Time is not something most entrepreneurs are long on. So many of us struggle with fitting it all in, finding the balance, and making time to work ON our businesses (in addition to IN them).
So I thought you might be interested in knowing about a little habit I've developed which nets me an extra hour (at least) a day. That's five extra hours a week, or 20(!) a month...
I wake up really freaking early. I roll out of bed, make a cup of tea, and hunker down at my desk until my kids wake up. Right now I'm using this time to work on my course, but it's a great time write - especially a first draft.
Here's why the early morning hours are a great time to write:
1. Creativity is high and distractions are low. Writing (a first draft especially) is a creative pursuit, so it can be difficult to shift into that gear in the middle of a busy workday. In the mornings, however, many of us are at our most creative, and there are very few distractions.
2. You're on the clock. If you have forever to write, you'll probably take forever to write. But if you have a set amount of time and you apply yourself, you'll be surprised how fast you can bang out a draft.
3. It eliminates the 'worrying about writing' that many of us do (sometimes without even realizing it). People who don't love writing tend to put it off. But doing so means you have a cloud of dread over your head all day. Who wants that?! Instead, tackle it first thing - you'll feel great for doing so.
My 'extra hours' have been game-changing for me. In addition to 'found hours' for work, they also provide some much needed alone time at the beginning of the day, which makes me a better mom when my kids wake up.
It has required some adjusting at night. I've never been a night owl, but I do have to get to bed a little earlier now than before. It was rough the first week but now it's not a big deal - I'm tired earlier so I happily crawl into bed early. (Most of us don't do anything fulfilling or productive in that last hour or so of the day anyways, so the sacrifice is usually well-worth it.)
Now's a great time to give it a try because the days start bright and early - today the birds were singing when my alarm went off at 5:15.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit and that's about how long it took for this new routine to feel ingrained for me (to the point where I now often wake up before my alarm, believe it or not).
Bottom line: prepare for a rough first week (especially if you're a night owl) but stick with it, and and don't be too hard on yourself as you adjust. You'll get there! And I'm willing to bet you'll be so glad you did :)
Do you have any creative strategies for carving out extra time? I'd love to hear 'em - comment below!
Janet Nielsen is a communicator with a passion for helping small businesses succeed.