Get up earlier
Rise and shine with ideas.
I'll be honest, I've never really been a morning person. In my 20s, getting up before 7am seemed completely abhorrent. Why would you do that to yourself? It wasn't until my late 30s that I woke up to its benefits. (pun intended)
Quite simply, you can fit more into the day. But there are other benefits too.
When you wake before the world stirs, your mind is just uncluttered with any of the day to day and other external worries (so long as you steer clear of your phone, social media, emails and - heaven forbid - news).
The world outside is quieter and feels like a more peaceful and pleasant place. And it's harder to bump into people if there's less of them about.
But crucially, you can get a lot more sh!t done. So you feel a sense of achievement before the day has even really begun.
This concept was mentioned to my creative partner Mark by a business coaching friend. Mark was trying to get some extra-curricular work done so he could switch careers. With an already intense workday, that allowed no time (and even less energy) to cultivate an alternative career path, the friend and coach had one simple suggestion:
Get up earlier.
It really was that simple. Getting up two hours before the rest of the world, so he could incrementally write a screenplay he'd spent years thinking about, but could never get round to actually doing. Over time, it gradually got written, he left his job as a corporate drone and became infinitely happier.
Now, you may have heard this piece of advice before from the likes of leadership and discipline mega-human Jocko Willink. But getting up before the dawn is more than just carving out extra time for yourself.
If you've not experienced the Jocko, well, enjoy:
It has another huge advantage when it comes to ideas.
Studies have found that the creative mind likes the early morning. This is the time when your prefrontal cortex is most active. Your analytical brain becomes more active later, so you start to become more analytical and self-editing as the day goes on.
You could be reading this in the middle of the day and thinking 'that's great, but how's this going to help right now?'
Well, a bit of tough love/stating the obvious: could you do it tomorrow morning instead? If your deadline permits, get yourself up and at your workspace 2 hours earlier than you normally would. And DO NOT look at your phone.
Have a coffee or tea if you want. Something light to eat. But don't arse about - get on with your creative endeavour as soon as possible. You can reward yourself with a big breakfast after.
This is your time, and no-one can take it from you. You'll get more done than you imagine. So good luck and enjoy the silence.
Or the sound of the bin lorry, if it's that day of the week.
Want more? Check out Jocko Willink, 'Discipline Equals Freedom' on Amazon. Link below.
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