THE 9 AM RULE
WH Auden used to wake up sharp at 6am and put in 3-4 hours of writing everyday. Morton Feldman the American composer started his work at dawn and after 3-4 hours of relentless composing used to announce that his day was over. Mozart was a music teacher and hardly got time to compose. Hence he used to wake up at 6 am and compose for 2-3 hours until 9am.
The list goes on – of famous people who follow the 9am rule.
The 9am rule – Do the most important task (s) of the day by 9am. Then the rest of the day can be devoted to leisure, reading, recreation and other tasks that matter less. Even if you work a regular job the rest of the day can be for the regular work of emails, calls and meetings. You know that you have already made a difference as you started your day.
How can you follow the 9am rule.
1. Wake up between 5-6am. There is no secret formula to this – it’s simply knowing how many hours you like to sleep ( 6-8) and then work backwards to decide when you will sleep. Ensure before you sleep you turn off all devices so that the blue light does not interfere with your sleeping pattern. Eat 2-3 hours before sleeping time to ensure you can sleep well. If you sleep well you wake up early on time.
2. Meditate – Sit down in a quiet corner crossing your legs with your palms facing upwards resting on your thighs. Gently close your eyes and bring your focus on your breath. Now notice as your breath goes out and then it goes in. Keep your focus on your breath. Whenever your attention wanders bring it right back to your breath. Do it for a minute. As you master it start expanding the time to 2, 3, 5 and then 10 minutes and longer.
3. Exercise – Push Ups. Crunches. Lunges. Jumping Jacks. Skipping. Yoga Surya Namaskar ( Sun Salutation) or any other form of intense physical exercise. Do it for 10-20 minutes atleast to bring a high level of energy to the day.
4. Work on key projects – Spend 1-2 hours working on your most important projects. It could be a forthcoming presentation. It could be a blog or personal project that you are working on. If you are unsure of what this can be ask yourself “what is important but not urgent in my life ?”
5. Learn – Spend 20-30 minutes on a subject that you want to master by studying it online or reading a book or practicing a skill. This can be something as simple as upgrading your knowledge of excel or learning to code or something else that will help you professionally.
You are done.
You used the best hours of the day to make the biggest difference to yourself and others.
Congrats. Do it again tomorrow.
9am rule = success.