Good Habits #44:  Get up Early

By | August 27, 2020

[August 27, 2020]  It’s been too long since I posted a “good habits” article.  A reader suggested that I get my “ass in gear” and restart this mini-series.  A few weeks ago, we took our Boy Scout troop out on their annual summer camp.  One of our Scoutmaster’s requirements was that the scout’s get up early.

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” – Richard Whately, English academic, philosopher, and theologian

Found on health websites, a well-known purpose of getting up early is that it helps you physically, mentally, and emotionally.  This habit is powerful.  It gives you more time to exercise, improves concentration, increases productivity, and makes sleeping easier.  Our Boy Scouts seemed to adapt to getting up at 6 am after a day of adjustment.  They were better behaved and followed directions better when compared to those that slept in late.

For leaders, getting up early does much more.  I found that the average leader gets up around 7 am and goes to bed at 11 pm.  If we were to look at the typical day of a leader, we would find enormous amounts of wasted time, mostly after dinner.  They are not spending quality time with their family or community, mostly watching television or just reading entertainment magazines.

By getting up early, a leader can clear their mind, create a vision in their head about their upcoming expectations, and – importantly – relax.  They won’t be rushed as they prepare for work or time with family.  They won’t be stressed unnecessarily.  They won’t show their frustration.  Leaders who get to work early too find that the obligatory paperwork can be completed, leaving more time for hands-on time with employees.

“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” – Aristotle

If you love the soft pillow and warm blanket, you can still put aside the temporary comfort by waking up early in the morning to get a head start on everyone else.  They’re still sleeping.  By this action, you can get the edge on others.  You will get productive time doing things that you need to do, and that’s a huge piece of moving your life forward.

Don’t forget to read my electronic book. Good Habits for Leaders (2018).  I lay out the idea that simple, good habits can make a significant difference in your life.  You can read it here for free (see link).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Good Habits #44:  Get up Early

  1. Arun

    Hi Doug, I strongly vouch for this good habit of getting up early. The early morning peace and quiet are priceless, and I get to complete most of my work, which gives me time to read in the evenings. I’ve taken a fancy to reading science-fiction novels which keep me engaged until dinner time. And then its “early to bed and early to rise” all over again!

  2. Harry Donner

    Another excellent article on basic good habits of leaders. When I was a young man, I got up late every day and struggled to get to work. My evenings were about having fun, watching tv late, and drinking with my buddies. Later, very much later, I realized this “fun” was actually damaging both my health, my ability to do work, and hurt my family and community. I changed and now I’m much better off simply by getting up early (but also by going to bed early).

    1. Stacey Borden

      Right, Harry, it doesn’t take much to do this. You just need the discipline to do it. Take about one day to fix. Why don’t we do it?

  3. Dale Paul Fox

    The “peaceful protesters” are getting up early! Or, ha ha ha ha, they’re staying up late. It’s up to the good folks to get up early and clean the streets. Nope, I won’t do it. But I will stay up and get up early to protect my family and my business.

    1. KenFBrown

      Thank you Dale for doing what normal people who are responsible are doing. I would like to be a fly on the wall in the home of these City Council members. I would hope some of their family members are giving them hell.

      1. Randy Goodman

        These Council Members should be put in the middle of their “peaceful’ protests and suffer the consequences. But they are holed up in their mansions with police protection.

  4. Georgie M.

    I watched tv last night on the problems in Minneapolis. Saw a lack of law enforcement in these videos — striking. Criminals have taken over the city’s streets. The Minneapolis City Council has voted to defund and disband the Minneapolis Police Department. Look for the flood of businesses and residents leaving Minneapolis to accelerate.

    1. Tracey Brockman

      True. The city council failed their city. Failure is given a new name now.

    2. Willie Shrumburger

      Good point Georgie. Gives us plenty to discuss.

  5. José Luis Rodriguez

    I watched both the Democratic and Republican conventions. What a stark contrast. The Democrats are all about blaming everything on US pres Trump but refuse to take responsibility for what they have encouraged in the nation’s rioting. They say they will “unite” us but proof is in their continued failure to do so.

  6. Eric Coda

    Hey guys, have you been following the latest riots, looting, and arsons? This is what happens when leadership fails. Doesn’t mean that there is a LACK of leadership but the WRONG KIND of leadership. Like Hitler who was a fantastic leader in applying the skills to get people to follow him. But he, along with the mayors of these cities, have failed the most basic function of leadership and that is to improve their community, state, and nation. Hitler and these mayors (from a technical stand point) are failures in the moral and ethical sense.

    1. The Kid 1945

      True, even though they may have applied some of these “good habits” they have failed to follow thru on the others. Like “walk the walk.” The police have been defunded and stood down when we need them the most. We have an epic form of leader failures. This time will be studied by good leaders for decades to come.

      1. Gil Johnson

        Thank you Janna and you are right that we need to reward those who make good sense. But I think that common sense is in rare supply in places like Baltimore, Portland/Seattle, Washington DC, etc. Just look at what’s happening and it should be obvious. THe US Democratic Party is ENCOURAGING rioting, looting, arson, and murder. Just listen to them promote it every chance they get.

    2. Fred Weber

      Sad, yes, easy to stop, yes (but harder now). All this can be stopped if only we take it seriously.

      1. Eric Coda

        I’m not so sure Fred that taking it seriously will work. Nancy Pelosi takes it seriously because all the rioting, etc. promotes her agenda to attack Pres Trump. I matters to me little what political party you belong to but don’t support this kind of anarchy.

  7. Dennis Mathes

    Gen. Satterfield, I’ve long been a fan of your lengthy series on good habits. Please keep them coming our way.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Yes Dennis, I too have been coming to this leadership blog now for over two years and have found this and other similar series to be worthwhile to read and, yes, reread.

    2. JT Patterson

      Good comment. You can also read a number of other articles on similar topics. But, I also recommend Gen. Satterfield’s electronic book on “Good Leader Habits.”

        1. Xavier Bordon

          Yes, thank you Valkerie. I hope that Gen. Satterfield updates this publication and publishes other eBooks like this in the future.

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