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Habits

Why Waking Up Early Can Help You Achieve Success

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Waking up early

“Dream big but wake up early to actualize them.”


-Prince Hopkins Amachree

I know many people don’t like to wake up early. I have never had a problem with that. I was required to wake up at 4 when I was a kid, that stayed with me. Although now it’s a bit unhealthy where I wake up at 2 or 3 or sometimes even before that, that’s what stress does to you.

Anyway, waking up early has only benefits related to it and as the saying goes,

“The early bird gets the worm.”

People who wake up early will tell you to do the same, and people who do not will tell you how they wish to wake up early. One of the things that motivate me is that I get to do my work without any distractions.

When I was in college, this is what I did to finish my assignments with no one to disturb me in the mornings.Now that I am an entrepreneur running multiple businesses, I find it to be the same.

Most people don’t wake up early. There’s no traffic noise, there’s no family disturbance, your phone doesn’t go off much and even social media is not that active. When you are up early, even if you want to talk to someone you are not going to have many options because others are asleep.

Serenity

Waking up early

“I love that this morning’s sunrise is not defined by last night’s sunset.”


-Steve Maraboli

There’s something delightful about the morning time. The air hasn’t had the chance to be tainted with pollution, and the sound is filled with happy chirping than loud horns blaring. Everything is covered with a blanket of serenity.

This is the perfect time to get your biggest task done, or as I call them, your big rocks or MITs (most important tasks). Starting early lets you wrap up early, meaning you get more time for yourself and your family. You are not working every second of daylight. You get to learn something, go out and explore, and in general focus on things you never got time for because you were working. Also, it gives you time to enjoy nature! On most days, I get much more accomplished by 9am than most people can accomplish in the whole day.

Increased Productivity

Waking up early

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.”


-Richard Whately

Waking up early is also advisable because you have reduced stress levels in the morning, you are more energetic and that boosts your speed, which in turn helps you complete any task in lesser time than it would take otherwise.

Most of my work entails writing, over the years I have realized that I write faster in the morning, which is why I start my workday early. Being a morning person, I have always been a ball of energy at the start of the day, so I just channel it into my work. This helps me slow down in the afternoon yet complete my tasks. I don’t have to always be running to get my work done.

Optimistic Outlook

“The world belongs to those who get up early – up to the minute while others do not wake up either.”


-Jules Renard

When you get a big chunk of your work done in the morning, you feel happy, and you feel satisfied. This feeling carries on for the day, surrounding you with a positive air. Our mood for the day is set by how the time after our morning goes. If you start the day productive then there’s little room for negativity to seep in. Even if a problem does manifest, you don’t waste all your day because of it, and your work takes a much smaller hit.

Mental Fitness

Waking up early

“Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It’s the best part of the day.”


-George Allen, Sr.

Like I mentioned before, in the morning you have low-stress levels. Working in that frame of mind is not only beneficial to your work but has a positive impact on your mental fitness as well. Picture yourself working with a calm mind versus working with a mind filled with other tasks to do, other things to handle. You don’t need a study to tell you what is preferable, the mental picture of the situation is enough.

Sleep Quality

Waking up early

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”


-Benjamin Franklin

When you make waking up early a routine, you start going to bed early. This lets your internal clock adapt to the routine, resulting in better sleep quality. Having no sleep pattern messes up  the body, but now that your body gets to get the rest it needs, you will see a lot of aches and pains go away.

Exercise

Waking up early

“Morning is an important time of day because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”


-Lemony Snicket

Early morning is a great time to workout, especially if you like to workout outdoors. No rush, lesser pollution, fewer people, fresher air, pleasant environment. Sounds good, doesn’t it? A lot of people who have made it in life will tell you how and why they schedule their workouts in the morning.

Some people make it one of their main agendas of the morning. A healthy body is essential to achieve anything in the world. If you aren’t fit, how can you expect your body to work round the clock? Take care of your body, and it will take care of you.

Breakfast

Waking up early

“One key to success is to have breakfast when other people have lunch.”


