Want a Surefire edge in business? Start early!

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The alarm clock, start early!

It is simple.  Starting early gives you a head start, whether you are running a marathon or a sprint.  The difference is that in sports, it is not allowed.  Business, however, it’s a choice.  And so many people choose not to take it.  That is OK.  But all too often there are people that are frustrated with the hand they are dealt in life, and many times these are the same people waking up a few hours later than the above alarm clock.

Some of the best advice I’ve always been told is simple:  Start Early!

Even better?  Start VERY early.

  • Work-out earlier.  Very early.  Get to the gym at 4 am, sweat for an hour.  Notice how many cars are in the lot.  If your gym is like mine, less than 5.  Why?  Because it’s tough.  It takes sacrifice and discipline.
  • Sit in the sauna for 15 minutes reading your favorite mag, you’ve earned it.  Shower.
  • Get to your local coffee joint at 5:30, relax, you’ve earned it again.
  • Get to your desk at 6 am.  You’ll have at least an hour before  the rest of the Hustlers show up.
  • You’ll have 2 hours before the remaining 85% wonders in and starts chatting about American Idol.

The early drive after starting workout early

This principle is as Old School as it gets, I know that.  Some call it a recipe for burn-out.

98% of people will cringe at the thought of the routine I have just outlined.  Nothing says you still can’t get your 7 hours of sleep.  The key with starting hyper-early is the work-out, jumping right into the work grind for your edge IS a danger zone waiting to happen.

There simply is nothing better than knowing you have done one of the key ingredients to healthy living (fitness), AND started your day with the quiet focus that only comes from showing up early.

Want to mix in a little NEW SCHOOL with this routine?

How about some education WHILE working out?

Put your I-pod shuffle to use on the treadmill.  Download a few pod casts.  Harvard Business Review Idea Cast, and Entre-Leadership are two of my favorites.  http://chrislocurto.com/ for great teaching’s on Leadership.  There are hundreds of great, FREE Podcasts available.

Update as of May ’13:  http://www.entrepreneuronfire.com/  John Dumas is a content machine!  DAILY (yes, I said DAILY!) podcasts with inspirational entrepreneurs telling their story.  Fantastic, hard not to get magical nuggets putting this on your i-pod.

Mix in half your work-out (30 minutes) with new learning and half with your motivational workout tunes.

Do the math on this routine for a year:  3 times a week, (give yourself 2 off days during the week) * 50 weeks a year (give yourself 2 weeks off too!) equals 4,500 minutes of additional knowledge, 75 hours!  All while your reducing stress and burning calories.

Compound this over a few years.  Think that will give you an edge?

Start Early.  Gain an edge while the competition is sleeping.

There simply is no substitute for HUSTLE.



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  1. Nice post, Mark. Myself, I’m working on getting up a half hour earlier to start. Don’t know if I’d ever get to 4AM, but 5:30-6 would give me extra time for business and do me a world of good!

  2. This is a tough thing to accomplish if your spouse or children are not on a similar schedule. I find 5am to be about the max without their “synchronization”. Personally, I try to get up at 5:30 Monday through Friday, with the latest I ever sleep in being 6:30 (I think it is important to listen to my body if it is telling me to slow down). I work until around 7:30 (personal work, not office work) then go to office work, gym it up 5:30-6:30 PM, then podcast listen home and relax until 9:30 or 10, then work for 30 minutes and hit the hay. This has been fairly effective for me during the winter, which is when i have the least amount of time of the weekend (I compete nationally in Giant Slalom snowboarding).

    Everyone should listen to this article and apply it to their own lives. Great post. (I have a similar one coming out soon).

    • Great comments. It’s interesting that the people that have a defined goal, (like your Giant Slalom snowboarding) have a very defined regimen that works! Your right, listening to your body is key, Weekend’s I certainly grab an extra 4-5 hours of sleep, which is a bit of a recovery and re-charge for upcoming week. Good luck with competitions!

  3. sal olivito says:

    there is no subsitute for rising early,regenerating your body and your mind. the body and the mind are meant to keep moving . getting a head
    start when your mind and body are the sharpest means that you will have an edge on everything, before the phone rings off the hook. i am glad you mentioned the importance of a good sleep, (makes a world of difference). a healthy body means a healthy mind. no subsitute for this routine. stay healthy.

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