This is something that has echoed in my head throughout my life. I’m not even sure where I first heard it from, but without a doubt it was several sources. Does this analogy apply to everyone? Or is it only terms of “first come, first serve” type approach, which would make sense when what you are seeking is in limited quantities. Many of you reading this may be thinking the worm is money, or your reward for the effort of which you put in, but I think we can use this quote another way.
I used to view the worm as money or a reward. Now I view the worm as the ability to achieve. The reason I switched my focus was because I recognized that many people make lots of money and get lots of rewards even if they don’t wake up early, so of course that makes this statement untrue. So I shifted my perspective a bit and tried to find how it really applied to my life. The truth for me is that the “Early worm has the freedom, head space and energy to get the work done to have the worm”. I know, it’s certainly not as catchy and much harder to memorize but for me it’s true.
As I became a family man, specifically when we started having children, my focus on work and productivity switched. I didn’t become an entrepreneur to be a millionaire or to be the coolest person in the world, I did it to create freedom for myself and my family. Time is my biggest and important asset for the next 18 years as I have my children in my house, so what I spend my time doing is important to me. Many of you don’t know this, but I lost my Nanny (Grandmother) and my Father just months a part when I was 16 years old. This taught me a lot of things and my biggest lesson was to never take time for granted. That said, I don't want to aimlessly work at a desk at all day if I don’t need to. I don’t want to put off work from 9-5pm if I can get done from 5:30AM-10:30AM what most people can do in a full day. So, I don’t.
I’ve always been a morning person. Are you? Literally I would get on my siblings and parents nerves for my early hours growing up, I couldn’t help it, sleep was boring to me. The only reason I tried to start sleeping as an adult was when I was in training for the CrossFit Games and learned how important more hours of sleep was for my body's ability to recover. My point is that this comes easy to me, but for many of you it might not. So, I wanted to lend some advice to you that may see value in the ability to wake up earlier and be productive when the rest of the world (and your family) are still resting.
If you don’t want to work in the morning, maybe it is just your personal time. Creating time for you to learn, have space, read, study, pray, meditate, stretch or even workout is a huge investment in yourself. If you can fill your personal “development” or “enrichment” tank, you will be a much better and happier version of yourself for others! Also, my advice to any of you, especially after this pandemic is to develop a side hustle. Why not? It may not make you money now, but maybe one day it will and maybe one day you won’t depend on someone else for your paychecks or a portion of them. You never know! Learn something new, find a passion, and chase it! But see, you need time to do that because you can’t simply stop working. Here is how you can find more time and are some easy steps to make the process a bit easier and more realistic.
1. Stop eating late snacks and dinners. This is one I’ve newly applied and I love it. I stop eating by at least 8PM which may sound late for some of you but I’m used to eating snacks right before I lay down, just always have done it! I kept them healthy for the most part but still my body was then being forced to metabolize and digest food through the night differently than it should. The closer you can stop eating to dinner time the better, you will notice when you wake up, it’s easier! The only exception I make is drinking my night time protein shake about 30 minutes before bed, Retire. Helps me get to sleep and stay asleep. Which ultimately helps me get up easier in the morning when that alarm sounds.
2. Set an alarm to begin your bedtime routine. Yes, you set an alarm to wake up most days but how about to go to bed? Well, this will help you stay accountable or at least remind you that you are making a choice to defy your goals for now (haha). Set the alarm about 30 minutes before you hope to lay down so you can then finish up what you were doing, take your Relax or drink your Retire brush up, freshen up, get in bed and relax.
3. Write down what you hope to achieve in the first hour of being awake and schedule it. When you have tasks to complete you are likely to follow through. If you wake up with no specific task, you will either sleep in, or wake up and do nothing productive. The key here is to write it down the night or day before so you can read it prior to bed time routine and be ready to attack first thing in the morning.
Here’s mine: Try to avoid the snooze button, get to the sink, splash cold water and wash. Then brush your teeth. Head to the kitchen (make your morning Restart shake), then I set up my laptop and open whatever I need for the mornings work. Drink a glass of water before my Restart and I sip that while I’m working! After about an hour of work I take a break and have breakfast. I like this gap because I often lose a touch of focus after an hour of diligent work. Then after breakfast I come back for another hour of work and usually I’m done with my “computer work’ for the day after 2-3 hours of course this depends on the season and the day. Then the remainder of work for the day is often filming or recording things for content or meetings!
5. Don’t stress being perfect. I don’t wake up early like this everyday. There are die-hards out there that say “YOU MUST!”. I’m not that guy. Look, this is a great method in creating freedom, in exercising some discipline and self sacrifice so you can level up, be more, learn more, do more, rise up. But, it’s not the end of the world if you only choose to do this 2-3 days a week. In fact it can be the perfect balance between the hustle and sanity you may need. Find what works for you and do your best.
I do believe that the early bird “gets the worm”, we are just all chasing something a bit different.