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Getting up early

One byproduct of getting your biological clock all out of wack with international travel, is that it gives you a rare chance to make changes to your daily routine. You pretty much get a clean start. I decided to take advantage of this.

I have been trying for a while to lessen the time I need to sleep each night. Seeing as how I throw away nearly a third of my life sleeping, I figure that would be a good way to be more productive during my days. When I was a kid I used to get up relatively early without much trouble. The older I’ve gotten, the harder it has gotten.

My normal routine is to go to bed around 11:30pm and wake up around 7am. If I didn’t have important meetings in the morning, I would sleep in even later. On weekends I would often stay up until 2am and sleep in to 10am. I would normally exercise after work.

I found that following this routine, I almost always felt a bit rushed in the mornings. I also felt the pressure of having to exercise after work and deal with the massive crowd of people at out gym [the one downside of Microsoft providing a free gym membership is that people often decide to use it at the exact same time everyday].

Perhaps the worst byproduct of this routine was that I would be starving by the time I left work (normally 6-7pm) but wouldn’t be able to eat since I hadn’t yet exercised! My new routine solves these problems.

Coming back from India, I woke up [completely unplanned] at 4am. I was wide awake. I tried going back to sleep but couldn’t. I therefore just got up, got dressed and went to work! The next day, the same thing happened. This time, I went to the gym and then went to work. And so the new routine began. For the past 10 days (including weekends) I have gotten up between 4-5am. While it has gotten slightly harder to get up after the jet-lag wore off, I am still not finding it all that difficult.

In this new routine, I wake up, do my pranayama and meditate, and then head to the gym. I finish my exercise and make it to the office by 7am or so. Some days I take the bus, in which case, I get in by 7:20 or so. Since I get to work so darn early, I end up leaving by 5:30pm at the latest. Frankly, by the time 9am roles around, I feel that I have done more than in an entire day on my old schedule. I also find that I am getting a lot more done at work. My brain is able to concentrate much better in the morning. It doesn’t necessarily work as “fast,” or multi-task as well, but I find the sharper focus to be invaluable. By 7pm I am eating dinner and by 9pm I am pretty tired and head to bed. So the cycle continues.

The biggest plus that I find, is that no matter how bad my day went, or how unproductive I was at work, the fact that I got up so freaking early makes me feel like my day was a success. That is a priceless feeling.


  1. darrick says:

    I loved your insight on this. I fully agree, this has inspired me to get back on my early rising cycle…lately, I have been waking around 6:30am, and I prefer 5am.
    Your DWD Tony Robbins friend

  2. Ross says:

    Hey Ravi

    Sorry for not getting back to you any quicker! Bright lamps are definitely worth you checking out. I have been using one while I am back in the UK to sort out my jet lag and I find that it has really helped! Now that I am in Australia I do not have as much of a use for one as I am constantly outside in the sunshine!!!

    Something they are definitely good for in winter (or if it is dark when you want to wake up) is the alarm clock version that slowly simulates the sun rising until it creates the effect of daylight. It is an incredibly soothing way to wake up and is also quite energising.

    I’ve just blogged roughly around this subject here: http://www.energiseforlife.com/wordpress/1801/how-to-combat-seasonal-affective-disorder

    Let me know what you think!

  3. Ross says:

    Hi Ravi

    Great work – getting up aeap (as early as possible) is definitely the number one way to increase productivity! Have you looked into buying a bright light lamp? I have been using one for jet lag for the past few days – but I have found them really useful for increasing the quality (and therefore decreasing the quantity) of my sleep too.


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