For some successful business leaders, the saying ”the early bird catches the worm” applies, meaning that they start the day early. There are some benefits on waking up early, but there are also benefits on waking up a little later. While some business leaders like to work as early as they can, there are also business leaders who do not rise as early as their contemporaries, yet are also successful.
So, the question is which is more effective when you’re a business leader: waking up early or waking up late?
10 benefits of waking up early
Getting up early is not easy for most people, especially when the weather is gloomy and it’s dark outside. But many already successful people say that you can win the day when you have conquered the morning.
There are several clichés that apply to early-risers. Aside from getting the worm, there is also the saying that ”early to bed and early to rise makes a man (or woman) healthy, wealthy and wise.” It’s an old saying that is closely akin to, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom,” which was said by Aristotle.
Many believe that waking up early is a productivity method that allows an individual to do more during the day. So, let’s move on to the benefits that waking up early provides a person.
- It gives you plenty of time to plan what you are going to do for the day and implement those plans.
- It gives you some quiet time. You can do some yoga, meditate or simply enjoy the moment. It provides you the time to prepare for the day physically and mentally to keep your focus.
- Waking up early helps you maintain regular sleep patterns with higher quality sleep.
- It keeps you optimistic and gives you more energy to spend the day productively.
- Spending quality time by yourself early in the morning gives you better focus, allowing you to hone your day’s goals.
- It improves creativity and mental clarity. Many people believe that they can do their best work early in the day. A tired brain makes you fight against a mental fog, which can cloud your judgment that can lead to you making errors.
- It can give you a healthier (and sexier) body. Most people who wake up early are likely to exercise. People who exercise eat healthier, and those who eat healthier are able to lose weight, which can make them feel sexier and gain more confidence.
- Your productivity increases consistently because you have focus and your intentions for the day are clearer.
- You are more likely to attain your goals as you have more time to concentrate on things that matter to your business.
- You’ll be more disciplined. Self-discipline is needed to keep waking up early. You’ll acquire skills in time management, organization and take control of your activities and your life.
The science behind waking up early
Some people tend to wake up early naturally, while some people have trained themselves to be early risers. Many people on the other hand are called ”night owls” because they have the tendency to stay up very late. Many of them have developed the habit because of the effects of modern life and the availability of the Internet, artificial lighting, exciting nightlife and services that are available 24 hours.
Here are some of the things you can do to help you change your sleeping habits so you can wake up early.
1. Restore natural light exposure during the day
People who spend most of their time under artificial lights in the office and blue lighting from mobile devices and computer screens are deprived of natural light, which causes bad sleeping habits. Being under these artificial light sources confuses your body’s natural body clock and prevents the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Increasing your exposure to sunlight will induce you to sleep early and wake up at the break of dawn (or a little bit afterwards).
2. Open you curtains in the evening
Before you turn in for the night, open your curtains. When sunlight hits your room in the morning, it will wake you up. This helps your body’s natural circadian rhythm to start. As much as possible, reduce your exposure to sources of artificial lighting during the rest of the day. One of the things you can do to help your body adjust is to dim the lights in the evening when you reach home by using lamps and shaded lights. Conversely it will help you to relax. An hour before you go to bed, turn off all your electronic devices, such as your mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop and television.
3. Develop a nighttime routine
Many people still do some work during the evening before going to bed. To help you break the habit that keeps you awake longer, set a new routine for the evening. Set your clock or watch to remind you to wind down at least one hour before you go to bed. If you sleep at 10, set the alarm at 9. Finish whatever you are doing or put it off and shut down your electronic devices. Read or do stretching exercises to help you relax and be ready for a good night’s sleep.
4. Wake up mentally and physically in the morning
It might take some time for you to do it naturally. So for the time being, get an alarm clock and set it to the new time to wake up, for example 5. Instead of being awakened by an irritating alarm sound, wake up to something else, like a podcast or a radio talk show. Your mind will also feel awake when you hear conversations instead of a jarring sound.
Place your alarm clock as far from the bed as possible so you have to get up to switch it off. Go to the bathroom and sprinkle your face with cold water.
Which is the better option – waking up early or late?
