The benefits of waking early

I’ve changed the structure of my days this year. Its not a New Years resolution, just that it happened to coincide with a trip to Hawaii before Christmas.

I found that being on the other side of the world, and still having to manage my businesses, meant that I needed to get up a little earlier to catch people before they left their office. The fact that I was still suffering a little from jet-lag made it so much easier to be up at 4 or 5 am. I don’t normally suffer the effects of  long-haul travel, but perhaps the infrequency of trips these days doesn’t help.

It was beautiful to sit at the desk in my room, plan, have a cup or two of coffee, and then watch the sun rise over the bay as I got the important things done before breakfast. It would mean I could then relax throughout the rest of the day, knowing all of the important things were attended to.

So when I got back to the UK, I still suffered with jet-lag, lying in bed with my mind starting to run through the day, I decided after a couple of days of this, that I may as well get up. Since the holiday routine was fresh in my mind I thought I’d see if I could reproduce the same calmness and productivity.

Things improved as the jet-lag wore off, but I found that getting up at 5 am gave me quiet hours where I could sit with a coffee and plan my day. I could reflect on the previous day and plan what I needed to do, what the most important things were for that day.

The other coincidental thing was that I was ‘disconnected’. No e-mail, no Facebook updates, no texts or phone calls, and I didn’t check e-mail.

Just me, my thoughts, and a cup of extremely good coffee.

Its amazing how much you can get done before everyone gets out of bed. Breakfast, exercise, reading, planning, writing (as I am now) catching up from yesterday, all without distraction. I now see what Leo Babauta was on about in his blog post. I didn’t quite see the sense at the time.

By nature I’m a proximity player. I like getting together with people, talking, doing the whole social thing. But I also like my own company, a little bit of solitude, time to myself to think and reflect and these few hours in the morning provide this for me, and what better way to start the day.

I say, a few hours, but when you think about it, there’s half a working day for some people. Imagine that, 4 hours to do whatever you want before the 9am madness starts.

So mornings now consist of this small oasis of calm, to remove all of the distractions, and concentrate on whats important. Sounds a bit like Minimalism to me.