There’s a part of today’s consumerist world that drives us to want more, buy more, act on our impulses, hoard, spend to solve our problems, create comfort through shopping, seek thrills through travel, do more, be more.
What would happen if we broke from our addiction to wanting and buying more?
What would life be like if we didn’t need all that?
But just because it’s a little harder for you to be an early riser doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. The benefits are just too great and too numerous to ignore:
You will get more work done.
You will accomplish more important tasks.
You will advance your career more quickly.
You will be more respected at work.
You will make more money.
You will have more time to exercise.
You will be healthier.
You will be happier.
If you’d like to become an early riser but are having a difficult time convincing your body to cooperate, follow this 12-step program:
Early Riser Step 1: Stop blaming yourself.
9. The Three Most Effective Tips Are Also the Most Boring
I think that behind every cliché is a truth that’s so powerful that people feel compelled to repeat the phrase over and over and over. This holds true for productivity advice, as well.
Over the last year I experimented with integrating countless habits and productivity techniques into my life, but at the end of the day, the three productivity techniques that worked the best for me were:
Getting enough sleep
On September 1, I updated my profile picture and perused Instagram briefly. Then I turned off the computer, made some coffee, and read the paper. Social media hadn’t won after all; I had.
So here are the rules I’m going to try to follow:
One browser tab open. I want to focus on reading one thing, responding to one email at a time, doing one task in my browser at a time. I realize that I might have to open multiple tabs to work on something, and that’s fine, but if I have tabs open that don’t have anything to do with my current task, I’ll bookmark them for later, add to Instapaper, or add the task to my to-do list.
Know what I’m focusing on. When I open a tab, I have to consciously pause and think about what I’m trying to accomplish. That might be looking up some info, or writing something, or answering an email … whatever it is, I have to try to pause and make sure I’m being conscious about it.
To do this, we must spend more time with happy go-lucky people and less time with those that drag us back towards our negative tendencies, whether that is cynicism, gossiping, or belittling others.
Spend more time with the people that make you smile. Mix it up with the kids at your next family event. Enjoy your weekend afternoons doing anything but work. Let go and laugh away your stress.
As you fill more of your time with the good in life you’ll also be tempted by less of the bad. But if an alcoholic walks into a bar, he’ll drink. If a busybody goes for coffee with the town gossip, tongues will wag unproductively.
Enough is enough. Temptations, obstacles, and bad behavior do not serve us. Eliminate them from your life.
Take the high road.
4. Store things off the kitchen counter. Messes attract messes and clutter attracts clutter. The better we get at storing clutter out of sight, the less likely it is to accumulate. The kitchen counter is a good example. When countertops become an acceptable place to store things, more things begin to collect there. But a clean countertop communicates calm and order, promotes opportunity for its intended use, and is probably easier than you think.
According to Brian Tracy:
“If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely.”
What have we learned so far?
Most people don’t read
If you read 1 hour per day, you can quickly become an expert
If you read 1 book per month, you can be in the top 1% of income earners
9) Fewer consumer choices = happiness.
Eliminating shopping from our schedule frees up both our time and mental resources for more productive endeavors. It takes a fair amount of energy to spend the afternoon at the mall selecting the perfect shade of turquoise golf shorts. It’s a lot easier to wear what we have–or score something from Goodwill. My goal in life isn’t to be a consumer and I relish how few times I need to set foot in any store other than the store of groceries.
Furthermore as humans, endless choice doesn’t necessarily make us happier. It’s far more likely to stress us out and tax our little mammalian brains. By taking hand-me-downs and other used items, we don’t suffer the worry over whether we should’ve bought the blue one or the red one or the small one or the large one–we take what we’re given, or what we find on the side of the road, and are shockingly pleased with it. And then we get on with our lives. Our existence doesn’t revolve around our stuff.
New research from the University of Barcelona published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that early risers are more persistent, and resistant to fatigue, frustration and difficulties. This tends to be associated with lower anxiety and depression, higher life satisfaction, and a lower overall risk of substance abuse.
The Night Owl lifestyle also has a greater downside. “Night owls tend to be more depressed, have a higher dependence on caffeine, and use alcohol more,” Sharkey says. Other studies show that night owls eat more and eat poorly. Spanish researchers found that late risers displayed more extravagant, temperamental, and novelty-seeking characteristics, and suffered from higher rates of insomnia, ADHD, and even addictive behaviors.
Even worse are the negative effects on those non-Night Owls forced into overnight shift work. The hazards of which are well documented, and include “restlessness, sleepiness on the job, fatigue, decreased attention and disruption of the body’s metabolic process,” according to the American Psychological Association.