One of my favourite shots from my recent photoshoot with Vincent Cheng [http://vincentcheng.net].
Time flies too fast.
I don't have enough time.
I have a lot of things to get done.
Those are the things that I always say, because those really are the things that I honestly feel about.
"Time flies too fast"
True. Before you know it, half the day is gone. And before you know it, half the year is gone.
"I don't have enough time"
This is...well, partially true. I know that everyone is given 24 hours a day, and although I'm not the freest person around, I sure am not the busiest person on earth. So I have no rights to complain. But, that doesn't mean I don't feel that I don't have enough time to spend.
"I have a lot of things to get done"
The person who hears this the most from me would be Boon. Because it's true. I do really have a lot to get done. Everyday. Juggling among Chiq Fliq, blogging and emceeing leaves me no time to waste at all. There's always something to get done, something to attend to, and never a moment that I can finally say, "Hey, I have ticked off all the tasks on my to-do-list!", because there are always additional tasks to my to-do-list. The last time I ever felt bored was when I was a child. Ever since I started working part-time while studying at the age of 15, I never once felt bored or wasted my time doing nonsense since.
So, what's the point of my post today?
I'm glad to share that instead of freaking out that I don't have enough time to complete all my everyday tasks (like I always used to), I have finally made some changes in my life that leaves me more relaxed and multiplied my time. Yes, finally.
And that is
waking up earlier.
*jeng jeng jeng*
Never in my life would I have imagined to say this. Have never been a morning person. Sleep is my reward and luxury. Whenever I need to wake up early for work, I would feel super frustrated the night before because I know I cannot sleep in, and when I'm done with my morning work, I'll go back to sleep once I reach home.
Sleep has always been my weakness. I view sleep as my ME time. My sanctuary. My recharge. My entitlement for working hard. And it sure doesn't help that my mind is always more active and creative at night, like way past midnight. Staying up late thinking about my work causes me to wake up even later, and waking up late causes me to panic because I wouldn't have enough time to complete all my tasks for the day. Which would cause me to spill my work over to after working hours all the way into the night, sacrificing my time spent with the husby. Then I would say it's because "I don't have enough time" and "I really have a lot of things to get done". But deep inside I knew that this wasn't a problem that cannot be solved. In fact, I knew that it all happened because of one thing- I sleep too much.
It's alright if I sleep late but wake up early, or rather, earlier. Here's the secret. In the past, I used to sleep around 2.30am, sometimes 4.30am because I would be reading or staying awake thinking about the business. But I need at least 8-9 hours of sleep, so that means I would wake up around 11.30am-12.30pm, and officially start my day at 1pm. I have only 5 hours to work including getting my lunch fix before I get the husby from work at 6pm.
5 hours a day. Sure isn't enough to get things done, and I knew it. But I blamed it all on my workload, that I simply had too much to manage.
However, things changed. I don't know what in particular triggered the change in me, but I know there are a few factor that influenced me to make this change in my lifestyle.
Firstly, it's the husby. He's a morning person, exact opposite from me. He can jump out of bed feeling all pumped up and ready for the day, while I would require some quiet time before warming up to the world. Because of our difference, I always felt that he didn't understand my situation and (sleeping) needs, because he has no problem waking up early. However, he's always been patiently advising and encouraging me to wake up earlier, and sometimes even challenging me to do so. I would try, but when I fail to do so, I would feel super lousy about myself and even feel annoyed that he's being naggy at me. But that didn't stop him from continuing to encourage me to wake up earlier. He's tried so many methods. Calling me at 9am from work to make sure I'm up, giving me rewards to lure me out of bed, telling me the perks of waking up early again and again. He's the reason why I knew that sleep is my weakness, a weakness that I had to overcome.
Secondly, it's #GIRLBOSS. I would share more about this book in a separate post, but bottom line is, this book made me realise that I'm not working hard enough. I'm not pushing myself hard enough to be as successful as I set out to be, and I'm not maximising my resources enough (time, to be specific). This booked kicked my ass out of bed, and start getting things done, like a #GIRLBOSS should. I do owe my change to this book.
Thirdly, it's the opportunities that I've been getting. I pray for open doors and opportunities in my career, and God heard me and answered them for me. Now that the opportunities are here, I cannot afford to slack and let them all slip me by. This is a season of ploughing and working hard, to continue doing better and making the best out of what I've been given.
These 3 things among many others pushed me to finally get my life right. So for the past 3 weeks, from waking up at 11.30am-12noon, I now wake up (and actually get out of bed) by 8am every morning. I would fetch the husby to work, then come home, have breakfast then start working all the way until 6pm. I've been able to accomplish double of what I used to, and I find more joy in doing my work nowadays because I know that I have time and I don't need to rush.
What really helps these days is also the fact that I've been making my fitness a priority. I focused so much on my work for the entire year that I neglected my fitness totally. I would be glued to my laptop the whole time til my butt and shoulders ache from sitting too long, and this lack of movement (lol) caused me to gain weight and made me feel tired all the time.
So these days, we're making an effort to go for runs and gym at least 2-3 times a week, purposely scheduling and making time for fitness. It's been doing us good these days! We'll spend at least an hour doing cardio and other work out, go for healthier dinner alternatives, and retire to bed earlier cos I now wake up earlier, and I wasted all my energy at the gym. Been sleeping before 12.30-1am these days, and I wake up at 8am feeling fresh and actually happy. Huh, who would have thought! It's surprising the husby that I'm waking up with a smile on my face early in the morning. It NEVER used to be like that. I used to be a grumpy granny in the morning, but apparently not anymore :)
Read these two articles before bed last night that encouraged me even more to continue what I'm doing- 'Take Back Your Mornings' and '12 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast' from www.entrepreneur.com. I highly recommend this site even to people who aren't entrepreneurs/business owners. There are so many things to learn and I find their articles extremely helpful.
It actually isn't my first time reading about successful people waking up early and all that. I've watched and read many interviews with top fashion designers, CEOs, celebrities and models who wake up super early, exercise and get their day started before everybody else. Though I don't wake up at 6am and start jogging, I'm already feeling the massive difference waking up at 8am. One day I'll be able to wake up at 6am and get my day started. Baby steps.
These days, I'm feeling happier and prouder of myself. Not because I'm achieving more out of my day, but because I have managed to do what I couldn't 3 weeks ago. I've kicked my own ass out of bed and that makes me feel that if I can do that, I can do anything (seriously haha).
Perhaps you're like how I used to be, sleep is your ultimate weakness. Take baby steps and try waking up half an hour earlier each time. Once you feel the difference, you'll be more motivated to improve further. Trust me, I've been there :)
Hope this has somehow helped you in some ways!