Why Great Leaders Are Early Risers

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By Jas Singh

How early do you get up in the morning?

Are you up at the crack of dawn, or are you a serial alarm clock, button pressing snoozer?

Are you working whilst your competition is still asleep or just about making it to the office in time?

In ten years working with some of the best known leaders in business, I’ve noticed that top performers generally wake-up early. In some cases really early.

Lots of famous leaders across the business, political and sports world have all publicly stated that getting up early is one of their keys to success.

This famous list of early riser’s published by Forbes is a who’s who of the business world. Many of these world famous CEO’s even get up before 4am.

Here are some reasons why great leaders are early risers.

Less distractions

Leadership is demanding. Often pulling you in a hundred different directions.

Constant change. Fresh challenges. Everyone competing for your time and attention.

With so many directions during our busy working days, it’s hard to get things done. To stay on top of things. Sometimes, it’s hard to just keep up – you’ve just managed to get rid of those tagged, time intensive emails in your inbox when – whoosh…suddenly there are ten more. The working day sometime just seems like a non-stop merry-go-round.

But getting up early means less distractions. Less phone calls to take. Less emails to distract you. Less people knocking on your door.

In the links shared above, many high profile executives actually mention that this early morning time allows them to gain control. To plan what to do and get ahead.

Great leaders create time to be alone at the desk.

Even if it might be in their pyjamas :)

Our brains function better in the morning

Studies have shown that our brains function much better for “higher-level” tasks such as creativity and innovation during the morning. Usually because sleep has been shown to enhance cognitive performance.

Although not exclusive to all people, our brains have been shown to perform better when they are in line with the earth’s circadian rhythm or “body clock”. Put simply, most of us are better off doing are more complex and brain intensive tasks first thing.

For most of us, this is usually opposite – the typical routine usually involves dealing with overnight problems first thing and try and make space for the more creative tasks when we can.

Great leaders wake-up early and do their best thinking first thing. When their brains are rested and ready to go. They goal-set, problem solve and innovate before the hectic day begins.

Which also keeps them motivated through the day.

It makes you stand out

There’s nothing like good news first thing in the morning. Often it can make you feel great the entire day.

One of the benefits of waking up early is that it makes you stand out from the crowd. In today’s ever competitive world, seeking that small differentiator can make a big difference.

Most people work during the typical working hours – say 8am to 7pm and during this time most of us are bombarded regularly with sales requests, updates and proposals. Sometimes in the middle of something important. Often it’s difficult to remember who said what or what needs to done when.

It can be hard to capture one’s attention.

But few people are awake before 6am. And even few of them will be working.

By engaging and reaching out to others during this time, not only does it create the impression that you are a dedicated worker, but also allows you to get to people before the bell rings and the hectic work day starts.

Great leaders stand out.

Conclusion

They say the early bird catches the worm.

It certainly seems to work in leadership.

Hiring managers can gain much from hiring those people who rise early and get ahead.

It’s a possible sign of future leadership.

How early do you get up?

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