I am not a morning person. No, really. I grew up waking up at the unearthly hour of 4 am to study, and on the rare occasions I didn’t religiously fall asleep at the study table, I just read the newly discovered Mills & Boons covered in the omnipresent laminated brown paper of the ’90s. As soon as I got away to college, though, I fell into the trap of late nights and even later mornings. Mornings when I had to wake up any time before 7:30 were painful, to say the least. I had to prepare myself all evening and sometimes, I even lay awake anxious about the fact that I had to wake up earlier than usual. A morning run to get in shape? It is a joke in my world. Yes, it is all quite pointless, dismissed without even a second thought.
Cut to today, even as the monotony of our lives goes on, all of us have big plans on the side. We want to write those books, pitch those stories, start that business, make those trips, finish the books we bought in the last sale season, or even humble ones like really reading about current affairs instead of depending on the angry Twitterati to shape our world views. But so much time is spent in traffic, commutes, meetings, and all the things we need to do that it leaves us with little time to get started on the things we want to do. ‘I wish I had 48 hours in a day’ is a phrase we repeat to ourselves constantly, fully aware of its futility.
The truth is you are always only going to have 24 hours in a day but what you do with it makes all the difference. A couple of hours in the morning before the world is up and running and demanding your attention make all the difference.
I realised only a couple of years ago that the mornings I need to wake up at an unearthly hour for a road trip or to catch a flight, I often don’t even need the alarm clock. That’s it then—waking up to the things you love can make all the difference.
If you are planning to wake up early to go running, chances are the snooze button will be your best friend unless you are an endorphin junkie. But what if you allocated that time to do the things that you just can’t for the rest of the day? That trip you have been meaning to take but haven’t had the time to plan for? Do it at 6 am. The pitch draft that is sitting in your personal folders, pining for your attention? Do it the first thing in the morning. A business idea that has been brimming in your head, exciting you on slow Tuesday afternoons at work? Get to it, already.
Ever since I got on the independent work brigade and started writing and consulting, mornings have been much easier for me. Every other morning, I have a story to get to, a pitch I need to send out, or the final edits on a blog post that is putting the spring in my step lately. I wake up easily, and without cheating myself, get to my most favourite task with a cup of hot coffee to start my day. And just like that, my mornings are a breeze.
If it doesn’t work, the other thing I can recommend from personal experience is to let go of your Netflix binge a couple of nights a week and enjoy the peace and quiet of late evenings. Allocate this time to some of the other productive things you could do, like making to-do lists or just consuming interesting information instead of falling prey to click baits all day. Of late, I get a lot of my reading done at this time, just before we call it a day. A household that has thus far survived on daily doses of mindless TV is slowly, surely, moving towards quieter, more meaningful, and more importantly, mindful ways to spend time. And I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased.
Below are more reads on making more out of the 24-hour days dealt out to us: