Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Momentum of Each Day

(5 reasons why waking up early rocks!)

Ever since we started getting up early in search for the Extra Hour we have both found that our creativity has increased as has our sense of achievement. 
In fact the benefits far outweigh the hardship of setting the alarm at a time that starts with 5 (which I have not done since my rowing days) or the fact that we sometimes have to go to bed a little earlier. When we began the routine (back when the mornings were actually dark, which did make it a little harder) we made the decision that it made sense for us to get up early every day, including weekends. That extra hour or two of sleep at weekends, we thought, was not worth the added difficulty of getting up on a Monday. Plus, we decided to be kind to our bodies - it seems that it is easier to keep the same rhythm week-round: your body does not recognise weekends! (As an aside note, neither do dogs, it seems...)

However, this week we are on our half term holiday. Which means that for a whole week, we could get up at whatever time we want! D and I had a chat about what we would do with our sleep schedules and decided that we could sleep in at weekends (yesterday and today - a rare extra treat) and then go back to our normal schedule come Monday. It sounded fair. It was also good timing, as I have a stinking cold that is making my sleep very light and interrupted, so I jumped at the chance of a lie-in. (I use the term very loosely, as most people I know at least, would not consider getting up at 7:30 a lie in. Everything in life is relative.)

We did it yesterday and again today. And, I have to report, that I am not happy with the side-effects... 

For one, by the time I actually get up I feel a lot more sluggish than I normally do when I get up an hour or two earlier. On top of that, I find that without my extra hour's targetted routine, my day loses momentum. 

So here they are, the five reasons why getting up early might be good for you:

1. Momentum 
There is something magical about gaining momentum early in the day. Mark Twain has been credited as the father of this phrase: "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first". 
While I do not subscribe or advocate frog eating... and, in fact, if I understand the phrase correctly, Mr Twain suggests that we start with our biggest and hardest task first thing, I believe that accomplishing something early in the day, really does make you feel on top of the world. 

2. Big things should come first
I often feel so much satisfied with my day, if I have started it with something meaningful to me. These things include:  writing, spending time with my husband, exercise, walking the dogs. All of those are the things that fill my life with joy, and doing them first thing in the morning, means that they do not get pushed out by the less meaningful things later on in the day. Simple. 

3. Sunrises
I love the beauty of the sun rising out of the water, or out of clouds. I am extremely lucky to have this view, but even when I didn't I found that there was something very spiritual about the sun rising, the sky getting lighter and the start of another day. It often fills me with gratitude that I am here to witness it all, for one more day. 

4. Tea
Ok, I know this is a little one. I have several cups of tea a day, but  the first cup of tea, which I have in bed with my husband, I really relish. I taste it and feel it and appreciate it more than any other food or drink experience in my day. And, as I am finding out more and more, it is the little things in life that add up to happiness! 

5. It All Adds Up
I never quite thought of it that way, when I made the decision to add this extra-hour in my life. I, in fact, thought that I would lose time at the other end of my day. It seems, however, that I still go to bed about the same time that I did before (most days before 10 o'clock, but occasionally later). Even if I didn't, I was never a night-owl, the last few hours before bed were dead time for me - I could never work, or do anything productive, not even house work. They were usually DVD or mindless internet time, not really adding value to my life. I have added about an hour of productive time to my day: that is 7 hours in a week and 30 hours in a month. I have gained a bit more than a day of productive, meaningful time. And that makes me very happy!

I am writing all this today, having got up around 8... I lost a little momentum today, I did not see the sunrise, but I did get to start my day with a gorgeous cup of tea. Thank you, D! 

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