In my old age (sigh…30 is coming – I kid, I kid), I’m learning that certain things about myself are changing. I used to be able to write on my laptop in my living room with nary a break in concentration. Now, I need a dedicated workspace to focus and get things done. I used to be able to work and study with friends, and now I do my best learning when I’m solo. I used to (in high school/university days) be able to stay up late and wake up at the crack of dawn, ready for the day. This last one is what has changed the most, and it’s the one I need to work on in order to save my sanity and productivity.
These days, I stay up too late and end up hitting snooze over and over in the morning. Getting out of bed in the morning is a challenge, and that challenge leads me to start my day off on a frantic and panicked ohmyGodwhattimeisitwherearemykeysIdon’thavetimeforbreakfast note. Last year, I did the Happy Black Woman’s 31 Days To Reset Your Life Challenge, and one of the daily tasks was to take an audit of your day. I clearly identified that I had a problem with staying up late and struggling in the morning, but I realized then, as I do now, that I have no one to blame but myself. The hours between 8am-5pm are generally reserved for the office, so I need to use the rest of the time that I have in a much better way.
On Saturday, I attended trey anthony’s Millionaire Artist Workshop (I interviewed trey prior to her first workshop last year) and LOVED it. trey is an accomplished writer, actor, producer, and all-around businesswoman, and returned to Toronto from her new home of Atlanta to motivate other artists who are in pursuit of their dreams. trey taught us about a tip that she learned from a mentor of hers: 5 Before 8. The 5 Before 8 trick is simple - do 5 things before 8am directly related to your career/dream/goal. Whether it’s sending an email, reading a passage from a book, working on a resume or a business plan, or doing some kind of research – be able to say that by 8am, you’ve done 5 things to push you forwards. In trey’s example, this has helped her get a jumpstart on things, because when other people might be getting started at 9am, she’s already been up and in the game. I heard her speak on it, I took notes, and I said to myself, “I’ve got to try that.”
trey also spoke about the importance of starting her day in the right way. Doing her 5 Before 8, meditating, positive affirmations, yoga, reading, talking to the right people (or making sure NOT to talk to the Negative Nellies first thing in the morning) – these are all things she does every day to get her day started off with purpose and positivity. I quickly realized while sitting in the workshop that that was what I was missing. I haven’t been starting my day with anything except HomieLoverFriend kicking me because my alarm is going off for the 2nd or 3rd time; and the mad rush filled with half-blind runs around the house, stubbed toes, curse words, and praying that there’s gas in the car. It’s no wonder that my days seem so stressful.
So, I’m determined to make a change. I realize now that the way I start my day is more important than how I end it. What I mean by that is at the end of the day, I have so many natural options of things that close out my day well. Writing, working out (I prefer evenings to mornings), quality time with the Mister/family/friends, a nice glass of wine, etc. The other thing I have to admit to myself is that I have a cutoff point at night where I go from hard-working to hardly working. That’s when I start checking Twitter or Facebook in-between “doing work”, and next thing you know, it’s after 1am and I have to schlep myself on to bed.
I’ve got to start putting in more effort to kick my days off well, so this night owl needs to become an early bird. Getting up early and starting my day with positivity and productivity might be the magic needed to help me feel more disciplined and just…good about things. It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?
I’m putting it here plainly, and as simple as it sounds, I hope it’s effective: My goal is to be productive, positive, and balanced. I will start going to bed at a decent hour, so that I can get up early enough to do my 5 Before 8 and make time for some real morning positivity. Maybe later on I’ll swing back to being a work demon in the late night hours, but until then, I’ll give this morning thing a try.
Are you an early bird of a night owl? When do you feel the most productive? Do you start your days off positively, or are you like me in that you need to put a bit more effort into waking up on the right side of the bed?