Since the beginning of this year, I have woken up at 5:00 am almost every day. I made this a habit because it was the only way I could make time to exercise during the day. Keeping what many would consider an unthinkable schedule, I have learned a lot about myself and about what it takes to set my day up for success.

Waking Up Early Improves Clarity

Through the months of waking up before the sun and most of the population, I have experienced a drastic improvement to my thinking.  First, I’ve had to completely change the way I approach things. Once I start a workout, I generally don’t have trouble staying awake, but convincing myself to get out of bed is a constant struggle. Because of this, I have developed mental toughness and discipline that I would not have otherwise found in myself. I now approach things thinking about why I’m doing what I am, not just what I’m doing.

 

Waking Up Early Improves Productivity

Nine times out of ten, when I wake up at 5:00 and get a good workout in, the rest of my day goes by much smoother. Yes, there are days when I fall asleep during tests or on my math book or in band class (I’m serious), but I usually feel more motivated and less groggy throughout the day. Because of this, I have noticed a boost in my productivity when doing homework or working on other projects.

 

You Can Learn a Ton

One reason I wake up early is to exercise, and another reason is to learn. When I exercise, I listen to podcasts or watch TED talks. I have found that when I am focused on improving the intellectual side of me, I have improved focus improving the physical side of me. I recently started listening to podcasts at 1.4 speed, which has been a good experiment because I have been able to absorb information more quickly and efficiently. Some of my most revelatory experiences have been while working out and watching a TED talk. I am more willing to pay attention when there aren’t any distractions around to tear me away from what I’m watching or listening to.

 

With waking up early, it’s important that you not sacrifice a good night’s rest. I shoot for seven hours of sleep a night, even though it often doesn’t happen. I have recently switched from waking up at 5:00 am to waking up at 4:00 am and that has made all the things I mentioned above even more obvious in my life.

So, what will you do? Will you wake up earlier than you currently are? 15 minutes? 30? 60? Try it out, you might learn something.

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