Waking up at 5 AM… Anyone who’s dipped their toe even briefly into the entrepreneurial world has quickly found themselves enveloped by a plethora of articles and posts talking about how the most successful CEOs wake up super-duper early. Like, before the sunrise… early.
In many of the articles I’ve read, there’s a theme making it out like this was THE critical character trait that defined their success.
However, from personal experience, I’ve realized that productivity is something that differs from person to person. We all have:
- Our own unique ways of performing tasks
- Times of day when we are more inspired than others
- Times when we’re WAY LESS likely to BE productive.
Let me start this out by saying that I think waking up early IS an awesome option for plenty of people, but this post is here to say:
It’s ALSO OKAY if you DON’T want to wake up by 5 AM and still want to run a successful business.
Here are 5 ways to know if waking up early will work for you.
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Number 1: Try Waking Up At 5 Am For 1 Week
The best way to know if you’ll find waking up early beneficial is to just TRY IT, of course. But I strongly suggest you give yourself at least a week of consistently getting up at your desired time. It will take some getting used to no matter how well you prepare the night before.
It took me at least a week for my body to start waking up “naturally” around 5AM.
Number 2: Track Your Most Productive Times Of Day
Before, during, and after you’ve started that first week of waking up super early, pay attention and record the times of day when you feel the most focused.
It’s also a good idea to track the times of day when you find yourself the LEAST focused.
You might discover that you really need extra rest or free time in the morning, and you do your best work in the afternoon or evening! So don’t fight that if it’s working for you just because you THINK you have to get up early to be successful.
For me, I tend to be the most focused 1st thing in the AM and in the evening. My “brain-not-work- good” time is between 2-4.
By this point I’ve usually already worked my 3-4 hours creativity-driven hours, so I find myself really struggling to focus after that and either take care of the more administrative tasks or call it a day.
Number 3: Get Clear On What “Being Productive” Means To You
Oftentimes, we’re so busy trying to “be productive” that we kinda lose sight of what productivity actually looks like in our lives.
Being “busy” and being “productive” are not always synonymous, and you might find that when you really focus on what is “productive” toward your goals, you spend less time on it than you did before.
This is something I struggle with a lot. Coming from the 9-5 capitalist culture, I find myself speaking a LOT of derogatory self-talk if I’m not “burning the midnight oil”.
But my business is task-oriented, and so as long as I complete my tasks (and meet deadlines of course), I work hard to shift my mindset and recognize “hard work” doesn’t always mean “feeling completely drained” by the end of the day.
Number 4: Listen To Your Body For Signs Of Burnout From Waking Up At 5 Am
Some of us just aren’t morning people, and that’s okay. I STILL can’t figure out if I’m a morning person or not. What’s most important is checking in with YOURSELF.
If you’re getting up super early and starting to notice burnout is coming more quickly (or less often), make note of that. Rest is also productive, and if getting up early is inhibiting your rest, maybe it’s NOT the most productive routine for YOU.
Number 5: Look At Your Personal Life
Listen, we ALL make sacrifices when starting our own business or new habits. It is natural. But you need to decide WHAT you’re willing to sacrifice without denying yourself the things that really matter.
If you’re someone who really finds fulfillment staying up late working on art, or playing video games, or just hanging out with your friends/partner… then it’s okay to be a night person.
For most of us, we have about 3-4 hours of really good brain time. These 3-4 hours are the most important (especially for creative entrepreneurs), so find the time slot that makes sense for you.
While setting up good habits and routines is wonderful, you DO need to listen to yourself, and your unique way of living your life.
There Is No Right Or Wrong Way
Whatever works for you is what’s best. No matter what you’re daily productivity looks like, embrace, love it, and value it. Waking up at 5 AM or NOT waking up at 5 AM isn’t going to be what determines your success.
Only YOU can determine that.
You’re doing amazing, and you don’t have to fit yourself into boxes that don’t fit you.
Remember, that’s one of the reasons we entrepreneurs escape from 9-5 grinds, because we recognize that those work environments are draining our potential and productivity.
Do not create a toxic work environment for yourself!
Embrace your skills, strengths, and unique work methods. When you do that, you will ALWAYS be productive whether you wake up at 5AM or 12PM.
Do you, do your best, and do it however works best for you!
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