Monday, October 19, 2009

Rise and Shine

At least once or twice each week, I try to get to work around 7am.  Since I live 50 miles away from the office, this means leaving the house at 6am.  It's preferable to starting my commute later when rush hour traffic could easily double the drive time.

I usually get the "you crazy girl" look when I tell people I wake up before 5:30am on workout days.  Waking up that early for my job only slightly more acceptable.

Still, I have to say I don't mind starting my work day before most people get out of bed.  In fact, I love it.  Okay - maybe "love" is too strong. Let's not go crazy here.  But there's some really positive driving force which makes me happy to do it.  It's weird, I know.  I've had a hard time putting my finger on it exactly.

Until this morning.

It was still dark when I went through the house kissing each member of my family goodbye and telling them, "Bye, I'm leaving for work now. I love you." 

Miss M. was sound asleep in her mermaid bed.  As I kissed her forehead, she stirred slightly and made her little groaning calf sound. 

Rob was awake enough to open his eyes into tiny slits and say, "Love you."    He had a sweet smile on his face too but I'm pretty sure that was leftover from his dream about the really nice nurse. (I'll save that for another post.... maybe.)

Spiderman came running to me, a full snuggle attack which almost knocked me off my Bandalinos. When it was really time for me to go, he tried to block the front door.  He finally let me exit after an extra tickle.  And I'm sure, the realization that he was being left semi-unsupervised with a full sheet of Halloween stickers from Grandma.  (When I got home I was relieved that Spidey had found a stray piece of copy paper.  No little pumpkins and ghosts all over my windows this time.)

As I was pulling out of the dark driveway, I suddenly got this vivid childhood memory of my Dad leaving for work in the pre-dawn hours, even on Saturdays. 

I remember telling my playmates, "My Daddy gets up for work at FOUR O'CLOCK in the morning."  

It might not have actually been that early but my youthful mind just knew it was dark and early.  So, it became 4am in my mind.

Yup, I was bragging.  Somewhere along the line I came to understand that a strong work ethic was to be admired.  My Dad has just about the best work ethic of anyone I have ever known and not just because he starts his day early.  In boasting to my friends, I guess I thought being his daughter made me cool by proxy.

Now that I'm writing this, it makes me wonder about which came first.  Did I think my Dad was great because he worked so hard?  Or, did I think a strong work ethic was such a great characteristic because my Dad (my hero) had it? 

In any case, I think it's pride I feel when I'm already halfway to work just as the sun is rising. Now I know pride is a sin or whatever.  I get a "pass" since it is really energized by that "Dad memory" which has been hiding in my subconscious.  My morning fuel. 

In most discussions of life balance, the primary complaint is "no time."   Well, waking up earlier is one of the easiest ways to increase the time budget.

Furthermore, there is a proven connection between waking up early and both personal and professional success. 

You can blame Ben Franklin with his whole, "early to rise... healthy, wealthy, wise" bit (though I'm pretty sure he got it from Aristotle).

What's your morning fuel? What feeling, memory or motivation can you tap into in order to make an earlier start time more enjoyable?

For those of you whom I lost at "wake up earlier", here are two more posts I wrote about my Dad which you may enjoy instead...

Ten Things I Learned From My Dad

The Consistent Parent


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Argentum Vulgaris said...

I have had jobs where a 4am rise was necessary, but Rio is a big city and at times I have lived 45kms from my job.

Normally I get up at 5:30am, work or not. Mostly now i work from home 5:30am is just a good time, great for coffee, great to watch it grow light out my window.

I am a morning person. After 11am my productivity level drops dramatically.


Sarah said...

i was wrong - it's not the kids, it's your work! (did i make you feel guilty now? :)

Innocent Owner Of Mad Cats said...

I love goin in to work early like that too. It makes my whole day. Except this week. I've had to get up at 3am. Thats a bit much. :) My morning fuel is knowing I still have quality time after work to spend with family and friends...and these three hairballs at my feet.

Nicolasa said...

I have to admit that I feel better about my day when I get to work early because I have time where not many people are around. As a teacher that time is key to starting the day. Once other teachers come in the morning it becomes a chat fest instead of time spent preparing last minute things before the kids come in. I think my fuel is how good I hope to feel at the end of the day.

Charlene said...

I'm glad I'm not alone. Thanks for the comments!

Theta Mom said...

I did that same long commute and it can really become tiresome...I always felt better about it when I got in early, too.

Victoria Hart said...

