Benjamin Franklin is credited with having said: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise", but it had a long history before Franklin got his hands on it. It was first recorded in Olde English by John Clarke, in 1639 as "Earely to bed and earely to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise" (Paroemiologia Anglo-Latina or English and Latin Proverbs).
1776 was a busy year, so borrowing an ancient expression from a book that was already 150 years old was probably forgivable. More particularly since the expression itself actually goes all the way back to Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) who said (translated) "It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom."
There is another old adage which states “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, generally credited to the Spaniard, George Santayana (1863–1952). So, let’s not fault Old Ben for attempting to pass on some wisdom, even without proper credit.
Getting that Early Start for Success in IT & Business
A couple of Presidents named Bush were habitual early-risers, as was Condoleezza Rice, and John Grisham. They all got their start around 4:00 AM.
Despite stories to the contrary, Ernest Hemingway always arose at about 5:00 AM to write, and did it stone cold sober. His daughter assures us that he only hunted, caroused, and drank after 12-noon, when he had finished writing for the day.
What other successful people get up before the Sun? Rachel Ray, the TV host, starts every day at 6:00 AM, but Tim Cook, the CEO at Apple starts his day at 4:30 AM. General Electric’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, has his feet hit the floor every day at 5:30 AM, and 15 minutes earlier, the CEO at Xerox, Ursula Burns, begins her day. Who else? Richard Branson is up every day at 5:45 AM, and the Cisco Systems CTO, Padmasree Warrior, is already going at 4:30 AM.
The pattern here is obvious: successful people rise early. Psychologists explain this is because they have faced uncertainty in their past. They chose to overcome it by stacking up achievements as quickly as possible. They are the very definition of a Type A personality, driven by the clock to succeed. Not satisfied with simply doing a job, they are competitive, want to inspire others, and they always have side projects.
Every single one of the people mentioned makes a point of exercising first thing in the morning. It primes the body for action. Elevating the heart rate gets oxygen to where it’s needed, particularly the brain, and helps your body clean up the metabolic waste from all the rebuilding it did while you slept.
All these IT professionals have a plan for their day, too. CEOs of international companies based in North America sometimes start at 3:30 AM to be in touch with colleagues in Europe as their day starts, and to connect with Asian or Australian offices before they close. At the other end of the spectrum, sports coaches have been known to get into the office at 4:30 AM, so they can write motivational e-mails to team members, get in their own exercise for the day, draw up practice plans, and assess injury or scouting reports.
Researchers have discovered that having a sugary breakfast, loaded with carbohydrates, causes a creativity and productivity loss after just a couple of hours when the sugar-crash sets in. Unless you are a medical condition requiring a particular diet, change it up with a nice high-fat, high-protein breakfast that satisfies you and avoids cravings.
When you first wake up your body has probably had eight hours or more since you last ate. Your blood sugar level has dropped, and your body has switched to ketogenesis (fat burning) mode to provide the energy you need. Eating healthily and avoiding carbs has been shown to raise energy levels, eliminate depression, and enhance mood. One candy bar can turn it all off, though. This article offers diet suggestions to improve productivity at work.
Many of the most successful folks start their day off with yoga, or meditation of some description. Others inspire their creativity by deliberately not thinking about work related tasks. This frees the subconscious mind to solve problems, and often manifests itself as “sudden” inspiration exactly when it’s needed.
The Takeaway for Successful Mornings at Your IT Job
Don’t make your day more difficult than it has to be. If you dodge a difficult task in favor of fun or easy tasks that make you feel like you are accomplishing things, what you are really doing is procrastinating. All day long you are going to be plagued with a nagging dread in the back of your mind. You can be productive and successful at your IT job. It will distract you, knowing that you’re going to have to deal with this difficult task eventually.
Tackle it first! If you get that problem solved, all the rest of your day is just going to become easier. You can turn your attention to new projects and challenges instead of wasting time and energy on worrying. Don’t put it off—do it now!
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