As always, there are two sides to an issue. Several successful business leaders wake up with the birds, and there are business leaders who lead successful companies even if they start late in the morning. A thing to consider is that there are people who perform better early in the morning and there are people who do better if they start their day later. Look at some of these successful business leaders and their working habits.
Power players who wake up before six in the morning
It is truly difficult for some people to wake up as early as possible in the morning. But for others, it is one of the keys to their success. You cannot discount the other factors that make them successful, including their management style or the people they have working with them, such as strategists and planners.
So, who wakes up early?
- One of the morning persons is Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, who regularly wakes up at 3:45 in the morning.
- Sallie Krawcheck, the co-founder and CEO of Ellevest is already out of bed at 4:00 in the morning.
- Vanguard Group Chairman Bill McNabb wakes up at 5 a.m. and is in his office by 6:15 a.m. He said he is most productive during the quiet time before everyone else comes into the office.
- Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sees to it that he’s already awake at 5 a.m. and cooking breakfast. He uses the time to bond with his family because he does not have much time to be with them the rest of the day.
- Foundry Group venture capitalist Brad Feld wakes up between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. He used to wake up at 5:00 a.m. regularly wherever he was, but a personal episode made him decide to change his time to wake up. As soon as he wakes up, he has coffee with his wife to watch the morning unfold.
- Strict discipline is part of the life of former American competition swimmer and Olympic Bronze medalist Caroline Burckle. She is already awake by 5:30 in the morning to work out. She said that she still wakes up at that time automatically, even though she is now running her own health and wellness coaching clinic at Louisville, Kentucky.
- StyleSeat founder and CEO Melody McCloskey is ready for the day before 6:00 a.m. She said that waking up at this time is vital to her well-being and productivity. She used to stay up late but found that a morning routine suits her best.
- Texas Instruments’ President of Education Technology Peter Balyta wakes up at 5:20 in the morning. He eats breakfast and checks his email before exercising. To wake up his mind and his body, he does mental math while going through his exercise routine at the gym.
- I.T. President L. Rafael Reif is up and about between 5:00 and 5:30 each morning. He checks his phone as soon as he wakes up, sends responses to urgent messages and reads the news while having breakfast with his wife.
- Dilbert creator Scott Adams is up between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. He said he is at his most optimistic, creative and smartest period between 4 and 8 in the morning.
Successful leaders who wake up late
While some successful business leaders have proven that waking up early is part of their success, a number of business leaders wake up a little later in the morning and still manage to run their businesses successfully.
- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, wakes up around 8:00 a.m. He checks what’s going in the world through Facebook while still in bed, then checks his messages on Whats App and Messenger. He said that it usually takes him only a few minutes to connect to the world.
- Jonah Peretti, the CEO of Buzzfeed gets out of bed around 8:30 a.m. For most people it is still early, but it is considered afternoon when you are a business person. However, the time does not stop Peretti from successfully running Buzzfeed. He is also a co-founder of Huffington Post, another successful enterprise.
- Kathryn Schulz, TED speaker and writer for the New Yorker finds that she’s at her most creative at around 10:00 p.m.
- Former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill used to wake up at 7:30 in the morning but usually remained in bed until around 11:00 in the morning. He ate breakfast in bed, read all the newspapers, checked his mail and start his workday giving orders to his secretaries while still in his sleepwear.
- Aaron Levie, the CEO of the cloud file syncing and sharing app called Box typically gets out of bed around 10:00 a.m. Just like Sir Winston Churchill, he is still in bed while checking all his messages, sending replies and clearing his inbox before getting out of bed and heading for his office.
- Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit is one of the night owls. He usually goes to bed at around 11:00 in the evening and wakes up by 10:00 in the morning.
- German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is different from the norm. It does not matter what time he gets to sleep or wakes up. What is not negotiable is that he has to get seven hours of sleep each day.
From this list of successful business leaders, you can see that their success depends more on their vision and business and personal goals. Being a morning person or a night person is a contributor. However, the success is more dependent on their most productive hours, their management of their time and their communication with their employees.
Effective business communication
Whatever time you wake up to start working, your success depends on your desire to reach your goals and the methods that you are going to use to attain your objectives. If you are in business and dealing with international partners and clientele, you’ll be more effective when you ensure that everyone understands one another. This means proper communication, which you can achieve with accurate business translations.
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