Oh, how I used to love arising early; now I sleep so poorly...I only sleep in the morning hours. I always felt I was ahead of the game when I was up early....happy for you.

Tami G said...

I love to get to work before anyone else gets there. It really is the most productive time.
HOWEVER - I'm am the worst morning person that you could ever meet in your life!! I HATE getting out of bed int he AM. HATE IT! I don't believe my body was made to function before the sun comes up! ha ha
So although in my mind I know I'm so much more productive with the early start - I just can't convince my body to get moving!

I WISH I had a fuel to feed me that motivation every day!
I'm SUCH a night owl

Leah said...

I did a 2 week boot camp this summer in June and got up and to work out every day at 5:30 for 2 weeks (sans the weekends) and felt amazing. I wonder why I let myself slide and not even wake up at say 6:15 as opposed to 6:30 and refuel before waking up my girls...Thanks for the food for thought. I plan to go to boot camp in November and my goal is to keep it up after it ends.

Tanya said...

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Elizabeth said...

visiting via SITS; wanted to give you some cheer since you're home w/ a sick child.
What a great post! I too, was raised with a strong work ethic, and I love getting to work early before everyone else,that's when I get the most done.
Hope Spidey is well soon.

Elizabeth said...

Charlene: I was just reading your profile and see you are in the Boston area, like me. I host a group called New England Bloggers. When you have time, check us out, the link is on my right sidebar. Leave a comment if you'd like to be included.

Tanya said...

This post comes at a really interesting time for me since just this morning I was thinking about how I no longer start my day quite as early as I used to... and I'm not happy about it! I love getting an early start, partially because I feel like I'm really getting things done and also because it just makes my day last longer (maybe those two things go hand in hand, now that I think about it). I want to get back to my early starts but am having inertia... Hopefully having read this post will get me back on track!!


Supergreensunbear said...

I think some people tend to be morning people and some night owls. I don't fit into the morning routine, never have and doubt I ever will. Thankfully I have a job where I can work quite flexible hours. Usually I wake late and head to work later than most, I stay late and head home later too meaning I too miss the rush hours but just the opposite way around, then I go to bed later than most too. I guess its all relative, in countries where taking a siesta is the done thing, their sleeping patterns and working days will be completely different too. As long as we aren't tired, time awake is time awake, and it sounds like you are making the most of it :)

Joanna @ The Casa said...

I've always been the kind of person who wants to get the work part of her day over with, then it's on to enjoying my "free" time. Getting up early to work or clean (or whatever is required that day) makes going to the park, playing with kids, shopping, etc. so much more rewarding.

Stopping by from SITS Saturday Sharefest.

Thena said...

Dropping in from SITS> Sounds like a wonderful Dad. If mine ever missed a day of work he was truly sick, and couldn't get out of the bed which wasn't often. Even today I can remember, when there were struggles he would say "you have to crawl before you can walk". I didn't understand that until I got older.

Just Jennifer said...

Wow your leaving just as I get up. LOL I detest waking up in the morning though, and I'll put off the agony as long as I can before I HAVE to drag myself out of bed to get the kid to school in time.

Fatima Da said...

I am on leave from work and so glad I will not have to think of getting up that early this week ...usually need over an hour to commute ...I can see where you are coming from..

Charlene said...

Thanks for reading and for all the great comments - love it!

(And a special shout out to my SITStahs!)

Christina said...

I think there are moments when I like the early morning thing... like when I get to my 7:40 class, and my students are excited to be there.

Since it's not normal for college freshmen to be excited to be *anywhere* before noon, that makes me feel great about what I do. :-)

Sandra said...

I've always been an early riser. These last few years though, it's switched up a bit as I've been up at night nursing babies. Slowly getting back into my beloved early routine--I like waking to a quiet house. Like you said, it can be very energizing! And I especially love it when I get to workout first thing! Great post :).

Live.Love.Eat said...

I wake up at 6:30 on weekdays to get my boy ready for kindergarten and me for work. I WISH I could wake up earlier and enjoy a cup of coffee and read a bit. I imagine it's so peaceful at that time. Or even hop on the treadmill rather than wait for the evening BUT I just can't do it.

I think it's great you do it but it's even better you can link it to your Dad!

Thanks so much for sharing in my SITS day last week. I am still playing catch up!!!!!!!

Fruitful Vine2 said...

I normally get up at 4am and it makes a huge difference. Someone may wonder why would a homeschooling, stay at home lady living in paradise get up at that time? I get to enjoy my life by waking up at that time. Whenever I get up later I feel like I'm playing catch up all day and it does not feel good.

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