I’ve been trying to wake up earlier since I found that I could get a lot accomplished in the early morning hours. Eventually I’d like to get up at 5AM, get some of my own work accomplished, then leave for my day job.
Some days it is easy. The alarm goes off at 5:45AM, and I get up pretty much immediately. My backup alarm, my cell phone, will go off in about 15 minutes, and so I sometimes find that I’ll need to take it with me to breakfast so that I can turn it off before someone else wakes up. B-)
Other days it is a struggle. I can actually feel a battle between my body and my mind. “Ok, I’m up. I just need to move out of bed and get going. Move the blanket, move my leg, move my arm…why am I not moving?”
Why the difference? Some days I just don’t feel like getting up. Everyone has those days. Some people have them more than others. Sometimes the feeling is overwhelming. Logically I know I want to get out of bed. I’ll be late for work if I don’t get up. On Saturday and Sunday, I still like to get up early so I can get a lot accomplished before most errands and appointments are set. I’ll end up with less time for the things I want to accomplish. And yet, I’ll still stay in bed.
I had to take care of my cat when my parents were away for a week. My father would generally feed him and change the litter box, but I had to take over these responsibilities. My father works early, and so he wakes up even earlier. My cat is used to getting food at a certain time. I woke up to my alarm and stayed in bed long enough to think about getting out of it. It was one of those epic struggles between the mind and the body, and my mind was losing.
Then I remembered that my cat was depending on me for food. I got up immediately and easily.
Again, why the difference?
Purpose. I woke up with a purpose. Apparently getting to work on time wasn’t as motivating as making sure my cat was happy and fat (I found out that week he was 18 pounds, or 8.16 kilograms to the rest of the world).
When I spend the night before thinking about what I want to do the next day, I find that waking up is a lot easier, even if I went to sleep very late. On the other hand, when I just go to sleep without a thought to tomorrow, even if I get enough sleep, I’ll struggle to get out of bed. I’ve found myself lying wide-eyed and awake but unable to move simply because I didn’t have a compelling reason to get up.
I’ve read about how making todo or next action lists the night before is useful because it makes the next day purpose-driven. It also helps remind you that you have a reason to get up in the morning.