short run. Afterwards, I still felt really tired. I was dead tired all morning, until my usual mid-afternoon slump, when I was suddenly wide awake! Well, that’s something I guess!
Day 2: I felt ok. I got up and felt fairly awake. When I tried to meditate, it worked less well than the day before, bugger. Doing a mix of stretches and yoga for 20 minutes afterwards really seemed to do the trick though – I felt invigorated all morning and managed to get two small jobs out of the way before my day had even officially started. Result!
Day 3: I was all set to hit the snooze button but it wouldn’t work! Or maybe I was just hitting the wrong button. Either way, I grudgingly peeled back the sheets and got up, definitely fell asleep while meditating, but had no trouble motivating myself to go for a run (except smashing my toenail on a hard object when attempting some pre-run stretches). Now, after my run cum gorgeous sunrise, and after some breakfast, I feel awake and ready to start the day. It’s 8 o’clock!
(Don’t expect an update tomorrow though. I’m going out tonight, so will be having a lie-in…)