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I Tried It: I Woke Up At 5 A.M. Every Day Like A CEO

If you wake up earlier, you're more likely to be successful because you have a head start to the day.

I Tried It

Studies show that there is a connection between millionaires and the time they wake up in the morning. In a poll cited by Vanderkam, 90% of executives said that they wake up before 6 a.m. on weekdays. Many believe there is a direct correlation between the two; if you wake up earlier, you're more likely to be successful because you have a head start to the day.

I do not consider myself a morning person at all. And while I have a terrific work ethic that allows me get things done efficiently, I couldn't help but wonder how my life would change if I tried getting up by 5 A.M. for one week.

Would I find myself checking more things off my checklist throughout the day? Would I inevitably see that I was working smarter and not harder? Here are three huge takeaways I noticed after my week-long experiment:

Discipline Is Key.

When 5 A.M. came around, I forced myself out of bed, but I wasn't even mentally in a place to get things done.

While this got easier as the week went on, I personally didn't feel like I was more productive in the morning because I felt groggy and still tired. I think people focus so much on the time of day, instead of making sure that you are getting a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast in the morning.

You can be up at the crack of dawn and still not be as effective as someone who gets up later but feels well rested.

Your Morning Is Not A Race, Take Your Time 

The first thing I did every morning was pray and I immediately jumped into the work right after.

I mean, that's why we're getting up early right? Nah.

When I woke up and jumped right into my work for the day, I noticed that once I started, I couldn't seem to stop, especially when the rest of the world started waking up and checking their emails. My mind felt like it was exerting even MORE energy than before, and I immediately felt mental fatigue trying to dedicate more time working.

Once I realized I felt more mentally fatigued than productive, I tried a new routine. Instead of hopping right into the work day after my morning prayer, I took about an hour to ease into my day.

I would pray and meditate, read a little bit (a book, nothing social or on my phone), eat breakfast, and just relax. I went to the gym and did a bit of exercise, or stayed in and followed along with guided yoga poses. It was the difference I needed. My mind was clearer, and my work started really showin' out.

Work Smarter, Not Harder.

The secret to success behind dope people like Oprah, Beyoncé, and Rihanna, is that they've mastered working smarter, and not necessarily harder. Y'all know how everyone says you have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé? Well, that doesn't really matter as much as how you utilize your time.

I learned waking up three hours earlier didn't do me any good if I was in full go-mode the entire time.

Alternatively, I looked at how I could get the maximum out of my time and get the best return on my self-investment. Nowadays, instead of hopping into all my emails first thing in the morning, I use apps like Boomerang, where I can schedule out emails in advance. Once I had all my responses pre-written out, all I had to do was hit the 'Schedule' button! Also, I made sure to tackle the harder tasks first, so by the end of my workday, all I had to handle was the easy stuff. THAT made a huge difference, because I didn't feel drained by the end of the day.

I would suggest this week-long experiment to anyone looking to challenge themselves, whether you're a morning person or a night owl.

But remember, you were born to be your own CEO and certified #GirlBoss, so don't beat yourself up or determine your success on what everyone else is doing. You slay, all day.

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Featured image by Getty Images

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