How to Find More Time to Get Things Done

Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” I dug a little further and found that John Clarke’s Paroemiologia Anglo-Latina, printed in 1639 contains the nearly identical “Earely to bed and earely to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

lucidityIn the U.S. Army, they claim to do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.

ESI Money believes in an early morning wakeup call. Scott from Making Momentum started getting up at 0500 every day. 5am Joel is such a strong believer in being an early riser, he made the time of day a part of his name.

I’m up at 0515 most workdays to be in scrubs and ready to work by 0600, and I tend to sleep in a bit more when I’m not working. Time will tell what life will be like post-anesthesia, but I have found that I can be extremely productive without distractions on days that I’m home and up before the rest of the family.

Dr. Peter Kim is here today to share how he discovered the secret to getting more done and how he has implemented it in his life. This Saturday Selection originally appeared on Passive Income MD.

 

How to Find More Time to Get Things Done

 

I don’t know about you, but as I get older, I find that I have less and less time to get things done. When I was in residency, I thought to myself, “I can’t wait until I’m an attending and have all this free time.”

However, once I did become an attending physician, reality began to set in. Life changes and responsibilities get added on, and priorities tend to shift.

Sure, I completed my training and became the “boss” and that was a great accomplishment. However, somewhere in there, I also got married and had a kid. Then a second one. Next thing I knew, there were no breaks to be found anywhere in the day. I’m busy from the moment I get up for work until the moment I go to sleep.

Not that the busy-ness is all bad. I love the time I spend with my family, and it’s the reason I focus so heavily on creating passive income streams – so I can spend more time with them. But something has to give, and unfortunately, that’s been my free time and the ability to be productive with other ventures.

 

Finding Work/Life Balance

 

CMGI was struggling to find a good work/life balance, but the solution eluded me. That is until I read The Miracle Morning

The concept is extremely simple. The author Hal Elrod states that one of the most common traits of successful people is that they get things done before the rest of us even get out of bed. Elrod posits that if you change your morning routine by waking up earlier, it can have a dramatic impact on your life, attitude, well-being, and productivity.

As an anesthesiologist, I already felt like I was waking up pretty early. I would routinely get up around 5:30 am in the hopes of being at the hospital by 6:30 to pre-op my patient and set up the OR.

My rushed routine involved hitting snooze at least once before dragging myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face. I would then feed and walk the dogs, grab a quick coffee and muffin at Starbucks, and eat and drink while driving.

After reading the Miracle Morning, I realized I would have to try to change all that – even though it seemed, to put it mildly, daunting. However, I made the decision to commit to waking up one hour earlier each day as Elrod advocates. Just one hour!

 

wake up early

 

Waking Up An Hour Earlier

 

The book outlines a routine for that hour, and I tried to follow it as best I could. The first week or so I questioned myself. A lot. I’d think, why am I doing this at 4:30 am when I could be enjoying an extra hour of sleep?

But then, by the second week, a funny thing happened. I started sleeping a little earlier and began waking up feeling a little more refreshed. I slowly began to crave the quietness that comes when you’re the only one awake in the whole house. I was able to enjoy a nice cup of coffee while reading a chapter or two from a book. I was able to plan my day and my life. I felt relaxed going into work.

In fact, it was this routine that helped me get my blog going. I always get asked, “How do you find the time to juggle so many things?” As of late, I just simply tell them about my morning routine.

DDQ
I take a good amount of overnight call, so of course I can’t follow this routine perfectly every morning. But on normal days, I do my best and have seen immediate life-changing results.

If you want to dramatically improve your own productivity while simultaneously reducing your stress level, I highly recommend trying this for yourself. The concept seems so simple, but you’ll start to look at life in an entirely new way. And really, there’s nothing to lose by giving it a try. Well, except maybe an hour of sleep.

 


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What’s your morning routine? Would you be willing to wake up at 0500 or earlier to get things done?

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9 comments

  • Gary Simms

    IIRC, Ben Franklin made the point that by getting up an hour early every day gives you an extra day a week in which to succeed.

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  • And here I am commenting on your blog at 5:15 am……

    I’ve obviously been doing this for a while now but I would caution it also requires going to bed on time, since Matthew Walker shows in his book that if you’re waking up extra early simply cutting down on total sleep then you’re doing your health a grave disservice.

    I do find the early morning time quiet and productive. Plus my internet works way faster since my neighbors are all snoozin.

  • “An hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after.”

    Love that quiet, productive time in the morning while others sleep!

    Already get up at 5 most days buy don’t get to bed early enough for 4 to seem to be a great idea.

    But Dr. Kim sure seems to be on to something here!

  • I find myself trying to write at the end of the day. I’m sluggish, my mind like molasses after a long day of taking care of babies at home and at work. It takes me a week to finish a post. Yesterday I whipped something together in an hour before 9am….

    Maybe a change is in order.

  • I totally get the peace and quiet that comes when the rest of the household is asleep. Actually I am the opposite when I am off and stay up later when everyone else turns in. This time I use to write on my blog or catch up on other stuff I would not have gotten around to.

    I am definitely not a morning person and I think my natural wake up time is around 9am. On workdays I usually get up at 530 am or so because I drop my daughter off to school on the way to work.

    It does seem the premise is the same. Whether early or late if you can get an hour of alone me time you seem to be much more productive

  • I get up at 4:30 daily, it that is to exercise. Leave the house by 6:30 and at the office before 7. Usually not home before 6. Most days, asleep by 10. That give me about 2-3 hours a day for family, personal exploration, and outside interests.

  • I am a morning person so do love the miracle morning routine. That said, I know some people who are much more productive later in the day, and it’s not for lack of discipline. So I do think following your natural rhythms is just as or arguably more important than sticking to a morning routine.
    Another thing that I find very helpful is keeping a Time Diary, much like a Food Diary or Spending Diary. The awareness of where the time goes is sometimes all you need to be much more judicious about where to spend it.

  • It sounds good if you can get to bed early. I’m not an early riser so this isn’t going to work for me. Maybe I’ll try it when we have more space. Our place is too small and I can’t be noisy early in the morning.

  • Kiwioz

    If all you need is a quiet house with no distractions work after everyone goes to bed. It’s the same thing. My most productive time is between 10 pm and midnight when everyone is asleep. If you are getting up at 04:30 you would have to be asleep by 2030 so as not to incur hazardous sleep deficit. I imagine the others in your house are unlikely to support that kind of early to bed. Not much time after the kids go to bed for adult time. I get that you are probably fresher in the morning ( I am not – I swear I am groggy and low mood till 10.00). But the thing I have always had against doing stuff in the morning is that horrible feeling that you are going to have to stop and go to work soon. At least at night you know a nice sleep is coming and if you really have a good thing going you can cut into your sleep a little whereas work will not wait. Morning people always say it’s the best part of the day ( I live in a hot climate) so walk the dog etc. and they say nicer people are out at that time. No druggies, drunks etc like there might be in the evening. Just old people and young mums with babies out in the morning. They might have a point.

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