-Robert Brault

Breakfast is said to be one of the most important meals of the day. I, for one, can’t live without breakfast. I can skip lunch and dinner but breakfast, no ways! I actually have two breakfasts. Since I was a kid, I would wake up at ungodly hours and ask for food, so my mom started keeping a covered dish with food and a glass of water in the room. I would wake up at 3-4, eat and lie back down.

That is still there, I wake up and need proper food not just snacks, so an extra portion is cooked the night before so that I would have something to eat in the morning. After eating, I get on with my work and then the second breakfast is when normal people eat, that is, around 8:30-9:00. I am not telling you to be weird like me, but listen to your body and don’t skip breakfast. Waking up early gives you the opportunity to eat in peace without having to rush and skip the food.

My Tried and Tested Tips to Wake Up Early

It wouldn’t be fair if I told you about all the benefits of waking up early and didn’t tell you how to do it. Here are some things that have worked for my friends and people I’ve coached.

“The time just before dawn contains the most energy of all hours of the day. This has helped me become an early riser and an early doer…. When I wake to see that it’s light out already, I feel the world has started without me.”


-Terri Guillemets

  • Don’t make drastic changes- If you wake up at 10 every day, then it is not a good idea to start waking up at 4, that will mess up your body and do more harm than good. A good way to get into the routine is to start taking smaller steps. Start waking up at 9 for the week, then go for 8, then to 7, until you reach your desired time. If one hour is still a big difference, start by half-hour or fifteen-minute increments.
  • Sleep early- If you want to wake up early, you have to start sleeping early as well. The goal here is to have a well-rested body. You need to complete your sleep cycle, otherwise waking up early is of no use.
  • Don’t snooze- Snoozing your alarm can be tempting at the beginning, which is why you need to keep your alarm away from your bed. You will have to get up to shut down the alarm. Once out of bed, you might as well wake up.
  • Interesting task- Try to make waking up early worth your while. Put something interesting as the first thing to do on your list, and that will give you another reason to wake up.

Waking up early isn’t only about bragging about how put-together your life is, it is actually about working on getting your life that way. If you still need the motivation to wake up early, then try doing this for 10-15 days, so that you can experience the benefits for yourself.






Habits

Why You Should Prepare Your To-Do Lists the Night Before

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Why You Should Prepare Your To-Do Lists the Night Before

To be on top of everything, having a set morning routine and night routine that you follow religiously is very important. A routine makes sure that you do all the necessary tasks to ensure that your day running smoothly. The habit of making to-do lists and following it is one of the beneficial habits you can cultivate in order to get all your work done without being overwhelmed.

Many people wonder if making lists at the end of the day is better than making a list in the morning or vice versa. While in the morning, you might be fresh with a fresh outlook toward the day, chances are that making a list in the morning isn’t the best way to ensure productivity. Making a to-do list isn’t enough, knowing how to tackle it needs some planning.

When you wake up and get through your morning routine, it can be difficult to sit down to plan the day. You want the morning to be light and filled with little tasks that are more about self-care than business. The serenity of the morning is the perfect time to be looking after yourself. If someday you happen to wake up late, all your planning will go askew if you leave making your task list to morning.

Why You Should Prepare Your To-Do Lists the Night Before

At the end of the day, you know what tasks you have managed to complete, and what areas of work needs your attention next. This makes it easier to create a to-do list for the next day because you will be making a list on the data from the day. While you can do the same in the morning, the urgencies of certain tasks aren’t going to be that fresh in your mind. 

You also have the opportunity to sleep on your list and then revise it in the morning with tasks that would need more attention. Before bed is the best time to create a game plan for the next day. It’s like getting a head start to your day because you already made a plan the day before. 

When you make a list at night, you already know what you need to focus on first the next day. What’s your MIT (most important task) and what work you can fit in, considering your schedule. You don’t have to wake up to the task of planning and can use your sharpness in the hours of the morning to actually getting work done. 

“Setlists are tough because you come up with this structure of how the songs are going to go from one to the next, but at the same time, you have to be spontaneous and take requests and change the setlist at the drop of a hat.”

