March 14, 2017
'I’ve done everything. All of it. You think it, I’ve done it. All the things you never dared...I did ‘em, I did ‘em yesterday while you were still in bed. What about you? When’s it gonna be your turn?’
Melvin Burgess’ Junk is not known for its promotion of ambition and energy, but Lily’s wise words (above) have stayed with readers long after they finished the book. What is it about the idea of taking on the world before dawn which so excites and appalls us?
Early risers know a secret world - one which people who attack the snooze button until 8am will never see. They may get a little less sleep - but they’re getting so much more from their day than an extra hour in bed. Here’s what early risers enjoy every day - and you’re missing out on.
They have a stress-free commute
People who get earlier trains, Tubes and buses don’t have to deal with crowds, fights with the doors and standing all the way to their stop. They have seats. There are fewer delays (delays are normally caused by trains being unable to move because of the sheer amount of people trying to get off and on. People cause the issue, not the driver).
They get their commute out of the way early on, so they can focus on the day ahead.
They have leisurely mornings
You might think the guy who gets into the office at 7.30am is mad, but he can enjoy a long, unrushed breakfast, look at his emails, plan his day ahead, Skype a friend and write in his blog before the 9am rush hits the office.
He’ll never get caught loitering on Skyscanner because he did all his life admin while you’re caught up in the train crush.
They do the gym first thing
Early morning gym goers never have to feel guilty about missing the gym after work or on their break, because their workouts are done and dusted by 8am. They can then hit the office feeling virtuous, energised and ready to crack on with the day. They’ll never have to worry about heading home after work if they’re too tired to work out. They already ticked that box.
They also have lower heating bills because they shower at the gym. A small perk, but valid nonetheless.
They know a secret London
The commuters who walk to the office in the early morning know about the peace and tranquility that London enjoys before the hordes descend. Try it for yourself - take some time to enjoy the scenery, the lack of crowds, and all the loveliness London has to offer. It’s easy to forget we live in a pretty city when we’re all charging along, heads bowed, trying to avoid each other.
Come in earlier, stand on the bridge, grab a coffee overlooking the Thames. Get some breathing space before your day starts.
They get more done
What could you do if there was an extra hour in the day? Finally get some freelance work sorted, do the washing, enjoy a walk with the dog, sort out your bank statements? Maybe you could head into the office to get some extra work done so you can focus on the big presentation?
The time is always yours for the taking - it’s up to you to use it wisely. Would Gordon Gekko snooze his morning away? You already know the answer, don’t you? There's even an app you can download to make sure you get up at 5am; that might be a little early for most people, but it's worth looking into.
They get more sleep
It seems counter-intuitive, but early risers get more sleep. Why? Well, they know that time’s a scarce resource and they also know they’ll be good for nothing if they go to bed late. 5am can be an ugly place when you’re tired. When you’re up against an alarm you can’t ignore, you’re effectively forced into making smart decisions about sleep.
Yes, you’ll go to bed earlier, and you’ll miss the end of the film. It doesn’t matter. Pause it and watch it on the train into work tomorrow.
Here's what you need to remember:
- It'll take some getting used to, but rising early is the best way to make the most of the time available to you.
- Make a list of things which you'd like to do - and make sure that you stick to it!
- Don't let anyone tell you you're mad for waking up early. It's your life. It's your choice to use the time you have as you see fit.
- You're not superhuman! Head to bed early so you don't get too tired the following day.