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Define Your Daily “Get Up Time”

How do you define the right time for you to get out of bed in the morning?

Here’s the formula I use to determine the right time to get up. It works for everyone.

To determine your “get up” time, there were two important things you needed to define:

Item #1: Define your “morning hard deadline.” This is the time your daytime responsibilities require you to be present and ready to go. I make it a point to be ready and at work by 8:00am, so that is my “morning hard deadline.” If you have to travel to your workplace, you need to factor that in as well. For example, if your morning work commitment starts at 8:00am and it takes you 30 minutes to get to work, your morning hard deadline is 7:30am. This is the time by which you need to be ready to leave.

Item #2: You need to define are the tasks you must do or want to do each morning before your “morning hard deadline.” Then, you need to determine how much time each task requires and then the total time for all of them.

Let me start with Item #2:

To determine what time I need to get up in the morning, I first determine what I need or want to accomplish each morning. Here’s my standard morning morning routine and how long each task takes:

  • Morning constitutional (Get out of bed, turn off the alarm, visit the porcelain, brush teeth, throw on sweats): 10 minutes;
  • Daily inspirational reading: 20 minutes;
  • Daily meditation on inspirational sayings: 10 minutes;
  • Sharing time with spouse: 20 minutes;
  • Transition task: Prepare and drink morning energy drink: 10 minutes;
  • Daily private prayer/meditation: 30 minutes;
  • Daily Aerobic (run or biking): 45 minutes;
  • Daily resistance training: 25 minutes;
  • Showering and dressing for work: 25 minutes;

I don’t include breakfast, because I normally have a protein shake that I drink at my desk.

TOTAL TIME FOR MORNING ROUTINE: 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Since I work out of a home office, I don’t have travel time. If you have to travel to your work location, then that is time you have to include in your list.

Even though I don’t have travel time, I plan on being in the home office ready to work by 8:00am.

So, subtracting 3 hours and 10 minutes from 8:00am, I arrived at 4:45am. This is the time I would have to rise each day to meet my 8:00am hard deadline. However, since there is almost always some extra time that creeps in during transitions from one task to the next, I add a time buffer of about 15 minutes.

This gave me a total morning routine time of 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Subtracting 3 hours, 30 minutes from 8:00am means that the time I need to rise is 4:30am, which is the time I do rise.

Now, if you are not used to rising at this time, 4:30am can seem like the middle of the night! However, once I committed to rising at this time, I quickly got used to it and it does not seem unusual to me any more.

Many other people, especially successful CEOs and entrepreneurs get up between 4:00am and 5:00am. It’s really not that unusual. Morning people are made, not born :-).

Also, since I know I need between six and a half and seven and a half hours of sleep each night, this formula also has the advantage of giving me my time to be in bed. 

So, in order to get this amount of sleep, it means my bed time must be before 9:30pm. I start getting ready to retire at 9:00pm.

This works well because I use the evening to read instead of watching TV. I also don’t plan many evening events that keep me out past 9pm. If I do have a “slack” day to sleep in to 6:00am or so, it is usually Saturday, so I occasionally stay up a bit later on Friday nights.

Now, you can use this same formula to determine your own personal “get up” time.

First, make a list of the morning things you need or want to do each day or most days;

Then, determine approximately how long each one takes;

Add up the total time;

Subtract that amount of time from your “hard deadline” time to be ready in the morning.

The time you arrive at is your personal “get up” time.

You’re ready to go. Now just go set your alarm clock and do it!