The Formula

If you didn’t make it through my first post in this series, I don’t blame you. What was supposed to be a 300-word post turned into 2000. Long story short, I have an assignment to publish a blog a week for the next 14 weeks based on the readings in my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class at BYU-Idaho. Those assignments are being published on my blog.

This week I finished the book Launching Leaders by Stephen A. Hitz. This self-help book for millennials was an interesting read which has given me several things to think about and apply to my life. One of the most surprising lessons that I have already started to apply comes from a concept called ‘The Formula’ which was shared in a chapter from a guest author Jim Ritchie.

The 6 points of The Formula are as follows:

  1. Get Up Early
  2. Work Hard
  3. Get Your Education
  4. Find Your Oil
  5. Make Your Mark
  6. Give Back

Each of these steps may require additional discussion. Today I want to focus on the first step – Get Up Early.

I have always considered myself a ‘night person’. Mornings are not my favorite time, and I tend to be very productive in the late morning and late evening. Left to my own devices, I tend to fall asleep between 1 and 2 am, then wake up between 7 and 8. Truthfully, I could sleep later, but ever since my oldest daughter was born 10 years ago I think I have only slept in past 8 a handful of times.

Nearly 6 months ago now I started pursuing my Bachelor’s degree online. This pursuit has added 15-25 hours of additional commitments into my weekly schedule. Finding this time while juggling all of my other commitments and family relationships has been tricky to say the least. One of the most significant impacts has been on the relationship with my wife. My wife is someone I have always considered a ‘morning person’. She is up with the sun, and ready to go to sleep much earlier in the evening than I typically am. With all of my additional time in school, she has been heading to bed by herself most nights while I stay up working on the next paper or assignment. We have almost always gone to bed together through our marriage, so this has been a big shift for both of us.

Upon reading The Formula, I was a bit skeptical of the value of waking up early. In my opinion, the 24 hours in a day are the same, whether the sun is up or not. 2 hours spent in the evening when my circadian rhythm is supporting me seems just as effective or more so than waking up early and trying to focus while I am a bit more groggy. However, in the context of school commitments, and wanting to get back into a schedule more aligned with my wife, I decided to try an experiment.

I had the thought, if I wake up at 5 am, I can do 2 hours of school in the morning, and still start getting ready for the day around 7 am like I normally do. I should still be able to have the same amount of school hours available, but instead of sneaking into bed in the wee hours of the morning, I can go to bed with my wife, and maybe even have a few minutes to talk to her before we both fall asleep. Best-case scenario – we get to see each other a bit more. Worst-case scenario, I realize I am not as productive in the mornings, my grades slip a bit, and I can go back to my old ways quickly.

I am writing this post on the third morning of this experiment. Thus far the results have been quite impressive. My time in the morning has been very productive. I’m still not sure how all of the logistics work, but I feel like I have an incredible amount of additional time in my day. I normally am scrambling to finish school assignments by Friday or Saturday. It is Wednesday morning and I am already nearly complete with my assignments for the week. Last night I got to play games with my kids instead of starting school promptly at 7:00. Every night this week I have gotten to go to bed with my wife and have had time to talk and connect with her.

In summary, I have more time to focus on the things that matter most, and am still feeling very productive. I plan to keep this experiment running for a while longer and am very excited to see the long term results from this new habit.

What time do you like to wake up in the morning?


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