Do you ever ask yourself how you could possibly fit everything you need to do into a single day?
How about whether you’ll be able to fit all the things you want to do into the rest of your lifetime?
I hear questions like these all the time.
And when I do, I always point to one person.
George Washington Carver.
You probably know him as the man who discovered 266 different uses for the peanut that we still use today.
He was born a slave, but became one of the most impactful botanists and inventors to ever live. His accomplishments are simply astounding—how did he fit it all in?
The simple answer is that he started every day while everyone else was still fast asleep. And while that’s true—the master inventor did get up at 4 a.m. every morning—it’s what he did after rising early that I believe made the biggest difference.
Why Waking Up Early Is Worth It
After rising at 4 a.m., well before anyone else was awake, George Washington Carver would slip outside where it was very quiet and ask his Creator what he should get accomplished that day. Doing this, he explained, gave him his marching orders and let him go through his morning with a purpose that set the tone for the rest of the day.
He believed strongly that this was the reason for his amazing productivity.
A while back, I started doing the same thing. I’d wake up early (not at 4 a.m., but 5:30 or 6), go brush my teeth, make coffee or tea, then spend five minutes or so in silence—seeking direction for my day.
This proved something I had long suspected might be true…
Creativity wakes up in the early hours of the morning—even if you don’t.
I found that my very best writing actually comes in those early hours of the morning. It’s curious, but true: I get SO much more done on the days I wake up early.
And YOU can do the exact same thing.
What do you feel you could accomplish if you only could find the time? That time is already there! It is hiding in the quiet, early hours of the morning. It is waiting for you.
If you’re dreaming of a side business, writing a book, learning a new skill—whatever it is—you can spend those early hours making progress without sacrificing the rest of the day at your main job or with your family.
A lot of successful people also use a couple hours each morning just to learn and grow (which I highly recommend).
But remember, although pulling yourself out of bed while it’s still dark outside is the hardest part, it’s what you do after that will determine your success.
Two Things You MUST Know About Waking Up Early
Number one: you shouldn’t wake up early just because I said so. You must have a purpose.
If you wake up early find yourself saying, “I woke up early, Andy. What do I do now?”, then you’re just wasting time.
Waking up early won’t work wonders for you unless you have a purpose and direction for your day.
Find a quiet place where you can listen for that still, small voice (or what a friend of mine once called “the quiet shuffle of sandaled feet”) and find your direction for the day. Then, move forward with massive action and confidence.
Number two: it is critically important to eliminate distractions.
That means not saying:
- “I need to check these 17 messages on my phone.”
- “I need to listen to these voicemails.”
- “I need to send an email.”
I have found that I CANNOT do these things first. In fact, the few times I have broken that personal rule were a disaster for concentration and productivity from that point on. To be clear, the emails and voice messages wait until they always have. My “marching orders” and my early hour or two must be WITHOUT these distractions.
When you wake up early, leave your phone behind and check it once you are finished or when your family is awake.
Doing both of these will allow you to have an incredibly productive and rich morning that sets the tone for your day.
If you go to the trouble to wake up early, don’t squander that extra time.
How Do You Spend Your Mornings?
What do you do immediately after you rise? How does it make you feel? What has it enabled you to accomplish?
Leave a comment below and let me know!