Skip navigation

I’ve been thinking about getting up bright and early lately. Back in Hong Kong, with the pressure off, I’m getting up leisurely at around 9:00 AM, drifting into the day at a leisurely pace before trying to get things into gear for a semi-productive four hour run into the evening with a view to getting enough work done to satisfy me.

What I’ve realised as I canter through life at this undemanding pace, is that to get up early is a very powerful thing. Time is an amazing resource, our most finite; the more we find hidden away the vaster the possibilities, and the more our boundaries can expand, and the more relaxing we can do and the more fun we can have. Who hasn’t wished for more time?

I’ve been looking around at how to get myself organised ship shape for getting up with the birds, even finding the widely distributed and sage advise of Steve Pavlina on the subject, in one of the most widely distributed self-improvement articles that one can find on the web. His tips, while useful and probably highly effective (I tried them for a month and they worked well, and then the exams were over) do miss out on a substantial point that is underplayed.

In fact I just alluded to this point. The most important way to get out of bed in the morning is to have a reason that makes it worthwhile. If you have something that can inspire you to get out of bed, because you want to do that thing, because you look forward to it, then you will have no trouble getting up no matter what time is asked of you to rise.

I’ll give you a personal example. On Wednesday, I agreed to play squash with a friend at 11:00AM. I was so keen to go and play squash (and I knew that i had to go buy a squash racket as well) that I was awake by 7:00, unable to sleep and quite fully wide awake. I got myself organised, buzzed around to set my things in order and was off at 10:00 to go shopping, normally a time when I would have just been getting to the end of breakfast and commencing a leisurely glance at the papers and the BBC for my news fix. This motivation, this reason, this purpose, is what enabled me to break just for that day my habit of late rising and instead be up at an early hour.

The flip side, and this is perhaps more of an interesting idea rather then a proved notion, is that this might be a reason that people tend to sleep so much nowadays, and sleep as late as they can. They have nothing that makes them want to get up, in fact they have something that they actively want to hide from. They do it through one of the most effective hiding mechanisms that people have: sleep. And so people sleep more and more, later and later, so that they can stretch out the good parts of the day, staying up late into the night, and minimise the time they can spend anticipating unpleasantness, arising as late as possible in the morning. At any rate it’s just an idea, but one that I can’t help feel fits the facts.



    • Dom
    • Posted November 29, 2006 at 10:02 pm
    • Permalink

    I think you’re spot on. I’ll give you an example too: exams! Seriously, I have one more point to add. My mum always tell me not to sleep too late (which I find very hard to do). She insists it’s better to sleep early and get up early, even if it means going to bed at midnight and wake up at 3am. I only tried this once and despite not sleeping until the following night I got through the day without feeling very tired. It’s only an idea at this stage but it’s worth investigating.

    • Anonymous
    • Posted December 2, 2006 at 7:48 pm
    • Permalink

    Maybe people have nothing to look forward to in the morning because the thing they look forward to is at night.

    this explains why they sleep so late…

Comments are closed.