Class ends and it’s 4:30. I just had a long day and the last thing I want to do is work out. I’m tired, there’s homework I have to do and I want to stop by my friends’ room and shoot the breeze. So then I think to myself: I only need to workout four days this week and I’m tired. Why not do it when I’m refreshed tomorrow? Well here’s the problem. I’m almost never feeling refreshed on a weekday and certainly not motivated on a weekend. And if we’re being honest, most of us feel very unrefreshed to say the least for most of our weekend. Now the vicious cycle begins. I lose consistency and things start to break down. Four days a week turns to three. Soon, three turns into three weeks off, and apples turn to apple crisps. Now I’m playing catch up to get back into shape. This struggle besets everyone and is very difficult to overcome. Over the years, I have tried a million methods to combat this when it comes to working out, getting homework done early or any other task I don’t want to complete in the moment. Alerts on my phone, motivational videos, written-out schedules. While some worked better than others, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon my favorite solution this summer thanks to the time constraints of my job.
The long hours of my internship this summer gave me one option to stay in shape: get a workout in before work. This meant I had to wake up earlier and build up the energy and motivation to exercise. At the beginning, I figured this would be a huge problem since I commonly struggle to get up for a 10:30 a.m. class ten minutes from my dorm. However, I soon discovered the freedom that early morning work grants an individual. Each day, my friend and I would trudge out of our apartment in the morning, exercise, then start a grueling workday. On paper, this sounds horrible. Waking up early for exercise after a 14-hour workday sounds like the last thing I would want to do. However, I soon discovered that these “grueling” workdays were made much easier by a morning workout. Whether it’s exercising, homework, or working on any other personal goal, now that you have accomplished a very crucial task in the morning, you will feel more relaxed the rest of the day. You’re not playing catch up. Instead, you can feel the relief of knowing you got your work done and have a sense of accomplishment throughout the rest of the day. This allows you to feel more cheerful and present in the moment because you’re not caught up thinking about the painful task you don’t want to do but know you have to later.
In addition to feeling more relaxed, a huge advantage of waking up before the rest of the world is no one can distract you. No text messages are sent and no spontaneous plans can be made. It’s you and you alone with the opportunity to get your work done as efficiently as possible. Your intentions are clear because there is nothing else to do early in the morning. Essentially, if you’re awake, you might as well be productive with such limited options to procrastinate. On campus, this is especially relevant because most buildings are closed early in the morning besides the productive ones: the library and the gym.
Now that I am returning to school, I am going to try my best to stick to getting up early and getting my work done. While it may be tougher with late nights and a looser schedule, forcing yourself out of bed in the morning will make the rest of your day significantly better. So if you struggle with pushing things off and find it affects your day-to-day life, try getting something important done before your first class. It’s not a crazy change or new idea by any means, but it can make your life less stressful and give you greater control over your daily actions. Put it this way. The longer you wait to do something, the more opportunities you’ll have to push it off. So try a couple early mornings and see where it takes you.
Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston majoring in Finance and ACMS. He can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in this column are those of the author, not necessarily those of The Observer.