-Billie Joe Armstrong

You can put indicators to tasks that are priorities, urgent, or can be put-off, and then in the morning, you can prioritize them with more vigilance. This is something that will help you go about your day as soon as you wake up because you will have a direction to follow. This particularly helps if you have too much on your plate and you are overwhelmed by the amount of tasks that need to be done and feel clueless. With a to-do list prepared, you will wake up with a mission and that will help you feel motivated.
While I am an advocate for waking up early, I know not everyone can afford to. Many of us work lates or have some weird working hours because of international businesses or just because of personal preference. If you are not an early riser, then making a list in advance will let you know at what time to wake up to keep your day running smoothly.

Why You Should Prepare Your To-Do Lists the Night Before

For me, I make a list of my three MITs (Most Important Tasks). I always advise to make a list of 2-3 MITs and try to achieve them as soon as possible, they are critical tasks that yield the most significant results. Once you achieve the most important and difficult tasks, you already have a sense of accomplishment and achievement that will help you get to other not so important tasks throughout the day without worrying constantly.

Having the most important task out of the way gives you an opportunity to be actually present in your workday and work for other things without the constant pressure of this looming task that you will have to get to eventually. You get to give your 100% to everything you do because you are sorted by working on tasks based on your priority.

“I made a huge to-do list for today. I just can’t figure out who’s going to do it.”

-Anonymous

That being said, while lists can be a huge help in giving you direction, in the end, you are the one who has to follow them to get the work done so don’t make your lists overwhelming. I understand the urge to fill up our lists with all the tasks that are swarming our minds, I used to do that. I made mile-long lists but never could complete it in the day and that discouraged me.

Then I learned the importance of being smart and setting realistic goals. I started making a master list in which I jotted down every task that entered my mind and then segregated them daily. I focused only on the tasks that were on my today list. Having put the other tasks on another list made me not worry about them and I could focus on my daily tasks better. 

“People are remarkably bad at remembering long lists of goals. I learned this at a professional level when trying to get my high-performance coaching clients to stay on track; the longer their lists of to-dos and goals, the more overwhelmed and off-track they got. Clarity comes with simplicity.”

-Brendon Burchard

A brain dump is essential to keep your brain from worrying about every little thing. So, make a main overall list and then your daily to-do list can be a subset of it. Every day when you make your lists in the evening or before going to bed, you can go through your main list and take that into consideration against what you achieved today. Based on both things, you can make a much more efficient list. This will help you work little by little to achieve your long term goals as well.

“Mostly I make lists for projects. This can be daunting. Breaking something big into its constituent parts will help you organize your thoughts, but it can also force you to confront the depth of your ignorance and the hugeness of the task. That’s OK. The project may be the lion, but the list is your whip.”

-Adam Savage

After doing a brain dump of all your ideas and worries, take things out from it to do each day, and do not look at the main list you made again while going about your day. This will free up your mind from the plethora of tasks that need to be done and will let you focus on what you can do now – making sure you give your best in whatever you are doing. There’s no point stressing over the bulk and doing nothing to make a dent in it.

You have to consider your strengths, your weaknesses, your schedule, the probability of last-minute tasks, the average time to get a job done, any kind of raw data that can help you get into the habit of making an almost foolproof plan.

If the list is overwhelming you and discouraging you, then you have to understand that it’s not the lists that overwhelm us, it’s what and how much we put on them. Ever heard about not overfilling your plate, this is exactly it.

Why You Should Prepare Your To-Do Lists the Night Before

There will be days when you won’t complete all the tasks on your list – no matter how hard you try, some days are just not helpful. The unfinished tasks will bother you – if they don’t, then you can use the same list, but chances are that they will. I suggest throwing away that list and start a new one every day. 

For most people, when they just add on to the existing list, they start the next day already feeling like having failed because they have tasks from yesterday to go through. No matter how much you do in the day, you will keep feeling unaccomplished because your mind will go in an ‘if only’ mindset where you will keep wondering that if you had finished those tasks yesterday then you could have done more work in the time it took you to get to them today.

This is not a healthy attitude to begin your day with. So, start a new list. Put the tasks again on the list. Now, it is a new list with all the remaining and new tasks together. It will make you feel like you have a fresh list instead of the feeling of working on a backlog. Whatever makes you feel positive about your workflow is what you are going to apply eventually – it is a process of learning and growing.

