…The most productive hours are those before dawn.
Here in the bread basket of America, I’ve heard it said that farmers accomplish more before 7 a.m. than most people do all day.
Until recently, I wouldn’t know. For most of my life, I have forgone sunrises in favor of the snooze alarm. Or no alarm at all.
You see, I’ve always naturally been a nocturnal creature, accomplishing more in the hours of serenity around midnight than I ever could during the day. But as I wrote in a previous post, I adjusted my schedule this summer to become more productive and to better meet the needs of my family (and to suit my forty-three-year-old brain, which just doesn’t function that well in the wee hours anymore).
But as is typical of my be-ever-better philosophy, I couldn’t just tread the waters of wakefulness halfway between the shores of earliness and lateness. Although 7:30 a.m. seemed awfully early this summer (as compared to 9 a.m., my typical feet-hit-floor time for many years), it proved to be too late to be as productive as I wanted to be once our homeschool year began.
So, over the Christmas holiday, I watched many, many YouTube videos on the habits of successful, productive people.
How did they achieve success? What was their mystical, magical secret?
The fact is, most successful people rise around 5 a.m. *Sigh.* (And I mean, I actually just sighed as I typed those words.)
Well, I was frustrated enough with the piles of work left undone at the end of each day that I decided to swim for the shores of extreme earliness and give it a try.
The first few nights were difficult, I admit. But rising early turned out to be less traumatic than I anticipated, once I was able to fall asleep earlier. I’ve been applying some helpful tips, such as using a favorite activity to kick off the pre-dawn sessions. For me, that translates to reading a chapter from a library book reserved for that purpose. Then, I’ll curl up with my Bible, prayer journal, and devotional book; later, I’ll check email and read all of your lovely blog posts until it’s time to work out with my daughter. And all of that before 7 a.m.!
For me, that’s shocking. And strange. And exhilarating! The results are worth the early morning effort.
As in all things (as I am sometimes slow to discover), God knows best when he emphasizes the benefits of rising early throughout Scripture…and the drawbacks of sleeping in.
And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord. – Genesis 19:27
So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. – Nehemiah 4:21
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. – Psalm 5:3
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. – Proverbs 6:10,11
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. – Proverbs 31:15
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. – Mark 1:35