No matter how effective your work ethic is, there’s always room to build upon what you already have. I recently realized this in my life when I made a decision to wake up at 4 am every day.
Waking up this early gives me more uninterrupted time in my day to do my work. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t take me long to fall asleep. Right after I’m done interviewing people on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I call it a day.
Normally, I get more sleep and still feel tired at this stage. While I love the interviews, I don’t feel like doing much after a string of them. I’ve conducted interviews for over three hours in one sitting before.
Even after a long day of school, I can fall asleep and wake up earlier. It’s better for me to wake up earlier and super productive than for me to slog my way through the end of the day trying to get work done.
Plus, it feels great going to school knowing that I’ve done so much already. This blog post isn’t about waking up at 4 am. Everyone has different schedules. Regardless of our schedules, we can rise and grind more than we currently are. This blog post will help you strengthen your work ethic.
Apply More Pressure To Yourself
Getting up at 4 am is easier than it sounds. If you get to bed past 10 am, then yes, it’s going to be very difficult to get out of bed at 4 am. However, I’m usually out a little after 8 pm. I don’t stay up as late compared to most people, but I’m up and grinding well before any roster in my timezone wakes up.
Just sleep a few hours earlier and you can wake up a few hours earlier. So, waking up at 4 am isn’t me applying pressure to myself.
Applying pressure to yourself is giving yourself closer deadlines and intentionally reducing your resources to see what you can do with what you have.
For a long time (time is relative, even for a 20 year old), I heard the advice of pay yourself and invest, and I did neither of those things. Then I started to take that advice seriously. At one month, I set the goal of taking 20% out of my business and put it towards my savings or investments.
Since I get big goals for my savings and investing, that 20% mushroomed closer to 80%. As an investor, you need to invest early to reap the long-term gains, so to hit my goal for the month, I knew I needed to invest early. That explains the bigger increase than I anticipated going into the month.
I could still pay my team, but now things were closer. I didn’t have a month’s worth of payments readily available in my PayPal account for my team. I could have technically moved money over from savings and been fine, but I made it a point to not do that.
And that’s how I found myself facing pressure.
I knew that my current methods weren’t working as effectively as they could. I got more creative and pursued amazing opportunities I would have never thought of if I was still comfortable.
If I didn’t pay myself first in a much bigger way than anticipated, I wouldn’t have had this additional but very strong reason to make more money.
The more reasons you give yourself to accomplish a goal, the more likely you are to accomplish that goal. And this was a big reason. Sometimes you don’t need many reasons. You just need a few that fire you up big time.
Have you ever noticed in the superhero movies that towards the end, the hero is faced with a pressing series of reasons for why they need to take action. In every Iron Man movie, Tony is faced with several reasons for taking action:
- The villain wants to kill him
- The villain wants to kill his girlfriend
- The villain wants to destroy or dramatically change all of society
- People are counting on him, and there’s no one else who can get the job done
- Even when Tony has his cast of Avengers, he’s still an essential part, and without him, the Avengers lose (the same can be said about all of them)
Even with Stark Enterprises and all of his business responsibilities looming over him, Stark decides to save the planet a few times. I don’t care what reasons he has for growing Stark Enterprises. When the bad guy raves havoc, there’s no way to beat that list of reasons.
The pressure mounts, the hero takes action, and then we head towards the end of the movie. Then at that point, you have an idea of what will happen (hero wins!) but just want to see how it plays out.
Both Bookends Work
The extra early rise I have each day gives me uninterrupted time to grind. Originally, I wanted to entitle this section “Use Both Bookends,” but since I can’t see myself doing that right now, I didn’t use that title.
If working late into the night is your thing, then go for it. One caveat I have for that approach is that your willpower must carry the weight of the rest of the day on its shoulders.
When I wake up at 4 am, my willpower hasn’t carried any weight. It’s in it’s prime. In the past, I did the last night thing. On the day before a vacation, I sometimes work past 2 am because I know I can sleep on the way to the destination.
I’ve been productive during those rare moments, but I prefer my 4 am routine. You may prefer something different, and there’s absolutely no problem with that. Whatever helps you achieve your grind is the approach you use.
Just make sure you establish a routine. I wake up at 4 am, and the first thing I do every day, without fail, is read different parts of the same five books for two minutes each. Those five books give me the right mindset to rise and grind.
The second thing I do every day is make myself some food. Pear and toast are all I need to start working. When the day gets brighter, I’ll go out on one of my runs. While I enjoy beating the sun as an entrepreneur, I prefer running in the morning sunlight.
Do More Thinking
We are so busy that we often have little time to think. I’m not talking about the in-the-moment pigeon holed thinking we all experience when we perform a certain task. As I write this blog post, I only think of ways to make it better. I’m not thinking about what I need to do for my business to move it to the next level.
If I do that, you’ll see it in my writing and my content will be subpar.
However, I do carve out 10-15 minutes of each day to do nothing but think. I take a satellite view of everything I’m doing. I examine what’s working and what’s not working. When I pressure myself as mentioned earlier, it forces me to look for new but very specific opportunities.
When I crunched the numbers, I realized that podcasting accounts for most of my expenses. I was surprised when I learned that. However, I believe sponsored ads take away from the listeners’ experience which is why you’ll never hear ads during the show.
So how does my podcast help pay off for the big boost in expenses? The answer is Patreon.
I originally thought I didn’t need it, but seeing that my podcast costs so much money to maintain each month, I created a Patreon Page where anyone can contribute as little as $1 per month to support the Breakthrough Success Podcast.
That’s something you don’t think about doing if you don’t take 10-15 minutes to think of ways you can move your business forward. In my case, it also helps that I keep track of my income and expenses in a Numbers document.
Thinking in this way will help you get more clear on your priorities. If you don’t know your priorities, write a list of your revenue generating activities. Those are your priorities.
When you discover your priorities, you’ll also discover new opportunities similar to how I got started on Patreon in an effort to pay off my podcast expenses without ruining the experience with sponsored ads.
We all need to rise and grind more. Our work ethics are never final products. Lately, I’ve been waking up at 3:50 am so I can finish reading my five books by 4 am. That way, I prep my food slightly earlier and easily start working by 4:30 am.
I know these times sound crazy to many people. I recommend you give it a try to see if it works for you. Sleep earlier, wake up earlier. I’ve also embraced life as a night owl before staying up as late as 2 am to do videos.
Videos are the one thing I normally do that I don’t see myself doing at 4:30 am. However, I can easily see myself doing videos from 11 pm to 2 am. There’s nothing else to do, and later in the day, I’d rather talk and let the words rush out than write and think about each sentence.
What are your thoughts on my approach to rising and grinding? Do you have any additional approaches or strategies for us? Do you have a question for me? Sound off in the comments section below.