"The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years." Thomas Jefferson
So, what's the reason to do this? For me the goal is to get more meaningful time out of my day. This sounds like a philosophical question, but there is actually a simple answer. When I compare what I usually do right before I go to sleep, with the things I do in the first hours of a day, it's quite obvious which hours of the day mean more to me. It's easy to be not productive at all between 10pm and 2am. Watching movies, surfing the web et cetera. Often that's two hours a day, spending with things, I don't really care about. It's late, I am tired, and it's totally fine to slack at 11pm, right?
So the goal is, to get this two hours from the night to the morning.
Getting enough sleep is, as tons of research shows, very important. So I want to keep my 7 hours sleep, but on the other hand I want to be able to have a nice dinner with friends without leaving too early.
My goal is to sleep at 11pm, which means bedtime: 10.30pm.
I want to do this 6 days a week. So I have the chance to go out once a week. And I want stick to it for at least a month. Whatever happens. After the month I will decide if it's worth it.
There are two crucial challenges to get the change to happen. a) Going to bed early and finding your sleep easily. b) Getting up in the morning, whatever your silent voice tells you in that moment after you tapped the alarm off button. Easy, right?
It's not. Let me tell you. I have to establish certain routines in the morning and evening to make the habit stick.
The Transition Phase
I don't want to go cold turkey, so I will set up the alarm clock for the next 4 days just half an hour earlier each day. But I will try to sleep at 11pm from day one.
The Morning Routing
- No snooze button!
It's hard to have a rational discussion with yourself a few seconds after you wake up. Of course you will feel tired and find ten reasons to stay in bed. But you have a commitment and not getting up is out of question. If you have to catch an early flight, you won't discuss either. Jump out of bed! Get excited! It's a new day! (Yes, it works.)- Music & water
Music is key to get energized on the first meters to the bathroom. After I found some water in the lavatory, it's important to have some next to dos that I enjoy, and that give me a positive push for the day. - Coffee & Reading
I love drinking coffee, so I take the time to make a really good one.After that I take my iPad and open my Feedly RSS Reader. Often I read for a few minutes in a non-fiction book. That's half an hour luxury time. I am not so much in consuming the daily news, I will catch them when I commute to work.
- Stretching & workout
After that I will do a short workout for half an hour. Right now I am using the Nike Training App, and enjoy it. Sometimes I do some yoga.
After a quick shower, I will fire up my MacBook and will do some writing. That could be a blog post, a strategy memo, a note to a friend, whatever is going through my mind and means something to me.- No email, no News, no Twitter before 8.30am
My goal is to get more meaningful time out of the day, so it's important not to kill my energy too early with shortterm "day to day" stuff.
I leave the house for work at around at 8.30. This means I will be in the office earlier than usual, will have done some workout and some writing.
The Bedtime Routine
For me that's the hard part. Getting to bed early.Especially in the beginning, so I try to do some sports after work. It's easier for me to fall asleep when my muscles hurt a bit and I drink no coffee after 4pm. The second trick is to calculate enough time for coming down. So if I want to sleep at 11pm I should start going to bed at 10pm. I set an alarm timer for 10am to have an trigger.
- Plan the next day
Checking my to do list for the next day. Setting some priorities, and trying to feel in control for the next day, helps to calm down.
- Don't break the chain.
Cross off the "I did the early wake up!" from my Lift App. Seeing your current streak, the length of your chain, helps to stay motivated for getting up tomorrow.
I try to meditate for about 20 minutes in the late evening. It helps me a lot to relax and to get the day out of my head, before I will go to bed.- No screens after 10pm
I switch off screens at 10pm, dim the lights and maybe start listening to a podcast or read something, but I won't stare in any screen. Light is a crucial thing for my energy level.
I am still in the beginning of the experiment, and will keep you posted how it goes. It will be interesting to see, what happens with me in the afternoon, will I get tired? We will see.
A project by:
Stefan Perkol (79)
Bio: Never say never.
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