Final Thoughts

Making a good plan is half-battle won, that is why it is important to be prepared. To-do lists are your daily plans. If you prepare them smartly and then apply them to the T, you will realize that getting work done is easier than it always seemed. Making a to-do list the night before gives you the opportunity to start your day feeling prepared and ready to deal with anything that comes your way.

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Habits

Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity

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Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity

“Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.”

-Voltaire

Perfection takes time. Time is something that most of us scared to invest. You either invest your time or you elude it trying to save it. From the time we start understanding words and achievements, we are inspired to chase perfection. By the time you realize that there is no such thing as ‘perfection’ in this world, you have already wasted a lot of your learning years chasing it.

While looking for a perfect job, a perfect career, a perfect relationship, a perfect moment – we often forget to cherish the things we have or be thankful the opportunities we have been given – we end up losing what we have.

“When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.”

-George Fisher

We keep on running after an adjective that is very hard to put onto things. Perfection is going to have a different meaning for different people. Something that isn’t perfect for you is going to be perfect for someone else.

The pursuit of perfection in every aspect of your life can be very exhausting, you will be going through every stage with a looming dread of not being perfect. Even when you have done a great job, you won’t be satisfied because it does not meet your idea of perfection. 

In an attempt to achieve perfection, we have laden ourselves with copious amounts of pressure for every big or little thing we do. It sort of takes out the fun from things when you are constantly striving to make it exceptionally perfect.

“Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.”

-Antoine De Saint-Exupry

We often chase perfection so that we can stand tall in front of society. The opinions of other people affect a lot of people and that is usually the driving force. We want to prove ourselves to others – it can be someone who said we can’t do this or it can be someone we want to be proud of ourselves. What we don’t realize is that everyone is struggling to do their bit. Everyone is under the pressure of being perfect, the irony being, none of us are.
Low self-esteem and self-doubt is usually the cause of us trying to be ‘perfect’ at everything, we do this to improve our self-esteem. Self-doubt also stems from constantly comparing ourselves with others. Many people suffer from imposter syndrome. We don’t understand how that can be detrimental to the work we do. Not feeling good enough, feeling like a fraud, feeling like you don’t deserve anything can really suck the life out of you. These are the mental roadblocks that stop you from doing your best while keeping you constantly worried about chasing a state that is not that tangible – ‘perfection.’

Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity

In the years you spend chasing it, there will come a moment of clarity that will help you realize that the pursuit is futile. When you realize that you no longer have to run after being perfect – when you understand that being good enough is actually enough – that is when you feel contentment in life.

Being content is the first step of feeling satisfied with your life and with your efforts. It is a liberating feeling to finally be happy with yourself after years of beating yourself up.

“To accomplish the perfect perfection, a little imperfection helps.”

-Dejan Stojanovic

There are a lot of advantages to not chasing perfection. You start feeling more happiness and gratitude in the light of appreciating the things around you and yourself. This results in you developing an optimistic approach toward life. When you are chasing perfection, it is somehow lost. You start finding faults in all your achievements, stopping yourself from being happy about them. This leads to negativity clouding your thoughts and as a result, you start pouring the same negativity in your life.

When you let go of the notion of perfection, you allow yourself to relax and be proud of your achievements. This action triggers positive emotions within you, helping you become optimistic toward the next stage of your life. This then leads to you feeling more confident. Being confident about your abilities also stops you from running after perfection and makes you realize the worth in what you do.

Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity

Striving for perfection is a good thing because then it will make you work harder to get better day by day. With time, every skill gets better. Chasing perfection, on the other hand, is dangerous to the learning process. You need to learn the difference so that you don’t end up harming yourself in the long run.

Instead of chasing perfection, remember to strive for improvement and excellence. When you focus on becoming better than you were yesterday, you automatically open doors for yourself. You surround yourself with positivity – inside and out – making it a much-needed fuel to keep working toward your goal.

Always believe in what you can achieve no matter how imperfect you feel. There are going to be days when you don’t feel good enough. Everyone feels like that once in a while – trust me we all feel the same as humans. 

Final Thoughts

When you let go of that perfection ideology, you free yourself from your own expectations tying you down. You start feeling content with your life and with the pace you are going. That is what will help you sail by, that is what will hold you aboard.

