“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work…” Proverbs 31:15
I’m an owl. Naturally, I do my best work when I’m at my desk late into the night, and in the mornings, I prefer to sleep in. There is nothing wrong with this, per se; after all, we can’t all be larks. Unfortunately, time is a precious commodity, and the world starts counting time in the morning. Accordingly, wise people wake up with the world- early birds, who are rewarded with the proverbial worms.
A few years ago, I paid attention for the first time to the fact that the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31 was also an early bird, and I thought, “If her results are anything to go by, joining this tribe is a move definitely worth considering.”
Now, I’m a self-made Morning Person, and I’ll share with you, why and how.
The Joy of Waking Up to God
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly (Psalm 5:3)
Of course, you can pray any time of the day, but there is something significant about waking up in the morning and communing with God, before you get on with the rest of your day. And there is power in setting time aside, to speak life into your day and command your morning. Try it every day for a week and see.
Seizing the Day
Instead of starting your day by jumping out of bed, already behind as usual, and rushing to get yourself and the kids ready, then rushing to drop them off at school and getting to work late, out of breath and dishevelled, why not create an amazing start to your day? When you wake up early, you can get so much done before your family wakes up, do your school run and still get to work early enough to get a head start before the office fills up. In her book, “Pots, Pans and Spoons”, the founder of Sweet Sensation, Kehinde Kamson, tells of how she started up a simple pastry business. She woke up at 3 am every day to bake the pastries and stack them in the car, before waking up three children to prepare for school, and then dropping off the goods at her shop on the way to work. Today, she owns a chain of quick-service restaurants. Wake up and seize the day!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and skipping it does your body harm. Without breakfast, your body is running on empty and by lunchtime, you are so hungry that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find.
Breakfast is a crucial meal; missing it raises your risk of obesity by a whopping 450 percent! Experts recommend starting your day with some lean protein and fibre (think wheat bread, eggs, oatmeal, fruit etc), which will jumpstart your metabolism and keep you full. When you wake up early, you have time to eat breakfast- and enjoy it.
“For physical exercise has some value…” (I Tim 4:8)
Like prayer, exercise can be done at other times, apart from in the morning. However, leave it till later, and most times, you find your day gets too hectic that you never get round to it. Morning exercise, on the other hand, is not so easily cancelled.
- Increased productivity.
The Proverbs 31 Woman woke up early to set her goals, and outline every task she wanted to be handled. Mornings are great for this, and with your goals outlined and tasks assigned to appropriate people, you have clarity of vision and focus to face your new day.
When you wake up early, you also increase your chances of escaping terrible traffic. This is a great way to save your time, as well as your mental and physical energy, allowing you to achieve the goals you set for each day.
- Go to bed earlier and get enough sleep. Turn off the TV, the computer, and put your phones in silent mode or turn all alerts off. Bedtime isn’t the time for BBM chats, internet surfing or TV viewing; these activities are too stimulating for pre-bedtime behaviour. Go to bed earlier, and sleep.
- Have a light dinner. Eating swallow at night just because the soup is irresistible isn’t a good idea. The Eba/Pounded yam/Semo doesn’t just make you feel sluggish right after dinner; a heavy meal right before bed can disturb your sleep, and make it harder for you to wake up in the morning. Keep it light.
- Know your motivation. Whether it’s time to write, read, bake pastries to sell or simply to have enough time for worship, know your motivation and write it down, where you’ll always see and remember, to keep you from hitting snooze. Don’t hit snooze. No more extra 10 minutes. Decide from today that the snooze button is no longer a friend.
- Make morning appointments. Apart from planned appointments with God, you can also schedule early morning meetings or even workout sessions with a partner. This makes your obligation to wake up earlier, not just to yourself but to someone else, who can help hold you accountable- at least until you get used to waking up early.
- Dangle a carrot before your own eyes. Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross… If you’re the type, who responds to rewards for a job well done, this tip is especially important. Something as simple as 15 minutes of blog or novel reading, before you hop in the shower, or a nice smoothie or cup of coffee in peace and quiet before your kids wake up can serve as an incentive to leap out of bed early.
The high correlation between success and waking up early cannot be ignored. Productivity is almost always higher, not just in the morning, but all throughout the day. The overall sense of well-being is something you won’t want to trade, once you experience it. The most important point of all? There are simply more interesting things to do than sleeping. Redeem the time!