The 4 a.m. Productivity Shift
The Wall Street Journal published a new report that 4 a.m. might be the best time to be productive. Minimal distractions before the sun rises, no emails or text messages and less activity on social media are the reasons behind the increased productivity at such an early hour.
Productivity in this case doesn’t have to be work-related. It seems like more and more people are saving that particular period of the day for activities that will energize and set them up for success for the rest of the day. Self-care, exercise, family time, personal growth, and spiritual connection among others, are some of the most practiced things in their routines.
These are some of the most famous executives who are coming out to say 4 a.m. is their way to go:
- Tim Cook: The Apple CEO actually starts his morning routine at 3:45 a.m.
- Sallie Krawcheck: The chief executive of Ellevest has written, “I’m never more productive than at 4 a.m.”
- Richard Branson: The billionaire entrepreneur actually wakes up a tad later, at 5 a.m., to exercise and spend time with family. He says it “puts me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.”
- Michelle Gass: The former president of Starbucks EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Russia, Africa) and now chief merchandising and customer officer at Kohl’s department stores, sets her alarm for 4:30 a.m. to go running.
- David Cush: The Virgin America CEO wakes up at 4:15 a.m to call business associates on the East Coast, then he’ll listen to sports radio, read the paper and hit the gym.
Being awake before the first sun-rays greet the world, means going to bed asleep earlier. That might mean less social time with friends or less time to watch that important playoff game.
Peter Shankman, a 44-year-old entrepreneur and speaker based in New York City says in the Wall Street Journal article, “I’m exhausted, but in a good way, which means I won’t have the energy to do something stupid like eat two gallons of Ben & Jerry’s at 10:30 p.m.”
6 Hacks That Will Motivate You To Practice Your Morning Shift
If you’re thinking about what to do to get your day off to a productive start, I suggest these 6 things.
1. Why Do You Get Up?
It sounds like a kitschy but: What motivates you to get up in the morning? It’s a serious and real question. Don’t get up at that early just for the sake of doing it or because Tim Cook also does it. Have a plan or idea, something you want to do for yourself, ideally something that excites you so much, that you can’t wait to wake up.
Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington both begin their days with 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Oprah says, “only from that space can you create your best work and your best life.” Practicing this morning ritual can make the rest of your day seem easy to handle.
3. Have Goals
These goals have nothing to do with you daily tasks. Focus mentally on something that will improve you. What can you do to personally grow? How can you get more energy for the day? What will make you happier?
4. Where Do You Place Your Alarm Clock?
Having your alarm clock within arm’s length is the prime reason most people can’t get up in the morning. Be honest, How many times have you turned off your alarm just to set it up to ring later? Place it somewhere that will force you to literally stand up.
5. Sleep In Your Workout Gear
Shankman told The Wallstreet Journal he sleeps in his gym clothes and puts his sneakers on within 10 seconds of waking up. “It’s very hard to go back to sleep once your shoes are on.”
6. Start With A Workout
Entrepreneur Russ Perry participates at the first gym class of the day, at 5 a.m. “I’ve actually made some friends with similar schedules and lifestyles,” Perry told The Wallstreet Journal.