• Lauren Leopold

Need more time for your business? Try this one thing

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

My alarm went off at 7.41 am. I grappled for my phone to turn off the buzzer, dragged myself out of bed and plopped myself blindly into the shower. I used the next 39 minutes to wash, put makeup on, pick out what to wear, grab breakfast on the go and haul my ass out the door to work. By the time I arrived I was already stressed because someone on the tube had pissed me off and I’d realised I hadn’t prepped for an important meeting later that afternoon and it was only 8.55am. But I'd got to work on time so it was fine.

I thought I was so smart. I as so, so smug. I knew I ‘wasn’t a morning person’, so I cleverly honed my morning ‘routine’, getting it down to exactly 39 minutes so I could wake up as late as possible (meaning I could go to bed as late as possible the night before) and just make it work on time . Genius.

Smug, but useless.

The actual honest result of this so-called morning routine? Constantly feeling tired, grumpy, rushed and forever moaning that I never had the time to do all the things I wanted to do, like start a blog or research that side gig I’d always dreamt of. Not the best start to each day, huh.

Does any of this sound familiar? Yes, the commuting part may be a temporary thing of the past (thank you Covid), but if you’re now actually using that commuting time to claw back 'that all important extra sleep’ then you could be doing yourself more harm, than good.

A recent study published by Feinberg School of Medicine in ScienceDaily, found that sleeping late could be one of the unhealthiest ways to kick off your morning. Of 96 participants, those who slept late went (particularly men) went on to commit a variety of unhealthy decisions throughout the day – eating crap food and not being as physically active. For women, research published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research revealed that those who get up earlier are far less likely to develop mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and other mood disorders than those who sleep later. Pretty compelling evidence that lie-ins aren't that good for us....

The Miracle Book

The day things changed for me was when (in my zombie-like-state on the tube) I stumbled on a magazine article entitled 'Six morning habits that will transform your life'. It was all about a guy called Hal Elrod, author of 'The Miracle Morning‘ and was all about the massive benefits of getting up earliand implementing a morning routine. Intrigued, I decided to read more about the topic. Turns out that the thing all highly successful people such as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple and Oprah Winfrey have in common isn't some fancy degree from a sought-after university. They simply get up early and have a productive morning routine. Inspired, I ordered Hal's book and over the next few weeks gradually started setting my alarm earlier and earlier and trying out his morning SAVERS routine – Silence, Affirmations, Visualisation, Exercise, Reading and Scribing. It got to the point where I was eventually getting up at 6am Monday to Friday!! 6AM people!!! To give you an idea of how alien this was to be - the only time my body had seen 6am previous to this was when I was coming in from a Club on a Sunday morning.

Sure it felt utterly painful at first, but that soon subsided when I miraculously started not only feeling better, but also actually getting shit done. It was hardly surprising when I realised that this simple act was giving me back 100 minutes extra each day to myself – that’s a whopping 8 hours a week! All of a sudden, I was more productive, calmer and happier all round. When I look back on my journey over the past few years, I can honestly say this is probably the biggest game-changer of them all. Before I was full of excuses. Now I’m just full of beans.

6 tips for making the morning routine work for you:

1. If you're not up for diving in at the deep end with a brand new 5am wake up call, do it gradually. Set your alarm for earlier than feels comfortable at first and over a fortnight or so, get earlier and earlier.

2. Get an actual alarm clock if you can, so you're not using the phone as an alarm and get tempted to start scrolling as soon as youve turned the alarm off. Even better, keep your phone on other side of the room so you physically have to get out of bed to reach it.

3. Go to bed earlier. Sounds obvious, but even going to bed half an hour earlier can make all the difference. And stay off your phone. Read your book, Kindle, magazine – anything to make those eyelids droop and avoid the dreaded blue light.

4. Whether you follow Hal's ‘SAVERS’ to the tee or tailor them to your own liking like I did, find the things in his list that resonate with you and start doing them. Things that work for me are journaling, meditation, exercise, reading an inspiring book, affirmations, or plain old doing things off your to do list (I’ve learned there’s few things more satisfying than putting an early morning wash on!)

5. Make it as easy as possible to habitually do these things every single day, i.e. lay your workout clothes out, make your breakfast the night before, have your journal and favourite book by your bed, line up your favourite yoga or workout video. The more prep you put in the night before, the fewer excuses you'll be able to make the morning after.

6. Make your bed. This final one might sound a bit pointless, but I can honestly say it works. Mel Robbins - my all-time favourite coach – in her book The 5 Second Rule, says that making your bed every morning is great for practicing self control. Pushing yourself to do it creates a chain reaction in your confidence and your productivity.

It's all about mindset

Now, even after reading this I’m sure there are people out there thinking ‘That all sounds great Lauren, but I’m honestly just not a morning person.’ But let me tell you this: Neither. Was. I. I was a loud and proud night owl who loved staying up late going out for dinners or watching rubbish TV and absolutely hated the first part of the day. But over time I changed my mindset. After practising this routine for over a year now, I’m now a fully-loaded morning person who thinks 7am is a proper lie in. I just told myself I COULD do it and lo and behold, I started doing it.

You see, change is always possible - you just have to want it. And I guarantee you if you try it, even for just a week, you’ll see a difference. Not only will you feel better in yourself, but you’ll be starting your days knowing that you’ve already accomplished a shit ton of stuff before the rest of the world has even woken up.

Now that’s a reason to feel smug.

Are you full of ideas but can't find the time to actually do any of them? Do you feel like you're always tired and unproductive? Are you making excuses like I did? Get in touch to see how I can help.

Meet Lauren

Career Change & Business Coach and Side Hustle Queen

Hi, I'm Lauren. I burnt out, hit rock bottom and used the experience to manifest my dream life. I now help passionate and ambitious women change career, start side hustles and grow businesses. I'm living proof that you can - and deserve to - have it all.

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