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So many people are naturally productive, morning people. They are like the army. They get more done before 6am than most people do all day. That’s the kind of person that I want to be, a productive morning person.
When I was a young man (20’s and 30’s) I hated having to be up early. As I have grown older I’ve seen a shift. Some would say that it’s just being older and older people require less sleep. Really?
Not only do I now want to rise early, it’s important to me to be productive. It’s important to me that I spend time in Bible reading and prayer as the first part of my day.
Not long ago I decided to make a shift in my schedule. I love to play golf and honestly I’m not very good at it but I do want to be better. I’ve heard it said many times that any pastor who can shoot par golf is playing too much golf. I’m nowhere near to being in danger of shooting par golf but I did make a decision to play more golf. Why?
- I need to exercise daily and walking a golf course is great exercise. Any person who say’s otherwise has never done it or is already in much better physical conditions that I.
- Golf is a great stress reliever for me. While I do get stressed about my golf game when things are not going well with the game, being on the golf course helps me release a lot of stress that I deal with as a human being, a husband, father and pastor. Felicia says I’m a nicer person when I play golf.
- I like to go to golf outings with other pastors and I’d like to be able to hold my own with them so as to not be embarrassed. So…. I’ve committed a year to getting better.
I’ve purchased a one-year membership to the local municipal golf course and have committed myself to walking 9 holes of golf every morning that pastoral demands and weather allow before going to the office. It’s really no different than the guys who play golf in the afternoons after getting off of work except I do mine in the morning and work later.
One of the things I knew I had to do in order to play golf every morning was I must have my priorities in order. I knew that I must get up, spend time in the Bible and prayer before heading out to hit a few balls.
To get up, have ample time in the Word and in prayer I had to have a plan. It’s no different for you. Your excuse that, “I’m just not a morning person,” is just that, an excuse.
Here are some keys to getting up earlier, early enough to read the Bible and pray before heading out to work.
- Get enough sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation Adult sleep needs for adults vary from seven to nine hours per night. I fall into the seven-hour range. If you’re going to get up earlier then you must have a plan to get enough sleep. Which leads to……
- Go to bed on time. If you need nine hours of sleep and you want to get up at 5am that means you must be in the bed falling asleep by 8pm. Or if you’re like me, 10pm. It’s just a matter of habit. If you’re in the habit of staying up very late doing whatever you will not be able to get up earlier with any success. I’ve heard it said that it takes twenty-eight days to make something a habit. I can’t always be in bed by 10. Sometimes family and church demands have me up later and sometimes in the middle of the night. But as much as humanly possible my goal is to be asleep by 10pm.
- Set an alarm. If you’re not accustomed to getting up at a certain time you will need an alarm. If you are prone to hitting the snooze button put the alarm away from your bed. If you have to get up to turn it off your less likely to hit the snooze.
- Brush your teeth and take a shower. For me there’s something invigorating about having a fresh feeling mouth. I don’t take a shower first thing in the morning because I’m headed to the golf course and I take a shower at the office afterward, but for you it might be just the ticket to getting the cobwebs out.
- Get fully dressed. No slipping back under the covers if you have your shoes on. Right?
- Turn on lights in the house. A dimly lit house is not conducive to waking up.
- Have a cup of coffee. This is a must for me. Drinking something with some caffeine in it to help me wake up. Scientist have concluded that caffeine in moderate portions is actually healthy. For you it might be an energy drink or a diet soft drink.
By now not only are you up, you should be somewhat alert. Sit with your cup of coffee and spend at least fifteen minutes reading the Bible. Once you have read your Bible spend another fifteen minutes in prayer (with a list). During this time I also read a few pages from whatever book I’m in. A good daily devotional is a great tool for early mornings too.
It will take some work and there may be some lapses. Stick with it. Let’s all get up and not only be awake but be productive.