So, for the last 4 weeks, I have been making a conscious effort to wake up at 4am every day Monday thru Saturday, and 6am on Sunday. During that time, I have had a significant increase in productivity and efficiency that I have not had in years. Now I have not been a stranger to getting up early, but until recently, anything earlier than 5.30am seemed unnecessary, particularly when it is not uncommon for me to go to bed at 11pm or even 11.30pm.
However, after reviewing my own notes and thoughts as I prepare to write my next book on Time Management, I was gathering feedback from others on what is commonly referred to as the “Magic Hours” from 4am until 6am. I have heard this insight from others over the years and knew full well that I was most productive when I get up at 5:30am, something about being up before everyone else, without distractions gave me an advantage and allowed me to accomplish much more.
Now, if I incorporate the added concept that I have a “Day job” and without the time before my day gets started there, I would not have been able to write my 1st book, “Success with Goals”, nor would I have been able to gain the same edge over my competition in my career, nor been able to run my businesses while holding down a full-time job and helping my wife raise two children. There is little chance that I would have been anywhere near as productive over the years, had I not adopted this Early to Rise mentality. And, it is equally obvious that this time truly can be magical in getting things done, IF you have a plan.
The reason I embarked on this challenge for myself was because despite my many accomplishments, culminating with my recent 1st book publishing, I realized that I had been neglecting my health, again. I know that sounds less than intelligent, or straight up Dumb, coming from someone who competed as a top-level athlete for years. However, it is not uncommon for top athletes to neglect their health when they transition careers, applying their available time and energy to their new focus and neglecting things that complemented their success to begin with.
After realizing that I was not the only one who fell prey to this circumstance, I set out to figure out how I could maintain my level of efficiency and productivity while incorporating time to exercise daily. This was no easy task, I considered the workout at home route with limited exercise equipment, bodyweight exercises, etc. That entire process led to starting another company selling fitness equipment on Amazon and an exercise and a diet program that you can use at home. You can even take the products and use your routine you when you travel, as I spend approximately 40 weeks on the road each year, and maintaining my fitness is even more of a challenge on the road, than it is when I am at home.
In the end, I decided that 4am would be the time I would test myself with. I knew full well getting up at 4am was not the biggest challenge as I have been able to do that from time to time, but getting enough sleep by getting to bed by no later than 10pm consistently was the real challenge. So, 4 weeks ago I began my trial journey testing on myself getting up at 4am and developing a routine to get my work done and still leave time to work out. I also have multiple calls each morning that I maintain to keep things moving in my both my businesses as well as at my day job.
During this 4-week challenge, I have already lost 21 pounds, just from simply doing 45 minutes of cardio each day and being more diligent about my diet. Additionally, I have begun to improve my turn around time on projects that I have been working on. I have even increased my productivity by approximately 30%. I know this is likely more subjective, but I am seeing such improvements in my productivity that I am confident I can continue to drive and market my current book, while starting the writing on the next one, which I was not certain I could do, previous to this challenge.
My mind is much clearer and more focused throughout the day because many important tasks are getting completed before my day really gets started and it’s also allowing me to stay with my program of checking email just 2 times per day, in the morning after writing and working out, and then again briefly before calling it a day, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I am still reviewing some of my processes and even trying to decide to have dedicated days for certain tasks. Such as writing on certain days and working on projects other days.
Another key thing I realized was as I have sifted through the projects, this proactive approach is allowing me to see how I could more effectively delegate much of the work I’ve been straddling myself with. Just this past week, I interviewed and hired a bookkeeper, and she is going to help me find a personal assistant, while I look for a virtual assistant for managing my online marketing efforts. This may sound contrary to personal productivity, but I know what I am good at, and what I am struggling with. Much of my productivity slow-downs are more a cause of my inefficiencies with certain tasks, versus focusing on my strengths which is what I already know gets me the best results.
A final comment on this challenge is that the exercise and weight loss has already improved my confidence and energy level. I feel better about myself, as I am making progress on my fitness goals, as well as moving towards achieving a weight of 205 by summer time 2018. The exercise gives me more energy throughout the day and confidence gained by making progress on important goals is fueling my efforts and commitment to stay with these important and empowering goals.
So, as I close out on the 1st 4 weeks, I will be extending the challenge to myself for an additional 4 weeks through September. At that time, if I see continued improvements, I will make this part of my normal routine going forward for the foreseeable future. My guess is this will be a huge cornerstone of my time management book which I intend to complete by end of year 2017.
Thanks everyone, hope you found this useful and we’ll look to catch up again in a week or so.