As creatives, so much of our time is spent producing and sharing content. But with the rise in smartphones, it has becoming easier to consume any and every piece of content we can access on our phones. As producers, our sole focus should be to produce first and consume second. And as with any activity, if you want to do it first, the best time to do it, is in the morning.
Production should be the first thing your brain focusses on when you wake up early. Otherwise, you squander the valuable sleep that your body has recovered that night. Produce in the morning, don’t consume.
In the morning, your brain is free to concentrate clearly, it isn’t weight down by the rest of the days worth of consuming content. Be it articles, images, notifications, news, emails, audio. All of these facets of content have to be processed and throughout the day, they stack, reducing your brain concentrative power.
I work in as a creative designer for an advertising platform by day, and at night, I like to contribute to my own brand, myself. As I try to build my own website and the various branches of it, I found that a lot of work had to be done when I finished my day job. And this was really difficult, first because of the time constraint, and second, because I was feeling creatively drained when I arrived home. But I couldn’t stay up and become a night owl, because of my job. I have never been in my life, and I’m certainly not about to become one.
I am an early riser, I always have been, so I tried to wake up, earlier and earlier each day. Set it at 15 minute intervals, slowly and gradually earlier.
Here are some key points to waking early and getting stuff done;
- Use a sleep cycle app, it will tell you the optimum time for going to bed so you will feel as refreshed as possible the next morning when you wake up.
- Set your phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, or just turn off all the notifications on your phone. This will keep you from being distracted and wandering through endless feeds.
- Create a task list so that you have a direction to follow first thing in the morning, and you know what needs to be done.
- Arrange an accountability partner. Someone who you are responsible to, to check in with. Even arrange it with a monetary value at stake, and I assure you, you will be spurred on.
The key is to not consume any piece of information, including notifications and emails. Having a task list of to-do’s gives your brain some focus, and a direction to go when you wake up allowing you to jump straight into the work without having to plan what you have to do.
It’s all about habit, it takes your body 22 days for something to become habitual. If you are a self confessed night owl, and you feel that you can do the same amount of work late at night, you owe it to yourself to at least try this approach. It can be a viscous cycle when your used to staying up late, when you believe you are night owl this becomes your mindset and essentially opens the flood gates to allow you to stay up late because you believe that’s what you are.
Log or document your results and prove me wrong. Be excited about the work that you are doing, it ill make it easier for you to wake up to. As Austin Kleon describes in his book, ” I like to work while the world sleeps, and share while the world works”.