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How You Can Use Humor to Win at Life in the Face of Adversities

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How You Can Use Humor to Win at Life in the Face of Adversities

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”

-William Arthur Ward

When you are starting out on a new path – may it be starting a new course, a new business, a new relationship – there are going to be difficulties at every corner. Just because your path is hurdled with obstacles doesn’t mean you give up. While people can keep pushing in order to achieve their dreams, it can often take a toll on their health – especially mental health.

Mental health anyway is not taken that seriously but when you don’t feel right in your mind even the mundane of tasks become utterly complicated in nature. One way to keep going through adversities without losing yourself is learning to laugh at yourself and your situation.

“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely onshore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.”

-Alan Alda

While laughing at yourself is important, you need to know the difference between finding humor in whatever is happening and being self-deprecating. Self-deprecation helps no one. It isn’t the good humor that helps you make light of things, it is the kind that will make you drown in self-pity and make you lose confidence in yourself.

You already have a lot of negative feelings surrounding you, you are already dealing with doubts that are related to your decisions, your chosen path, your abilities, you don’t need to add on to it by doubting your self, your determination, and your worth. For others to respect you, you need to learn to respect yourself.

“Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat… Never take yourself too seriously.”

-Og Mandino

Learning to see humor in situations and developing humor as a habit is the best course of action to take if you are in a difficult phase and could use with not letting everything affect you to the core. 

There are two very basic things you can do to develop a sense of humor without going out of your way – observe people who can find humor in situations and observe situations you can find humor in.

Observe Funny People

How You Can Use Humor to Win at Life in the Face of Adversities

An easy way to develop your humor is to observe people who are known to be funny. If you have a friend who is incredibly popular at work because of the way they crack jokes and make people laugh, tag along and learn the tricks of the trade. 

Look at them and identify situations when they make a joke, the way they present it, and so on. And when you spend some time with such people, you are sure to imbibe some of their qualities.

When developing your humor sense, be careful of distinguishing between being funny and mean. Remember to never crack jokes at someone’s expense, making them a butt of jokes in front of others will creating animosity rather than a good-natured bond.

“To laugh at others is egoistic; to laugh at oneself is very humble. Learn to laugh at yourself – about your seriousness and things like that. You can get serious about seriousness. Then instead of one, you have created two diseases. Then you can get serious about that also, and you can go on and on. There is no end to it; it can go on AD NAUSEAM.”

-Rajneesh

It will only make you a despicable figure. Plus, only make jokes in appropriate situations. Blindly joking around won’t get you anywhere. You need to balance the serious stuff in your life with humorous aspects. And when you achieve a perfect balance between the two, your life will open itself to new experiences, and you will lead a fuller, better life with new and deeper relationships.

Observe Everything From a Humorous Perspective

How You Can Use Humor to Win at Life in the Face of Adversities

Most people usually don’t observe things around them in their daily lives. Instead, they are busy being engrossed in their desires and fears. And this is quite sad since you will start seeing an entirely different world if you take the time to watch and observe the things around you.

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”

-Bill Cosby

You might start seeing a quirky habit of the roadside vendor you pass every day but never bother to look at. You will ride the taxi as usual, but see that the owner has a picture of a funny quote right in front of the dashboard. And during the travel, you might see that an elderly man, who was buying flowers from a young woman, was trying to flirt with her in a rather comedic but sweet way.

All these observations will come in handy when you try to make a joke among friends and co-workers. If you observe most people who are funny, they are able to draw from their experiences and present them in a humorous manner. It is basically storytelling in the heart of it. This is why it is very important that you start observing the things happening around you. The more you see, the more material you will get to use in your jokes.

Final Thoughts

There’s no point in taking yourself seriously when your life is already full of seriousness. You might not have time to enjoy yourself because you are busy building your dreams, you might have to give up a lot of things, you might even stop working on your hobbies – these things are common in the building phases of people’s careers – but what you have to remember to not give up is laughter.

“A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.”

-Hugh Sidey

Laughter will get you through even the darkest of days. When you seem like there is nothing going your way, laughter will be there to accompany you learning from your failures and not breaking down to not apply the learnings one more time to achieve success. Learn to find laughter in what you can, you keep you going in the race of life.

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