The Key To Better Focus and Higher Productivity: Work Early In The Morning (4 Reasons Why)
I never really considered myself a ‘morning person’. In fact, I used to love sleeping in and start my day easy and slowly. I loved to make every morning a ‘Sunday morning’. However, at that point in my life, I was also stuck. I was producing and creating at a slow pace, and I didn’t see the results in my business that I was hoping for.
I knew that I had to stop labelling myself as ‘not a morning person’ and that I needed to change my destructive habit of sleeping in. So I started reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. Only then did I fully understand how I was destroying my productivity, focus and essentially my life by not waking up earlier.
Fast-forward a few years later and I’ve been able to transform my life (and business) by waking up early and crushing it from the moment I wake up.
Morning = Peak Performance Time
I like to use my mornings for one primary thing: To crush my most valuable task(s) for that particular day. This task is the one that has the biggest potential upside if I complete it and the biggest potential downside if I don’t. Usually, this task is also the most challenging one, so I need my full mental resources available to do it of the highest possible quality. Furthermore, because it’s the most challenging task, it’s also the most likely task to procrastinate on.
However, by completing it early in the morning, this never really happens anymore. Besides, I’m able to complete my most valuable tasks faster and of higher quality due to better focus. But I’ll explain all of that in the following sections, where I share the 4 reasons why working early in the morning is the secret to better focus and higher productivity!
Reason 1: Less Mental Clutter
As you’re working early in the day, you won’t have many experiences to process yet. Aka, you’ll have less mental ‘clutter’. This means that more of your mental resources will be available to focus completely on your task at hand. You can compare this to your phone or computer running smoother when it has enough space left on its hard-disk.
However, when you start working later in the day, especially when you’re working on a cognitively demanding task, you’ll have much more mental clutter occupying your mind. You’ve already seen a lot, heard a lot and thought about a lot. Maybe you’ve already made some (hard) decisions or worked on some easier tasks. All of that needs to be processed by your brain, taking up valuable mental resources that decrease your ability to focus. Your mental hard-disk has a lot less space available at those moments.
Reason 2: Fewer Distractions
When it’s still early in the day, it’s much easier to focus on your most challenging tasks as there are fewer distractions pulling for your attention. When most people are still asleep or having breakfast, you have the freedom to work with full focus without being distracted.
However, later in the day (when everyone’s up and running) more distractions will automatically pop up. People will start messaging, calling, e-mailing etc. It’ll be busier in and around your work-space. All in all, more things will be pulling for your attention the later it gets during the day. And the problem is that it gets harder and harder to fight these distractions, as our willpower decreases over the course of the day.
Reason 3: Higher Willpower
As stated in the (must-read) books Willpower and Thinking, Fast and Slow, our willpower becomes weaker throughout the day. In other words, we’ll find it much harder to start working on challenging tasks, solve difficult problems, fight distractions or do something that requires our energy and effort later in the day.
In the morning however, our willpower ‘muscle’ is still at full strength. It’ll be much easier to work on your most challenging, most valuable task. It’ll be much easier to solve difficult problems. It’ll be much easier to stay with our tasks for a longer period of time and fight of distractions. Use this higher willpower to your advantage to get your most important tasks done before the dip in willpower comes around later in the day.
Reason 4: Procrastinate Less
Procrastination happens when we give ourselves too much time to do something. When we wait too long to take action, we lack momentum and we’ll find it much harder to get started. If we wake up early and start working soon after, we’ll have momentum from the start of the day. We can use this powerful force to our advantage during the rest of the day.
Getting started is always the hardest (every day again), but once you do, it’s much easier to keep going. In fact, this is one of the laws of physics: An object that is already moving requires much less force to keep moving (or even increase in pace) compared to an object that’s standing still.
Therefore, get yourself moving early in the day to kickstart that momentum and keep moving at high productivity levels throughout the day.
Now Do It
I hope that you’re convinced about the importance of working earlier on your most valuable tasks, as you’ll have more mental resources available to boost your focus and productivity.
However, change only happens when you take action — not just by reading about it. So, as an action point for this article, start your next workday by waking up 30–60 minutes earlier than normal (so also go to bed a bit earlier!) and start working on your most valuable, most challenging tasks early in the morning. Notice how good it feels to crush your priorities before lunch-time has arrived!
Don’t forget to let me know how it went for you and what task(s) you crushed first thing in the morning!
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
Ps. Are you interested in creating your own morning routine that sets you up for a highly productive, focused, energetic and overall successful day? Click HERE to download the ‘Morning Routine Cheat-Sheet’ for FREE.