Conquering the Morning Wake Up

November 12, 2014
4 min read
4 min read

So anyone who read my article on tips for working from home will know that one of the things I struggle with is getting started, or rather getting up. I’m not a morning guy, I’ve tried it and it ain’t me. On the rare occasion I manage to drag myself to my computer at a reasonable hour I find it almost impossible to get started on a project and when I finally do, I’m sluggish and more than a bit crap. What little I do, I usually end up having to revise and I finish work when I normally would have done anyway.

That being said, every now and again you hear the story of an artist who likes to wake before the sun rises so he can meditate for a while and start work whilst the world is still quiet. Or the high powered business man who contributes his millions in wealth to the fact that he only needs four hours sleep. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes at those examples, and whilst they’re probably about 50% bullshit, the truth is they are a little bit inspirational too. You can’t help wondering, “maybe I could accomplish more if I had those few extra hours?”.

“You’re not actually gaining any time, your just rearranging it”

Now that notion in itself is flawed. You’re not actually gaining any time, your just rearranging it (unless you take time away from sleeping of course), in effect you’re gambling that having two hours in the morning will be more productive than having those same two hours at night.

How much of that is really a gamble though?

Jeff Finley; one of my favourite designers and authors recently announced that he’s publishing a book called ‘Wake up: The Morning Routine That Will Change Your Life!‘. A guide to not only waking up earlier, but making that time actually useful to you. As you can imagine, this was a title that piqued my interest.

For those that don’t already know Jeff Finley is the author of Threads Not Dead – to my mind the book on apparel design. I don’t even work that heavily in apparel, but the list of things I learned from that book is utterly staggering, (check out this article for some of the peaches) plus it’s absolutely beautifully designed – I highly recommend you take a look at it.

Jeff states that since he started waking up early his life has totally changed. He talks about how he had this long list of positive habits he wanted to employ but actually fitting them into a regular schedule and keeping up with them was really tough. But with this new block of time in the mornings he was able to slot them in and make them part of a new routine that he could stick with.

“Those are just not activities that you’d do between 12am and 2am”

I guess that’s about looking at the morning with fresh eyes. For Jeff he wanted to read design blogs, meditate and exercise more. Now you could argue the case all day long, but if we’re being honest those are just not activities that you’d do between 12am and 2am. So even though those two hours in the morning are stolen from the same two hours at night, I think the truth is; you probably could do more with that time in the mornings.

It’s worth a punt at least isn’t it?

But you see this is where I usually get to. The nice idea that I’ll wake up early and do loads of extra useful stuff. As I drift off to sleep I’m filled with excitement about the possibilities the new morning will bring, and then before I know it, my alarm rings out and lets me know its 10:30 and I pull my ever popular ‘what the fuck!?’ face.

One of the reasons that Jeff’s book has me interested is that it actively addresses this issue head on. It’s about how to actually go about making that transition from night owl to early bird.

“The notion seems to be about not overloading yourself to begin with”

Right now he’s running a 30 Day Wake Up Challenge on Lift that I’ve decided to participate in (and I encourage you to join me!), and it’s actually going pretty well. The baby steps Jeff plans out are almost negligible at first, but after only a week they’re starting to add up. The notion seems to be about not overloading yourself to begin with, and Jeff’s orders or getting up 30 min early and then going watching tv for those extra 30min are really easy to start off with. I’m really interested to see where this challenge takes me and if it helps me actually stick with the changes.

In either case I’m definitely going to be grabbing a copy of Wake Up once it drops. I contacted Jeff yesterday and he told me that he expects the book to be published early 2015 around February or March. So make sure you sign up for updates here so that you’ll be notified once it becomes available.

Once I finish my 30 day challenge I’ll let you know how it went, if worked, what I found most useful and if I’m still sticking with it (fingers crossed!).

Image Credit to Jeff Finley

is owner of Hunting Town Design, a small design house based in Manchester UK specialising in Graphic Design and Illustration. Alex is also the founder and editor of The Design Range. Find out more about Alex on his website or follow him on twitter.
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