♪ This Is Why I Do It ♪

Although I didn’t intend for it to, blogging seems to have taken the back burner to some other projects and things that I’ve had going on this month (my bestie and her husband were in town visiting last week, yay! I’m getting back into the swing of freelancing, yay! I’m figuring out how to be a yoga teacher, yay!).

But even with everything that I’ve been working on behind the scenes, I’ve managed to stay strong with this month’s Early Riser challenge. It’s been an atypical month schedule-wise with my yoga teacher training and out-of-town visitors so I haven’t necessarily been waking up early to tackle the day and get down to business, but I’ve been getting myself out of bed nonetheless, and it’s felt awesome to get an earlier start on the day.

That being said…my God, that one “cheat” day I have a week where I can sleep in has been heavenly. You know that feeling when you can go to bed on a Saturday night knowing that you have nothing on the agenda for Sunday and that you don’t have to set an alarm or even be slightly concerned what time you rouse the following morning? Unbeatable. I’ve been soaking it up.

But I will say, that one sleep in day that I grant myself has been so awesome because it isn’t something that I indulge in every day. By setting some restrictions, it makes loosening up on those restrictions all the more enjoyable.

And this is why I do it (to the tune of Montell Jordan’s This Is How We Do It). Because how could I not?

This month's custom alarm (those extra 8 minutes are for snoozing)

This month’s custom alarm (those extra 8 minutes are for snoozing)

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10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It

The other night I stumbled on a great article from the website Zen Habits entitled, 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It. Perfect timing, eh?

Leo Babauta, who runs the site, wrote on how he rises each morning at 4:30am and the many benefits of doing so. While I’m definitely not in the waking before dawn camp quite yet, the article did a great job convincing me that it’s something worth working towards. Here are my top 3 favorite benefits from his list, but you can read the full article here:

  • 1. Greet the day. I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ “ Danne’s Note: Is that not the most beautiful way to start a morning, ever? I love this.
  • 7. Productivity. Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do some writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or blog stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with family.
  • 8. Goal time. Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one goal that you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning.

With that being said, it’s 10am, I’ve already meditated, dressed, eaten breakfast, and now written a blog post—all before checking my email or any other social media sites. This month is really growing on me…

 

Last Week = Total Win

While I might have totally bombed the beginning of this challenge, I’m 100% in it to win it now. Not only was I awake by 8am every single day this week (except for today which was my legal cheat day), I was actually up and out of bed before 8am, rising between 7 and 7:15am every morning. Hah!

Before you give me too much credit though, I should mention that I was up so early because I was away in Kalamazoo for the last tier of my yoga teacher training which required me to be at the studio by 8:30am. So yeah, maybe it wasn’t an extra effort to adhere to this month’s challenge for the past 8 days, but that’s part of the reason I chose to do this particular challenge when I did. I knew having to be up so early every day for training would help get me into an early rising routine, which it absolutely did. Now staying in bed until 8 will actually feel like sleeping in—see what I did there?

So, not only am I 11 out of 13 so far this month, but I’m also officially a certified yoga teacher. Success all around!

ytt

I’m a yoga school graduate, horray!

Creative Routines and Early Rising

Last week I saw this post circling around social media and the title intrigued me enough to click: “Creative Routines”

It presents an infographic of various pie charts detailing the daily routines of 16 historically creative people and allows you a glimpse into their lives and personal rituals. While there are many interesting parallels between the individuals profiled, there was one thing in particular that I was interested in reading about:

When did these people go to bed, and more importantly, when did they wake up in the morning and start their work?

If my calculations are correct, 15 out of 16 were up by 8am, with 13 being awake by 7am, and 10 by 6am—and out of 16 people, 13 began work by 9am.

My point exactly. Looks like there’s something to early rising after all…

Image from infowetrust.com

Image from infowetrust.com

 

 

It’s 8:17am and Look Who’s Awake

Me! I had to write a post just to prove that I did indeed drag myself out of bed this morning—very reluctantly, but successfully none the less. Ha!

But so this entry has a little more content than just me bragging about doing something that 90% of the world does on a regular basis anyways, here’s a quote that I read from Swami Rama about waking in the morning:

“So if you really want to discipline yourself and your mind and develop yourself, then the first thing you have to learn is to get out of bed the moment you wake up, and not remain in bed tossing and turning. Rise, wash, and finish your morning ablutions—and then do something useful.”

He’s right, isn’t he? Note taken Swamiji, now it’s time to get at it… 

April’s Lent: Be An Early Riser

It’s only April 2nd and I’ve already struck out twice with this challenge. This one’s gonna be a doozy…

This is almost embarrassing to admit, but because of my nonconventional work schedule…I’m in bed until at least 9am most days of the week. Now, those of you with kids will probably tell me to enjoy it while I can, but I think I’ve been enjoying it a little too much, and it’s become almost incomprehensible for me to imagine being awake before 8am, basically ever.

While it’s amazing to be able to get a full 8 hours of sleep 9 out of 10 times, I’m definitely much more productive in the morning v. the evening, so it makes more sense for me to wake up a little earlier to get stuff done right off the bat rather than luxuriating around the house all morning before finally getting myself together sometime in the early afternoon (when, let’s face it, no one is productive).

So, this month I will attempt to become an early—make that, an earlier—riser. Some of you will laugh that this is even any sort of challenge for me, but let me tell you, it most certainly is. Here’s what I’m shooting for:

  • Be out of bed by 8am every day, preferably earlier, but I’ll start with 8 to ease myself into it.
  • I can only hit snooze once, then I’m up.
  • I will allow myself one cheat day a week to sleep in.
  • No lounging around in bed in the morning while checking email and various social media sites on my phone. I’ve somehow convinced myself that it’s a good way to help me wake up, but all it really does is prolong getting my day started with a useless activity.

And like I mentioned earlier, we’re only 2 days into the month and I’m already failing miserably. Yesterday morning I consciously decided to stay in bed even though I had set a firm intention not to, and today I somehow slept through my alarm (which I blame on the totally weird dream I was having).

But, tomorrow is a new day—as always. I’ll get the hang of this, it’s just gonna take me a minute…